The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Kim! :-)

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Kim Faires!

I have been thinking about you all day, but haven't had luck with the special song I wanted to post with your birthday message! Well, the song will have to wait, but not my wishes for a day of celebrating, and a year full of happiness, good health, and wonderful memories!

I am so happy that I met you over 13 years ago...I remember opening the door, and there you were wearing the prettiest sunflower dress and such a welcoming smile that I liked you instantly!

Thank you for being such a supportive friend for all these years...I celebrate you today and wish you happiness! :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A short post from the Sacramento Airport...

Greetings from the Sacramento Airport! It is 8:45 p.m. and our flight is an hour delayed. Bummer on the delay, but so nice that we have the laptop to check in with you! We hope you each had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Here's a photo recap of a great week spent with family in northern California!

Arriving at Grandma Lorraine's...

Tom's brother, "Uncle Mitch" carving the delicious turkey at Ron and Billie's!

Great food, great company!

Finding a good spot to take a Christmas photo for the cards...thank you Aunt Tami and Aunt Shellie for your extreme patience with a certain subject who did not want to be photographed! Readers...your cards were mailed today!

What fun...the cutie pie in the middle is "David" and his parents were former students of my dad's! They told me a story about him that I had never heard but will certainly is such a treat when you hear a story about a loved one that you never knew, but makes their spirit feel so real once again! Thank you Bryce and Suzanne!

Ashlyn, my mom, and me...

Gayle, her granddaughter Grace, Ashlyn and Grandma Lorraine...thank you Gayle for sharing Grace with us, for baking with the girls, and for taking such awesome care of my mother!

Ashlyn loved reading to Grandma, and Grandma is such a patient listener!

Grace and Ashlyn were able to play together for an entire day and Ashlyn was so happy to meet a new friend in Red Bluff!

My new friend, "Melissa" at her beautiful shop, "M" in Redding, CA. Melissa and I met through our mutual friend Kim Faires, and started communicating through blogging. I was able to meet Melissa for the first time at her adorable store and it felt like we were old friends!

Cousin Kathy and Grandma Billie at a cute Christmas store in downtown Cottonwood. We enjoyed a special lunch to celebrate Billie's birthday and had fun shopping at this cute year round Christmas store...we all fell in love with this neat theme tree we called the "Grinch tree" with it's pea green and red colors! Tami and Shellie we needed you in the picture! :-)

Leaving Grandma Lorraine's house today...a bittersweet moment...

Saying, "Goodbye" to Papa Ron and Grandma Billie's so hard leaving, but we had such a wonderful week that there are many memories to treasure!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving Glitter Graphics
Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

If we celebrate together,
Or many miles apart,
I share Thanksgiving with you
In a corner of my heart.

~Mona K. Guldswog

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with special moments to treasure!

Enjoy the beautiful day and give thanks!

The Kofford Family :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grandma Lorraine~Nov. 26th

Today Hospice came and brought my mom a hospital bed as it is becoming more difficult for the caregivers to lift her. She has been very nauseaus after meals despite enjoying how the food tastes as it goes down. Unfortunately the other direction is not as pleasant. Her shingles don't seem to bother her terribley, although there are several open sores that look very painful to me. As different functions shut down, more invasive things are being done to help her and it upsets me to watch what is happening to her.

She had three different sets of visitors today, and enjoyed the company and listening to the conversations. She closes her eyes while we all visit, but just when I think she has fallen asleep she will interject a comment at the perfect moment!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we have much to be thankful for...I have much more to share, but Tom and I are sitting in Starbucks so that I could post an entry. They are getting ready to close down so I will write again soon with more details from the trip. We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving day...savor the day and live fully!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Over the river and through the woods...

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go! Soon, we'll be flying over the Rocky Mountains on our way to California to spend Thanksgiving with our families...what a blessing to have one more holiday with my mother, to be able to see Tom's family and spend a week with his parents and siblings...what a blessing to be alive and to live fully this holiday season! Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday; may it be delicious and full of wonderful memories! :-)

Happy Birthday Grandma Billie! :-)

Happy Birthday to Grandma Billie!

We wish you a beautiful day filled with happiness! We look forward to celebrating with you in person tomorrow! Thank you for all you do for us...from cooking delicious meals, taking care of kids, sewing, hosting holidays, and most importantly...for loving us unconditionally, we love and appreciate you! Enjoy your special day!

