Monday, January 30, 2012

This Week

This week started to look up somewhat. Our school system had three half days last week due to exams. It was great - I only taught three classes, one day I only had two classes and then I still had my planning period plus the whole rest of the day to get things updated and work accomplished. Friday night I took Emma out to shop for her little buddy Max's birthday party. Bo and Hannah stayed home since he was out of town so much last week.

Saturday was Max's birthday party. It was really cute. Both girls had their face painted with butterflies. I am so mad that I did not take any pictures, but Max's mom has some so hopefully I will get some. It was really nice to socialize with Emma's preschool friends and their parents - even though Emma was the only girl from the class! Seriously - Max loves her so much.

That night Bo and I had a night out with some friends at a new restaurant called Giannas. It was super good and we had about a two hour dinner. It was so nice to take our time and eat. We also kept the wine bottles coming.

Sunday we went to Sunday School but ended up leaving before church because mom and dad needed me to meet them at Granny's house earlier with Robbie, April and Lindsay to begin going through my Granny's house. We basically started cleaning things out and taking out valuables that Granny wanted us to have. It was a very hard day again I just could not believe that we were actually going through it all and she was not there. We found a large file envelope with all kinds of cards and pictures she had saved. I found thank you notes I had written to her and I can't believe she saved things like that. I also found pictures that she had taken with her camera of the girls and I had just never seen them before. We also found some jewelry that she had labeled so we knew what they were. She labeled her wedding jewelry, her baby ring and her 16th birthday watch that her parents had given to her.

Afterwards I spent some time with just my parents. I introduced my dad to You Tube since he is now getting so technology savvy. Then, Bo and the girls and Lindsay, Steve and Andy met us at Outback to celebrate Steve's 30th birthday.

It was a nice weekend spent with friends and family. Although I am still very emotional about the loss of my grandmother it was nice to do some things that distracted me for a little while. Today I am home - Suffolk has a virtual workday!!! That is the best thing I have ever heard of.

Here are some mobile uploads that I wanted to update on the blog.

This was a random night at mom and dad's when Hannah wanted to be a baby again and sit in the high chair. Emma wanted to play mommy so she was feeding Hannah!
Same night - playing on the little four wheeler
This weekend before leaving for Sunday school! Love this! My little girls are growing up so fast!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Very Hard Week

Obviously a lot has been heavy on my mind and heart this past week. Monday was supposed to be a day off, where nothing eventful was really going on. Bo was working, the house was pretty clean, I went to the gym with the girls, got the dry cleaning and came home. And that was when I got the phone call. Mom said, "this is probably it, Granny's breathing has changed and the nurse cannot get a blood pressure." I quickly got Bremer, our babysitter over and headed over. Bo and I were just there the day before. I had prepared myself for this. We have seen her health decline since October. I already prepared her pictures. I had already found certain things she had given to me over the past thirty years. I thought I was ready. I knew she would be in a better place. I knew she would no longer be bothered with doctors, treatments and medications. However, I do not think anything can fully prepare you for death. I have experienced death extremely rapidly with the loss of my 19 year old cousin. And then I have had weeks to prepare me for this.

As I pulled into the driveway it hit me hard that I would probably never walk into her house normally again. There were so many cars there - mom and dad, my uncle, my aunt, nurses, and Robbie. Lindsay was on the way. The house was quiet, dark, and sad. Everyone was crying. Granny was taking very deep breaths in a coma state. We all took turns in and out of her room - always someone holding her hands. Around 4:00 the chaplain arrived. She sat with us briefly and began reading some verses from the Bible. It was me, my aunt and Robbie in the room at the time. The chaplain stopped reading and prayed with us. About fifteen minutes later she read one other verse. She repeated, "peace," "no fear," and "rest." With the repeating of these words Granny's breathing slowed even more... and more... and then it just stopped. It was as though she needed to hear those words. She needed the reassurance that it was okay to leave us. I told her over and over that we would be okay. That she could go and not worry. It was one of the most peaceful moments I have ever experienced. I guess that is why I find it necessary to write about. I will certainly never forget it. As much as I will miss her, I am fully assured by the fact that she went to heaven as those Bible verses were being read. She was listening and she went - right in front of us - as if to give us the reassurance that she too will be okay.

From there we all had the moment of "is this it?" My mom and dad rushed in, we all just held her, hugged her and cried together.

The visitation was this past Wednesday and her funeral was Thursday. She looked absolutely beautiful. We were all very happy with how she looked. We even had her wear the dress she wore to our wedding. She had picked it out, loved it and she looked stunning in it. The girls only attended the reception after the funeral. The girls know that Gigi has gone to live with Jesus, yet we have not had a very in depth discussion with them about it.

I can get past the idea that she is not sick, and I can surely get past the idea that she is in heaven. What I am having a hard time with is that she is not here and how quickly this awful disease took her. I am so used to having my grandmothers at everything - it for some reason cannot register that this happened to her and that she won't be at anything anymore. Even awhile ago I was thinking ahead through this week and stupidly thought my mom had to take Granny to a doctor appointment! My heart just has not added up to my brain. I am sad. I am hurting. My dad is hurting. This is going to be a big absence in our lives. I have been fortunate to not have this feeling for a long time and I am reminded so easily how much it hurts.

