Monthly Archives: May 2012

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floating in florida

Came across this one while gathering some pictures for a presentation Zach has to do at school about his favorite vacation memories. Thought it was another cute one of Zach and Scarlett and liked the composition.

my grandma

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last post and my grandmother is no longer with us. She passed away on Friday, May 18th. At first, I didn’t really feel anything. She has been sick for so long that it was kind of a sigh of relief that she would be in no more pain. I also had a field trip to attend with Chloe that day for school, so it didn’t really hit me right away. I went about the day and took lots of pictures of her class learning all about Agriculture at the local fairgrounds. Mom stopped by during the day and left me a note with the funeral information, but it still didn’t seem real. The family wouldn’t be gathering until Sunday afternoon for the calling hours at the funeral home. I felt a little numb, like I kept thinking that I should be more upset than I was and I didn’t understand why I hadn’t cried yet.

Same thing Saturday. The kids both had soccer games and Chloe had a dance rehearsal, so I didn’t have time to stop and think about everything.

But later that day, I sat down in front of my computer, opened iTunes and hit play on the song “It Is Well With My Soul”. A while ago, my Grandpa had asked me if, when Grandma’s time came, I would sing a song at her funeral. I agreed, even though I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay composed enough to sing the whole song. I let the intro play and began to practice the song so I would be ready for the funeral on Monday. I didn’t make it through the entire song. The rest of the day I felt very sad.

We traveled to Ohio on Sunday and met up with my family. We were greeted by so many friends and family members that afternoon. So many people who knew and loved Grandma, were her students, her family and her friends. Aunt Deb and I noticed that Grandpa just kept turning to look at Grandma, as if he wanted to reach out and touch her or grab her hand or something, just to be near her. That just broke my heart.

On Monday morning, we gathered at Wayside Chapel, where my Grandpa was the pastor for many years. It was hard. Grandpa had a CD of Grandma singing at church years ago and he started out the funeral service with her singing the song “No More Night”. That was really difficult. Grandma was always singing or playing the piano or her accordion. She was very musical and it’s been years since we last heard her sing. I tried very hard to hold the tears in, but I couldn’t stop them. I was really hoping I wouldn’t cry before I had to go up and sing. My prayers all morning were “God, please help me get through my song without crying.” After kind words from the current pastor of Wayside, I sang my song and made it through without breaking down. I could not look at the front row – Grandpa, my parents, aunts and uncles. I had to keep my focus on the other people in the room, because I knew if I looked down at my family, I would lose it. As the song came to a close, I glanced down at my Grandpa, who was smiling up at me, and I gave him a little smile before I took my seat. He looked so happy and so proud of me. I was very nervous beforehand, but that look on his face made it all worthwhile.

Another pastor spoke after that, a dear friend of Grandpa’s, and then Grandpa got up and spoke. He said if he could sum up their marriage in three words they would be “We had fun!” :) So cute.

Then he had them play another song from the CD of Grandma singing. It was the song that says “I dreamed of a city called Glory” and when she got to the section of the song that talked about entering the streets of Heaven and seeing friends who had gone before, she paused from her singing and listed off names of several family members and friends who had passed away, then she continued on singing the song. Jake told me later that was the song that got him the most, because we got to hear Grandma speaking and we haven’t heard her voice in a very long time.

After the service, our family gathered at the front by Grandma’s casket. We held hands and Grandpa prayed and we shed a lot of tears. Before we all headed out, I noticed Grandpa turn toward Grandma a little, like he didn’t want to walk away, and I saw his chin quiver a little bit, fighting back the tears. I will never ever forget that moment.

We drove to the cemetery after and explained to the kids the etiquette of stopping your car along the road to show respect when a funeral procession passes you by. They wondered why some cars weren’t stopping, so we also explained that some people just don’t care or were never taught that it’s a kind thing to do.

The kids did great with the whole thing, by the way. We took them by the casket so they could see Grandma and made sure to ask them if they had any questions or wanted to talk about it or anything. Neither of them seemed very phased by it, but then they really didn’t know Grandma since she started deteriorating in the years when they were little.

