Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photos and Funerals.

It's been a while. Since we got back from vacation a week ago today, which is crazy and I feel like it's only been like 2 days, 2 really long days. We flew in late Wednesday night and hit the ground running in a full sprint on Thursday. While we were on vacation, the Hub's grandpa passed away. The visitation was on Thursday and the funeral was on Friday. Hundreds of people came. Hundreds. The line to say good-bye to Grandpa Bob was line up down the center aisle, through the church lobby and out the front door. What a testament to an incredible man. A man that touched so many peoples lives.

The most moving part was as the pallbearers carried the American flag draped casket to its final resting place in Lewis Cemetery. On either side of the grave were the Honor Guard, here to give tribute to losing yet another World War II veteran. Behind them, a row of the Paul Stinson Firing Squad ready to salute the passing of one of their own veteran members with a 21 gun salute. After a brief message, the Honor Guard took their places on either end of the casket and begun the folding of the flag. Each fold stands for something symbolic, each folds has a mean bigger than just the piece of cloth being folded together. I looked it up a couple days after the funeral...

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country.

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God we Trust."

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

This is a shortened version, but still is pretty cool. I had no idea as the flag folding ceremony was taking place, but now that I know, it seems that much cooler, that much more meaningful for Grandpa Bob.

So I don't know if you noticed, but I did take a picture at the burial. I actually took pictures at the whole  funeral. From Grandma saying good-bye before the funeral, to each grandkids' speech, to the folding of the flag. I know it seems kind of morbid, to take picture at a funeral, you know? However, this is going to the last memory of Grandpa Bob. The last way to honor him. The last way to show love and appreciate for his sacrifice. So, I took pictures. For me, I'm so glad I did. It gave me a chance to go back and look at each picture, remembering the emotions. Remembering the heartache. Remembering the eerily moving Taps played on the trumpet after the folding of the flag. I've never been so close to a family member's death. I have all 4 of my grandparents. Death is not familiar, so this was a first. Pictures helped me process. That was a first and I'm sure there will be more.

We'll miss you Grandpa Bob.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Family Vaca

The Hubs and I flew in a week ago to the beautiful state of Oregon. Mount Hood greeted us as we began our decent into the Portland Airport, where I knew some family members were waiting to jump out from their hiding spots after fully convincing me that no one had come to pick us up. It happens every time. Not kidding. A week ago yesterday our vacation started and tomorrow it's over. We fly out, will see the same mountain, but be heading a different direction. 

We have had so much fun this past week with all the sisters together, a friend visiting from Canada and husbands and boyfriends. We celebrated Mother's Day (only a little bit late) by the gals painting pottery. With our lattes in hand, we descended upon Create a Memory only to discover the daunting task of choosing what exactly you wanted to create. From choosing the piece of pottery, to colors, to designs, to when you should just put the brush down and stop dinking around, it's a stressful activity. We had a blast and each of our pieces turned out amazingly unique and beautiful!

The whole group of us also got to enjoy one of the rarest occasions out at the coast: a beautiful, warm sunny day. We did as much as we could in one day from climbing out past the "No Trespassing" sign and the giant sand dune at Pacific city; making noises and yelling at sea lions in Newport in hopes they might be inspired to rolled off the dock and swim around for us; having a very competitive game of bocce ball on the beach in the wet sand, around the rocks and avoiding the water; a friendly game of USA vs. Canada vs. England soccer match on the field with "real" sidelines, goal boxes and a kickoff line marked in the sand; finished with a campfire to roast jumbo marshmallows while watching the most boring, uncolorful sunset in ocean history completed an incredible day.

Of course, what vacation in Oregon would be complete without a good ol' rainy day that just happened to have a soccer game scheduled during the rainy-est part of the day. They lost, but who cares. We got wet, but who cares. Oregon soccer is special and as long as you have an umbrella, no one even notices the rain. Almost.

Since none of us are very competitive (HA!) we thought a nice friendly game of wiffle (how do you spell wiffle?!) ball would be a healthy solution to having so many athletes around once the rain cleared up. We divided the teams and a game ensued. Wet grass, horrible batting form, little knowledge of the rules, and enthusiastic players made for a fantastic game.

