Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nights are the worst

So, it's now 3:43am and I am totally, and completely awake. Never mind that I drank some coffee at 10:00pm (caffeine never had that affect on me in the past), but the nights seem to be the worst time of day (or night) for me. If I am not 99% almost asleep when I lay down, I lay there and think of Mom and everything she went through in the last year. And I cry, and cry, and cry. I try to do it quietly, but lately I just sob and I have to get up and leave the room so I don't wake Jason. When we were home for Thanksgiving is when it started, and it's been bad ever since.

When I think of my Mom, all I can think of is the last year. When I picture her, I picture her when I saw her in July, with hardly any hair and thin as can be from the chemo. I try my hardest to think of happy times and the times when she had beautiful hair and she was a healthy weight...but I can't remember her like that. I will never forget calling Jason when I saw her in July and saying to him, "The next time I see my Mom, it's going to be for her funeral." ...and I was right. I miss my Mom so much my heart hurts. Life's lessons suck!!! I am so mad that I have to live the rest of my life without my Mom. What lesson is this teaching me?? Because right now I am failing at life or at least I feel like I'm failing. I'm not the parent or the wife I want to be. I have NO friends here in Texas. And I am so lonely 90% of the time, that I pretty much hate life right now.

I just don't know how to move on, and part of me doesn't know if I even want to.

I miss you Mom more than you will ever know!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trying to live through the holidays

I can not believe that Christmas is 16 days away...wow...where does the time go???

On the outside I am doing pretty well dealing with the holidays and all of the pressures and issues that go along with it. However on the inside I am crumbling away. Christmas is my Mom's favorite holiday...she LOVED it...she LOVED giving and would have been completely happy if she never received anything, she just loved giving to others.

I am having trouble trying to figure out how to manage, how to enjoy the holiday without my Mom here...and I am failing miserably. My insides are constantly hurting and I at times just have trouble living. How do I enjoy myself when my mom is gone? How do I laugh and smile and carry on when she isn't anymore?? I know...it's what she would want...but I just don't believe it. Of course she would not want me hurting, but would she really want me to just "go on"?? Wouldn't she rather me think of her, remember her, and carry on everything she was??

Jason is pushing for me to go talk to a grief counselor and part of me thinks it might be a good idea, but the thought of telling someone that I don't know that I have a problem...not sure I can do it. He talked to the Priest at our church and he knows the best grief counselor here in San Antonio and he doesn't take new patients, unless you mention that the priest referred you. They also will bill insurance and if your insurance doesn't cover this, then they will bill the church, so no money has to be spent out of your pocket...which is amazing!!!

So...it's something I need to think about. I am just unsure if it is something that I want to do...even though I know it will help in the end.

So, I know all of you that read this aren't therapists...but if you have any ideas for me on how to get through the holidays...I would really appreciate anything!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mom's last wishes and goodbyes

So, we got up on Friday the 24th and headed to the funeral home. My Uncle watched the kids so that Jason could go with Katie, Kent and I. Being in that place knowing my Mom's body was there and I couldn't see it...was really hard. I wanted to ask to see her, but at the same time I was so scared to see her, so I didn't ask. We went into a room and sat down to do paperwork, the obituary, pick a casket and vault and drop off the clothes that we had brought for her to be buried in.

We got the obituary written and then went into another room to pick her casket. The first one I saw was a peach colored one and I said to Katie...this is it. However, it was one of the cheapest ones that they had, and we felt kind of "cheap" buying it. Mom's last wishes were for a plain box and no visitation. They had plain boxes there, but they were terrible...I couldn't imagine putting my beautiful mom in that ugly box. So...after about 45 minutes we finally decided on the peach one that we saw at first. Mom would have loved it if she could have seen it. After that we went out and had to pick a verse for the inside of the note card thing that people pick up at the visitation. They had books full of them but Katie and I picked one that was absolutely and completely Mom. :) After we were done at the funeral home we headed out to the cemetery.

At the cemetery we went down and saw where she was going to be buried. Her final resting place would be next to my dad on the left and when Kent passes away he will be buried on her right, so she will be between the 2. When my dad died she had his headstone made with her name on it, and I don't want that to stay if she isn't going to be buried there. So...she had purchased a single headstone back when he died also, so we went ahead and used that one for my Dad (I am going to bring their old stone here to Texas) and Kent and my Mom will have a new one. After the cemetery...we were off to the flower store.

We stopped at Blossom Basket and picked out the flowers for the top of her casket and a small pillow from the grand kids. Wow...flowers are expensive!!! After that was done we went back to the house to find out where the kids were. We hung out together for the night...it had been a long emotional day for all of us.

My Mom had said that she did not want a visitation, she wanted only a private burial at the cemetery for family only. However...we needed a visitation. We needed to see how many people Mom had touched. We needed to say our goodbyes to her and let all of her friends say their goodbyes also. So, what we decided to do was have a visitation, but have the casket closed after the family said their goodbyes. So the casket would be open for an hour before the visitation for family and then we would close it and let the rest of the people in. I think Mom would have been OK with our plan.