After the cemetery, we had a nice luncheon at Wayside. It was very weird for me being back there. Some of my cousins were quite young when Grandpa and Grandma moved away from the church parsonage, so they don’t remember as much about that place. But I remember it well. Lots of holidays spent there. I actually attended kindergarten there at the Christian school beside the church. And my Grandpa baptized me in the pond behind the church, too. I walked the kids over to the pond and showed them. So many memories flood back when you go to a place you haven’t been in years.

It was a long and draining weekend and, honestly, I am still not feeling quite myself. Everything feels a little off. Like we were kind of waiting and wondering how long she would still be with us and now she’s gone and it seems sort of surreal.

If you think of it, please pray for my Grandpa. His entire life has been about taking care of Grandma and keeping her alive for so many years now. That old farmhouse must seem so quiet and empty without her there.

ohio, eagles, gymnastics and frickin’ chicken

Mom, Chloe and I took a trip to Ohio last weekend to visit family and see my cousin Tonya’s daughter, Kyleigh, compete at a gymnastics meet. We headed down after Chloe’s soccer game on Saturday and arrived in the late afternoon. Kirsten (Tonya’s oldest daughter) was at Aunt Pat’s house, so she and Chloe hung out and played on their iPods and rode around the yard in Uncle Tom’s little Ranger. Mom, Aunt Pat and I chatted for a while, then we went out to dinner and over to the cemetery to visit Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Ron’s graves and take a look at this giant tree there that was struck by lightning or something, cracked in half and collapsed on a bunch of the gravestones. The girls were walking around (and Chloe was doing cartwheels on) Grandpa and Grandma’s grave, so I had them pose for me. I don’t think Chloe gets that you should show a little respect in a cemetery since she hasn’t really been in many in her life, but I told her she could show off her cartwheels to Grandma and Grandpa if she wanted and they were probably looking down from heaven smiling at her. Such a silly girl with so much to learn, but so full of energy and life and spirit.

Afterwards, we drove a few miles down the road past the house where my Grandma grew up. I took a few pictures and have been staring at them, imagining my grandmother as a little girl running around in the yard, playing in the creek, enjoying her childhood. Aunt Pat said Grandma nearly drowned in that creek when she was little. Praise God she didn’t. None of us would be here if she had.

Across from Grandma’s old homestead is a farm where a couple of eagles have built a huge nest. We drove by once and I didn’t have my zoom lens with me, so we went back to the house and got it and drove over again. That was a very cool sight. They weren’t there at first, but we suddenly saw one flying overhead and it landed on a branch high up (photo on the right). We watched that one for a few minutes and then the other eagle flew around, swooped down and came up and landed in its nest (left photo). Then the eagle perched on the branch, swooped down behind some trees down by the creek, so we backed up until I saw it down on a branch by the water (middle photo). It perched there for a bit, suddenly snapped a branch off with its beak and flew away with it.

We stayed the night at my grandparents farm (dad’s parents) and visited with Grandpa for a while. He takes such good care of Grandma. It’s hard to see her in such a weakened condition, especially after spending so much time last week going through old photos of her, so happy and alive with that huge smile on her face.

In the morning, we got up bright and early and headed over to Aunt Pat and Uncle Tom’s to drive down to Dayton for Kyleigh’s meet. On the way, we saw the biggest and most beautiful moon hanging low in the sky. I wish I had just stopped along the road and pulled out my camera because by the time we got to their house, the moon had disappeared behind a bunch of trees and it wasn’t as bright as it had been. It was awesome, though. The night before had been the “Super Moon” everybody had been talking about, so maybe that’s why it was so big and bright in the morning.

Our day was spent at the gymnastics meet, which was so fun to see. Kyleigh is a little powerhouse, for sure. She did awesome in all the events, scoring high in everything. Tonya didn’t tell her we were coming, so at one point when she looked up, she saw Chloe and got a huge smile on her face. :)

Kyleigh got 1st place in every event and 1st place overall. We were so proud of her! She loves gymnastics and has a huge talent for it.

