Sunday, July 26, 2009

Honoring Nadine

Nadine O'Sullivan
July 21, 1939 - July 22, 2009

Nadine's illness quickly progressed over the past 6 weeks and she went to be with the Lord this past Wednesday night. We are so glad that Gavin was able to be at her side when she passed. It truly was God's mercy because we knew she wasn't getting any better, and that last week was really hard. We are comforted that she got a chance to see her family and closest friends during these past 6 weeks and had a lot of precious moments with each person. Our kids even got to have some time with Nadine on Wednesday morning, and she was pretty coherent during that time.

Nadine is known best by her love for people and going the extra mile to help someone in need. She had a knack for rallying people together for a cause and mobilizing people for community outreach. She cared deeply for her close friends and family and loved time with her grandchildren more than anything else. During her past five years living in her cottage across our driveway, Nadine was a dedicated volunteer at the local Community Gift and Thrift Shop, a member of the Garden Club, volunteer for the Chamber of Commerce, and active with the local schools.

We knew this time was coming, and have thankfully had time to prepare ourselves as well as our kids. However, even though we were anticipating the 'sadness', there's no way to be prepared for the feeling of 'loss' the comes seeping in around the edges and eventually covers us in the day-to-day. We are just taking each day at a time and are trying to give ourselves the time to sit quietly and reflect, and reiterating to our kids over and over that it's ok to cry and be sad, and we'll continue to grieve for quite a while.

This next week is being consumed by all the arrangements for Nadine's memorial service in which we're trying to do our best in honoring the wishes she shared with us along with figuring out other details we didn't get a chance to talk with her about. Gavin's dad spent the weekend with us and was such an incredible help with sorting through all the photos and boxes of memories. We are so grateful, Mike, for your time and dedication. My mom arrives later today and will be here for the week. She's such a welcome distraction for the kids and just emanates warmth, love and comfort to us whenever she comes. Thanks, Mom!

Nadine's memorial service is this coming Saturday and we're hoping it'll just be a nice time for all of us to get together and enjoy reminiscing old stories. I'm usually not a socially outgoing person, and I'm not always comfortable in large groups, but having family around during this time has been so helpful and I'm looking forward to having everyone here together.

For me, I've been pretty reflective of my relationship with Nadine. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law stereotypically aren't known for being close, and our relationship started out much that same way 15 years ago. But through the years we've worked through a lot. Asking Nadine to move essentially next door to us was just about the best thing God could have orchestrated in our lives. It forced Nadine and I to work through our differences and to settle our skirmishes quickly instead of letting distance drag them out. Totally separate from Gavin and the kids, she and I developed such a pleasant friendship and I just wish we had our 'girls nights out' more often than we did. God knew that we needed daily time with Nadine and she with us, knowing that our time would be cut short down the road. We are now filled with such precious memories and we get to chuckle with fondness at the things that used to bother us so much. I'm not the only one who has shared that Nadine taught me how to let go of things like the need to be on time, needing things to be 'just so', and making relationships more important than those things. In her own quiet way, Nadine was a rebel. She questioned authority, broke petty rules, and encouraged others to join in her shenanegans! And I'm really missing her!

Whenever there are such major events in our lives, it causes us to reflect and take stock of our own lives. I'm planning on taking hold of those moments and am going to try not to let busy-ness get in the way. We're leaning on God and He is so faithful to bring us comfort, blessings big and small, and His mercy.

After the Memorial Service, we're planning a trip up to Nadine's home-away-from-home, Paisley, Oregon. It's a small, tight-knit town and we know Nadine will be missed by many there. We've been going up to Paisley every year and it's been a place for us to unwind and have some peaceful family time. Now more than ever, we're looking forward to our visit there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

i just couldn't resist

While the girls were in LA last week with Grammy, Boppa and Aunt Sandy, Worker Boy and I were home workin' on stuff. We decided that summer jammies would be a lot of fun and we got busy.

I almost ran out of fabric for Worker Boy's jammies, but I had enough for the girls and plenty leftover. I used the Bandana Pants pattern from Blue Yonder. Worker Boy had me add belt loops so he could wear his belt because, in his mind, these were not just for bedtime!

Upon hearing about the extra fabric when we talked on the phone last week, Sunshine Girl immediately begged,"Jammies for Nellie and Samantha! Pleeaasse?" So this is how it happened.

They've been parading around in the jammies all afternoon and can't go ANYWHERE without Nellie and Samantha! They even came to dinner on the patio at Gramma O's house.

Worker Boy couldn't help but get into the spotlight too!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

snippets and handbag fever

I've been back at my sewing machine and draining my fabric budget! (I don't really have a budget for fabric) I've been surprising my family with my new handbags that are so fast, fun and easy to make. Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol has been my source of inspiration.
Here is the Pleated Beauty Bag. It's such a great size, I think I'm going to make another one.

I've already made two of the Charming Handbags and I'm sure I'll make more soon.

Our 4th of July Parade was especially fun this year because our very own Pumpkin Girl played her flute with a marching band comprised of kids from 3 different area schools.

It was such a proud moment for us.

Gavin videotaped them in front of the judges and then followed them along the rest of the parade route. He almost got stopped by a bike cop along the way!

I've already been pretty sporadic with my blog posts - so different from my intentions at the beginning of the year. As I've previously mentioned, my mother-in-law has metastatic liver cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy. About a month ago she went back to the hospital with complications and now she's back home (right across our driveway) with hospice care. We're trying to just soak up our time with her. It's been such a blessing to have her at home instead of at a care facility. Our kids have been able to come and go, and are very natural in their interactions with her instead of sterile and awkward if we were going for a visit. We've been hosting lots of family and friends who have come to help, spend quality time with her and to say good-bye. They've been such precious moments mixed with laughter and tears. Right now she's on a plateau and we're relieved that she's fairly comfortable most of the time. Hospice has been great as has all the help from local friends and our church. We don't know God's timing in all this, so we're just taking one day at a time and trying not to borrow worry from the next.