Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas, 2012.  Can't say it was my favorite Christmas ever.....something was missing.
 No pajamas from G'ma this year, so instead there were cozy blankets for the cousins.
 Slater siblings.
 Christmas Eve chaos. 
 Driveway art so Santa would know where to find us.
Santa did make a late night stop at our house.  Ho Ho Ho
....after Santa and before kids arrived on the scene.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cheryl's Celebration of Life

 On Saturday, we had a celebration of life gathering for my mom.  She would have loved it~I hate that she wasn't there to see the people that meant the most to her all in one room.  It was a lovely event...she would have approved!
Her childhood friend, Roger 'Bud' Brooks did her eulogy.  She had talked with him years ago about this, and asked him if he would write hers when she died someday.   He didn't necessarily agree to the reading part of it, but he stepped up to the task and did a wonderful job.   Many people have asked me to post the words that were shared that day, so here they are.  (sorry the font is so small.  I think that you can 'right click' on the image....'open in new tab'.....then enlarge)  Rogers words are appropriately inappropriate.  My mom would have loved them!  Thank you, Roger!

My cousin, and Cheryl's nephew Michael 'Albie' Albada, also surprised us with a poem that he had written about my mom.  It was wonderful and perfect.  Cheryl would have loved and appreciated this so much.  Thanks, Albie.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What I'm Thankful for this Thanksgiving

Yes, I'm thankful for a lot of things this year.  My amazing boys, loving husband, a job, a home, great friends, etc.  The list could go on and on and I really mean that.
However, this year I am feeling beyond grateful and thankful for my sidekicks throughout siblings.
Greg, Kathy, Mark, that order.  With a  span of only 4 1/2 years between the four of us, we grew up as a group.  Early on, I would say that the dynamic was that Greg and Susan would 'team up', and Mark and I would as well (bookends vs. the middles).  Growing up, we had  fights and disagreements that are typical with  any siblings~but we've always had each other's backs. We are the Slater kids.
 Each of my siblings is such a gift.  Brother Greg, the oldest, is the picture perfect example of the first born.  Extremely smart, capable, and successful.  As the oldest he has been working tirelessly to manage the estate for my dad since he passed away last year.  My favorite memory of Greg from childhood is him being Eeyore, and giving us rides on his back around the house.  A great brother, indeed.  He can always be counted on...and looked up to like a big brother should.  He is solid. 
Mark, my younger brother.  We've always been tight, and I would say that our temperaments are the most similar between all my siblings.  All I have to say to him is "oh, yah", or 'strawberry", or "you watch it!", or "don't try to be a hero" and he knows.  He's incredibly good at staying quiet when I relentlessly probe him about his work; he doesn't budge.  Mark  makes me smile.  He's a good egg.  He's a "getter' done!" kind of guy.
Susie.  The baby of the family, and she fit that role to a T.  She has always been  the little sister.  She was the cheerleader, the social queen, and the sibling with the most spunk.  We shared a room and got along as children, but our connection then is nothing like our relationship as adults. We are tight.  We talk at least 2x a day, and would be lost without each other.  Susie is one tough cookie and always finds a way to make lemonade out of lemons.  She is such an inspiration to so many.  Susan is all about STRENGTH .  She is awesome...she is my sister.
With the loss now of both mom and dad in the past year and a half, we have been through some tough moments together...more than most siblings will probably ever endure together as adults. But we were able to handle ourselves with grace, respect, love and support.  I know that not many families could have gone through what we have,  and come out even stronger on the other side.  We are blessed.
Our mom and dad gave each of us so much over the years~unconditional love, guidance, support.   But the greatest gift that they gave us is the gift of each other.  We are 4 lucky kids!
For that, I am thankful.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My mom's obituary

Cheryl Ruth (Albada) Slater

January 10, 1944 - November 12, 2012

SALEM - Cheryl Albada Slater, 68, of Salem, passed away on November 12, 2012 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her family at the time of her passing.

She was born on January 10, 1944 in Bellingham, Washington to Francis and Grace Albada. Cheryl was a lifelong Salem resident, and a graduate of North Salem High School, class of 1961. In August, she attended her 50th high school reunion and enjoyed reconnecting with so many friends. Cheryl worked as a histologist at Salem Hospital for 25 years. She was happiest being at home, "seeing what the day might bring" and enjoying the company of so many friends, near and far. She was an extremely giving and open person who had the ability to connect with just about anyone she met. She loved to laugh and always had a quick-witted comeback.

On September 28, 1963, Cheryl married Stuart Slater, her husband of almost 48 years, until his passing in 2011. She is survived by her sister Janis Brooks, and brother, Jeff Albada. Being a mother was Cheryl's greatest joy in life, and she was most proud of her 4 children. She loved nothing more than seeing them as friends in adulthood: Greg (Susan), Portland; Kathy (Dan) Moore, Portland; Mark (Claudine), Portland; and Susan Cotter (Seattle).

Cheryl was a fun 'Gramma' and always treasured the time that she spent spoiling her family, especially her seven grandchildren: Grace (13), Ella (10), Caroline (8), Christopher (8), Nathan (8), Catie (8), and Will (5).

