Tag Archive for Montana

This Family Had a Moment – One Year Ago.

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In honor of Miss Madison’s first birthday over the weekend, I wanted to share my story of how our family learned of her arrival here on planet earth.

Have you ever been together with your family and experienced some news together, collectively?  One of those moments when you all look at each other, and you know in your heart of hearts that you are experiencing a moment together, that you will all remember, and talk about for years to come.

My family had this experience just a little over a year ago now.  We were having dinner together on a Saturday night, actually it was an early Thanksgiving dinner for us.  My sister and her husband had planned to be with us for dinner on this particular night.  Unfortunately their plans had changed and they could not join us on this special occasion.

The other event taking place on this particular day was that my oldest daughter had gone into the hospital early on this Saturday morning to have her labor induced.  Remember awhile ago when I shared with all of you that Evan would be a big brother soon?   Well, this was the day.  Evan spent the night with us on Friday night, and his parents checked into the hospital early the next morning.

All day long we’re checking in with my son-in-law at the hospital getting updates on how Naomi was doing.  I’m sure we pestered him a little too much, but he graciously kept us informed all day long.

In the early afternoon the family members started to arrive, and we were preparing dinner, and getting the table set.  Our family loves to gather around my kitchen counter for all of the snacks and noshing.  It’s always a fun-filled time of eating and conversation.  Lots and lots and lots of conversation.  All in all I think we ended up with 12 of us or so at the dinner table that night.  And in between all of the conversing and eating we are still getting updates on my daughters progress from her husband, Brad.  At one point during dinnertime Brad had sent me a text that the baby would be delivered at 8:00pm.  So, we’re all thinking great!  The baby will be here tonight, and then Naomi will be a lot more comfortable.  She was quite uncomfortable during the last week of her pregnancy, and her mother needed to know that she was just a little bit more comfortable.  It’s a Mom thing.

So after our great turkey dinner we’re sitting around the table – some us drinking coffee, some having wine, some getting ready for pie.  And if I remember correctly this is how our moment happened.  I was on the house phone with my sister in Montana, who could not be with us.  We were giving her an update on Naomi.  My brother’s girlfriend, Elaine, looked at the clock and said, “Hey it’s 8 o’clock, I wonder if the baby’s arrived yet?”  My brother was looking at something on my cell phone, and we got a photo message from “Brad Dad”. It was a picture of the nursery scale with the babies weight, 9lbs. 15oz.  No words with the picture, just that cute little picture.  In that moment we all looked at each other, and I say to my brother, “Is the baby really here?  Text him back and find out!!”  We get the confirmation that it is indeed the babies’ weight, and she has arrived!  the moment we have all been anxiously awaiting.  The entire household is just elated, collectively, all in that same cherished moment.  Miss Madison Kay has arrived.  Woops, hollers, and woots reverberate through the house.  I’m still on the phone sharing this joyful moment with my sister.  My Dad is on the phone with my grandparents, Madison’s great-great-grandparents, and we are all sharing this moment.  From California to Montana to Illinois a poignant family moment.

And I remember Evan.  He was so cute.  He went running through the house cheering for his Mom and Dad.  He was an excited big brother.  As I am typing this right now I can picture this entire moment in my head.  This moment hung in the air for just a bit.  It reminded me of watching a feather float around in the sky.  Watching everyone, and seeing everyone’s reactions.  And my Mom, she had her own precious moment.  She was sitting at the table soaking everything in, and the emotions just overwhelmed her and she started to cry.  Travel Man came and got me and said, “You need to go and sit with your Mom.”  I sat with my Mom, we had a mother – daughter moment.  The day could not have ended more splendidly.

Madison meets her Great-Grandparents

Madison meets her Great-Grandparents

There are always moments in your life that become part of  your personal history, or your family’s history.  But nothing compares to having a family moment, surrounded by almost the entire family.  Savor these precious moments, cherish them, and keep them close to your heart.

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social linky

An Unexpected Lunch Date

parental pictureMy parents are travelling across the country this week to visit my grandparents in Illinois.  Travel Man is working in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this week.  Ironically,  my parents happened to be driving right through Sioux Falls today, and were able to hook up with Travel Man for a quick-lunch.  What are the chances that the stars would align, and this would happen.  It’s a kismet, karma kind of thing.

I think it was all meant to be.  You see my siblings and I, and Travel Man were worried about our parentals taking this driving trip.  And to Mom and Dad, when you read this blog post, you have to know we were worrying about you.

 If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know that my Dad is winning his battle with Stage 4 lung cancer!!  He’s been doing some alternative chemotherapy since last June, and he’s winning the fight.  His strength and endurance are not yet 100%, but his will and his attitude are at 150%  plus.