On Sunday, the day of the visitation we got there about an hour or so early. This would be the first time I had seen Mom in 2 weeks...and I was so scared. I started up the casket and had to stop and pick up James, I couldn't do it alone. I started sobbing about 10 feet away and had a hard time moving my feet forward. I hate funerals and visitations. I just stood next to her and sobbed and kept saying "Oh Mom, Oh Mom"...She looked so at peace and like she was finally at rest. That was the one thing that was so important...because the pain was SO bad for so long. She had a spot on her right ear that was black, and later on that day Katie told me it was because she had laid on that side so much at the end that it started to become a sore. I kept saying "why couldn't they fix that, why couldn't they hide it". What a silly thing to be worried about. My Mom was beautiful. She looked so pretty laying there. The kids did well with everything also. James wanted to touch her...all the time. He would walk up to the casket and reach over and touch her head or if we were holding him he would reach down and touch her hands, it was really sweet. Becca never cried, never shed a tear, never really talked about it. Bradley just hung out by the casket and watched people.

The rest of the family came to see her and give us their support. We were all there about an hour and then others started coming in, so we made sure they stopped everyone and everyone left so they could close the casket. We stood there for about 3 hours and there was a constant stream of people paying their respects. It was great to see everyone and see how much Mom meant to others. After the visitation everyone came over to Mom's for dinner that Cindy had prepared for everyone. It was great.

The actual funeral was going to be tough. We got to the funeral home early again to see her for the last time. I bawled and bawled...I couldn't say my goodbyes...I couldn't imagine not seeing her physical body ever again. The rest of the family came and said their goodbyes and then it was our turn to say ours so that they could close the casket for the last time. I kissed her forehead and told her that I will always love her and that she was the most important person in my life...Goodbye Mom. Steve Busick did the funeral, and he did an amazing job!!! He said everything right, and everything that we wanted said. We headed out to the cemetery and I called Prairie Gardens to say that we would be driving by...when we got to the corner of Duncan and Springfield we looked over and there were about 30 people or so standing there. The funeral director stopped the hearse right in front of them and they all waved, blew kisses, and said their goodbyes to her. OMG...it was amazing!!! Sobbing in the backseat again!!

After we laid her to rest at the cemetery we headed to the VFW for dinner. It was nice, but hard to enjoy when all I thought about was what we had just done. My Mom was buried, in the cold ground, she was gone...and all I felt was alone.

We buried her on Monday and Tuesday afternoon we headed back to Texas. I cried the entire way to the airport, the entire flight to Dallas and the drive to San Antonio. To think about moving on, or continuing my life without my Mom was inconceivable. I can't imagine being happy again or laughing or living. My Mom was with me for my entire 38 years. I talked to her on the phone daily, and sometimes more than once. I loved her, more than I have ever loved anyone else. My Dad died before I was born...so my Mom filled in as both of my parents...and now I have no parents. Sadness overwhelmed me and it still does.

My life has changed and there are days that I can't hardly "live". We got back home and we "went on". We have no plans to go back to Illinois (unless we go for Thanksgiving)...so this will be the longest I have been in Texas. We'll see how life treats us. :)

That's how we said goodbye to my Mom. She will always be in my heart, and I will miss her everyday. I will continue to talk about her to the kids though, because I am scared that someday they won't remember her. I will never forget her...and I will love her till eternity!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Dreaded phone call

So, where to begin??

The week before September 23rd, I talked to Mom on the phone once. I hadn't talked to her except for one time after we left Illinois and that phone call was pretty much "Hi, I love you, sleep, talk to you soon, I love you, bye". So I called her room on Saturday, September 18th and my Aunt Kathy answered the phone. I asked how she was doing and she said she was sleeping, but she would hold the phone to her ear and maybe she would wake up to talk to me. So, she did and I said "Hi Mom!", and she said "Hi Honey" back to me. I asked how she was and she said OK. There was a bit of silence so I said "I love you Mom" and she said "I love you too" back to me, followed by silence again. I said "Mom, are you there?" and she said "Yes". I asked her if Aunt Kathy was there and she said "Yes", so I said "I love you again" and she said it back to me...this went on for about 5 or 6 exchanges and finally I said "Mom, I love you, give the phone back to Aunt Kathy, I love you" and she just kept saying over and over "I love you". Finally someone took the phone and hung up. That was the last time I talked to my Mom. Sad thing is, was I was annoyed because they let her just lay there and didn't take the phone from her...I guess looking back they didn't want to ruin "my last talk" with her. I will cherish those 3 words everyday that she said to me, over and over.

On September 22nd I talked with my sister about some pads that they were out of to put on the bed and we figured out that Belinda had some and Katie was going to go over and get them the next day to take to Mom. At this point Mom had barely opened her eyes or talked in about a week. I was the last one to really carry on any conversation with her. Katie and I talked on the phone quite a bit and discussed some things that Mom had talked about with us in the hospital, such as where she wanted to be buried, etc. At 4:44am on September 23rd the phone rang and it was Katie. They were at the nursing home and this was it. Mom was developing all of this mucous stuff in her mouth and was causing her breathing to be very labored. The nurse said it was a matter of time. Wow...I couldn't believe it...this was it.