Cheryl lived a life that was full of family, friendships, and laughs. She will be missed.

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Cheryl's life, the family asks that it be made to on behalf of the incredible nurses in the ICU who cared for her in her last days. A celebration of Cheryl's life will be held on Saturday, November 24th at the Salem Red Lion.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Sitting down to write this blog post about my mom is not how I would choose to spend this rainy, cold, heavy-hearted Saturday in November; just 5 days since my mom passed away.  But I will do it, and get it posted as soon as I can, because I know that she’s looking for it from above.  She loved to read my mamamooregon blog, and share it with her friends. She told me this all of the time.  “Kathy, you’re such a good writer!”  She would scroll back through old posts, telling me of her favorites on here.  I don’t actually think that my ability to do a post was what she admired.  I think that what she was really saying was that she enjoyed reading my posts because it’s where she could reap what she sowed as a mother, and brag about her family…that she loved more than anything.  So, here goes…..
My mom was a mom at her core.  Mothering was her greatest accomplishment and greatest joy in life.  She gave birth to the 4 of us kids within a 4 ½ year time span.  She always said that looking back, those years with kids at her feet were her favorite.  We were always her priority, and we knew it; felt it.  She kept our faces clean with a swipe and a rub of her big thumb with her saliva as the cleaning agent.  We sure hated that.  As adults, my mom would always tell us how much she loved that the 4 of us kids actually like each other and would choose to spend time together.  This made her most proud.  She loved seeing us being both siblings and friends.  As a mom, I now totally get it.   This was truly a gift that she treasured.
 She was the kind of mom that all of our friends thought to be ‘so cool’.  She had an open door policy on our house, and it thrilled her that our house was the house where everyone would hang out.  I now know why it was that way--my mom made everyone feel welcome and was happy to accommodate another dinner plate or two for whichever friend happened to be there at meal time. Things were easy at the Slater household.  It felt like home to everybody.

 On my 13th birthday, my mom even loaded all of my slumber party friends into our van and drove us to the next neighborhood so that we could T.P. our Social Studies teacher’s house.  “Coolest mom ever!” everyone proclaimed.  As a mom, she was always supportive rather than judgmental or rigid.  As teenagers, she never gave us a curfew, but rather trusted us to show good judgment.  I think that her easy going style of parenting is what ultimately kept all of us out of trouble…we would never do anything to break the trust that we had, and we knew that our mom had 100% faith in us and our decisions.  It was a magical combination.

My mom was fun.  She was also quite funny.  Although often times her jokes were borderline inappropriate, she loved to laugh and make others laugh.  She loved the simple pace of everyday life (“nothing fancy!”), and was always beyond generous to others.  She really was full of love.  She made the best clam chowder around.  She loved her animals.
My mom was rich with friendships.  She always would say “I have so many friends!” and yes, she did.  Friends from her childhood, friends from her neighborhood, friends from bunco, friends from work, friends from the grocery store, friends from online, friends from everywhere.  Cheryl was the kind of person who could be friends with just about anyone.  She was open to others and always gave people the benefit of the doubt, and welcomed them in.  As rich as she was with friends and being with them, my mom was also very comfortable with her alone time, and ‘putzing’ around the house.  She loved it when she actually didn’t have to go out to get anything for the day.  It was like a little victory to her, as she loved to stay put and “see what the day might bring.”
My mom was not perfect; in fact there were some things about her that drove us kids crazy over the years.  Her inability to have her picture taken (“I don’t know how to smile!”), her constant worry about her hair looking bad, how she planned things by verbalizing them out loud (“I am going to go fold the laundry, then I will get dinner started!”), how she would leave the dishwasher hanging open and the water running in the sink for no good reason, her smoking, her dance moves, how she would shake tons of salt on her food before tasting it, her uncanny ability to show up early to every single event, her lack of smooth social graces at times, the list could go on.  But those were all things that made Cheryl, Cheryl.  It’s funny how those annoyances quickly become treasures to our memory.  I can hear her voice in all of the above.
My mom joined Facebook, and she sure had fun connecting with people on there.  Sister Susie and I had made a pact that we wouldn’t friend her because we feared what she might write with her comments.  Well, eventually Susan caved, and accepted her friend request.  My mom was always the first to post/comment on her wall, and often times we would call or text each other and just cringe at what mom had just typed.  It drove my mom crazy, but I held strong and never would accept her friend requests.  She would jokingly give me grief about it all the time.  (Just so you know mom, even with your passing I didn’t rush to suddenly accept your request.  That would have made you so mad.)  I’ll leave that one pending.  Forever.
 My mom died much too soon, and I know that she didn’t want to die yet.  There were places to go, grandchildren to love, jokes to tell, friends to visit.  She was so angry that pancreatic cancer had found her-- but she was ready for the fight.  She always had a fear in the back of her mind about this awful disease, because her father died from it nearly 45 years ago.  One of my mom’s favorite things to say, that she echoed from granny, was that “all will be as intended.”   I don’t think that this is what she agreed to when she said those words.  She intended to do a lot more living.  She will be missed. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Mom

My heart is broken into a million little pieces, so this blog post won't be much right now, but I am posting to let the world know that we lost a good one~my mom.  She died on Monday, November 12th due to complications from pancreatic cancer. 
Mom, I know that you loved this blog.  You can still find updates here.
We love you and will miss you terribly. 
We know that you are at peace.
Godspeed to you, G'ma.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grade 3

Who is who?  Guess the 3rd grader.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No more hospital!

