Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picking A Pumpkin From The Pumpkin Patch

My own home-grown pumpkin, the only one to survive this year.
Jayce and Jordan in Memaw's pumpkin patch.
Uncle Pete hauling out the "harvest" this year.

Every year I want a pumpkin patch, you know like the Great Pumpkin , Charlie Brown? I want a huge one, so all my little friends and family can have one to choose. Well, this year due to a cold and wet spring, we were slow to get anything out, but I did have 1 home grown pumpkin to call my own, not very big, maybe kick-ball sized, but I grew it. But, I wanted my little boys to have one to make a jack-o-lantern for their front porch, so I bought 2 and "transplanted" then for the little guys to find. It's the thought that counts and I can't do it forever, they will finally figure it out, so I have to be on my game next year and get a bigger and better patch going. Watch out Linus, Memaw is going to have a shining patch for the Great Pumpkin to visit and bring toys to all good little girls and boys!!! Happy Halloween.

Crazy Fall Hayride 2009

Not everyone was willing to brave the cold for the hayride, just a few brave souls.
Everyone getting here, bout ready to start eating, in the picture, Jimmy, Steph, James, Kayley, Jordan, Pete.
Miss Kayley, the cutest girl there!

Grandma Helen picking out a kitten from our newest litter, anyone else want one???
Jared and the boys going for a ride before the party.

Last night we had our annual fall hayride, with quite possibly the largest crowd of friends and family we have ever had. At a rough count we had over 30 here. Pleasantly pleased to have nephew, Jerry, his wife Krista and baby Maddie with us, also James, Steph and Kayley, family newly transplanted to Rogersville, via Arizona. Of course our faithfuls, Brian and Krysta, Grandma Helen, Grandpa Long, Jared and Laura and our little guys, Uncle Pete, David and Florence, Dwane and family, Uncle Jackie, Mamaw Barb and boys, wow I'm gonna miss someone, oh yeah, Jimbo and Suz with baby Heather with Alex. Thanks to them for furnishing the trailer. We had homemade Chili, Chicken and noodles, hot dogs, chips, almost any kind of pie you wanted and stuff to make s'mores. We always clean out the garage/polebarn and have it down there, it was cold but not uncomfortable, until we loaded the trailer for the hayride, then it was cold! We went on our usual journey around by Shields and the dead-woman corner, near the old Bear Thicket School, it is dark and creepy and not too long for the little ones. I hope I never get too old or tired to have this each year, everyone looks forward to it. Hope you can make it next year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brian's Birthday Blog

On their first wedding anniversary, really acting silly, but it came out good.
Brian and Krysta at Dad's 80th birthday party.
A fun game night, Pete and Brian with questions from Men vs Women game.
Wedding day
Engagement on the beach at Gulf Shores, look at how sweet they are.
Brian with his flounder? We didn't quite know what to do with it.
Popular new music group with Brian on the drums.
Fishing on the beach, what a catch!
On vacation at the Gulf.
Brian with Jordy.
Brian and Krysta with the Audi.

Our son-in-law Brian will be celebrating a birthday very soon, since I am now working a normal schedule, I thought I had better knock this blog out this weekend. Brian and Krysta have been together for many years, I wish I could remember exactly how many, but as I get older the memory capacity fails. The first time they met, I think they both knew they were meant to be together. Brian is from a Navy family and moving has made him somewhat an adventurous person, he is really into scuba diving, loving any time he can get exploring under water in the area lakes. A favorite weekend get-away is his grandfathers home on the lake near Branson, just hanging out with family and being on the water are two of his passions. Brian is a very patient person, he loves animals, especially his dog, Shasha, his love of animals is very evident because their little family includes, Shasha, Peanut, 2 cats and little Pinky (RIP) who died this weekend accidentally. Brian is also proudly serving in the Navy Reserves for 2 years, he has worked very hard to advance quickly through the ranks and is planning on his Officer test on Monday, with the hopes of becoming active full time in Officer's training. While this will involve moving, they are both up for the challenge and adventure. Brian loves my daughter very much, he trys to do things to make her happy. Brian is kind, patient and loving. Smart, talented, (he plays drums), funny, but can also be a perfectionist and deep in thought. He loves my Mountain Dew cake, salmon, seafood and Pepsi products! We wish Brian a wonderful birthday and very much luck on the test tomorrow morning. Love Mom and Dad

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One More Chance.