At 5:20 am the phone rang again, I hadn't moved, I was still sitting in the same spot on the bed...my mom had died. I was in shock, I couldn't believe it...the most important person in my life was gone. The woman that gave me life was gone. I am now "parent less"...both of my parents are dead. My children will never see there "Gee-ma", she will never see them grow up, graduate from High School, get married, have kids, etc., etc. This was all I could think of. I told my sister I would call my Aunt and Uncle Phil and she was going to try to get a hold of my Uncle Rick, Uncle Mike was there at the nursing home. Our lives were crushed right before our eyes...and I wasn't there.

I had told myself that I would probably not be there when she went, and I was OK with that. However, the closer it got...the harder that was to wrap my mind and heart around. My mom was there for me always. At each and every main event in my life, and here I was in San Antonio while my Mom died in Illinois. I know it was what had to be and if I had been able I would have been there with her, but the kids had to be at home and in school...so we were here. I had peace and I was thankful for the week we spent with her at my birthday. I just loved her more than anything else in the world and she was gone.

We had talked about driving home when this time came, however the thought of driving 17+ hours with such a heavy heart was not happening. We booked flights and headed out at noon to drive to Dallas to catch our flight to Champaign. That 5 hour car ride was the longest in my life. Everything went pretty smoothly and we got to Champaign around 8:45pm and Uncle Rick and Lucas were there to pick us up. I couldn't keep it together, as soon as I saw him I was bawling. His sister was gone...and my mom was gone...OMG....how are we going to do this?? He took us to Mom's house and Kent and Katie were outside waiting for us. I just held onto my sister and didn't want to let go. Kent and I hugged and it all just seemed surreal. The next day was going to be the hardest ever...planning for my Mom's funeral and visitation.

Monday, November 15, 2010

O'Connors head back to Illinois

So, I got tickets to go back to Illinois for our family to spend some time with Mom. I had talked to Mom and told her that we were coming because it was my birthday and I wanted to be with her...that was my only wish!! She was so excited, she just started crying. So, we put the tickets on the debit card (yep, the debit card-you know, the one with the daily limit). So, Jason received an email 2 days later saying that the card was declined due to it being over the limit...however, Jason just deleted the email, without reading it, so our tickets were cancelled. Yep...cancelled!!!

So we were to leave first thing on Saturday morning, Jason went on to print our tickets and they were not there. So, he immediately got on the phone to find out what we could do. Does anyone know how mad I was at that point....nope, no idea. I could not believe it. We found out that they could get us back to Champaign the next day, but it wouldn't be till 9pm. That was not going to work...we would miss an entire day with Mom. So, they finally figured out that they could get us into Springfield (because Mom was still there) around 2pm...and Uncle Rick would pick us up and take us to see Mom. That works!!!!

So, we fly into Springfield on September 4th and Uncle Rick picks us up and takes us to St. Johns. We walked into Mom's room and she looked SO GOOD!!! OMG...she had put on some weight, and she looked great. I was so surprised!! The kids ran up to her to hug her and kiss her, and I was right behind. She started crying and so did I. Knowing in my heart that this would be the last trip home to spend with her while she was alive. At this point no one had told her the timeline...so we knew what her future held, while she was still fighting to live, because she didn't know what the Dr. had told me. The next day was my birthday, and I spent it with her...it was the best present ever!!!

The nurses were trying their hardest to get Mom back over to Champaign. The insurance was trying to say that she could stay in Springfield because there was nothing they couldn't do that Champaign couldn't do. It was the biggest mess I have ever seen. Finally they got a hold of her Dr. in Champaign and he wanted her back as soon as possible...so the insurance worked a bit harder with the hospitals and got her moved. She got back to Champaign at 10pm on Monday...and we were thrilled to have her back there!!! The nurses in Champaign were crying, Mom was crying, I was crying...it was great to be HOME!!!!

Tuesday the Dr. came in and said that he wanted the OT/PT people to come in and start working with her (she hadn't been out of bed in 12 days or so), so they came in and finally I said she can't get up and walk around (with the fistulas)...so they said they would go back and figure out what the Dr. wanted. Dr. came back in on Wednesday, the whole family was there with her and her friends, and he gave her the news that there was nothing more he could do for her. To sit in a room and hear those words about the one person in your life that has known you the longest, loved you unconditionally your entire life, been there with you through thick and thin and everything in between, it was something that I will never forget. My mom is dying....and I am going to lose her.

We were suppose to fly out on thursday to head back home, but they wanted to move her back to the nursing home, or send her home. We had a lot to figure out so Jason called and got our tickets moved to Sunday, so we would have a bit more time to "plan". Thursday was the best day ever!! Mom was alert, and awake almost the entire day. She was laughing and carrying on conversations with everyone. It was the most amazing thing ever. I will look back, and that is the day I will remember!!!

