Sunday, August 29, 2010

A special man

So the travels for the summer, and hopefully for awhile, are done. We're tired, but they have been great, and last weekend was no exception. Since we had only recently returned from Michigan and the kids had started school it was difficult to make it. In the end only I could go, but I didn't want to miss out.

As many of you know my grandfather passed away last Christmas. I've been meaning to write about him since then, but it seems hard to know how to capture such a special man in words, I wish I was a better writer for times like these. However, now seems a good time. For a couple years now my grandma and he had planned a big party for their 25th anniversary, which was to be last Sunday. Fittingly, for a man who loved people, life, tennis, and chocolate (ok, maybe chocolate came first) she wanted to have the party still as a celebration of his life. It was a wonderful time and, as he would have wanted, everyone had a great time.

So where can I start in describing this man? I'm sure I have to start with his sense of humor. If you ever met the man you would shortly be caught in a fit of laughter as it would not take him long to tell you his repertoire of jokes. Some might be classified as a bit crude, but there was something about this man that he could pretty much tell you anything, even if he just met you, and not offend anyone. He was even great with kids; I will fondly remember my daughter squealing with joy as she sneakily tried to steal M&Ms from the jar by his chair without him noticing. He would always wait until the last moment and then yell a loud, "Hey" as she darted away laughing with her hands full of the goodies that he loved to share with kids...well as long as it wasn't the last M&Ms, but I don't think he ever ran out that I know of.

I could go on about many other things that he loved, but most of all he loved people and, as was shown this last weekend, was loved by so many. He touched people from Traverse City; to Mesa, AZ; to Texas; to The Villages, FL; and many more places. But I think one of the most amazing things was his role as Father to so many as my Aunt Cathy shared so beautifully. If our fathers are supposed to show us an image of our heavenly father, then my grandpa succeeded. God adopts us into his family, and my grandfather has brought so many into his. When he married my mom's mother he took on an enormous task, bringing three young girls, my mom and her two sisters (one soon to enter and one already in her teens), into his house. Yet, with love he merged them together with the son he already had. After his wife passed, he married again, and once again had children to bring into his family, this time a teenage son and two who were grown. Yet, as before, he lovingly opened his heart to more and more. It takes a special man to be a great father to his own children, yet this man has managed to do it with not just one family, but three, and to bring them all together in love.

If we can even partially live up to his great example of love, I think we will more than succeed in life and in doing so make him proud. As with my grandma, I like to think of him looking upon us, seeing us following his example, and smiling.

I, as so many others, will always remember him fondly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Travels almost over and 10 years coming up

So our summer travels are nearing the end. I have one last trip to Michigan coming up this weekend, but last week, since Brian had a few days off from school, saw us visiting some family who has recently moved to SC. Laura came down from DC and met us in Sharon, SC; where my Uncle Jack and Aunt Janet have moved. It was a great time out of getting away from the city and seeing family. It was a bit warm (same as everywhere), but we were able to go swimming for a bit, which was quite refreshing. Kelly enjoyed seeing Zuke again (who she still likes to feed and boss around), as well as my uncles two dogs. Sadly, due to the forecast of a thunderstorm, we could not convince Allie to camp outside...all we ended up with were a few sprinkles in the late afternoon...oh well. Friday, my other uncle, Jason, and his family showed up as they are also moving to the area. Brian and Kelly enjoyed seeing their cousins Lexi and Zack. A great trip, due in most part to my Uncle Jack and Aunt Janet being wonderful hosts. Looking forward to having them, Jason, and his family a little closer by for this next year.

We made it back to Columbia just in time to take off with our church for a youth overnight up to the Great Wolf Lodge. Kelly was just to short (a shade under 42") to go on the big water slides, but that was probably a good thing as they even scared some of the adults because you got thrown around quite a bit. Everybody had a blast though and after a day soaking in the wave pool and water slides we all crashed that evening.

Back in Columbia for a few days before heading up North one last time, despite all the travels, it seems the hardest thing to believe is that our 10 year anniversary is coming up in just a few days. Definitely doesn't feel like I've been married for 10 years, but that is probably because (as Neil and Dr. Jones often remind me) I married way up :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

News from the South

So I know that many of you are waiting to hear about the trip, but I feel like I'm still processing it as it was so much in two short weeks. So I'll give you some updates from our first week back in the states.

Like always it was a whirlwind. Sunday we arrived in Detroit early in the morning and crashed for like 12 hours (alright 14 for Allison). Our luggage arrived and we took off for Traverse City, eager to see our smiling kids who somehow managed to stay awake until our 11 PM arrival. Tuesday was a quick stop through Lansing for the dentist and dinner with a great friend from work and back to Livonia in the evening. Friday found us on the road again...this time heading to SC, with a stop in Cinci to see some old college friends.

Today was quite nice, it was great to be back at our church and see so many people that we missed all summer. This afternoon we, in attempt to deal with the heat down here, headed out to Lake Monticello for a picnic and swimming. Pizza was the food of choice, and was quickly as the kids wanted to get in the water. Kelly told us the water was cold, but when we got in we found it to be bath water temperature. A couple hours later we, thoroughly pruned, emerged from the water. After two days of relaxing (still feel like we are recovering from jet lag) we hope we are ready for Brian to start school tomorrow.