With lots of love,
Tom, Denise, Kyle, and Ashlyn :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ashlyn's Piano Recital

Today was Ashlyn's second piano recital. She played two songs in a duet with her piano teacher. During the first song, "Butterflies and Rainbows" you won't see Ashlyn as she was seated behind her teacher, but in the 2nd song, "Old McDonald" she is right up front. She also received an award for her participation in the National Piano Guild where she memorized 6 pieces to play in front of a judge! :-)

Ashlyn with her certificate. So proud! :-)

Pianists Emma, Brooke, and Ashlyn

"Mrs. Z" and Ashlyn before the recital. Over 15 children and adults performed and we were so impressed with the talent we saw this afternoon! Aunt Beth, we knew you would be proud too! :-)

Happy 1 Year "Blog-oversary"!

Who knew there was such a celebration? Who knew that blogging would be so much fun a year ago? We started off just wanting our parents to see what our life was like in our new state. Who knew that friends, family, and people we don't even know personally would come to follow our life story? I never knew how fun it would be to read a comment when I posted an entry. Who knew that folks in other states would come to "visit", and bring me a little sense of validation each day with their supportive comments? I didn't know that both old and new friends alike would keep coming back to see us. We didn't know any of that, but I am so glad that we took the blogging leap...and I am grateful that you are here!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grandma Lorraine~Nov. 21

Today my mom was in a good mood when I spoke to her, and was feeling well. She was able to enjoy a nice day yesterday. Gayle took her out for a car ride and lunch at the park. She also took in the good weather and sat in her wheelchair to soak up the sun. Unfortunately, when the Hospice nurse came this afternoon they discovered that she has 'shingles' which is a form of chicken pox. It is caused by the same virus, and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. We hope the shingles won't cause her anxiety, and that once again modern medicine can provide relief from pain and any discomfort. I'll keep you posted as we learn more...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Laura!

Happy Birthday Laura!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Laura! I miss you so much, but wish you a beautiful day filled with every happiness! Enjoy your special day and know that I am thinking of you today!

With lots of love from Colorado to California,
Denise, Tom, Kyle, and Ashlyn :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma Lorraine~ Nov. 19th

Things are changing. My mom has only been awake about 5 out of the last 36 hours. She was ill last night, the result of an over the counter medication to help with intestinal issues. The CNA who comes to help with baths can no longer do so, she will have sponge baths from now on. She is still friendly, cheerful, and upbeat on the phone with me, but is quick to wrap up a conversation. I have sensed the difficulty in sustaining a conversation and don't want to burden her more. A brain tumor is a controlling, ever growing entity that won't stop it's spread until it takes over the person's brain it occupies. Watching someone you love change, is a difficult thing under any circumstance, but especially when it is not their choice or a result of their own doing. But that is how cancer works, and when it grows to 'stage 4' status there is no stopping least not yet. I hope and pray that a cure for this awful disease will be found in our lifetime, and until then, I hope and pray that those who suffer from it, can find peace in their journey. I know my mom has, and we are so thankful.

Special thanks:
Annette, for being there last night during a difficult time...
Brenda, for the relaxing massage you gave my mom...
Rema, for making house calls and continuing to give my mom the lovely toes and nails she loves...
Gayle, for caring for my mom when I can't...
Sharon and Sandy, for late night shifts, for getting up during the night, for cleaning, cooking, and making my mom comfortable...
To all of you who sent a note of encouragement, who dropped by with food and groceries, who ran errands, came by for a visit, to pick up a prescription, or just stopped over to give my mom a hug...
WE APPRECIATE YOU and wouldn't have had peace in this journey without you. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time for a change...

It's time for a change...

I've made changes in the past and modified my diet, exercise, etc... but I usually don't stick with those changes for long. My love for chocolate and sweets is great, and my old habits return quickly. After a yearbook committee meeting yesterday morning at the quaint "Crane Hollow Cafe" I realized that everyone around the table was healthy, active, and looked different than me. I desire that healthy lifestyle, not because I want to "look like" the other ladies, but because years of sweets and overindulging has resulted in 20 extra pounds, high cholestrol, a mouth full of cavities, and plenty of excuses.