We got her moved to the nursing home on Friday evening and I stayed with her that night. Saturday she pretty much slept the entire day. I got really worried about her, she did not wake up till about 1pm that afternoon and even then it was just for a little bit. The kids and Jason were leaving the next morning at 6am, so they came to say their goodbyes that evening. Wow, what an emotional time that was. I think I was dreading this more than saying goodbye to her on my own. Jason was a mess, he was so shaken up. My mom loved him like a son and treated him like one too for the entire 14 years we've been together. He came out of the room and was devastated. Bradley too. He never cries...and he was truly shaken up. Rebecca holds everything in...and she did that day too. I'm not sure that Becca understood what was going on, or what it meant. Saying "goodbye" for the last time...I don't think that sunk in till it was too late. James and I weren't leaving till 5 the next afternoon, so we were going to spend the next day with her...so...we had some time still

Jason and the kids took off and off to the nursing home we went. Katie had spent the night with her, so when we got there we just hung out for a while. Mom wasn't awake much and was not really alert a whole lot. I couldn't believe this was going to be my last day with her and she was so out of it. They had up'ed her pain meds...so that was playing a lot into it. I tried and tried to wake her and talk with her, but it didn't really work. Katie, Dave (troy's dad), and James left to go get some lunch, and then Becky Jane came so I talked with her for a while. About 3:30 I finally said I probably need to get thinking about going. I tried and tried to wake her, and I leaned down to kiss her and she turned her head from me. I think I had surprised her, and that is why she moved her head, but it still hurt, it hurt a lot!!! I cried the whole way back to her house, I cried all the way back home on the plane. I would never see my Mom alive again. WOW!!!! Hard to wrap your mind around...still is!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

3 weeks

While Mom was in Springfield she saw her Dr. that did her colonoscopy and he said there was no way he could do surgery on her. She was too weak and he wasn't sure she would make it out of surgery. What?? Why did the Dr.'s in Champaign send her over there anyways?? Becky Jane called and told me that...I couldn't believe it.

I called the Dr. over there and left a message for him to call me back. About 1/2 an hour later he called and we talked. He asked me if her oncologist in Champaign has told us that she had probably 3 weeks to live. WHAT??? The Dr. in Champaign never tells us anything and has never given us a life expectancy. Are you serious?? I kept asking him this on the phone. He said "Have you seen her lately? She is a shell of what she used to be, she isn't vibrant, she looks like she has fought the fight...but she's not winning". He said if we wanted to have any "quality" time, we needed to get back now.

I got off the phone with him and immediately called Jason and we booked a flight for 3 days later to go to Illinois to have our quality time with her. It ended up being Labor Day weekend, and my birthday...so we just told her that I wanted to see her for my birthday...and we were all coming home. I didn't tell her what the Dr. told me...I didn't want her to quit fighting, and I think that would have done it. I just told her I wanted to be with her...that was my 1 birthday wish. So...we went back to Illinois and our 5 day trip turned into 9 days.

3 weeks...how do you live those 3 weeks, if you know they are your last days. Your last days to say, do, feel...how do you do it? How do you look at your kids, and your grandkids and say goodbye?? How do you say all you want to say in that small amount of time? I had these and many more questions going through my mind. As her daughter...how do I look at my Mom and tell her that I love her, that she is my inspiration, that she is my hero, that she is my best friend, and I don't think I can go on living if she isn't her with me? I'm not old enough to lose her...am I? It was a long 3 days getting ready to go, and a long plane ride home...not knowing what to expect!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In and out of hospital and nursing home

When we left to move to Texas, Mom was admitted into the hospital and was there for about a week. She then went home and started chemo which took a lot out of her. We came home on July 2nd and she was home with us during that entire month. When we were about to leave she was admitted back into the hospital the day before we were leaving because she was anemic. She was there for about another week, and then she had to go to a nursing home for rehab.

They got her into Heartland on Springfield Ave., on the rehab floor. She seemed to get a lot better, she started eating a lot better, they also had her on TPN (IV nutrition) and she got up and out of bed a lot to do rehab. She rode a bike, did arm exercises, etc. She sounded SO much stronger on the phone...I was so impressed with how she was doing. They then started chemo again and she did pretty well with that. They went over to the clinic for chemo once a week. She also started radiation again on the area in her groin since the cancer had spread to her thigh and was going into the bone...which was the 3rd time for chemo in that area. Which they usually don't do it that much, usually only once, maybe twice, but never 3 times.

She was there maybe 2 weeks and found out she had a large fissula and a couple smaller ones down in her groin area. She had gotten up to go to chemo and a large amount of fecal matter came out through these fissulas and they immediately sent her to the ER. In the ER they immediately said she had to go back over to Springfield to see her Dr. over there to have immediate surgery. So...they loaded her up in the ambulance to go over there. She was there about 10 days before we could get her back over to Champaign and back into the hospital there. They were not able to keep her in the hospital for hospice, so she had to go to the nursing home or home to die. We knew that we would not be able to care for her and her fissulas (they had gotten so bad...the nurses had never seen anything like hers before)...so she went back to the nursing home and was there for 13 days before she went to heaven. No one should ever have to go through what she did...but she knew that the hospital was where she needed to be when she was so weak and sick. In and out, in and out...my poor mom spent more time in the hospitals in the last year than ever before in her entire life. The wonderful thing...her nurses were AMAZING!!! They cared for her and loved her so much. I have never seen a nurse hug and kiss their patients...but they did with my Mom. She was blessed to have them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

4th of July in Illinois

So, I think we are on track...We moved to San Antonio on June 9th and on July 2nd the kids and I packed up the van and drove back to Illinois for a couple of weeks. Or at least what we thought would be a couple of weeks. :)

We made the drive in 17 hours...and you have no idea how excited I was to see my Mom. I called when we hit Illinois and Katie and her were on the way to the Dr. One of Mom's levels were off, so she had to get some potassium (I think)...when she usually gets this it takes about 4 hours...so we thought we might get to the house before they got back. Katie called when we were about an hour away and said they were headed home, so they would be there when we got there. Yay!!