We said our good-byes yesterday. It is always hard to leave. Always hard to say good-bye. I keep hoping someday I'll get used to giving a hug that needs to last 6 months, sometimes longer. I keep hoping the 5 days I get to see my sisters out of the year matter and none of the things we said or did will fade. I keep hoping, but I know even in a month I will look back at pictures and have already forgotten. Maybe this time will be different, let's hope....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Pops

In light of the upcoming holiday, I think mentioning someone very important in my life is needed. Sunday is Father's Day. For those who have forgotten or just were "re-reminded" to go and get a card and maybe some golf balls, I would recommend you do to asap. Dads are special guys, especially to daughters. 5 daughters in our family's case. My dad had 5 girls, which at one point in time were all teenagers. 5 teenagers, 1 house, 1 man. Some call him a "brave man," some refer to him as a "poor guy" to have to live with so many women. I find both of those responses irritating. My dad had 5 girls, all of who wanted to marry him when we grew up (true story, ask my mother). My dad wanted girls. Sure boys would been rocking too, but he wanted his girls.

My dad has played a very special role in my life. I remember special days, like when he'd take off Mondays, take all of the girls of my mother's hands and we'd go on adventures. It never mattered what we did: hiking, skating, rollerblading, basketball, soccer, anything. We hung out with our dad every Monday and it rocked. He has also taught me a number of things: a love for the the wonderful world renowned sport of soccer; love for music; a passion for reading.... Other things were not so monumental, such as: always take a Frisbee everywhere you go, as well as a deck of cards. You never know when you'll need one.

Pops, I love you. Happy Father's Day.

I'm on the right, Sister #2 on the left & my Pops is in the middle

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It is so good. So good. I'm writing this from my parents' computer, at their house, in Orygun. It's so good to be home and be here.

Getting here was uneventful. Flights were on time, not full. The most exciting part of our flights was the really enthusiastic man flying from Minnesota to Denver with us. Black knee high socks, black loafs, khakis shorts, t-shirt tucked in, hiking backpack and all of this topped off with a safari hat. As if the outfit alone didn't make this enthusiastic flyer stand out, maybe it was the pacing, or the calf stretches against a pole or the quad stretches a couple minutes later. You take your pick, but this guy was by far one of the best-dressed, most entertaining flyer of the day. I even might have snuck a pic as I quickly went to the bathroom before we boarded. Maybe....

sorry about the blurriness,
but I was trying to be discreet!

I'm sure I'll have more adventures to write about soon enough.

On the docket for today: trip to Portland = shopping, Powell books, 23rd Ave, maybe some bubble tea... oh the fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

12 Hours + 49 Minutes = Jet Plane

We fly out tomorrow. In exactly 12 hours and 49 minutes. I cannot wait. I cannot wait hug my sisters, squeeze my mum and plant a big one on my dad's forehead. Okay, some of that might not be totally true, but I'm so excited... The hardest part about travelling: packing. I despise it. I make my do-to lists, start checking off things and begin grabbing things from different parts of the house that need to come along for the ride. But my clothes. I do not like picking and choosing what to bring. How on earth am I ever going to know what I'll be in the mood to wear in four days? I won't! So maybe I'm over exaggerating, but still, it's not fun. Luckily, one of the biggest bonuses of having 4 sisters all roughly about the same height, weight and shoe size is having 4x the number of clothes you normally have in your closet.
On a completely different note, we hung our hammock. After the last weed has been pulled, the last blade of grass has been mowed, laying the hammock and looking over the back pasture is relaxing. A type of relaxing that is just good for the soul. Yesterday, before we ventured down to the hospital to visit the Hubs' grampa, I read my Sony Reader and just breathed in the quietness. I felt ready for the hospital (fyi: they give me the willies). I felt ready for an early morning and a weeks vacation in Oregon. I felt ready to clean my house from top to bottom so our most wonderful friend who's staying with our wonderful puppy & kitty will relax. I felt ready. Laying in the hammock, reading my Agatha Christy - Miss Jane Marple series, listening to the birds and light wind move through the trees is good. It relaxes you to the core, getting to ready for everything and anything.
Here we go!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Seasons & Hammocks

I love every season, how can you not? Winter's beautiful sparkling snow, fall's show-off of hues of red & yellow, springs fresh new greens... but summer... oh summer, how I love thee. You have a special place in my heart. Yes, certain things I don't look forward to as everything thaws from a long, frigid winter, but once everything is in place. Every blade of grass has been cut, every (well almost every) weed has been pulled, the bird feeders are full and finally the hammock is hung... It's a good feeling. I spent an hour just laying on the newly hung hammock, reading my Sony Reader (Amazing technology! You can check out books from the library! On your Reader!)... So good, good for the soul to enjoy the quietness....

Oh, and we found out that all 3 of us fit in the hammock. Remington just couldn't let us have all the fun!

