Category Archives: family

Popping In

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I’ve clearly gotten out of the habit of posting, which is a shame as I use this blog to help us remember all of the small and big moments in our lives. I want to promise I’ll be back regularly now, but really- who knows? Life has been busy but wonderful, which leaves me with less inspiration that I had when times were tougher. I’ve always used humor as my coping mechanism and writing a blog was my therapy.

I don’t really need that kind of therapy anymore, so I need to find some new inspiration to post. You’ll have to forgive me if I am a bit rusty! In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying summer to the fullest, working on a slew of home and garden projects, and building my new business. I’ve been feeling great minus a migraine here and there, and feeling like it doesn’t get much better than this.

And have you heard the big news? I’m going to be an Aunt!! Twice!!! Craig’s sisters are both expecting (along with many of his cousins) and I am so looking forward to having some babies around to spoil and snuggle.

It really doesn’t get much better than this, and I’m going to enjoy this time while it lasts.

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Life, Death, and Love

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Buckle up, this might be is a bit long.

The news this past week has been horrifying. I’ve been watching as much as I can with two young kids around, and my heart just breaks for those who have lost their loved ones. As with the Newtown tragedy, I have watched tearful relatives tell all of us about the speical qualities of the people they have lost, helping us understand the true depth of their loss a little better. And yet, as I watch these heart-broken relatives, I can’t help but to think that they would give anything to tell those words to their loved one, instead of to all of us on the sidelines. And maybe I think that way because I imagine that is how I would feel.

I’ve lost so many people that I have loved deeply that at times it doesn’t seem fair, as if life ever is. And sometimes I’ve dealt fairly well, and sometimes I’ve been a complete mess. And when I think back on those hard time I’ve come to realize that what I was really struggling with is that I didn’t have that chance to tell those people how much they meant to me. Before Melissa passed away last year, her family graciously allowed their house to be filled with people telling her goodbye. I was able to hold her hand, and talk to her, and thank her for being such a positive force in my life. And there were a steady stream of visitors doing the same, and it was sad in some ways, but it was also really amazing as well because what an amazing testiment to her life! My grandmother passed away the month prior, and due to the horrendous timing of my tumor ordeal, I feel like I completely missed out on spending time with her at the end. My Dad told me it wouldn’t have been for her, it would have been for me. He’s right. And so I wrote that blog post about my Grandmother and how wonderful she was, and I wrote it for me.

This is a VERY roundabout way of getting to my point, which is, I know longer want to wait to tell others what they mean to me. I selfishly want to make it easier on myself to cope one day. I want ALL of you to know how much I love you and appreciate you, and I’m going to be saying that more. But right now, I need to write a post for me, about my Dad.

In November of 2010, the phone rang at 2 in the afternoon and I picked up to hear my Mom’s distraught voice on the other end. And I had no idea what she was saying, but the panic had already settled into my gut. I had this awful feeling of deja vu from when Craig’s mother had called me just two years prior to let me know that Larry had suffered a heart attack. And within moments, this awful feeling was confirmed as Mom was able to get out that Dad had a massive heart attack and that he was in surgery. The drive to Topeka with my brother was one of the worst hours of my life (and there have been some really bad hours), both of us literally sick and shaking with fear, trying to console each other that the worst would not happen. Dad survived that day, and we all know now how incredibly lucky he is and we are all as well, because he sustained serious damage to his heart.

I talk to my Dad a lot on the phone, I always have. I’ve always been close to both of my parents, they raised Eric and I in a stable and loving home, and we were almost always poor but spoiled with attention and their time. The nature of my Dad’s job meant that he took the lead in a lot of the parenting duties, doing my hair in braids for school, being there when we got home, and looking after us when we were sick. In college I stayed close to home, despite my earlier threats to move across the country, and enjoyed growing closer with my parents now that I no longer viewed them as mean and heartless. To be fair, Dad got a pass on a lot of my more horrid behaviour as he was always so even-keel and hard to get riled up. And when he did ever get mad, I instantly knew I deserved it. He was the campus pastor at K-State for the Methodist Church at the time I was in college, and I attended UMCM weekly, though it took nearly a year for the other students to catch on that we were related. I met Craig there, and Dad predicted our relationship would happen before I ever did. He married us in 2004, in a ceremony that true to form was filled with heartful sentiment and the corniest jokes you could ever imagine.