We got off of 57 onto Curtis Road and MAN did it feel good!!! I was so excited. I had talked to my Mom a lot on the phone, pretty much at least once a day, so I knew she was weak and slept a lot. This was due to her starting chemo, and it was kicking her butt!!! She had called me about 10 days before we got there and told me that her hair was falling out, so I knew to expect that...but really wasn't ready for it. We pulled up in front of the house and Kent was outside waiting on us. He came out and hugged the kids, then Katie came out the garage door to meet us. Mom was following her...and OMG...she looked so weak, like she couldn't even make it 10 feet out of the house. She started bawling as soon as I saw her...I ran to her and just hugged and hugged her. She was down to about 90 lbs, her hair was almost all out, and she was just a shell of the person I knew and loved. She cried and cried, as did I!!! We got her turned around and headed back in the house. She was so tired, we talked for a bit and then she layed down to catch a nap. I got the kids together and we went to get lunch. I called Jason and said "Next time I see my Mom it will be to bury her". That's how different she looked from when we left...I was really scared!!!

We pretty much didn't do much while we were in Illinois...we hung out with Mom and kept her company. She pretty much was on the couch 23 hours a day and the hour she wasn't she was walking to the bathroom to empty her bags or to the kitchen to take her meds for the pain. The pain was unbearable and she didn't sleep much at all while we were there. I got to spend a lot of quality time with her and I am so glad that I did. We went home to spend 4th of July with her since this is her favorite holiday and they always have everyone over. She was not up to everyone coming, so we just had Uncle Rick and Aunt Ann over and we hung out at the house all day. We watched the parade on the TV, which was the first time we ever did that. We had dinner and enjoyed being with family.

So, the kids really wanted to go to the fair at the end of the month...so I talked with Jason and we ended up staying till the 28th. Mom continued to go downhill while we were home. She had trouble eating because of no appetite and keeping food down and she became weaker and weaker. Every night she got up at 3am to take her pain pills. I would get up with her to make sure that she made it into the kitchen. We would sit there and talk for about 30 minutes or so...it was GREAT. The day before we were to leave I was going to take her to chemo. We started out to the car and about 3 steps before I got her there she collapsed and was having a hard time breathing. Thank goodness I had my arm around her, I held her up and finally got her in the car. I told her we were not going back in the house, we were either going to the Dr. or to the ER. I drove over to christie and they said to take her immediately to the ER. I got her over there and they couldn't figure out why she was having trouble breathing, all of those tests came back normal. They did do some bloodwork and they found that she was severly anemic. They admitted her again. So...we were to be leaving the next day and she was going to be back in the hospital when we leave. :(

We did end up leaving again the next day, Mom seemed to be in good spirits and was happy that they were able to give her oxygen and that wasn't an "issue" anymore. We didn't know how long she would be there but it was where she needed to be with her health. Another hard day...leaving her again!!! We ate with the Courtneys and then headed out about 8pm. Man...leaving each time just gets harder and harder.

July was spent in Illinois...and looking back now...I am SO glad!!!! Mom and I got to spend some quality time, and that was something that I will cherish forever!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving to San Antonio

So, Jason and I came down to San Antonio to look for a house at the end of April. We found 1 that we really liked, 5 houses down from the short sale house that we put an offer in on, and we got it!! We signed all of the paperwork to get out of the short sale since we did not get any response from the bank about our offer. We were there for the inspection and everything, and everything seemed in GREAT condition. It is about 400 square feet smaller, but the layout is better for us...so we were really excited!!!

We sold our house in Champaign, and moved in with my Mom for about 2 weeks before we headed out for Texas. This had to have been the best thing for me and my family. We got to spend good quality time with my mom and I will forever be grateful for it!! The day we were to leave for Texas my Mom got admitted into the hospital because we found out that her cancer was back. OMG...how do I leave when she just got the WORST news possible. I talked with all of my family and with Mom and she said to go. So...we did!! Wow...was that the hardest decision ever. We packed up our van, and said our goodbyes to all of our family and friends at Mom's house. Jason's mom had come down on the train that day and she was going to drive down with us and then fly home after a week, to help us out. I will forever be grateful for that. My Uncle Rick drove us all over to the hospital to say our goodbyes to my Mom. The kids did great, I sat on the edge of her bed and just kept saying "Mom, I don't have to go...I can stay, and head down later". She rubbed my thigh and just kept saying "Go, I am OK, I will be fine...your family needs you and you have to go". I hugged her and held onto her for the longest time and kissed her goodbye.

We got back to the house, said goodbye to Belinda and headed out. OMG...it is the longest drive ever!!!! We stopped for gas, breakfast, lunch and got to the house around 4:30 in the afternoon. We didn't get all of our "stuff" till the next day...so we slept on the floor in our house the first night. Man it felt good to be here, but man I missed my Mom so much. Our trucks got here the next day and it took most of the day to unload.