After 3+ weeks in the hospital (with a brief 2 nights of being out) my mom was officially discharged yesterday and will be doing her initial recovery at our house.  The boys think that it's fun having g'ma here.  We just hope that she continues on with her recovery from surgery so that she can get strong and ready for the next phase....chemotherapy.
Cancer sucks!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My mom's cancer journey begins

Last Friday, September 21, my mom was admitted to OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the battle of her life began.  3 weeks prior, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
She underwent an 11 hour surgery called the Whipple
She is still in the hospital and is making great progress with her recovery.  However, the story doesn't end here with a stitched up belly.  She will most likely face chemotherapy and a long recovery period.  But she's a fighter  and she is going to whip this thing called cancer. Give it the smack-down.  
My mom has an amazing network of family and friends.
Thank you for all of the love and support out there! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School

 Today was the first day of school for these handsome 3rd grade boys.
(Click here to see all of their first day of school pics.)
 Today was the first day of school for this mama, too. 
A corner of Mrs. Moore's room.  It's going to be a great year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Coco the Snail

We have a new pet at our house...Coco the snail.  I figured that he would last about 24 hours, and that would be the end of it, but no~ it's been almost 2 weeks and he's still going strong.
 Nate found him near a creek at a nature camp that he went to a few weeks ago.  He thought it was just a shell, but once he got home, he realized that there was a living creature inside.  We quickly made a makeshift habitat.  Rocks, dirt, algae water, and fish food to eat.  We were going to be heading out of town for our annual beach trip the next day, so we had to set it all up in a big tub with a lid.
Coco's lovely habitat, complete with colorful polished stones.  Can you find Coco in this picture??
 Let me tell you, this is a real low maintenance pet.  Except for when the lid is left off and he slides his way up the siding on the house.  I've gotta say, he's one cool snail.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This makes us 'other people'

Last year amidst the chaos of having my dad  in the hospital and clinging to the last few days that he would have on this earth, I remember my mom telling me the story and words that my grandma had said when my grandpa was sick and dying almost 45 years ago. 
 "Well, this makes us other people, doesn't it?" she said.
 Because, as you know, these types of scary, sad, and heartbreaking life events are the kind of things that happen to other families.   Not yours.  Not mine.  Just other people.
On Thursday, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This makes us  'other people' again.
Please send your love, well-wishes, prayers, good-vibes, strength and light our way as we begin this journey.
I know that she'll fight the fight, but dang~it just really sucks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I've still got it!

 On our drive home from the beach, we stopped at the Dairy Queen in West Salem for some lunch.  This was especially fun for me, because I worked at this Dairy Queen all through my high school years, and even a summer when I was in college.  I was the Dairy Queen.  I even remember when Blizzards were introduced back in 1985.  We had to crush the candy by hand.  Anyways....I digress. 
I have always said that I would love to go back for just one day and make all of the scrumpdillyicious treats again.  So  after I told the young workers that I had worked there 30 years ago we had an instant kinship.  I figured this was my one chance to give it a 'swirl' again, so I asked if I could make my own cones.  Thankfully, the young fellow thought that I was kind of funny and he let me do it.  I nailed both of the cones that I made with the perfect DQ swirl on the top! I happily handed them to Chris and Nate and they enjoyed those cones like no others.
 I can mark that one off of the bucket list.

Beach Trip 2012

 We did it again~our annual beach trip with the Slater-Cotter-Moore families.  This time we were at a new house that was in Lincoln Beach. We loved it, and it's already booked again for next summer!
The weather was great, and we literally didn't leave the house this year. 
One of the highlights of this house was the hot tub that was on the deck overlooking the ocean.
When you vacation with Aunt Susie, you have to get your workout in.  Here is Chris working those arm muscles.  Notice the STRENGTHstudio t-shirt?
 These 7 love each other so very much and have so much fun together.
Uncle Greg and Grandma drove over for a day trip and joined in the fun.  Greg's aeronautical skills helped to get this kite up.
Cousins on the rocks. 
This group is really good at posing for cute pictures.......
......until the threat of a wave approaching from behind!
Guess who that is with Aunt Susie?  Yep, it's Will with his way-cool back-to-school hooded face  sweatshirt.
Fireworks and a fire on the beach at dusk.  So exciting.
Sister Susan and me.  Suh-Suh.
It was a windy beach, so we tried to move logs to make a wind-block.  Such a strong group.  Somebody had to take the picture!  :)
Some of the crew after a beach combing and hiking morning adventure.
A fiercely competitive game of ladder ball between Chris and Susan.  Chris won. 
The view from the top of the stairs that led us down to the beach. 
The whole gang on the last night. 
Greg, Susan, Mom, Me, Mark. 
The whole gang on the last night. With the way that time flies, we'll be back before you know it!