Never the less being the good kids that we are we were worried about them taking this drive.  We put our minds at ease knowing that if they had any trouble while they were on the road we were just a plane ride and a car drive away.  There was also this little thing of thinking that we could tell our Dad what to do. Ha!  That would definitely not be happening.

So, as of this writing they have already been on the road for ten days.  They visited my sister and her husband in Montana,  and stopped in South Dakota for a day of rest, and driver’s license renewals.  Next, they are on their way to Illinois to see the grandparents.  All in all a good trip for them so far.  Any worries that we all had we are just tucking under our chairs, and wishing them safe travels.  For me, my parents adventure is  a great lesson in perseverance.  Doing what you want to do, when you want to, and not letting anything stop you in your tracks.

A 50th Birthday and All the Surprises!

1-IMG_0053-001A few Saturday’s ago my loving, wonderful family celebrated my brother’s 50th birthday, Party House style.  The theme for this party was,  You’re Our #1 Son, Brother, Dad, Oinkle (uncle to those of you who have never been here), and Boyfriend.

1-640801This theme was originated by my Mom because of this picture.  And we made these cool decorations to go along that theme.

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Each #1 had pictures of Son,Brother,Dad,Oinkle,Boyfriend

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Everyone signed this for the #1 Birthday Boy!

 We also recreated an elementary school event that my brother always enjoyed called “Hot Dog Day”.  He had told his girlfriend, Elaine, what a great childhood memory this was quite awhile ago.  Elaine made sure to email my Mom and I so we would not forget the idea.  We all agreed this would be a great theme to include for this festivity.  Here’s the awesome banner our resident Cricut department created (thanks Erica & Mary!):

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Hot Dog Day happened once a month or so.  On Hot Dog Day we did not have to bring our own lunches to school.  We would get fill out our own order blanks for hot dogs, chips, and a cup of ice cream.  Of course you could order as many as you could pay for, and that was a treat unto itself.  The hot dogs and buns were steamed, and tasted oh so good.

For our party we got a nifty hot dog steamer, some authentic Jays potato chips,  and the vanilla ice cream cups with wooden spoons.  And my niece recreated the little order blanks for all the party goers to fill out so they could get their dinner, served by an original “Hot Dog Day” lady, my Mom.

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When my brother walked in and saw the hot dog day sign.  He let out a whoop!, and filled out an order blank!  3 hot dogs and 3 ice creams.  He was so surprised, and it was so much fun to see how excited he got.

We had a terrific party filled with lots of laughter, fun, pictures, and wonderful DVD montage that my sister and her husband put together. Then there was the sweet, loving toast from my Dad to my Mom.  My sister and I got all teary eyed. (tissue please)

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This was also a weekend filled with surprises.  Let’s see it went something like this; my sister and her husband from Montana arrived here at the party house Friday night (total surprise, no clue they were going to be here). So when we were getting phone calls from family members on Friday night we had to keep this all hush, hush.  Then Saturday came and the surprises kept on rolling.  My sister and her husband surprised my parents, my nephew from San Luis Obispo surprised his Dad (aka the birthday boy), and then we came in the house, and my brother got surprised by my sister and her husband.  Jim jumped so high in the air when he saw Laura it was like he just started as the center for a Millburn Mustangs basketball game!!

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For me the best surprise of the day was when my brother arrived.  He was the last one to arrive (he planned it that way), and when he got out of the car he had on a tuxedo with a bright blue vest and bow tie.  He made a grand entrance.  There was lots of clapping and whoops and hollers.  He really made his party day special.  I’m not sure how this can be topped.

We’ve had lots of family surprises over the years, but the surprises that happened at this party will go down in the history books for many years to come.  The only thing missing from this page in the family history book was my Travel Man.  (A tissue for me please.)

My sister wins the prize for the most family surprises.  She always shows up at a family event when you least expect it, but you’re wishing she was there with you.  Thanks for making the trek Laura and Steve.  An epic party like this would not have been the same without you here.

Planning a Party – Facebook Style

checklistFor the past two weeks the ladies/girls (sorry twenty something’s you will always be my girls, even though I know you are fine young ladies) in our family have been planning my brother’s fiftieth birthday party.  It has been such a fun  time.

First I need to give you a little back story.  The ladies/girls in our family have a private group on Facebook.  We call it Renee’s Revelers.  Girls only, no boys allowed.  We use this page to encourage one another, vent about life, and just generally have lots of chatty, girly fun.

So this turned out to be a perfect location to do our private party planning so my brother could not find out what we were up to.  Tee-Hee!

My role for this party was Project Manager.  Once we had decided on a date, and the theme it was time for the brainstorming to begin.  There were separate posts on our page for decoration ideas, food ideas, and  entertainment.  I will be the first to admit that the threads of comments got a little crazy after the first couple of days, and it got kind of crazy to follow.  The other girls will attest to this too.