The sign at the end of the hall, this was my home away from home for 6 years.
Looking back towards the nursing station down the long hall, my last look as I was leaving.
My empty cubby, my name was about to get torn off by me.....
My farewell note to my friends on Rehab.. I will truly miss most.
Part of night shift on Friday night, Matt, me, Gwen and Linda S.
Me on the phone at the nursing station.
Part of the party food that evening shift send me out with, I only worked with them 4 hours an evening, from 6pm until 10pm, but they were very good friends and I always appreciated them including me as an evening shift person. The love and respect shown towards me was wonderful.
Night shift on Thursday night, Mandy, my girl, me, Pat, Velda and Ree, all nurses.
Me and Mandy, I love this girl, she is like one of my kids!!
Miss Ree, One of the finest nurses you will ever find, solid, honest, sweet and caring, but don't be fooled this girl can light a fire under your tail if need be.
Pat, our only guy nurse setting up food for overnights on Thursday night.
From Jeanette, I will miss her dearly, what an outstanding person and aide.

I spent almost 6 years on the in-patient rehabilitation floor at St. John's Hospital. I have seen a lot of crazy things, lots of spinal cord injuries from car wrecks, head injuries, strokes, burn patients, amputees, dialysis patients just to name a few. People who have done maybe crazy or silly things, maybe on purpose, maybe accidental, the outcome is the same, their lives have changed..... Relearning to eat, talk, pee, poop, laugh, smile, walk, write, drink, LIVE AGAIN. Folks have fell out of tree stands, many, bike wrecks with broken necks, motorcycles with missing limbs, falls from roofs, ladders, steps, top of vehicles, buildings and balconies. Strokes of all kind, massive to mild, burns from accident to mishap to drug production, Debility from cardiac, renal failure, cancer, diabetes, dialysis and old age. So many car wrecks with teenagers, I can't even hope to count, if they are with us, it probably was pretty darn bad, non-restrained with alcohol on board, they were invincible. A journey to a new and different life, usually different from the one they left the other morning as they were on their way to work, play, a brush with death, church, family reunion, school or jail. Never thinking for a moment they would in up in the hospital and then a rehab unit, to make changes and rebuild the rest of a shattered and altered life. I am proud to say I have helped many, many people rebuild a life, I have set-up tube feedings for those who can't eat, IV fluids for those who can't drink, in/out caths for those who can't pee, bowel program for those who can't poop, a cheerleader always, a shoulder to cry on, an advocate for those scared and alone, a tiny flame of security on a long dark night, a voice of comfort, reason, hope, love, sternness, faith, compassion, education and strength. I have always worked night shift, we get little glory, little recognition, never treated as equals, but I would always work overnights in the hospital, this is when we are needed the most, the confused and the tired, the scared and the alone, we reach the folks, we take care of your mom, your dad, your granny or poppy, your daughter or son, your best buddy or your wife, we cover them with extra quilts, we hold a wash cloth and a puke bucket when they are sick, we give pain medicine or help get comfort from repositioning, we get them a bowl of chili at 2 am cause they want it, we wheel confused granny to the nursing station to sit with us so she won't be afraid. Yes, I am a nurse an RN and proud, but some of the most satisfying care I give is the hands on, aide type of work. Do we get reward, praise, thank you's from family or patients, no, very rarely, but that is not why we are here, it's not the money or the thanks, it's a way of life we couldn't or wouldn't change. I am moving into the Hospice field, usually end of life, yes, I have seen death, I have felt it on my face, in my hair, I have also seen life, the first breath of a newborn, I think it is only fitting that my next step is to help people complete this cycle of life and be a friend and helper onto their next journey. I am excited for a change, while I am looking forward to this new area of my nursing career, I will sorely miss my co-workers and friends on 2C, Barb, my first preceptor, so much like my aunt and so wonderful to work with, Ree, Gwen, Mandy, Dene, who remembers the 70's with me, Pat, Jeanette, Linda S., Linda L., Matt, Eric, Lois, Velda, Krysta, Steph, Michelle, Wendy P., Wendy my special girl, Toni Joyce, Marilyn, Brenda, Shawna, oh the list could go on and on.......... I have learned so much these last 6 years, maybe my biggest thing I have learned is not to take life for granted, enjoy life while you can, we never know what the next minute, hour, day or week will bring, also, please never gripe in line at Wal-Mart at Christmas, I know alot of people who would gladly change places with you for one more chance to stand in line and deal with the crazy Christmas crowds, one more chance to walk on two healthy strong movable legs, one more chance to feel the fresh cool air on your face, one more chance to taste a fresh orange, one more chance to drive a car, one more chance to see their child, grandchild or mom. I will update all on my new job and how it is going. I love you all!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dinner With A Friend