As a pastor, he not only had the priveledge of uniting couples in marriage, but also the responsibility of memorializing those who had passed. He was, and is, remarkably gifted at this. He officiated the funeral of his own father, a man whom I had known only as drunk and reclusive. And what I will never forget is how he didn’t gloss over this, he talked about people for who they truly were- both their strengths and their faults. And this view of the complete person allowed us all to grieve in an honest way. There were many other difficult funerals to follow: my maternal aunt, grandfather and grandmother, and Dad’s own mother. Can you imagine? And in every case, he found the perfect way to help us towards closure. I tend to drown in sorrow and emotion after a loss, and throughout the years my Dad has been teaching me how to cope with loss in a healthier way. I’m a work in progress.

The past few years after his heart attack and susequent surgeries, Dad keeps bringing up in casual conversation that his heart isn’t going to hold out much longer. He discusses his prognosis the way you would the weather, in a matter-of-fact manner that has driven my brother and I crazy. We would prefer not to think that way. But I’ve recently come to suspect he is doing this on purpose, to force us to face a hard truth now in order to make it easier to deal with in the future. I can’t bear the thought of losing him, the thought makes my heart break. Writing this has been a long time coming, because it’s just so hard. I would like to ignore what is fact and live as if he will always be here with us becuase the alternative doesn’t seem do-able. But we have to face that reality, and I think that accepting it will help us all love each other as fully as we can. Not a single one of us knows what tomorrow may bring.

So Dad, I want to tell you that you mean the world to me. I love how involved you have been in my life, how you are so obviously proud of me, how you encourage me and challenge me, and how you and Mom have taught me how to love others. I love our frequent long phone calls, and the fact that you tell me about your Master of Commander book series every time I see you. Your passion for learning was a massive influence in my life, and I love that you passed your artistic abilities on to me, and especially that you cultivated in me a passion for sarcasim and wit. Giving you, and Eric, and Mom a hard time is one of my life’s great joys, and I learned that from you. I love that I’m your favorite daughter and I will always know that deep down I am your favorite kid too, but I’ll keep it our litle secret. I wish you had been a bit more generous with your athletic ability, but I suppose you wish that I cared about sports even the little tiniest bit. Sorry about that. Your grandkids ADORE you and I’m amazed at how much energy you give them even when you feel like crap. I wish you didn’t have to feel like crap, and I don’t mind you complaining about it because lord knows I have complained to you all over the years. When you’re gone, I’m going to be pretty devasted, I won’t lie. I’ll probably be a big ‘ol weepy heap of mess, and I hope there is someone out there who will be able to comfort me the way you would have. Maybe you should think about writing me a letter, something funny and sarcastic and full of corny jokes and comfort. I hope I won’t have to read it for at least another decade, but I know you don’t think that will be the case. Dammit. I really love you Dad and I’m so glad I get the chance to tell you that now instead of writing this to the sky when you are gone. (You better get me those religion books soon, and work on me while you still can.)

One more thing, you probably shouldn’t call me to tell me that you have read this. Because if you do I won’t be able to talk about it. I’ll probably have to hang up on you, and that would be rude. But I’ll know you’ve seen it because you check my blog religiously. That’s pretty cool. And however long we all have left together, you’ll know how I really feel. This is for you Dad, and also for me.

Family is Love

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It was a good weekend.  A wedding, loads of family and beautiful weather to top it off.  My cousin’s daughter Kailey was married this weekend and we traveled to the Round Barn in Derby for the reception.  It was a gorgeous location and the kids had a wonderful time playing with their cousins.  And then  Uncle Glenn made Devan’s dreams come true with a ride in his “race car”, as Devan calls it.

Kylen, Annabelle, Ashtyn, and Leah-posing like a Lady.

Kylen, Annabelle, and Leah

After the reception, we headed to Ark City to visit Julie and Brett.  Devan and Leah was completely wound the entire time (sugar high, perhaps) but they had a fabulous time.  And I have decided we need more pets.  Devan also had a blast on a giant train engine at the local park, and spent nearly an hour climbing around and “working” on the train.  Why don’t Kansas City parks have such cool equipment?   Our local park has two swings and a slide tower.  Sad.