We have moved to Texas...that is something that I NEVER thought I would write. I thought we would live in my Grandma's house forever!!! And I never thought I would leave my Mom. I had a few nights where I talked to her on the phone and I got myself into a panic attack, and couldn't breathe...it was so scary...and she sat on the other end and just said "it's not forever, and you will be back soon, it will be OK Honey... it will be OK. I love you!!" I will never forget those words.

We are now Texans!!! Unimaginable!!! :) I know this is a short and sweet account of our move...but I am so behind...this is the best I can do!!! If you have any questions...feel free to ask!! :)

Christmastime with Shutterfly

Hi there!!! I was informed that Shutterfly was giving away 50 cards if you just talk about them...so here we go!!! I am so excited to have found out about this. I love sending cards, and I love even more sending cards with pictures of my kids. Cards help keep all of our family and friends up to date with our family, and it allows them to see pictures of the kids. I am so excited to try Shutterfly out for our family Christmas card!!! If all goes well, I imagine I will use Shutterfly for all of our cards!! They also offer many other exciting things such as:

wall calendars to http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars

canvas wall art to http://www.shutterfly.com/home-decor/canvas-wall-art

new years cards to http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/new-years-cards

All you have to do is blog about Shutterfly and how you are going to use their products or a past experience with them...and you can get 50 free cards also!!! Come on...let's get busy designing our cards!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Catch up!!

Well, this has been the longest break ever. So much has happened since my last post. I think I will just give bullet-points and then I will pick 1 every day or so and talk about them. That will help me not be on here for hours tonight...and it will make me come back here and actually talk about things. Here we go:

*Moved to San Antonio
*Kids and I came back to Illinois for the entire month of July
*Mom was in and out of the hospital and in a nursing home
*Doctors said at the end of August that Mom had about 3 weeks or so
*Jason the kids and I went back to Illinois to spend about 5 days with Mom
*Mom died September 23rd
*Back to Illinois to prepare for visitation and funeral
*Back in San Antonio for the longest period since we moved
*Began doing the C25K...am in week 3
*Kids are doing well is school and seem to enjoy school here
*James is in Zoo School
*I am a Stay at home Mom

Well, I think that is the list I will work on. I will be back hopefully tomorrow to take on the first bullet point!!!

Hope all is well with everyone!!! I am back, and I will hope to stay up on this blog!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Long overdue post

So, this post is SO long overdue...sorry to those of you that read!!!

So, this morning we closed on our house here in Champaign...and it was COMPLETELY bittersweet!! Selling out house was the craziest thing we've done lately!! That house meant so much to me and our family and I was SO sick to my stomach leaving the bank that I thought I would be sick. I was brought home to that house after I was born, and my mom and I lived there with my grandparents and my Uncle until I was 5 years old. After my grandma died we had the privilege of buying the house...and I was able to bring my youngest home from the hospital to that house!! It was amazing and I was lucky to be able to do this. I always felt close to my Grandma while we were living there...I knew that she was our guardian angel and she was looking out for us. Will she still watch over us all in Texas?? Man...I hope so!!

The movers came on Wednesday to pack up our house, they were suppose to bring a semi to take it to store until they bring it to Texas on June 11th...however, they showed up with a 24 ft truck and laughed when they saw how much stuff we have. They ended up working for 14 hours that day and it took 2 trucks to get all of our stuff packed up. But they did it...finally!!! Cleaned the house and visited with family that came by on Thursday...which was really nice...and closed today. It's been a whirlwind of emotion and a lot of things have happened that I am still trying to take in.

We are in Champaign until June 9th, and then we make the trek down to Texas...and I don't know how I am going to do it!!! I am so scared to leave my mom. She is doing better, but the thought of not being able to see her whenever I want is so overwhelming. She is my BEST friend (beside Jason)...and I love her so much...I know we are just a plane ride away...but it's not the same. It is going to be so hard, but I am trying to keep it all in so the kids don't see how sad I really am. I want them to have everything in life...and this is such an amazing opportunity, I have to focus on the positive, and not the negative. That will be a new thing for me. :)

Kids are done with school...so now we are just busy visiting people and "hanging" out. It's been GREAT!!!

My last day of work ended up being the 19th instead of the 21st. I took my mom to the Dr. on the 19th and he sent her immediately over to the hospital to be admitted, and I wasn't leaving her side. He was concerned about a cyst in her groin being cancer...it's NOT, biopsy was negative!!! and he wanted a "filter" put in her groin because she has a blood clot in that area. She had the biopsy and the filter put in and she got to come home on Monday. :) Did I feel bad about not going back to work...NO!!! I miss the participants so much, and the Part time staff and Decka...but that's it!! The new boss was terrible and she made everyone feel like they weren't worth anything and that was really hard working for someone like her. I think the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts made a HUGE mistake hiring this person to be the Director of CUSR...but they didn't ask my opinion...so... It's nice not having to work and be under stress and deal with people that you don't want to. Oh well...that part of my life is done...and I'm glad!!

So...I will update again soon...however it might be after we are in Texas!! We'll see!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Updates...