After the meet, we all went to Fricker’s for lunch. They had “Frickin’ chicken” as one of the menu items and Kyleigh suddenly said, “When I’m done eating, can I get the frickin’ cheesecake for dessert?” We all laughed at that.

It was a nice afternoon with family, but after lunch it was time to say goodbye. Until next time.

photo booth

One of our favorite apps is Incredibooth. It is so much fun. Chloe goes crazy taking pictures with it sometimes. Here are some of my favorites.

another month has come and gone

Yes, my kids are loons. These were taken at Pizza Hut during Spring Break/Easter weekend. They were occupying themselves playing games on the iPod and obviously having a great time with it. :)

April for us was a lot of the same. School, soccer, dance, soccer, school, soccer, dance, soccer. I am glad the kids are involved in activities, but the running around can really wear you out. April also had some milestones and big changes.

Jake turned 39 this month and has turned over a new leaf in the healthy eating/exercise way of life. He has started “Plan 39″, where he is doing a daily vlog about eating, exercising, everyday life, chronicling his journey to age 40 and his journey to lose 100+ pounds. He can do it! I know he can! He’s off to a great start already and he’s got a huge support system at home, with family and friends at work. Everyone’s pulling for him. And it’s a good thing for me, too, since I never lost my Chloe baby weight and packed on some pounds during the stressful years of Jake’s unemployment. We’ve both lost some weight already and I can already tell my pants are looser than they used to be. ;) If you would like to follow along, CLICK HERE for his YouTube channel. Here’s one of his recent videos, where he eats a bag of kale chips that I made.

We had a nice laid back Spring Break this year and ended that with our annual egg/cookie decorating at Grandma’s house and Easter dinner/egg hunt at the farm. It was extremely windy that day. We tried for a picture of me with the kids, but the wind was whipping our hair everywhere, so I’ll just share the cute pics of the kids instead of that craziness.

We also had a cookout at Mom + Dad O’s to celebrate both Jake and his brother Nick’s birthdays. It was a nice day with family. Heather, Jeff and Scarlett were over for the day, too, so I took a bunch of pictures of her out running around. She’s SO cute.

This one cracks me up with Chloe running away in the distance and just the edge of Zach running away in the left of the photo. She was loving chasing them around.

Another big event this month was this girl getting glasses.

She started complaining within the last week or so that her head hurt and everything was blurry when she tried to read. Sure enough, she needed glasses and she needed them bad. We went yesterday and picked them up and immediately after putting them on, she was just in awe and said everything was in HD. I’m sure it was amazing for her to see things as they were meant to be seen rather than always straining to see. Poor girl. I wonder just how long this was going on and she just never said anything. Today, on the way to school, she suddenly exclaimed “There’s a dead skunk!” I asked if she could see it in HD because of her new glasses and she replied, “Yeah, they’re a blessing and a curse.” Such a funny little girl she is.

We celebrated my Dad’s 60th birthday last weekend. I didn’t take any pictures, but Jake took some video over on his Plan 39 channel.

While going through some pictures with my mom the other day, I came across this one of my Grandma (my dad’s mother). It was one of those tiny square 2×2 photos, so I scanned it at a really high resolution.

There’s just something about it. I’d love to know what she’s reading. Was it a card from someone? Who took the picture? I believe it was in her early married years. We’ve been going through a bunch of old pictures of Grandma this week to prepare a couple big collage frames. She has not been doing well for a long time. She developed severe dementia and has been confined to a wheel chair or bed for several years now. She no longer speaks or knows us and my Grandpa takes very good care of her, keeping her fed and clean and as comfortable as he can for whatever time she has left. It’s hard to look back at all those pictures and remember the wonderful, vibrant woman I knew. I’ve cried over my photo scanner several times this week. We are preparing for the fact that she may not be with us much longer and praying for her to finally have peace in Jesus’ arms.

AJAXed with AWP