Monday, June 29, 2009

a letter to grandpa . . .

Dear Grandpa,

You went home to be with Jesus today and while I rejoice for the battle you've won, my heart already misses you.

As I think back on so many memories with you, I have so much to be thankful for. Your fingerprints can be seen in so much of my life and I thank you for how you loved us with arms so open wide.

Grandpa, you taught me more than anyone else I know of what it is to love with abandon.

You loved Grandma. Period.

You couldn't wait to tell the stranger on the street how long you'd been married, just how beautiful she was or that you loved her more than the day you married her. You modeled what expressing that love was . . .and I can think back to the countless times I watched you reach out for her hand as you walked along together or stooped to give her a kiss as you passed her by.

Thank you for teaching me what it is to model a Christian marriage.

Yet your love didn't end there.

You loved your family.

I can still hear the pride in your voice as you would introduce Dad, Phil or Marty to someone, or have one of us grandkids along in a trip up town. You were intentional in making time for family and our trips to Kansas to be with you and Grandma will remain some of my most fun memories.

Learning to drive stick shift with you sitting patiently in the passenger seat as I frantically fought off stalls at the 4 way stop. Game after game of skip-po followed by Grandma's rice krispie pie. Paying us 50 cents to comb your hair as you laid back in the recliner and relaxed. It never needed to be anything big . . .whatever it was, you were with us and let us know how much you loved that time together.

Countless times you'd walk up beside us, put your arm tightly around our shoulders as you leaned down to say, "Have I told you I loved you today?'

And still your love flowed.

You loved others.

It didn't matter who they were, how you knew them or if you had just met them in the line waiting at the resteraunt. You wanted to know them more. You'd tell them about your wife. Tell them about your family. You'd tell them how much your great God had blessed you . ..and to tell them how much He loved them.

We'd get from the back of the line to the front and you had somehow managed to get parts of their life they probably hadn't shared with many others.

Yet your love, God's love, flowed and they opened up and walked away with a smile.

You were available.

Not only to us but to others.

I know there was many, beyond your family, who sought out your time, your wisdom and your counsel. And time and time again you made yourself available intentionally. Your love flowed to them in the times you set aside and in the desire you communicated to help them see God's best for their lives and the situations they encountered.

But most importantly Grandpa?

You loved our Jesus.

Oh how you loved our Jesus.

As much as I never doubted your love for me, I never, ever, doubted your love for our Jesus.

You spoke it, you shared it and you lived it.

You weren't perfect, but you served a perfect God and you loved to tell others how much He loved them too.

You sought His wisdom, and I can think of so many mornings, as I would stretch awake on the pull out couch in the family room, I would roll over to see you and Grandma at the breakfast table as you quietly read from the Bible and prayed together.

Thank you for that picture.

You've been through so much Grandpa . . .especially these past 10 years as the body and mind God gave you, failed you more and more. Yet through it all, even in the ugliness of it, your love, God's love, shown through.

The glimmer of light in your eyes as you realized it was Grandma sitting besides you and holding your hands.

The peace etched in your forehead as Dad would read or pray with you.

The slow but steady voice telling us grandkids "I love you too" one more time as we'd stop by to see you.

Until it was just the determined pucker of your lips reaching out in a kiss.

You loved Grandpa, and I can't thank you enough for that.

Today I told Ava that Grandpa Willard had gone to be with Jesus. She looked at me and said, "Grandpa Willard, nap" as her childlike memory is of you resting in your bed.

And in her sweet childlike way, she spoke so much peace to my heart.

Because Grandpa, I love to think of the rest you now know. The peace that you now know. The freedom that you now know as your body has broken free of the boundage here on earth and your soul now flies free.

You are now napping with Jesus, Grandpa, and I can't think of a better place for you to be.

Sleep peacefully tonight Grandpa as the angels sing you home.

I love you,

Grandpa meeting Ava for the first time at 8 weeks old

Kisses to Grandpa - Ava 8 months old

Ava takes Kate and Olivia to meet Grandpa Willard.

Grandpa and his sweetheart, Christmas 2007

Friday, June 26, 2009

slowly but surely . ..

Getting a good picture of ONE baby can take some effort, much less trying to take one of two!

Here's a recent attempt we had . . .

Not bad, really. But we can do better!
Let's work on this individually.
Olivia gives me a hint of a smile.
Kate is still contemplating if this is really worth the effort.

Let's try again. Still room for improvement.

Kate is getting discouraged but Olivia cheers her on.

That's better - giggles all around.

Happy Friday!!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day!

We had a relaxing Father's Day at home, which was so nice with how much we've been on the go these past weeks! A week spent in Michigan, a wedding in Chicago, an unexpected guest for a week and life a little more on our own makes June seem like it has flown by. Maybe I"ll post more of an update sometime, but here's some snapshots from our Father's Day Weekend!

Here we are mom - woken up and ready to eat!
I suppose we can make some time for a little conversation first.
Ava's new favorite activity? Washing the car with Daddy!

Our diligent little washer.

Daddy and his 3 girls

Ryan's family came over for some Father's Day dessert.
Here's Ava and Grandma practicing their gymnastics.
(And yes, my daughter did originally have pants on. : ) )

Ring-around-the-rosie with Gpa and Gma

Our quick and slightly sad attempt of a family picture.

I couldn't be more thankful for a husband who not only makes one fabulous daddy, but also constantly shows his little girls how they special they are and what a godly husband should be.
Ryan, you bless me and our family in countless ways. We love you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

3 months old!

Crazy that it's gone this fast!

The girls were a little fussy this afternoon so I wasn't getting great big smiles, but here's our sweeties getting bigger.

Oliva (left) and Kate (right)
I love Olivia's expression here - I'd love to know what she was thinking.
Olivia loves to live life somewhat in the extremes - life is either great or somewhat tragic. It makes her very fun when she's happy as she'll light up in her whole face as you talk to her . . .and it makes life quite noisy when she's not as she likes to let the whole world know! : )
Poor Kate's neck disappeared in all her pictures - she has one, I promise!
Kate keeps foraging ahead as the "big sister." She rolled over last week and laughed for the first time last night - it was so fun to hear. I think she's a bit of a night owl like her mommy. She naps great all day (easier than Olivia) but fights going down when it comes to the night. She also got weighed last week when I took her in to have her toe rechecked and came in at 10 lb 2 oz (double her lowest weight of 5 lb 1 oz). Yea for growing girls!

So I tried sitting them up on the couch after I had already made them stare at the camera for a little while. They both totally look like they are just humoring me until I'm done.

And then all humor just left.

I love my two munchkins!