Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To Every Season

My eulogy at Mom's funeral (which I will post at a later date) incorporated Ecclesiastes 3.
The flowers for Mom's funeral totally reminded me of that scripture.
Shelly Sarver, our friend and florist, was kind enough to do Mom's flowers.
We used Shelly for our wedding reception flowers and have used her services for other celebratory events.
And now she has done flowers for us for the passing of life.
"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance."
Shelly spent much time with us picking the perfect flowers for this occasion.
I told her that Mom's favorite flowers were peonies and Birds of Paradise, which seemed a very odd combination.
Shelly had a fabulous idea.
She asked me what my sister's, my aunt's, my step-dad's, and my favorite flowers were.
I gave her those flower names, and she incorporated them all into a beautiful work of art.
We were speechless when we saw them.
We wanted to do something special and memorable with the flowers, so we dried them, took the "Mom," "Nana," and "Sister" ribbons from the arrangement and made up these domes for our homes.
We love how these turned out, and I'm so glad we have these to display.

Lake Delavan

Back before all hell broke loose this summer, we had made plans to visit the cottage of our friends at Lake Delavan.
The kids went up a few days before us, and we met them, our friends, and our in-laws there.
Tim and Kim had been in Ireland/Scotland for the past few weeks, so it was great to see them again. 
The kids enjoyed fishing, and we enjoyed getting the videos to see exactly how "big" Bond's fish was. 
It was a beautiful place to visit!  Very calming...just what I needed! 

Bond was very excited to see his Papa and Gigi! 
I was very excited to be reunited with my babies again. 

We had a great time at the local fire department's annual Bingo tournament. 

Bond eventually succumbed to the fun and ended up passing out on Miss Mary. 
After a quick little power nap, he was ready for the boat and water activities! 
 Both kids won bikes at the local celebration.
They were both pretty excited with their big win! 

We had a great weekend away!
It went entirely too fast!

Thankful Thursday + No Kids = Date Night

Last Wednesday our daycare provider took the kids up to Lake Delavan in Wisconsin to her family cottage.
Austin and I were planning to join everyone on Friday, but until then, we had some much-needed alone time.
We took advantage of being sans kids on Thursday night and went up to Thankful Thursday in The Alley.
For those of you who have not yet been to The Alley, you really need to go check it out!
This is a picture that Oskaloosa News captured, and it is just such a neat place to dine, drink, and/or socialize!
I love seeing our town grow!

Summer Wichita Visit

 Due to another death in the family (Austin's great-uncle),
we made the trek to Wichita a few weekends ago for a celebration of life for Uncle George.
It is always great to see that side of the family, despite the circumstances.
Granny and Bond were able to get some quality time early in the mornings before the other kids awoke.
Banx was excited to meet her distant relatives for the first time, including this precious little baby! 
And, of course, the girls always have a great time together and are always so excited to see one another! 
The kids were getting a tad bored, so Austin and I made some "sponge bombs" for the kids bombard each other with outside. 
Cousins reunited! 
On our last full day there, Austin and I decided to start it off with a nice little walk and have an "ABC scavenger hunt," where the kids have to find something in nature that starts with a letter of the alphabet and not finish until all the letters were accounted for. 
"M" for minnows....and lots of them!

"'T' for tree, so let's go climb it!" 
"G" for goobers, but they are all mine! 
"D" for dangerous.  Enough said. 
After our little scavenger hunt/adventure, we headed over to Austin's Aunt Susie's house for some outdoor fun and barbequing.
Their neighbors have camels (because why wouldn't you have camels??),
so a visit was necessary to see these beasts. 
Bond and Tristan were busy being boys in the dirt. 
And the kids all enjoyed riding with Uncle Kevin on his "little" toy. 
We ended our trip with a stop at one of the scene sites on the way home.
It was a beautiful day out to enjoy the landscape. 
This was our fourth family death since February.  We always enjoy seeing our extended family members, just not like this.
It makes it even more real and important to live for each day and don't take each other for granted!
Make as many memories as possible!