Then I plowed through all of the comments and made a to-do list, and a who’s doing what list.  That was a Word document, and it got posted back to the Renee’s Reveler’s group so everyone would have an easy read of what was happening.  Also that way I could have an accurate checklist to keep us all in line and on track.  This was a really fun way for my sister in Montana to stay connected with what we were planning, and throw in her two cents.

The other fun project that evolved on the girls page for this party was photo posting.  My sister was putting together a DVD montage for my brother to document his first 50 years here on planet earth.  We used the Reveler’s group to post pictures for my sister to download and add to her collection.  She would let us know a specific time period she needed a picture from, and the research group( i did not do much picture hunting) would peruse their photos and post it for her.

We had a great afternoon of making party decorations together once all of the to-do’s were in place.  The group effort by the ladies/girls was tremendous.

We had such fun we’re looking for our next project to plan together!  The party planning and decoration creation, and food planning was a great success.  More on the party later.

How did your last big party planning go?

The Party House – Our Year in Review

??????????????????????????????????????Today is New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow will start the beginning of a New Year, 2013.  This is the time of year I love to reflect back on everything that has transpired at the Party House in the course of just one, short year.

We have had numerous birthday parties for the family members who live here locally.

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Had a great family event in April at Angels Stadium.  Almost everyone in the family was able to make it to an Angels game together.  I honestly cannot remember if the Angels won or lost that day, but we  had a great time.

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Hosted a great dinner party when my sister and her husband were here from Montana in May.  Laura showed us how to make her red sauce enchiladas.

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A special birthday was celebrated for our baby boy in July.  He turned 21.

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We actually got to celebrate Travel Man’s birthday on his actual birthday this year.  That was a fun, fun time.

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October brought us the baby shower celebration for my daughter, Naomi.  We had such girly fun that day!!

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November brought the arrival of Miss Madison Kay, our second grandchild.  What a delight she is.  I know I’ve said that before, but I’ll say it again, because I’m her Grandma.

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And of course we celebrated Thanksgiving together, and for the first time in a long time my sister, Laura, was able to join us at the dinner table.

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Christmas Day was celebrated here with the family.  We were delighted to have our nephew, Jim,  here for the days festivities.  It’s always a little more casual on Christmas Day for us.  Dinner was buffet style, with tons and tons of goodies and cookies.  A wonderful party ending to 2012.

My parents with almost all of their grandkids!

My parents with almost all of their grandkids!

We are always grateful to be able to host the family events.  It’s always a wonder that we can get so many of the kids and their significant others together in the same place at the same time for the same event.

Every year I am equally amazed that even though my husband (aka Travel Man) is on the road for a good amount of time during the year, we are still able to sneak in as many short trips as we do.  And before I get to the trips – do you know that my Travel Guy was in the air for well over 160,000 air miles this year?  I could not believe that number, I’m still in shock as I am writing this.  That’s a lot of travel.  I am ever so grateful that he takes such good care of us, and always keep us laughing with his travel stories.

Our trips together this year included-

A trip to the Reagan Library.

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A trip to Reno to visit my parents while my Dad was going through some chemo treatments.

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A trip to Las Vegas in June (this was the second time), so my daughters and I could attend a Celine Dion concert.  Travel man drove us there and home.

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A trip to New York in August to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

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And a trip to Montana to visit my sister and her husband.

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More trips than I could have imagined we would could possibly take this year.  Thank you Travel Man.  You never cease to amaze me.

1-DSC01296And finally, I would like to give a standing ovation to my Dad.  My Dad is battling lung cancer (actually he’s kicking it in the butt!).  He was told in January of this year, that there were no additional,  conventional methods of chemotherapy or radiation available to him that would be helpful in diminishing his tumors.  My Dad, he’s a fighter, and he never, ever gives up.  He got on the computer, researched some alternative therapies, found a doctor first in Reno, and then in Carlsbad, and never gave up on living.  My Mom keeps telling us that since my Dad was an engineer in his working life he just has the mentality that this problem he has needs to be solved, and he’s going to solve it.  And by the way my Mom, she’s a rock star.  She definitely deserves the “Stand By Your Man Award” for 2012.  The love and compassion she shows for my Dad is a priceless gem.

I am completely elated, overjoyed and ecstatic to tell you that because of my Dad’s hard work, perseverance, and his never give up attitude in this year of 2012, his tumors have diminished over 40%!!  It is hard to express in words what a wonderful feeling it is that my Dad has seen such a tremendous improvement.  It’s happiness, relief, joy, and a great big WHEW!  This man, my Dad, has redefined the word perseverance.

It reminds me of my favorite Winston Churchill quote: “Never, never, never, give up.”

From the Party House to yours, wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year, and may all good things come to you and yours in 2013.

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