This week has been a whirlwind of visitors, cards, flowers, food, condolences, support, and love. Aside from this I also had one of my best friend's deliver her baby early at 27 weeks by emergency C-Section. My cousin on my mom's side of the family also had their baby on Wednesday. Another friend of mine had a fertility procedure this week in hopes of her getting pregnant and another friend of mine is also enduring some very difficult times, which I learned this week. Hopefully things will start looking up.

Friday I went to work and it was good for me. Thank goodness for a great job and great people to work with. Friday night I spent some time with mom, dad, Robbie and Lindsay. We had a meeting to review Granny's plans that she had for us. Dad took us back to the house only to "take it in." We cleaned the kitchen, got some food put away, etc. We walked around holding onto memories - Christmases, Thanksgivings, me running down that hallway when I was little, falling and hurting my tooth - scared Granny so much, me being there when I was little on days I was sick and mom went to work, dad thought back to the hurricane this year and when he had to board up the window that blew out - during the hurricane, days when the weather was bad and we would go to Granny's b/c she had a basement, spaghetti nights, the girls running around her house playing with her stuffed animals, me playing in her jewelry box when I was little - so many things that have influenced my life and remain dear to my heart.

I am truly blessed to have had wonderful, loving grandmothers. I grew up knowing and remembering eight grandparents and great grandparents total. I am down to one grandmother left. My Granny was a special person. She loved, shared, had faith, held her tongue, kept up with fashion, socialized and most importantly, put her family first.

Saturday was a real day of rest. It was rainy and nasty out. We did nothing. The girls took a nap and I watched a movie. When the girls got up we still did nothing. We did cook dinner and I dusted the furniture. Bo and I then watched another movie when the girls went to bed - we watched Courageous. It was a great movie, and although it had some sensitive moments, I think I was just too cried out to cry for a movie. However, it was very good.

Today we went to Sunday school and church. During church Emma said something that made me laugh so hard, and it felt good. Bo gave her some money to put in the offering plate. As the plate made its way toward us, Emma looked at me, still holding the money, and said, "don't we need this for Disney World?" It was like - mom, I'll put it in, but are you sure you have Disney World covered? It was just too funny. Don't worry - we are going to get you to Disney this year!

After lunch I ran to the mall to use my Gymbucks. Since it was so late in the sale I had a hard time getting my sizes for both girls, but I still did pretty good. Although I was not in the mood at all to shop, Gymbucks are just too good to let them expire. I literally went right home after that. Bo and Emma went to the grocery store and that is that.

Here are some drawings Emma did in church today. Her little character drawing was just too cute - done completely on her own. Her handwriting is also improving so much. Emma's little buddy Max also sat beside her in church today. They were too cute sharing crayons quietly and drawing. He just loves her to pieces!

Hannah has been busy potty training since Christmas break. She is doing fabulous. I don't want to say we are "done" yet because I hate to test my luck right now - so for now I will just say, we are very close. Another thing Emma has done a lot of recently is giving us roles based on what movie she is pretending for the day. For example, a few days ago she was Wendy, Bo was Captain Hook, I was Tinkerbell and Hannah was Peter Pan. And.... we have to call each other those names or she gets really mad and reminds us who our character is. Today she was Mary Poppins, I was Jane, Bo was Bert and Hannah was Michael. So darn funny. Hannah also repeated the word "turd" today after Bo said, " you are being a little turd" when putting on her tights for church. Although it as wrong - I had to laugh. She sounded hilarious when saying "tuuuurrrd."

Hopefully this week will be good and I know the days will eventually get easier. For now, I am focused on healing and helping my dad stay busy and happy. Bo will be out of town a lot this week, so I plan on having the girls there this week to keep his mind occupied. Thanks for release of emotion on a forever long blog post.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Feeling Blah

These first few days of 2012 have proved to be challenging. However, going back to work was actually a great feeling to once again establish a bit of normalcy. I have amazing coworkers that I have been lucky to find in this new school and having the social life back at work was what I really needed. They help me escape the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and most recent family drama. My worries tend to escape me while at work, which lead me to my News Years Resolution - not to worry about things so much and focus what is most important. I have tendencies to let things eat at me. I over think things and find myself at a loss of what I did wrong, or what if......this happened. As hard as I work to be effective in the professional world and the mommy/wife/daughter world, I think I do a pretty darn good job of juggling everything. Why should I worry so much? Why should I let things bother me? I am focusing on what is the most important.

This past week the most important thing has been the health of my grandmother. As I have mentioned earlier her health has declined since late October. Her cancer has spread to her liver and lungs. She is bedridden. Her kidneys have failed. She has had hospital equipment moved into her home and hospice was called in this past Friday. I have seen the emotions of my father and how difficult this is for him. My older cousin Robbie has also had a lot on his plate. This disease came out of nowhere and has taken hold of the healthy, vibrant, classy, loving person that I call Granny and my children call Gigi.