So, yesterday I walked 3 miles around the lake, I watched the squirrels and prairie dogs play, and I gave a lot of thought to what I am putting into my body, and what changes I can make to ensure a healthier life. At the beginning of the summer I lost 12 lbs. and was exercising and felt great. Quickly I started eating my favorite cookies and candy and have regained it all.

If I start a new plan will I gain it all back once again? What if I don't stick with it, and put on more weight? Do I want to do Wieght Watchers and will I be able to cook "normal foods" for my family and lose weight on my own? I don't know the answers to those questions yet, but what I do know is that any reason not to start making changes is just an excuse. I'm done with excuses, and ready to turn over a new leaf.

It's time for a change!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You know what this means...Christmas is just around the corner!

Get Myspace Thanksgiving Countdown

Enrichment Friday Photos

Here are a few photos of all the fun at "Enrichment Friday!" I didn't get to take very many pictures as we were busy! With only myself and 8 little girls, photography ended up taking a back seat to hot gluing and keeping the afternoon running smoothly! The girls had a lot of fun, and it has been a neat experience for me to use my teaching skills once again! I miss being in the classroom, and being able to 'teach' at home with a small group of students is such a good way to still use those skills and have fun too! Our theme yesterday was "Thanksgiving", pilgrims, indians, fall, etc... and it is like throwing a mini birthday party with treat bags, lots of theme related activities, etc...hmmm...maybe I could extend this to teaching similar themes at the community center and opening it up to a larger group of kids! My thinking cap is on!

P.S. And for those of you who commented on being, "craft deficient" the other day, :-) I should throw a grown up craft day, and we could get together, eat lunch, and do fun activities that are user friendly just for us! I had several friends that we would do this with in our old community...especially at Christmas where we would do a yearly Christmas gift making craft! Maybe it's time to start a new tradition in Colorado! Let me know if you're interested! :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Flower Glitter Graphics

A mini blog celebration is called for... Today we hit 10,000 views on our family blog! Sure, it took us more than an entire year to gather that many views, half of which were probably by our own blog reading! hee hee :-) The number isn't important though; what matters to us is that you are here...that you have continued to come back and follow our story through the good times and the bad. You've read our thoughts and feelings during times of celebration, as well as during the darkest moments of my mom's cancer and my rememberances of my dad's passing. You may have left us comments, or you may not, but either way I just want to thank you today for supporting our family, for reading about our lives, and following our story. I hope you will continue to come back, and know that we appreciate your "stopping by" and being a part of our lives!

Enrichment Friday and Grandma Lorraine~

This afternoon I held our "Thanksgiving" themed "Enrichment Friday" class! It was a lot of fun, and the girls enjoyed making turkeys, pilgrim and indian scenes, and our floral cornucopias! It was very busy so I didn't get too many photos but I will attach a few!

My mom's caregiver Gayle called this afternoon. Yesterday was a tough mom was very ill and they called Hospice to come by and offer advice. Her instestinal system is not working correctly, and with that "out of order" other symptoms began appearing. Speaking with her today it was very noticable that confusion is increasing as is her understanding.

She continues to put on a very brave face, and sounds upbeat despite her changing brain function. The other positive is that Gayle continues to reassure me that she is in no pain, (it is managed with morphine) and she is not uncomfortable or unhappy. Perhaps that is a blessings with brain cancer, compared to others forms of cancer where pain is so much more difficult to manage. As her neurologist told us almost a year ago, the end will not be particulary painful, but increasing confusion will be the most disconcerting aspect. I am glad that the confusion is not a burden for her, and that she feels content despite those symptoms. As always, I will keep you posted.

Well, my computer is not recognizing my memory card, so I am not able to post my photos right now...I will try again so you can see the fun cornucopias, and projects.

Have a good weekend, and until next time...LIVE JOYFULLY! :-)

First snow of the season...

It didn't amount to much, but as they called it on the news; it was the first "measurable snow fall" of the season! Being native Californians having lived in a non-snowy region, makes any snow experience here fantastic! The kids are counting down until they can sled down the new sledding hill, make snow angels and snow balls...until then, we will just appreciate our 10th of an inch of snow! hee hee Yesterday it was 65 degrees and we had high "Chinook winds." The chair pads all blew over, the BBQ is in the bushes, and my cute Thanksgiving flag is long gone...we need to be careful that our little Chihuahuas don't blow away!