Devan may never forgive me for making him leave that park but we did somewhat make it up to him when we headed for Wellington and he spent the afternoon hunting for treasures in my Grandma’s garage.  It was great to see everyone on the Pritz side, but I miss Grandma so much.  It’s just not the same without her, and I am still hurting that I didn’t get to spend time with her at the end.  And we all get to go on hating cancer even more as my cousin Shane is battling Lymphoma, which strikes me as incredibly unfair as my Aunt Maria has watched her brother, sister in law, mother, and son fight cancer.  Maria is a huge inspiration to me,  just like Grandma, she has such a positive attitude and is so strong.  Love you Maria!!

Family is so important to us, it was really nice to catch up with everyone this weekend.  Between Craig and I we have A LOT of family, and we work hard to stay close to everyone.  Family is without a doubt my greatest blessing in this life, and I am forever grateful for our dozens upon dozens (and dozens and dozens and dozens..) of relatives.

A breath of fresh (sea) air

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It’s probably about time I attempt to get caught up, huh?  I’m not even sure where to start! How about a super duper quickie vacation recap?

It was good.

Ha ha,  If only I was that brief, right?  It really was a good trip.  The drive was actually pleasant, which was a HUGE shocker, I think both Craig and I had some fears on that account.  Except for Leah claiming that she had pooped every twenty minutes just to get out of the car… but even that wasn’t so bad because we were usually plenty happy to discover she hadn’t.  (Potty training that one?  Pretty sure it will never, ever, ever happen.)  We rented a cabin in a state park on the beach and it was also better than we expected.  It was described as “rustic” but they were brand new and spacious, and away from the craziness that is Destin. And it didn’t hurt that the state park was across from a Wal-mart, when I discovered I wasn’t the fabulous packer that I thought I was. (Happens every trip.)
We ate delicious fish, went to the beach (got attacked by dog flies the first few tries, nasty little things), toured 30A on bike (and got FRIED, oops), explored Seaside- which is amazing, and lusted after million dollar beach houses.  Craig went para-sailing, we all took a snorkeling and seashelling cruise (the shells were DEFINITELY planted but the kids didn’t care.), we saw dolphins in the wild-even a little bitty baby dolphin,  we found a few amazing playgrounds, and even happened by an outlet mall where I convinced these two beauties to come home with me:

It was everything a vacation to the beach should be, and I’ll even go so far as to say it was relaxing.  And upon returning home, it feels like we did indeed hit “reset”.  Only problem is, we reset Leah to be a typical two year old, ha.  But everything is a stage, and if only one kid is being terrible at any given time, I’ll consider myself blessed.  Another bonus is that the kids are playing together better after the trip.  They shared a room, and it seemed to work some kind of magic on their relationship.  Devan even camped out overnight on Leah’s floor when we got back because he missed her.  Ahhhh.

Enough yammering already, how about the highlight reel?

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More of the Crazy

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We had a good Independence Day, we all enjoy blowing things up which is why we travel down to the folks where such activities are legal.  Leah wasn’t phased one bit by the noise and seemed to enjoy the show. Devan was really into it, right up until a mortar exploded over where half of us were sitting.  Literally, 2 feet above everyone’s heads.  It was amazing that no one was burned and after that, he wanted to watch from inside the house and I can’t say I blame him.  The poor kid attracts accidents.

And then yesterday, for the second time in my short little life, I experienced a total system shut-down and found myself laying on the floor of the bathroom in grossly inadequate clothing while a bunch of firemen stood over me and did my vitals.  Let’s just say if Devan ever wants to tour a fire station, we will be traveling out of the county just to be safe.  Who wants to talk about that though? Not me.  Sigh.

How about something fun? I talked Mom into taking a quilt class with me in hopes of converting her to my craft.  I can’t say I met with any success there, but it was neat to work on this pattern together and her finished quilt top is super pretty.  I dislike sharing my WIP’s until they are completely complete, but I have no plans to gift this quilt (yet) so I suppose it can’t hurt to give a little sneak peek!

