Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Where O where has my little dog gone....

A few weeks ago my dogs found a way under the fence and took off. We have woods and a creek behind our house. It was a rainy day and a few thunder rumbles came through.  Ellie (our black lab mix) is afraid of thunder.  I believe what happened is that the thunder spooked her, she couldn't get back in the yard and followed the creek looking for cover.  Maggie (our brown lab) being goofy Maggie, followed Ellie!

I had friends and family (even strangers pitched in) looking for 5 hours.  There is a local Facebook page that posts missing dogs.  I am forever grateful to them notifying the community.  I had over 85 people share the status and even a few volunteered to go look for my dogs.

Luckily Ellie and Maggie's story ends with a happy ending.  My sister, Tiffani and friend, Heather found them on an abandoned farm inside a shed.  As soon as Ellie heard my sisters voice she came running and jumped in the car.  Maggie was a bit leery, which is unusual.  Maggie is such a friendly dog.  She growled at first with her hair sticking up.  Once she realized that she knew Tiffani, she jumped in the car too.   I'm so glad the dogs stuck together and were home safe and sound.

We have since found the spot the dogs were getting out and fixed it.  Thank goodness we haven't had a problem since!  Now... if I could only keep them out of my garden. That's a story for another day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chocolate Pudding Fruit

Ahren found on the internet a food that sounded exotic and yet affordable.
Chocolate Pudding Fruit.  So he ordered it. 

A Chocolate Pudding Fruit Tree arrived in the mail!

What's even funnier is that the tree doesn't grow fruit until 3 or 4 years from now!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Elizabethtown College

Well... I did it!  I managed to drop Brandon off to college without having a melt down.

I seriously thought I would be devastated and crying the entire hour and half home. 
Don't get me wrong, I did have tears. Just not hysterical, Niagara Falls tears.
Seeing how nice the campus is and the friendly faces of other students has made my 
'parent-letting-go' phase a whole lot better.  
Brandon: down in front with black shirt.
Brandon: rear right with white shirt.

I have read on the internet that kids leaving the nest are "launching out", "becoming his own person", "growing independent","becoming a free moral agent", blah..blah...blah.  But they don't always sound so positive and gentle when he's lived out his entire life in our home. 

However, I hate to admit that they are right: my teenager is separating from me and gravitating toward his new college friends.  I logically understand that this process is normal, natural and necessary. I know if I fight it, I will lose. 
Brandon moving away is particularly difficult for me because he is my youngest child.  The first two weeks were difficult for him too.  He was out of his realm and didn't think he'd meet friends or like it there.  His Dad and I encouraged him to stick it out and involve himself with clubs.  He may or may not always take our advice.  We've been lucky that Brandon shares a lot of his life with us.  Of course, sometimes it seems like de doesn't want us around.  I have come to the conclusion that I will be there for him - just in case.
Student lounge
 Originally Brandon was going to work at the Jay's Nest (which is the cafeteria).  He has experience working with food because he had a job at a local pizza shop for a few years.  His first training session at the Jay's Nest was on the grill and things were fine.  However, his first shift they put him on register.  He has never worked a register and felt very uncomfortable.  He spoke to the manager about it and she was really rude to him. He later sent his resignation in an email and said it wasn't going to work out.  The manager wrote back a very unprofessional response. (I know because I read the email she wrote to him.)
outside of cafeteria
Brandon is a very healthy eater.  He is having a difficult time finding things at the cafeteria that aren't fried or greasy.  Last time he was home I made him a lot of chicken and rice, filled up tupperware containers and sent them back to school with him to put in his dorm fridge.
After his second week - Brandon went on a date, joined the hockey team and also the men's league hockey team.  He has made quite a few friends and is adjusting.  He is a very social person, I knew once he gave the college a chance he would be fine.
Business facility.
Brandon is studying business.  His first business class is Accounting 101.  His first test he got a C and was not happy at all!   The next two he earned A's.  He is learning it's a lot of work and studying, much different that high school.
business department
Business Dow Jones Wall
Math & Science Building
Lecture Hall

They gymnasium offers a lot of sports and activities for the students.  Ice hockey is not one of them.  The boys have to drive to a rink for practices and games.  The rink Brandon will be practicing on is a rink he played at with his travel team over the years.  The rink they are playing games on is a much better rink and is about 2 hours away from my home.  Brandon asked me if I was going to his games. I said Hell Yeah!  I'm not missing one of his games.  I would say it's been a handful of games I may have missed since he has played in 3rd grade.  I had to feel like I was on my death bed before I'd not attend a game.  (Yeah, I'm one of those crazy hockey moms).
Gymnasium Building
His dorm is a bit small, but nice.  He likes his roommate, even though they don't have a lot in common.  It's important to get along with your roommate. Otherwise living on campus would be a terrible experience.  
Where outdoor events take place.
 The chapel is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen.  Elizabethtown College was founded in 1899 by the Church of the Brethren.  The college offers religious studies.
 I hope you enjoyed the campus photos of Elizabethtown College.  It really is gorgeous.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Posterior Cortical Atrophy {PCA}

As students are headed back to school, is there a subject would you like to learn at this stage of your life?  
My father-in-law has been diagnosed with PCA.  I never heard of this and it is something I would like to learn more about.

Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), also known as Benson's syndrome, is a rare degenerative condition in which damage occurs at the back (posterior region) of the brain. In the vast majority of people, the cause of PCA is Alzheimer's disease.
At first we knew something was wrong, but had no idea what.  My mother-in-law researched and researched until she found a website about PCA.  A dr. appointment was made to a specialist in Philadelphia.  The diagnosis was heartbreaking, but at least we could move forward and help Stan as much as we can. My mother-in-law is relentless in keeping Stan's mind active. The love she shows her husband is amazing and outstanding.
The first symptoms of PCA tend to occur when people are in their mid-50s or early 60s. However, the first signs are often subtle and it may be some time before a formal diagnosis is made.
Looking back there are many signs that we missed.  Simple things like running into furniture or knocking things over. Tripping. Not wearing matching socks.  These things were intermittent and not noticed by us.
Initially, people with PCA tend to have a relatively well-preserved memory but experience problems with their vision, such as difficulty recognising faces and objects in pictures. They may also have problems with literacy and numeracy. These tasks are controlled by the back part of the brain, where the initial damage in PCA occurs.  
When Stan's vision began deteriorate he went to an eye doctor.  The doctor told him there was nothing wrong with his eyes.  It was baffling because there was something wrong with his vision.  After learning about PCA, the vision problems made more sense.  His vision has gotten to the point where he cannot read or drive anymore, focusing on objects is difficult and even talking walks is a struggle.  It is becoming difficult for him to navigate from one room to the next.
As damage in the brain spreads and the disease progresses, people develop the more typical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, such as memory loss and confusion. There are no specific medications for the treatment of PCA but some people find medications for Alzheimer's disease helpful.  
Stan has more good days than bad.  The good days is like having our father, the man we know and love.  He can remember things back to his childhood and can tell stories about the things his sons and grandchildren have done growing up.  The bad days are sad.  He can become so confused.  It's too hard for me to go into details and talk about.  I can only pray that he can be at peace during this struggle and pray for his family and friends to remain strong.

Click HERE to learn more about PCA.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This summer I went to OCNJ

Actually my family and I go to Ocean City, NJ every summer.
It's a tradition I look forward to every year!
Some of my favorite things about Ocean City is Johnson's caramel popcorn.
 If you buy a bucket you can get a refill for a discounted price.  Todd's mom brings a bucket back every year and we get it filled a few times during our vacation.
 Ocean Cafe is a place Todd and I like to get lunch from.  
They have the best sandwiches and the staff is always awesome!
 On the beach you can always find something interesting.
 Another place that is popular with the crowd is Salt Water Taffy. 
I personally do not like it.  The store also sells homemade candy and fudge.  
Miniature golf has been a tradition that the boys enjoy.  
Every year  they go with the intentions of winning however
it is typical their Uncle Chad wins, which makes my boys very frustrated!

 The weather was great. A bit hot. It wouldn't be the beach if it wasn't hot! =D

I hope you all had a great summer!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Conversations with Brandon {The Roommate}

One thing freshman college students become anxious over is meeting their roommate.  Who wouldn't be?!  You have to share a small room with a stranger for an entire school year! As a parent, you hope for the best.  Luckily Brandon likes his roommate even though they don't have a lot in common.  His roommate is on the quite side (anyone who knows Brandon knows he is definitely not quiet!), he is shy and doesn't leave the dorm room much (Brandon is a social butterfly) and he plays a lot of video games (Brandon plays some, but would rather be doing something active).  

Some of the text messages I have been getting from Brandon I find amusing.
I'll share a few:

The day we moved Brandon in he was wearing a shirt from a hockey tournament he played in. The tournament was called "The Flyers Cup".  (btw: Brandon is a NJ Devils fan).
Hahahahaha my roommates mom thought I was a flyers fan so I went along with it and she was like thank god your not some devils fan!  I almost lost it!!

Day two: Saturday night.  
Brandon is headed out to Rita's Water Ice with a few new friends he made.  I asked him if his roommate was going.
No, He is reading his accounting book lol....

Monday: first day of classes
I'm going to be huge because I'm just going to lift twice a day!! I can't stay cooped up in this damn room ! 
My roomate is eating his moms homemade cookies and playing Call of Duty 
It's all he does. Yeah, he needs to put some damn headphones in I'm not listening to Call of Duty all night.

A week later....
I teasingly asked Brandon if he has corrupted his roommate yet:

It's college mom! The poor kid needs these basic skills!!!

What would his mama think? 

His mom sent him a card with 10 dollars in it 

Does he get embarrassed?

No, I laugh with him about it. 

Still playing video games?

Oh yeah. 

A few days later:
Dude got his own tv so we can take mine one home. I don't need it, its just sitting here. 

What was wrong with your TV?

Nothing he just wanted a bigger one, I suppose 

To play his video games on? 

All the kid does is play damn Xbox!!!

Roommate sharing any cookies with you?

I declined.

A week ago:
Bought ear plugs lol
But I can put them in my ears and broke 3 of them trying lol. 

Two days ago:
Oh no Dude's Call of Duty broke!!

That's a Major dilemma 

He was like now I have nothing to do, all I have is golf. He was about to cry I think 

He has a huge box of games????

Lol but they're not Call of Duty!! 

I can't focus with this animal watching tv and shoving his face with food. 
I have to go to the library.

Note: Brandon has a unique sense of humor. By no means are his texts message written out of anger or meant to be negative.  Some times it's difficult to understand the way a person is expressing oneself via text and can be misinterpreted.