Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Grandpa Ed

This is a baby book entry. This is the only picture (moving or not) that we have of Grandpa Ed & Jack together. We wanted to make sure that we saved it.

Fun With Daddy

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy Days

It seems that the days are flying by! This weekend my mom came down for a visit to see her new house, set up accounts, turn on utilities, finalize paperwork and pick out new furniture. It was a whirlwind weekend, and somewhere in there Jack caught a little cold. Poor guy is all sniffly and sneezy, but cute as ever. This week will be crazy as well. Today Jack and I went to Grandma Poo's house while she was gone to let the carpet cleaners in. Tomorrow we go back and she gets HER new furniture delivered and someone needs to be there. Tuesday night Aunt Gigi is moving her stuff out and Jeff is helping with that. We are too, but with Jack is remains to be seen how much "help" we'll actually be! Wednesday is the only day that I don't officially have something planned, so I will probably be catching up on housework. Thursday Jack has a doctor's appointment, and Friday I pick up the keys to mom's new house, wait for her furniture to be delivered, then go with Jeff up to her house to start moving! Saturday we will come back here with the rental truck and move her in. Sunday, I may or may not be singing in a special group at church (Laurie, what's the final verdict on that?) which means a very long day on Sunday (but fun, because I love it). Monday I will prepare for the kids coming, and Tuesday I pick them up at the airport! Yikes! So, the posts may be a little slow in coming! In the meantime, Jack's half birthday is tomorrow! Happy 18 months, baby Jack!

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Mom

Like any typical 18 year old, I couldn't wait to grow up and get "out on my own". Through the years since I left for college, I have never again lived near my mother. We've always been at least 3 hours apart. As things have happened in my life, I've found myself wishing that she were closer. No matter what, your mom always loves you! I am so excited that it seems that God is going to grant me this wish! This week is my mother's last day of work....ever! She is retiring from her job at the factory, and she is moving here, to MY TOWN, less than 10 minutes from my house! I know that it has been a frighteningly huge step for her to take, but God has blessed in numerous ways and continue to impress upon us that this IS what He would have her to do! So Jack is going to have the blessing of growing up with BOTH of his grandmothers within 20 minutes of him, and I am going to get to spend time with my mother, not just in a visit for a day or two, but whenever I want! God is truly good! So, this Mother's Day, amid packing, and boxes, and calls to the apartments and plans, plans, plans and too many emails to count, I was so thankful to say that my mother is coming home to stay!!!!!! Can't wait til you get here, mom!


When I found myself to be a single woman again, I couldn't imagine that I would ever be fortunate to find myself with another mother-in-law as wonderful as Shirley had been. However, once again, God blessed me beyond my anticipation by giving me Sharon Gray as my new mother-in-law. I cannot even begin to tell you how she has been there for me, helping me, teaching me, keeping me sane, loving me, and loving my son in a completely self-sacrificial way. I feel completely accepted and loved, like any daughter would with her own mother. Sharon has seen me during some of my worst days, and not only loves me, but keeps coming back for more! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sharon, for being the wonderful mother that you are, and for giving me the most precious gift that I've ever been given, your son and my husband! Thank you for the gift of your friendship!

Always Mom

For ten years of my life, Shirley Zwolanek was my mother-in-law. From the moment I met her all those years ago, her warmness, her sense of humor, her sensitive spirit and her kindness made me love her. There is always a smile and a hug whenever she is around, and she has always embraced her sons friends as her "own". Some of my best memories of mom are of sitting in the living room on a Sunday afternoon and listening to her laugh while she was on her weekly phone call with her best friend. No matter what was happening, that laugh just made you feel warm inside.

A few years ago Mom and Dad Z gave us the gift of a lifetime, a trip to England! It was the best time, and I am still so grateful for the opportunity to spend that adventure with them. When hard times come, and things change in a way that you could never have expected, your memory tends to focus on stellar moments of happiness, and for me, that trip to England will always be a precious, precious time. No matter what has happened, or what happens in the future, I will always see this woman as my mother-in-law, and remember the times that we've had together, and the lessons in gentleness that she taught me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Grandmothers

This being the week of Mother's Day, I thought I would share some memories that I have of the special "mothers" in my life, starting with my grandmothers.

This first picture is of my great grandmother. I called her Grandmother because that is what my mother calls her, but she was also known as Mamaw. I already had two Mamaw's so I thought it would be much less confusing to call her Grandmother. She lived with my Grandfather in a tiny little town called St. Elmo, IL. I liked to visit her, which was usually only once or twice a year, because she lived close to my cousins, who were more my age, and therefore far more exciting. I loved my great grandmother because she had a very gentle spirit, and yet could sometimes get "sassy". My great grandfather was something of a character, and although she was a very obedient wife, she definitely was her own person. She always kept "sugar drop cookies" in her kitchen and I remember her offering us those cookies every time we came. When she passed away my sister and I sang at her funeral.