Later this afternoon I will host our 3rd "Enrichment Friday" class! We'll be making Thanksgiving crafts and a beautiful floral cornucopia for each child to take home. I have been busy sorting and cutting flowers, (thank you to my hubby who spent hours with wire cutters and fall flowers trimming leaves for us!) This morning I found the cat right in the middle of all the activity...poor thing is an inside cat and laying in flowers is as close to a jungle experience as he will ever get!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Could it be...that for a few short minutes I was "The coolest mom on the block?" :-)

Guess where I was last night at midnight?!? In my nice warm bed? No... Watching TV and eating popcorn? No... Dreaming of snow capped mountains? No... Talking to the dairy farm driver? (hee hee) No... Last night you could find me at the local mall with my teenage son standing in line with a hundred or so people! We were all waiting for the release of the new "World of Warcraft" expansion pack! Why you might ask did I chose to accompany my 13 year old on this midnight expedition, and on a school night? Perhaps I am nuts!? :-)

Well maybe, but actually I was following through on a little incentive...for a week now Kyle and Ashlyn have been doing assorted, "Good Deeds and Kind Gestures" to earn a special reward. The reward was supposed to be a little Wal-Mart treat, but Kyle was so excited to possibley be one of the first to buy the new "World of Warcraft" game, (using a gift card and birthday money) that I offered to let his reward be the midnight purchase!

After our mission was accomplished it didn't seem right to just go to bed, so when we got home we sat by the fire while the game downloaded and had an enjoyable "midnight snack" visiting about the evening and all the interesting people we talked with while standing in line. For a few minutes, in the eyes of my 13 year old, I was perhaps the "coolest mom on the block!" That is until this morning when he very politely asked, "Could I stay home from school today and play the new game?" Sorry buddy, I had to draw the line there....but maybe I can keep my new title for a little while longer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grandma Lorraine Update~ Nov. 12th

~Gayle, my mom, and Annette~

Yesterday my mom's best friend Annette invited my mom and her caregiver Gayle over for an afternoon of lunch and "games!" Annette made chicken noodle soup and fresh baked bread which she served with fresh pomegranate jelly she made herself over the weekend! Annette and Gayle played the Wii while my mom watched. They skied, played tennis, boxed, "shot" chickens on the game system...and more! hee hee They had a great time and since the weather was cloudy and dreary, it was a nice day to stay indoors.

Today the Hospice nurse called, and allowed me to ask all the questions I've been concerned about, and he put my mind at ease for the time being. Both the nurses have been so kind, and are very supportive about my mom getting out for a drive or visits when she is able. It is so important to keep living, and living fully for as long as possible!

Thank you Annette and Gayle for making that happen! You are both appreciated more than you will ever know!

Thanksgiving Luncheon

It was an interesting afternoon eating lunch with Ashlyn at her 2nd grade Thanksgiving feast. The turkey was pretty good considering it was "cafeteria food," but the conversation was less than appetizing. Why is it that kids are not aware that certain topics should be off limits when eating is occuring? My three seat mates happen to all be friends, who happen to play together on the playground daily, and who happened to all get the stomach flu when Ashlyn did! They each shared their personal ordeal last week, in great detail while I descreetly tried to change the topic. By the time they finished their conversation, their meals were done, fully eaten and enjoyed while my plate sat half full...I hope next year's feast has conversation starters that don't begin with, "Well, you should have seen what I did in the garbage can!" The joys of motherhood are many!

Amish Friendship Bread

Have you heard of "Amish Friendship Bread" or as some folks call it, "Enemy Bread?" Well, I for one do not see it as "Enemy Bread" but some do as it keeps growing and expanding and taking up your kitchen counter for days, weeks, even months! hee hee Here's a photo of the concept:

You are given a cup of starter mix which bubbles and ferments for 5 days until you "feed" it a cup of sugar, a cup of milk, and a cup of flour. You stir this concoction daily until the 10th day when you bake it and "feed" it once again to give to friends along with a copy of the recipe, some tastey bread, and a new starter mix. I think it's lots of fun, and our kids love to watch it rise and "ferment." I am already on my 3rd batch and think it's a great gift for "friends" or "enemies" as the case my be! hee hee I just hope the 6 folks who received this "gift" on their doorstep today, know it was given in good faith that they are indeed "friends!" :-) And by the way, let me know if you would like the recipe to "gift" your friends as well!