The pattern is Crosshatch by Empty Bobbin Studios.  Mom thought it was challenging for a first quilt and I agree but her points match up so well! I’ll share more pictures when they are quilted but that might be a ways in the future and I was eager to share.

 

So far, so good!

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I am loving this summer so far.  Just loving it.  I took Devan to his first swim lesson today, something I couldn’t have done if I were working and I really enjoyed it.  And he loved it! We are filling our days with swimming, reading, gardening, popsicles, playing with friends, and lots of playtime at home and in the yard.  Leah is still our big joy- full of smiles and laughter and SO much fun to be around.  And Devan is so wise beyond his years, he keeps us on our toes for sure. I am feeling like I definitely made the right decision and that this is a good time to have a break.

It isn’t all good, some days the kids are completely exhausting and I am still learning to pace myself.  I want to go everywhere and do everything with them but oftentimes we all just need some downtime.  Tuesday I ended up in the ER with the worst headache of my life.  The type of migraine that is so bad you can’t open your eyes and every little sound is painful.  So thankful for the sweet relief of pain medication and the fact we still have childcare available on short notice!

Overall, more fun than not.  I’ve been sewing, but not much during the day.  It’s hitting me how fast these kiddos are growing up on me and I want to enjoy being their mom for these next few years.  I do have a few new quilts to show you and a stack of other projects, but it’s hard to make the time to get everything photographed and so I procrastinate.  A giant homemade post is coming soon!

You know how I said I wasn’t going to share any vacation pictures?  That was before I saw all of the good pictures Mom and Dad captured, so I couldn’t resist.  Enjoy! (Click on any picture to see them all larger.)

Golden Ticket City

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We took the kids to Silver Dollar City this weekend (which while he was three, Devan referred to as the Golden Ticket City), currently their most favorite place on earth.  To make the weekend even sweeter,they were surprised when they arrived to see their friends from Kansas City waiting for them at the hotel.  Amy and I arranged for us to share a a unit on Indian Point and the kids had a blast.  Jamie and Devan are 7 months apart, and Leah and Elaine are 6 weeks apart.  The entire weekend was a jumble of kids and parents, but for a posse of 8, everything went very smoothly.  The adults were able to go on rides the kids were able to go on rides, and Leah only had four blow-outs.

Okay, so that part didn’t go so well as I ran out of spare pants but I rectified the situation by buying her a giant t-shirt that covered up her grody leggings.  Truth be told, I already had the t-shirt purchased before the fourth blow-out, and I happened to grab the wrong size shirt, but I’m going to go ahead and claim it is smart thinking/good parenting.

The weather held out for us until late Sunday afternoon.  After waiting on the storm to hit all morning so it would pass over while we were at the park, we finally decided at 2:00pm to head home and were hit by a deluge right as we boarded the shuttle to ride out to the parking lot.  And we got soaked.  And I mean SOAKED.  Nothing like being soaking wet for a four hour drive home!  I had packed ponchos, rain coats, and umbrellas for everyone and had been schlepping them around for two full days yet somehow we didn’t use a single thing the one time we really needed it. Good thing a little water never hurt anyone.

I was awful about taking pictures but here are a few…

Leah, happy to smile for the camera.

Leah loved the spitting water, and more than once was blasted in the face and laughed hysterically. She had quite the audience after a few minutes, all enjoyed watching her pure joy at the surprise of the water.

Devan was not so thrilled to be the one soaked by the river ride so a trip to the dryer was in order.

The Saloon Show was apparently not very exciting for Leah.

The kids loved the old tractor/wood cutting. We were treated to a 15 minute story of how it came to be at the park and Devan listed very well, it was fascinating!

Everyone enjoyed the lake, and the girls tossed in rocks for an hour. Leah decided to go wading right in with her shoes and jeans on.

Showing off their treasure from the lake.

Somehow, I don’t have any pictures of the girls together which is too bad, they were cuties. Trust me that Elaine was there, and she was a total sweetie!  I even was able to snuggle with her one night and I was reminded that there are few things in life more enjoyable that having a young child snuggle up in your lap.  Add in some salt water taffy, a few roller coasters, and a bunch of gluten free meals, a side trip to the best fabric store ever (thanks Stephanie!!), a cooler full of Osceola cheese and it was a great weekend.  Can’t wait to go back for a full week in May!