Many Hands Make Light Work

A small group of us formed a parent/community organization for Banx's school this year.
We have been busy with many fundraisers and other events.
I recently hosted a meeting at our house to put several packets together.
It has been so nice meeting/getting to know these lovely ladies!
We just could not be more happier with this school!
The parents and teachers have been so supportive this summer during our sudden loss.
It is truly amazing to see a small community come together and be fabulous!

Southern Iowa Fair

My dad and step-mom took the kids to the county fair this year, as I just wasn't up to it quite yet.
I'm so glad the kids got to experience this summer event!
It is one they always look forward to. 
My little "farm girl," after she, of course, chose her own outfit to wear.  Haha. 

One of the kids' favorites...the corn pit. 

"Mom, did you know they had 'thebraths' there?!" -- Bond 

"And I 'that' on a 'thuper' big tractor!" 

Banx's favorite...the ponies! 
Thank you, Dad and Shari, for keeping up one of our summer traditions and helping me knock at least one thing off the Summer Bucket List this year, in the midst of all the chaos.

Little Reminders

Recently I decided to take a Saturday and purge closets and work on small projects around the house to take my mind off very emotional memories.
The first thing I went to work on led to my discovery of this from my mom.
It was almost like she knew I needed to see that on that particular day.
It wasn't quite what I had in mind to distract myself, but it ended up being just what my soul desired.

How We Remember Her

I spend many evenings going through photographs and re-reading text messages and emails from Mom.
I stumbled across this photo, which was just taken last Christmas.
This is a very true depiction of Mom, and this is exactly how I want to remember her.
Sitting in her favorite rocking chair.
Surrounded by her grandkids.
Wearing her apron.
Resting after cooking a delicious meal.
Being entertained by her family members.
Enjoying her beautiful home.
Celebrating a religious holiday.
This is the truest picture I have found that encapsulates everything that was important to Mom.
And this is how we will remember her.

Nothing is Normal

We have taken the kids out to Mom's house to swim one time since her passing.
It's so extremely hard to be there without her.
Bond and Baine were walking through Mom's garage to get to the pool with me.
Baine saw Mom's car and said, "Nana's back!"
Bond quickly replied, "No, Baine.  Nana is in Heaven forever."
Talk about tugging on your heartstrings!
It just isn't the same there without Nana...nothing is.
Car rides to work without calling her are lonely.
Wanting to call her to tell her something Banx said that was funny is no more.
I am trying to figure out this new "normal," but it's not easy.
The hardest is watching Banx cry for her Nana.
She is already realizing that Nana won't be at her birthday party this year -- or ever again -- and she is very torn up about the monumental events in her life that her Nana will miss.
Please continue to pray for us all!  We can feel the prayers on the good days.
And please be patient with us on the bad days.  Those days can be pretty dark!
Thank you to all our friends and family members who are here for us!  We love you all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Eye Accessory

Bond has recently been diagnosed with amblyopia in his left eye.
That means, in essence, that his left eye has become "lazy," so we are working on correcting that with glasses.  He now also has to wear an eye patch two to four hours a day.
Thankfully for Amazon,  I was able to find some pretty cool eye patches for this little boy. 
In fact, they are SO cool, that Daddy and Uncle Joe wanted to wear one, too! 
I am thankful for these two awesome guys and their support of Bond!

Regan's Birthday

We recently celebrated our cousin's first birthday.
The kids needed some fun, and we needed to be surrounded by loved ones and see little Regan on her special day.
These little ones sure have fun together! 

Aunt Joi took the kids to see the cows.
I love this picture of Joi with the little ones.  Her shadow behind her reminds me of the empty spot where Mom should be, but it is her sign that she is still with us in spirit. 

Banx and Bond loved being on the farm.  Banx informed me on the way home that she wants to now live in the country...but only if she can be close to Regan.  She loves that little girl!