Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whirlwind Week

I blinked and the week was gone.  At least it seems that way. 

Sidney and Ashton attend camp all summer.  Sidney's is in one place, Ashton's in another.  Certainly makes life interesting...and especially in the morning.  The kids are up bright and early every morning, although not especially bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  They get this honest, from their Momma.  The saving grace to the long days is the relaxation in the evenings.  But, this week was different.  They had vacation Bible school every evening from 6:30-9:00.  The long days turned into long nights and the days were but a blur.  However, I don't think any one of us would have changed a thing.  They loved it!

Despite the fact that the second their heads hit the pillows they were instantly transported to dreamland, they thoroughly enjoyed every second of VBS. 

Friday was family night and we were able to see what the kids had done all week.  It also ended with a carnival that came with much anticipation to the kids.  The setting was a week in New York City.  The city scape lined the stage complete with a yellow cab.  The giant big screens that flank either side of the stage showed engaging graphics as if you were gliding through downtown.  Music boomed through the speakers.  Giant beach balls fell from the balcony on to the unsuspecting parents below (the kids were fully prepared for this).  T-shirts were launched from the stage.  Singing followed shortly thereafter.  What's great about kids is when they sing...they dance.  Kids lined the isles dancing and singing.

I think Aaron and I enjoyed it as much as the kids did.  This brought me back to my days at Bible school.  Although we didn't have near the amount of "special effects" that my kids have, I remembered the great fun that was had.  The lessons learned.  The friends I made. 

So, while we all had to deal with compressed schedules and late-night hangovers the next was all worth it in the end!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sudden Loss

Tuesday night was a cluster of twists and turns that had an unexpected ending.  I lost my cat, Alexa.  After 14 years of constant companionship, it all ended in an abrupt whirlwind at the Animal Hospital ER at approximately 11:30pm.  There was no illness that preceded this sudden departure.  No real warning.  Sadness has ensued and it just seems strange without her.

I "acquired" Alexa through my friend, Jill, when Alexa was just a kitten.  She was found in the bushes, was alone and needed a home.  Funny thing, since I needed a cat.  She was this perfect little ball of fur.  Spunky and audacious in her own right.  Wonderfully independent.  Sufficiently stubborn.  Utterly playful.  Entirely fierce.  Completely lovable.  These traits characterized her through adulthood.

This little dynamo teetered between 4-5 pounds her entire adult life.  She wasn't that big, and arguably most of her weight was fur.  But, she was still a little scary to non-immediate family members who couldn't quite figure her out.  There were rules for handling Alexa...follow them or have a band-aid handy.  Her dainty frame should not be confused with her fiery personality.  Although, she was a real beauty!

Thinking through all of the milestones that Alexa and I have shared is a quite impressive list.  College graduation.  An engagement.  Six moves crossing city, county and state lines.  A wedding.  Two pregnancies.  Two babies.  Two rambunxious kids - and their crazy friends too.  Many parties.  A number of holiday gatherings.  A few deaths - some of which resulted in tear soaked fur as she would lie on my lap as I cried.  Our relationship has been a long-lasting one.

Sidney & Alexa
It's only been a few days, but I come home expecting to see her in all of her "usual" places.   Running through the yard and darting into the garage as I pull in from work.  Stalking some unsuspecting rodent in the "back forty" of our yard.  Clawing at the back window in the evening so she can come in and sit with me on the couch.  Hunkered down on a blanket taking a marathon snooze.  It's ironic that you can become so accustomed to a routine with a pet that when it's pulled away you somehow don't automatically adjust.  After all, it's just a pet, right?

Alexa was a member of this crazy family.  We'll miss her for a long time to come!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is essentially the day that you honor and remember those who fought for our country and have passed on.  I have a few family members who have served - some of which have passed on, some who are still here.  All deserve honor and remembrance for their service.

The one nearest and dearest to my heart is Granddad.  I've mentioned previously that he fought in World War II, in the Navy.  He was buried in the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery as a result of his honorable service.  After having been to this sobering scene, I can tell you that it is indeed an honor to be laid to rest there.  It seemed appropriate that we take this day and honor Granddad.  But, we did not do it by laying flowers at his headstone.  We did it by going to his home away from home.  Piedmont.

My brother, Keith, has worked hard to maintain the cabin, property and boat while Granddad has been unable to tend to those duties in the past year.  He's done a fantastic job. We packed up the car for a day trip, and headed exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes South to a place that our family finds refuge. 

The day was full of promise.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  The gas tank on the boat was full and the gang was all there (except for my sister-in-law, Tammy, who had to work).  These are the moments that you look back on and cherish for years to come.  I know that I still have very fond memories of being a child and spending time at Piedmont with my parents and grandparents.  ...the tradition carries on.

Four generations loaded on the pontoon that I rode as a child
I know that these are the moments that Granddad treasured.  Anticipated.  Embraced.  It seemed appropriate that we all came together in a place of happiness on a day that is set aside to honor our heroes.  And, in this case, Granddad.  He would have been so proud to see the kids reeling in fish and impatiently awaiting the next bite.  He would have enjoyed the laughter that we shared as a family.  Laughter that has been overshadowed by sorrow for some time.  This was absolutely the best way by which we could honor him. 

Keith and Ryan ready to push off

The kids found great joy in fishing, swimming, riding on the boat and eating junk food.  I found peace and solace in their happiness and knowing what that meant to Grandie - and certainly Granddad. 

3 Monkeys enjoying some splash time in Piedmont Lake  

As a perfectionist in ongoing recovery, I realize that there is truly no such thing as perfection.  But, I must say, this came close!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Bird

People who know me well, know that I absolutely do not like birds.  They are creepy, dirty and most recently have "struck" an airplane which caused major delays for me in my recent travels.  I don't like them...just in case you wondered.

That being said, this story has nothing to do with birds that make me stop in my tracks.  This has to do with the bird that flew in my backseat yesterday evening.

I was half-way listening to a conversation between Sidney and Ashton about bad words.  Sidney kept saying, "Yes, I know Ashton, you can't say bad words."  Well, apparently Ashton was telling Sidney that he learned that the middle finger was a bad word and you shouldn't do that.  However, he felt the need to demonstrate. 

My head turned around so quickly and I'm fairly certain that I may have even sustained whip-lash as a result!  "Ashton, where did you learn that?"  ...silence.  "Ashton, where did you learn that?"  "My friend Carter taught me that.  But, he said it was bad so don't do it."  "Well, then why did you just do it?"  "I needed to show Sidney so she wouldn't do it." 

These kids.  I don't think I learned that until at least Jr. High, so it's shocking to me that my four year old already knows "what not to do with your middle finger."  I guess this will just add to the collection of grey hairs I am accumulating!