My senior picture, class of 1980
Sonjia's senior picture, class of 1980
Futue Homemakers of America Club, officers picture, can you spot us??

Sonjia, Ms Merry Christmas runner-up, she should have won!

Thursday I drove to Clinton Missouri to spend a day with a good friend. Sonjia Crawford Sapp and I met each other as babies, have "known" each other since 6th grade, and have been close friends since age 16. Our birthdays are a day apart, March 12 and March 13, we are and have been very much alike. Our history as friends goes back to when my mother and Sonjia's grandmother went to the same laundry in Conway to do the weekly washing, of course I played in the floor while my mom did her washing and Sonjia's grandmother would bring her, of course I don't remember this, but I think it is pretty neat just the same. When we were in 6th grade Sonjia and her family moved back to Conway to build a new home near her grandparents, she was in the same classroom as I was, but we really weren't "friends". In high school we were involved in a lot of the same activities and clubs like FHA and became friendly, but our real friendship began when she started working at Nickerson Farms Restaurant with me as a waitress and our teenage days of laughing, running around, chasing boys and bowling started. She would get me into trouble, but I enjoyed going, of course our trouble was pretty mild compared to today's standards, ours included racing on the wrong side of a 2-lane highway, chasing a group of boys on a twisty highway out near Joel E. Barber and going off in a ditch, but coming right out again, a very late night to Sleeper, again to chase boys, cruising around with John Stone, Mike Mulligan, Jill Deckard, lots of others for fun nights of bowling and cruising Lebanon, either in her Ford 4 door LTD or my 1966 Chevy Impala, 2-door, of course mine was cooler. Her laughter is contagious, she is caring, honest, fun, kind, beautiful, smart and funny!! We have always tried to remain friends and our connections through the years, she was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, she attempted to attend the birth of Pete, our last child, but he was stubborn and didn't arrive until after she left that night. I have called her with the births and deaths in my family and she called me for moral support in her decision to got to nursing school, after I had made it through. I must say, I consider her my best friend, besides my husband, I know I could turn to her for anything and she could turn to me, we have kept each others demons and issues close to our hearts and have encouraged each other, even when we haven't talked for months. We are both Grandmas now, I am Mamaw and she is Nanny, crazy that us two young and fun girls could be grannies. I love her with all my heart and hope that as we get older, maybe we will be able to do more things together, although we will be working until we are 90 with our late career choices. What a wonderful day we had together on Thursday, hours and hours of visiting and sharing, it charges me back up for a while and makes me smile to think of her, I'm so glad we have remained good friends through out the years and can't wait for the years ahead. Thanks for being such a great friend.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just Close Your Eyes And I'll Take You There....