I have had to explain to Emma and Hannah that Gigi is sick. We went there on Sunday and just sat next to her. The kids showed her some games on their leap pads. She watches them, smiles a lot and then goes to sleep. She is not saying much. I hate to see her in pain. I hate that I will no longer go shopping with her. I hate that she will not be at anymore family dinners to Georges or Outback. I hate that she will not see Emma, Hannah, Andy and Adaire grow older. I hate that we will not have another trip to the beach. I hate she will not be at anymore birthday parties. I hate that my father will soon be without both of his parents. I hate that there will no longer be a core to the Gwaltney side of the family.

I have been a very lucky person to have been loved by my grandmothers. I hate that I may soon be with only one grandparent left. This week has been very tough and right now it is comfortable going to work, getting the kids, seeing Granny and going on with my evening routine of dinner, playtime, bath time, snack/movie time with kids, me and bo tv time, and bedtime. Bo and I have cleared our calendars of weekend activities and commitments. Aside from him working out of town, going to the gym/run here and there and church we have nothing going on. That is a very assuring feeling right now.

Sidenote: something else that has really been helpful for me these past several days has been music. I got an iTunes gift card for my birthday from Robbie and April and I went crazy downloading new songs. I am just not that good at keeping my iPod that updated. The Band Perry has been my new favorite band. I just loving singing to them and again my mind stops the "worrying" and just gets me to a very relaxing place. I also downloaded some songs to dance to. The other night the four of us just danced around the house to some Pitbull. I know we looked ridiculous, but gosh it felt good!

Granny with me at my baby shower for Emma

Granny and Emma
Hannah's Christening
my graduate school graduation
beach trip 2011
with us and family from MD - where her sister lived
Mothers Day with the new mommies Lindsay and April
Hannah's past birthday

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Eve

Saturday morning was pretty unpleasant for me since it had been quite awhile since I had "let loose." After getting some lunch in me I started to feel much better. After leaving the Hilton we just all stayed around our house for awhile. Troy and Aleah did end up having to get back to Charlotte. Bo told me that New Years was going to be on the Spirit of Norfolk - a harbor cruise line. It was so nice to dress up, eat good, enjoy great music and ring in the new year. We had a great time. The ship was decorated so nicely - we loved the people watching and we danced until 1. We didn't get in until 2. Today we all slept until almost 10. We met Steve and Sunny for breakfast before they had to leave, then we picked up the girls. Since then we have been home all day relaxing. We all took naps and we just finished eating our black eyed peas with dinner. Happy New Year! I am looking forward to what 2012 has in store for us!

front of the ship

party favors

The "Dirty 30" Round 2

Friday night Bo was supposed to take me to the Melting Pot. I had been told all week that mom was watching the kids for us so we could have a night out. Although many details of that day happened, the main point of the story was that Bo said we were going to meet some business people that were in town for a quick drink before dinner. My curiosity went up, as that is something that just does not happen very often. As entering this restaurant I also saw a few familiar cars in the area. So, as I walked in, I was very happy to see some very familiar faces around me. But, the biggest surprise to me was seeing four very special people who came all the way from Charlotte and Pembroke to surprise me - especially Steve, who had just returned from Iraq barely a week ago. Troy, Aleah, Sunny and Steve were all there and moreover I learned that we would also spend New Years together. Of course my family, work friends and high school friends were there as well. The night was young, unlike my new age, and so we took great advantage of it. Bo's parents ended up taking the girls home and we just had a great night........not so good of a morning though! Over 100 pictures were taken that night, so here are some highlights.

walking in

seeing far away friends
my babies

thanks honey!!!

Brandon and Sarah gave me a very nice Pandora charm
more cake
dad, lindsay, me, mom

me and Laura
me and Jenny Lynne
Lambda Chi's
we had not all been in the same room for five years

We had a great night. Bo had planned and organized everything. The food was great and the company was perfect. We even stayed at the Hilton with our friends when the night was over. Thanks to all who helped me welcome turning.........30.

The "Dirty 30" Round One

After returning from Raleigh on Tuesday the house was immediately cleaned from Christmas. The tree, decorations, toys, clothes, etc. were all put away within hours. Then, Wednesday the 28th rolled in, when I officially turned the big 3-0. Bo took the girls to Mrs. Beth's house for the day so I could get some more things done on my own - grocery shopping, returns, carpet cleaning people, etc. It was a very productive day. The girls gave me some birthday cards in the morning. When we were all together again at the end of the day Bo surprised me with a beautiful David Yurman necklace to match my ring and bracelet. We then met my mom and sister for dinner, had some cake back at our house, and we called it a day. I was content, very happy with my new necklace and my parents gave me a beautiful new watch. Turning 30 was not bad, and I thought things were great! I had no idea what was in store for me though.....