Not last night but the night before...

Not last night but the night before, a tall dark stranger came knocking on my door...

Whenever the phone or doorbell rings late at night, it's usually bad news. Monday night was no exception. Foruntately, in terms of the bad news, it could have been much worse so I'm not complaining.

It all started as a night with frequent wake up calls from unhappy family members. I wasn't feeling that well with my dental work earlier in the day, so I turned in early to let the pain medicine do it's job. A few hours later and fast asleep, Ashlyn came in crying as she was scared by some noises she was hearing. The mystery noises required my presence, out of bed of course. I got her tucked back in bed and had just fallen asleep when Kyle came in and announced that he felt slighted that all his California friends had Mon. and Tues. off from school for Veterans' Day, and it was unfair that he had to go to school. Not a valid reason for waking me from my slumber, but I got him pacified and back to bed. An hour later around midnight, I was once again fast asleep, and the doorbell rang. I thought it was just in my dream until it rang again.

The dairy driver was at the door in the dark of night apologizing profusely for getting stuck underneath our archway that is midway on the property drive. He backed his truck up and broke a light, pulled apart a beam, etc...He asked if I wanted to come out and see it. I was in my pajamas and half asleep under pain medicine sedation, so I told him it wouldn't be necessary but I would tell my husband and we would assess the damage in the morning. He didn't want to let it go telling me how this has never happened before, how our business is greatly appreciated, and that the company would fix the damage, etc...etc...I tried to reassure him that accidents happen, in the great big scheme of things it was not a big deal, and not to worry.

At last I was back in bed, when I woke with a start remembering the "Tooth Fairy" needed to make an appearance and I had forgotten! So for the 3rd time that night, I went downstairs, this time scrambling through my purse trying to find coins or dollar bills. All I had were big bills. Our "Tooth Fairy" will consider delivering a big bill if there has been substantial pain and suffering involved in the tooth a tooth pulling from the dentist! This certainly wasn't a $20 dollar tooth, so what was I to do in the middle of the night? Well, I did the only thing there was to do, and left the one $5 bill I could find in the house. WAY too much money for an easy tooth loss, but what's a mother,
I mean "Tooth Fairy" to do?!? :-)

Anyway, the night ended safely disposited under the pillow...dairy farm driver on his way, medicine working well on my teeth, and Kyle fast asleep despite the terrible injustice of having to attend school on a holiday! Gasp! Lucky Tom, slept through the whole night and never knew all the midnight excitement occured until the next morning! Maybe next time I'll get lucky! :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Dentist, the Tooth Fairy, and a Pretty Porcelain Tooth

Ashlyn lost a tini tooth right next to a big front tooth.

I love a toothless grin!

Ashlyn practices being a dentist to her stuffed kitty...later in the day I visit the real dentist and came home with a sore mouth, two fillings, and a shiny new tooth!

Today, I got a pretty new porcelain tooth. It was quite an event. My mouth was open for two hours while drilling, grinding, sanding, smoothing, and shaping were all occuring in a very small place at the back of my mouth. The anesthesia didn't work right, and I ended up with uncomfortable shaking, a racing heart, and squirming until the poor dentist said it was inevitable that I would need more medicine. Afterwards I had to run some errands which I should have postponed... droppy lips are quite a sight!

Ashlyn on the other hand lost her pearly white the easy way...while eating popcorn! Fortunately this one didn't get swallowed like some did a few months ago! She can't wait to see what the Tooth Fairy will bring tonight! I miss those days of easy dentistry. I wish the Tooth Fairy would visit me too and grant me a nice healthy mouth!

Speaking of mouths, mine loves sweets, which probably contributed to the problem above! Our "Favorite Candy" poll closed yesterday, and we sure enjoyed seeing all the favorites! My apologies to the Snicker lovers. (I can't believe I forgot that one!) Of the candies listed, M&M's came in first place for most beloved candy, and Butterfinger and Mounds tied for second! I love those three candies, but actually, I really love everything on the list. Just don't tell my dentist! :-)