We decided to take an impromptu vacation to the Gulf a couple of weeks ago, mostly due to the fact that Laura and Jared had the opportunity to rent a condo on the gulf side for a very reasonable price. We were able to adjust our schedules and while Danny and I drove down with all the suitcases and plunder, Laura and family flew. We stayed 8 days and they went by way to quickly. Days of heat, sun, saltwater, waves, shrimp and being lazy. We celebrated Jordan's second birthday, I discovered a wonderful shopping experience called Publix, which carried so many cool food and grocery items, like 3 kinds of sweet corn, Irish butter, celery root, oh my too many cool things to mention, this was a top-of-the-line grocery experience for me. I could have looked for hours and spent many, many dollars. I think the whole trip went well, I don't think we got on each others nerves and to tell you the truth, I think Jared and I really hit it off well and talked a lot. It's not that we haven't gotten along, it's just we have never really talked too much, with me Jared has never been a big conversationalist. The kids were really good and I enjoyed the quality time with each of them, also sharing the experiences of the water and the fine art of castle building. We spent a day at the local Naval museum at Pennscacola, shopping at the Tanger Mall in Foley, high style looking at the Wharf, including a wonderful supper, a Ferris Wheel ride and Dippin Dots, hours on the sugar sands making castles or playing in the surf, hunting for sandcrabs or seashells and deep sea fishing for the guys with the promise of fresh snapper for supper the next night. I highly recommend a beach vacation with your grandkids, it is the stuff that memories are made and I hope we can repeat this over and over for many years to come. Thanks for letting me share my pictures and wonderful time with my husband and oldest daughter's family, including my grandboys. Love you all!! Do to problems with the Blogger site, I am unable to post pix at this time....... Sorry.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Amazing, Jordan Alan O'Quinn

Jordan, born a little blue and a little grunty, quickly on o2 and shipped to Columbia.
Dad and Jordan in the NICU at Columbia.
Great-Grandma Helen, finally getting to see her newest grandson.
Our little Jordan, at home.
Jordan at about 6 months, helping me to fix food.
Jordan;s first birthday party, he is loving his cake.
Favorite Aunt Krysta with her look-a-like, Jordan.
Jordan at the zoo last summer, he loves animals.
The Pirate Brothers last Halloween, we all went to Spooktacular, so much fun.
Our little monkey, last week on vacation at Orange Beach.
Jordan's second birthday, at the beach.

The O'Quinn Brothers, both very cute. Look out girls!!

Jordan Alan O'Quinn was born on July 13, 2007 via planned c-section. so, we thought it would be a quick and easy delivery and things would be perfect. Well, that is the best laid plans, but Jordy had another idea. He was born with respiratory problems that could not be fixed at Lake Ozarks Hospital so he was taken to Columbia Children's. He spent his first week of life there and we got to know him with feeding tubes, picc lines in his tiny head and other cords and lines. We were very grateful out time was short, other parents endure months of this. All of us including, Laura and Jared, Jayce, me and Danny and Grandma Barb helped out how ever we could. Pa Q'Quinn and Dori and also Scott added their support along with prayers and well wishes from the rest of the extended family including uncles and aunts. Jordan has always been a familiar face to me, I don't know why. I think it was because he always looked and still looks so much like Krysta and the Hillhouse side. The shape of his little mouth, teeth, his head, so much like them. I remember looking in his little eyes when he was a baby and he also reminded me of my mom, who had died just a couple of months earlier. I guess the hardest thing for me was wanting to tell her about Jordan and having her hold him and having her agree with me how much he looked like one of my own. No one else could give me this reassurance, except her. He is a stubborn and hardheaded little guy, a dare devil and a little copycat. He has to do whatever big brother does, always and sometimes it leads to him getting a scrapped knee or a knot on the head. He is so quick, you have to watch him closely, he is a lover and a snuggler. I can't wait to see how he turn out, he is talking more and more and that is so much fun, when he will repeat anything you tell him too. I hope I will get more grandchildren has time goes by, but each one has a special place in my heart. Happy Late Birthday our Jordy. With much love, Memaw and Papaw.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Krysta Keya Lynne Hillhouse Combs Birthday Blast