Grampa Bob

We are visiting the hospital again. The Hubs' grampa is in the hospital again. I'm going to admit, I'm a chicken. I don't have the guts to go in and see him. I keep remembering him with his trucker's hat on, in his thin white shirt and sitting outside, enjoying watching over his family. His legacy that he's created and will someday have to leave behind. Resilience and strength characterize my Hubs' grampa. He's a man of few words, but when he does decide to open his mouth, brace yourself because he is one funny guy. The last time we were visiting the hospital, grampa asked about how soon it was going to be until we had more little tykes running around? Seriously grampa? You are laying in ICU, hooked up to who knows what, getting who knows what pumped into you, and you are cracking jokes about us making babies? Gotta love his perspective after 92 years of being on this earth. I want to remember him in his trucker hat, healthier, happier. I can't handle the willies I get when I walked through the ICU unit.... If you are the praying kind, say a prayer for him. We hope he makes it through this with some serious blood clots and swelling. If you are the praying kind, say a prayer for my Hubs' family. What a difficult time, with difficult decisions and difficult pain in the future...

Friday, June 10, 2011


Home. It’s a four letter word (no, not THAT kind of four letter word). But in these four important letters, so much is summed up. So much is contained and said in the word, “Home.” 

Before I got married, I thought that home would be where I would be living, Minnesota. I’d be leaving my parents home to start my own life, my house, my own little family. Goodness gracias, did I ever have that wrong. Yes, I live in Minnesota. Yes, I have my own house here with my wonderful Hubs and our fantastic puppy and kitty. It’s awesome and I would definitely call it home.  However, in the next several days we are going to have the chance to travel home to see my side of the family. Catch that? Traveling home? How is it that I can call two places home when they are so far apart? How is it that I can feel comfortable in both places, almost as if I never left, never moved away? I know the saying: “Home is where your heart is.” However, it’s a bit too smushy for me (Yes, that’s a real word).

My home is where my people are. I’ve said before that when my family comes to visit, as soon as they begin the walk to security, to board the plane and fly far far away, its as though a little, tiny piece of my heart walks away with them. It is only when we are all together, my sisters, my Hubs and my parents, that I feel like life is good. Nothing bad can happen, I have my closest family with me. Okay, that might be taking it a bit too far, but you get my point. I love love love when my whole fam is together!

When the Hubs and I were dating, I really struggled with how separate my worlds felt. He was here, my family was there and I was somewhere in between. Being married has been good. It’s help me feel like I belong here. I miss when my family is complete and whole, but having the Hubs gave me a new home. It’s wonderfully fantastic.

I can’t wait to get on that plane and fly. I can’t wait to have the fam together again!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sweltering-Melting Mess

It is sweltering outside. The second I set foot outside of the house, I begin melting. Slowly, but surely, I'm melting away in this heat wave. I attempted to lay out and tan yesterday, which last all of 30 minutes because of how hot I was. Our thermometer on our back porch read 100 degrees yesterday afternoon (and yes, that is the coolest, most awesome thermometer you have ever seen, admit it!). The Hubs even caved and brought down the window AC unit (no, our little farmhouse does not have AC). We were laying on the flooring trying to soak up all and any of the air stirred up by the ceiling fan, when he had an incredible epiphany that the AC unit would make watching TV (the Bachelorette to be specific- don't judge!) much more enjoyable. Remington just lays on the kitchen floor, melting as well, but in his thick coat of puppy fur, I'm afraid he's 50 times hotter than me and the Hubs. But he hates getting wet, so he continues to lay on the floor and pant.

If anyone has an tips for managing in this sweltering-melting weather, tell me. Please. I'd love to hear it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Has Arrived!

Do you enjoy summer time? Hot humid, sticky, cannot-breathe summer? I do. I love it. I love the storms that it brings, the crazy heat and of course any excuse to go swimming. And guess what! The heat is here! Today and tomorrow we might see 95+ weather. A little warm for me, considering that I am totally not adjusted and totally not ready, but bring it on! This weekend 75 will feel cool and I'll be officially "climata-ted" (yes, it's a word) for summer.

Living in the land of the lakes, there is never a shortage of things to do on the water. Fishing, boating, tubing, wading, swimming, laying on the beach, floating in the water, riding the pontoon around, and the list goes on. This summer, I get to add something to my list of lake activities: throwing Remington in the lake- I mean, teaching Remington how to swim. Call me a bad puppy-parent, whatevs. He is a fantastic swimmer, but hates hates hates the water with such a passion that I didn't know dogs could have. Here is how it usually goes:

1. Scrambling. 
2. Swimming.
3. More Scrambling.

So, swimming is not his favorite thing. I think next time, I'm going to take him to a beach with his favorite toy and try 2 inch deep water. We'll see how that works....