So...the house has been on the market for 5 days so far. We have had 1 offer already, however it didn't work out...here's what happened: The house is on the market for $142,900, their offer was $135,000+washer/dryer (which was not on the list of appliances we are leaving), we countered with $140,000 with no washer (dryer can stay...we can't use it in Texas, it's gas, we need electric), the counter-counter offered with $138,000, we came back with $139,000 which was in between both offers, and was right in the middle of asking price and 1st offer...and it was the lowest we wanted to go, being the 1st day it was on the market. Well...that's where it ended. We heard nothing back from the buyers, nothing, not a darn thing...not even a "no, we will only go $138,000"...they didn't even put it back in our court and let us REALLY consider the offer. UGH!!! Then on Sunday at 4pm (4 hours after the offer ended) their realtor called our realtor and said her buyers were going to look at other houses...THANKS!!! And...this is the couple that knows friends of ours, they found the house, etc...we will be paying their realtor $4200...for what...opening the front door for them...OMG...that IRRITATES me!!!

So, now we are doing the whole...what the HELL did we just do?? I know in my heart we are still OK...it's only been on the market 5 days, it'll be OK. But, man would it have been nice to be DONE, not have to worry about the house being in "show status", etc. Well, that's it so far...we've had 4 showings...1 offer...and we still own the house. :) My goal is to be positive...it has been so hard the last couple of days, but I'm really trying!!

We still know nothing about the house in Texas. We are hoping by the end of the week we will know something. The sellers realtor is going to really push BofA...they keep saying that only a few more days, they have all of the paperwork, it's just reading it...come on darn it...read the paperwork. I hope that by the end of the week we'll know something. Keep your fingers crossed!!

That's it for now!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Packing and waiting...

So, the house is scheduled to go on the market on Monday, March 15th...yep, that's right...in 10 short days our house has to be ready!!! OMG!!!! Only 10 days?? Well, we've gotten a lot done, lots packed for garage sale, lots packed to go to Texas, but there is still LOTS to do. Jason and I made a list, but we keep adding to it each time we cross one off we add 2 or 3 more. I'm not so worried about actually putting it on the market, or about how long it will take to sell. I'm more worried about actually doing some "heavy" cleaning, and keeping the house looking spotless while it's on the market. That is very overwhelming and scary!!!

So, news on the house in Texas...NONE!! We put our offer in and the seller's accepted, however since it is a short sale it had to go to the sellers' bank to be accepted (basically they are wanting to sell it for less than they owe on it, so they will still be making "house" payments even though they won't be living in it). The sellers' are close to foreclosure, so they are wanting this to move through just as quickly as we do....but both sides are in a "waiting game" while the bank decides. There are LOTS of horror stories on the internet about short sales...and I think I've read A LOT of them, I got a bit "freaked out" earlier this week and I'm sure our realtor in Texas thinks we are crazy!! Oh well!!! This house is WONDERFUL, it is our DREAM house...but we HAVE to be patient!! Patience is not in my vocabulary. :) I know it will all work out if it's suppose to...but waiting is killing me!!!

We are all VERY excited about moving...that is everyone except my Mom. I'm hoping that she will come around before we leave so we aren't leaving on bad terms. I love my mom and I know she loves me, but the understanding of "why" we are doing this, she just doesn't want to accept. We'll see what happens with the hopes that everything will happen smoothly and everyone will understand WHY.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What are we going to do...??

Ok...so the news is: WE'RE MOVING!!!! I'm still in shock and can't believe we are actually moving. We got preapproved today for the house that we fell in love with while we were there. It's a short sale house, the owners are trying to stay out of foreclosure. I'm hoping our realtor will get in touch with their realtor tomorrow and we can put an offer in. It's been on the market for a while, so hopefully it will work out. Keep your fingers crossed!!! It's 2800 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, formal dining room, living room, HUGE pantry and utility room, kitchen with all newer appliances, huge deck on the back with a decent sized yard. Of course I forgot my camera...so I do have the website and I'll try to put it on here so you can see it.

So, yes I am excited, but at the same time I am scared out of my mind. I'm scared to leave our family and friends and our entire support system. We will be moving and it will be just US. I know we will be fine and we will make it through, but at the same time who am I going to call when I need to get away?? The good thing is I won't have to work for at least a year or so, I'm trying to hold out of going back to work till James is in kindergarten, so that's my plan...Jason's may be different. :) Well, there you have it...we are moving to San Antonio, Tx. WOW!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ramblings...

Well, in 5 days we will be taking the family down to San Antonio, TX to make one of the biggest decisions in our lives. I feel like overall we have pretty much made our decision, however UTHSCSA has to come up with the numbers and the details. It is kind of exciting to think about, however the stress of an actual move makes me SICK to my stomach.

I have been trying to put stuff on Craigslist, Goodwill, or throw away all of the "junk" in our house. Trying to do this has been harder than I thought when it comes to some stuff, but we are getting there. I just wish it was nicer out so we could have a garage sale. We have LOTS of boxes so far for garage sales that we will HAVE to have this spring. Even Becca has been pretty good with getting rid of stuff, she went through her toy box of dolls, yes an entire toy box of dolls, and we got rid of 1/2. I was impressed!! There are a few parts of the house that are going to be really hard to go through. With James and Becca sharing a room, their room is very full, not sure how we will get it in "open house" status, but...we'll see. The other thing will be the basement. That is where all the kids toys are, and the back room is all of our "stuff". You know...the "stuff" we all have that we don't have any space for. Yeah...it will be hard!!!