Krysta Lynne Hillhouse was born on July 8, 1983 at Breech medical Center in Lebanon.
Krysta at about 5-6 months old.
Krysta at one year old, learning to walk.
Krysta and Aunt Susi at her second year birthday party.
Krysta's 4th birthday, she loved her baby dolls and it was a sure bet she would get at least one each year.
Laura and Krysta celebrating Krysta's 4th birthday, always hot, hot summer days.
Krysta with little brother Pete, you wouldn't realize how much they fought and carried on.
Krysta on Kindergarten graduation day at Conway, wonder how big that tree is now?
Another birthday, maybe 5th or 6th, she loved her Barbies now and really wanted a Barbie cake.
The girls at the zoo, we couldn't afford to do much, but we did make it to the zoo, once.
Krysta on the computer, thanks to family owning a computer store, we had one pretty early.
A very lovely young lady, probably on her birthday.
Junior High cheer leading, 8th grade.
This is what happens when you have a two car garage and an older sister driving, Laura's is nice and clean in the second bay, while poor Krysta got to clean hers off, but Krysta's was a 4-wheel drive!
Finding her a sailor at the Gulf, to bad he was only a dummy, she later on found her a real sailor, skip the dummy part.
On the beach, probably one of her favorite places to go on vacation.
Graduating with her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Drury.
Is it Kevin, Brittany and Jaden James, NO, it's just Brian, Krysta and Jordan acting silly at Christmas.
Engagement on the Beach, or should I say in the air, Krysta's proposal was in a bi-plane over the Gulf of Mexico and the sugar sands of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Wedding day, our baby girl is all grown up.
Graduation from Drury University with Master's Degree in Instructional Math, we are so proud of her.

Krysta Lynne Hillhouse decided to come into this world on July 8th, 1983. Danny and I lived at Lebanon in a little apartment and we already had Laura who was only 16 months old. So, when I started labor the early morning hours of July 8, I drove myself to the hospital across town, so that Danny could stay with a sleeping Laura, I figured they would send me home anyway. But, I stayed and she was born, just before noon, thankfully dad made it, after getting Grandma Long and Susi in to watch Laura. I was so happy to get another little girl, first I had all girl things, plus I figured as they grew up, it would be easier to have a sister to share things and do things with. But, really, I remember one time, before children, seeing a young mom with two little girls, dressed alike, close in age and I knew that would really be my choice if possible. Krysta was born into the hot month of July and she had no choice, but to be a good baby. With no A/C, and a toddler to entertain, she had to sleep and be good, which she was. Krysta always says, she was never the first to do anything in our family, since Laura is older, but she does have the bragging rights to potty training, she was potty trained before Laura!! Of course she did everything her sister did, I had remembered not to long ago, Grandma Helen had bought them a swing set and it had a little slide on one end, well, the slide was maybe 2-3 feet off the ground and while Laura handled it fine, it scared the water out of me to watch that little blond haired girl toddle up those stairs and slide down. It took everything in me to not let her slide, but she was very headstrong and she would have done it anyway. Time goes by, along with our little girl, the little girl who broke her thumb by avoiding hitting Bobby, the dog, she went to school, casted, she could swim like a fish at an early age, she tried to pee in the floor at Bass Pro because I wouldn't listen and take her to the bathroom quick enough. She likes the ears off the chocolate bunny at Easter, she has always loved dolls, baby and Barbie, she has always been generous to a fault, kind, sweet, hard-headed, stubborn, "the baby, gotta love me" until Pete bumped her off that throne, a hard worker, never afraid of a challenge and finally met the man who swept her off her feet. She had to follow in the big footsteps of her older sister and also try to break a trail for her baby brother, and that is a job only a middle child can do or understand, sometimes things have seemed unfair, being in the middle, but she has became a stronger and better person for it.
She has graduated from college with both a Bachelor's Degree and a Masters Degree, all while working full time. Her and Brian have been married for a year and are learning the odds and ends of married life, but even though she has grown up and married she is still our baby girl and that is something she can be first at. Happy Early Birthday Krysta!! WE love you sooooo much! Mom and Dad