On the Job Front
On a completely different note, I got a job. For those who were praying and thinking of me and the Hubs this past week, THANK YOU. I'm am going to be returning to Crown College to work with the Admissions Team. I cannot wait. I'm excited about a job that will fit my strengths and weaknesses, hopefully finding a good balance between administrative skills and relationships.  I'm excited to be a part of a team where I already have a foundation of relationships and friendships built. I'm excited about that fact that God once again provided for our little family of two. Yes, he remembers even us. Yes, he even answers prayers like little things like really cool jobs with really cool people. Keep praying for the Hubs, we're rounding the bend and hopefully the finish line is in sight with his opportunity. Two interviews down and one to go. Don't stop praying now!

I love photography. Maybe you didn't notice from the loads of pictures scattered throughout each blog. Or maybe you didn't notice with the separate blog dedicated to photos I've taken. If you missed these two huge major signs of a love and passion for photography, I'll fill you in. I love photography. There is something so special about capturing a moment, whether it be an incredible flamingo-pink and ruby-red sunset or a second when the world is good, Remington is listening, the Hubs is looking down on the cutest little pup and the two are just in owner-puppy heaven. There is something special in each moment, being able to remember it for years to come. To look back and remember, "oh, that was such a good day" or "oh, remember that time?....." For a while, I have been encouraged by many people to sell my photography. From the Hubs, to the fam, to the bestie, I have been told for years to figure out a way to sell it. So... I've decided to use the wonderful world wide web as my platform to introduce my photos to the world. I'm still working out the hows and the whens, but I'm researching, working on a brand name (maybe a logo, not sure yet) and thinking about the logistically side of things. So, just a little something to look forward to in the future :)

If anyone has any suggestions regarding:
  • Good, low cost websites?
  • Photography names: MccPic? KyMcc? Thoughts?
  • Where to order pics from? Or to buy a printer?
  • Anything???? 
I'd love to hear! Love love love! In the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple more pictures I've taken recently...

Fishing Walleyes on Lake Mary at Sunset

Enjoying his first boat ride, as long as he didn't touch the water

Full sprint, so excited! Check out those ears!!!

Amazing sunset over our barn

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amish & America

Have you ever visited the Amish? In Pennsylvania, Illinois or Minnesota? They live such a fasinating way of life. No electricity, no curtains, horse pulled buggies and plows. Incredible. Every time we go visit, I feel as though I stepped back in time by like 100 years. The last time the Hubs and I were down, we ordered a custom made bed from Dennis (Awesome Amish Man). He makes beautiful handmade furniture doing everything from desks to beds to tables to chairs. He is will to try new things (not standard for the traditional Amish) and can usually figure it out from just a picture of what you are thinking. The man is brilliant and made an amazing piece of furniture with our bed.


His farm is nestled in some hills south of Rochester, Minnesota. While we were visiting and picking up our furntiure, his four children were playing around the farm. Singing and chasing each other. All of them in their bare feet running across the gravel came to meet us- the newcomers. None of them spoke to us unless we asked them a question. The littlest one, who Dennis said is two, just stared at us with her huge beautiful eyes. Taking it all in, sometimes sneaking in a shy smile to me and my sister-in-law. The Amish do not allow pictures of themselves, I did sneak one of the littlest girl as she was looking away from the camera.

Memorial Day 
We also celebrated Memorial Day, complete with a ceremony to remember the men and women who have served the United States to preserve and protect our freedom. That's one thing that I appreciate being a part of my Hubs' family as they have a heartfelt appreciation for veterans AND they express it. Part of this comes from the Hubs' grandpa serving in World War II. It has taken me a while to begin sharing these feelings. For a while, it felt weird. It's different from how I grew up, especially not being American. However, since my recent discovery that I am an American (Thanks Bill Clinton and your Child Citzenship Act!), I am trying to learn to appreciate my country more. Yes, my country. Maybe someday, that will not feel weird when I say it. I still may not be the most patriotic person. However, this Memorial Day, I did decorate. I put up two American flag banners on the front of our little farmhouse.

One last thought
Bear with me as I jump around one last time. On the job front, both the Hubs and I have potentials. In the past week, we have both had interviews and the Hubs has a callback for a second and possibility third interview. I should hear back from my potential job opportunity by the end of the week. Jobs have been hard for both of us. I wrote a while ago about  the struggles and triumphs that we've had throughout this whole process. It has been hard! Financially and emotionally it's been downright dang draining! Through the Hubs' job search since he graduated from college to my being let go from my last job, we have learned so much about each other, spending habits and how much God just really truly loves the snot right out of us. We are always provided for, we always have each other at the end of day and we are always going to have God as our foundation and strength. So, as we go into this important time, would you pray for us? I'll keep you posted with results from both of our opportunities.
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