We do have a realtor in San Antonio, so hopefully she will pull some houses together for us to see and we will find something that we like. It would be awesome if we can sell our house within a couple months and then buy something so when Jason goes down he can move into a house, and not an apartment. I don't want to move down there until we have a house. So...the waiting game, selling the house game, buying a house game, making decisions about the kids/schools game...oh yeah...LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2 weeks....

2 weeks till possibly the biggest change in my life. OMG...I can't believe it. Right now the U of I is pretty much off the table, and the job in Texas is looking better and better every day, at least in Jason's "professional" eyes. If we could pick up my Mom, my Uncle and his family, and my sister and move them ALL to Texas...I would be completely happy!!! The kids are looking forward to visiting Texas and the possibility of moving there. I, on the other hand go back and forth every minute of every day. I think it will be a good move for our family. It will make us stronger as a family and it's a GREAT opportunity for Jason and his career. I can't tell him to not take this opportunity, I have to be positive and supportive, and I am trying...real hard!!

1 good thing that will happen if we move, is I will have the entire summer to be home getting the house in order, and the kids and I will be together. They won't have to go to camp or go to a "babysitter", etc. We will also be looking at preschools for James. That right now is a worry that I have, the other 2 will be in school, and we are looking at houses in the school district that was referred to me and I have a list of "exemplary and recognized" schools that we are looking at houses in those neighborhoods. I actually have my eyes on 2 houses, both are about a block from the elementary school and a few blocks from the High School. 1 of them is about $20K less than the other...and is the one that I like the best~online~ so we are hoping to see them while we are down there in a couple of weeks.

Our hopes are that Jason won't have a start date till May...don't know if they will hold off that long, but we are hoping. That way we could purchase a house, he could move into it with a few belongings. While he is there and we are here I am hoping that he will paint (not his favorite thing to do AT ALL) and fix up any thing that needs to be done. After the kids get out of school we would then all move down there the first week or so of June...it feels SO far away, but actually looking at the calendar...it's not a whole lot of time. WOW...my life is possibly changing...will it be better?? We shall see~~

Anyone know of anyone that is looking to purchase a house???????? :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

San Antonio

Yep, that's right...Jason got a job offer in San Antonio. We will be heading down to check out the city, look at houses, and for Jason to meet to talk about numbers, etc. It's not a definite move yet, but it is something that we as a family are considering. They are paying to fly us all down and will pay all of our expenses while we are down there. He is the only candidate right now for the job, 50% more pay, etc., etc.

Do I want to move?? Absolutely not. I have put my foot down on this for the last 2.5 months that he's talked about it. I haven't talked about it with him, I have ignored him when he's talked about it, I have basically been a complete "*itch" about it. I DON'T want to leave my Mom. I know...I'm 37 years old, it's time to grow up, blah, blah, blah. After everything that she's gone through and thinking last August when we found out that her cancer was back and that she might die...No WAY do I want to leave. She is my best friend (besides Jason), she is my rock, my hero, the person that I look up to the most in the world. I love her more than I can even say. When I told Becca about the possibility of moving, the first thing out of her mouth was: "Gee-ma will love living in Texas with us". How do I pull my kids away from their grandparents, their Aunts and Uncles, cousins, etc. How?? I don't know how to do it?

There is a possibility of Jason getting a tenure track position here at the U of I, but with all of the hiring freezes, budgets, etc....we won't know for a while. He has A LOT of people on his side here, and they are all trying their hardest to get him on here. The process here has started and 1 of his advisors is meeting with 1 of the Deans on tuesday...so that's good news. Best case scenerio is that he gets on here at the U of I...the whole situation would be a non-situation then.

I love my husband and I really want him to do what he wants for the rest of his life. If San Antonio can give him that...then I need to allow him to do it. We will have to make it work. Frequent flyer miles, lots of miles on the vehicles, Lots of long distance phone calls, LOTS of money, etc., etc. Pray for us and send us positive thoughts!! Whatever is meant to be will be!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Becca's family party

Ready for her party!!


So, yesterday we had Becca's party with family. We had deli sandwiches, chips, fruit, cake and ice cream. It was a lot of fun...and the food was SO good. Becca also had her friend Grace over to play with, so she had a good time. She got A LOT of wonderful presents and had a good time visiting with everyone. And to top it off...the Illini WON!!! Here are a few pics from the night.

Becca and Grace

American Girl Rebecca that she has WANTED

Easy Bake oven


My beautiful 7 year old Daughter!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

James' birthday party


On Saturday we had James' birthday party with family and friends. It was a great night. We had pizza, breadsticks, cake, ice cream and drinks. James enjoyed everyone being here, got some great presents and had a good time playing. Jason and I had a good time "hanging" out at home with our wonderful friends and family!! Here are a few pics and I'll try to upload a video...it's cute!!
Cheesin' for the camera!!


Opening presents with great concentration


He got "tickets" otherwise known as money


More presents

Wearing his "Wobble Goggles"...from Imagination Movers

Wearing his goggles like Scott does on Imagination Movers

Fake smile with his cake

Blowing out candles

Both kids have their birthdays this week so we will be celebrating at home with just us and Gee-ma and Papa, and then Becca's family party is next Saturday with her kid party on the 16th...busy time here at the O'Connor house. :)


video