This is the only picture that I have of both sets of my grandparents together, and the only picture that I have of my father's parents. There are many other pictures, but the only that I had here at my house. My dad's parents were Walter James and Mary Elizabeth Carmen. They lived on a farm with all kinds of livestock, had a pond stocked full of fish, grew their own strawberries and grapes, and Papaw's pumpkins were legendary for their size! I most remember Mamaw Carmen in the kitchen. She was an avid canner--most of the vegetables that were eaten at her table were grown in her back yard. She also made homeade grape juice from the grapes in the arbor. They were a dark purple and made Welch's grape juice look like colored water. I get my facial features from my grandmother. My father inherited her large eyes, and I inherited them from him. As children we would cluster together in the living room and Papaw and Daddy would get out their guitars and we would all sing together. We sang old hymns and songs like "The Little Brown Church" and "Froggy Went A-Courtin'". My love of music was born in their house. Papaw died first, just a few years ago, and Mamaw died 3 weeks after him.

You have recently read of the passing of my Grandmother, "Boots" Cummings. I have posted recent pictures of her, but I thought that you might like to see her when she was younger, the way that I remember her growing up. She was absolutely beautiful! Her dark hair was NOT dyed, and it stayed dark with hardly any gray up until these last few years in the nursing home, and even then it could hardly be called "gray". No beauty tricks....just good French genes. I also remember Mamaw for her cooking. We didn't have meals at Mamaw's house. We had feasts! She loved food, and she loved to cook, and I think that my love of cooking was born in her home. As children we LOVED to go to her house. My grandparents house was a refuge, a fun place to explore and play. Compared to our house, their house seemed huge, and we loved playing hide-and-seek with our cousins. The only time I remember Mamaw ever spanking me was when she caught me jumping on her bed. So although their house was fun, there were limits! She had a lovely, infectious laugh, and Bampy adored her. He lavished her with a wonderful life, a life-time of passionate love, diamonds, vacations, and in the end, his complete and utter devotion when she needed him most. I miss Mamaw very much, and my thoughts will be with her a lot on Mother's Day, as last Mother's Day I was able to visit her and spend the day with her. One year here, the next gone. Blessed be the name of the Lord who took her to heaven!

I have been immeasurably blessed by the grandmothers in my life. So much of the time I spent with them was when I was a young girl. How I wish I could have them back now in my adulthood! They were all treasures and all a part of the mother that I am today.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Great Year

Yesterday, Aunt GiGi sat with Jack so that Jeff could take me out for my birthday. We had SUCH a good time! Jeff had flowers delivered to the house, and then about 5 minutes later he walked in the door! We went to Don Pablos for dinner (yummmm) and saw several people that we knew, which is always fun. Then we went to Mennard's (at my request) for my birthday presents! Last year Jeff got me a bird feeder, and it has been an unbelievable source of joy for me to learn these beautiful birds and their habits. I simply LOVE watching them. So this year when he asked me what I wanted I was quick to reply that I wanted two new finch feeders! I will hopefully have a picture of them soon. They haven't been hung yet in their final place, so I'll wait until they're right and then I'll take a picture. One is a regular finch feeder, and the other is a special goldfinch feeder. Goldfinches are the only finches that can feed upside down, so this feeder only allows for feeding upside down (thereby ensuring that the only birds on the feeder will be goldfinches!).

After Mennard's we went to Riehle Plaza and walked across the bridge to West Lafayette. It was such a beautiful night! We got a Starbucks and sat and talked for a while, then walked back. It was extremely romantic and fun! Thank you, GiGi for taking such good care of our boy, and for giving me the pretty outfit I was wearing! And thank you, Jeffrey, for a lovely, lovely birthday. It just keeps getting better and better.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Day of Shopping

This morning Jack and I loaded up, first thing, and drove to Lafayette for the big garage sale at Brookfield Heights! We borrowed Uncle Jase's truck because we were on a mission. A few days ago, while visiting Laurie, Jack discovered her child size table and chair set and fell in love with them. I realized then that I needed to get him something, so today was the day to look. With half the town having a garage sale, surely we could find something. Turns out the Grandma Poo was up even earlier than us and called to say that she had found a little Jack sized picnic table for $5! It was a little dirty and not exactly brand new, but when I put it out on the deck with Jack tonight he went right to it, sat down, and started running his car up and down the table top (making the appropriate car noises, of course)! Success!

After a few hours of toiling through the sales, we had some lunch, and Jack went home with Grandma Poo while I continue to shop. Jeff said something completely extraordinary to me yesterday. As we were talking about the pants he was currently wearing to work (the ones with the big hole in the bahonkus), he said to me, "I need some new clothes". That's all I needed, baby! I LOVE to buy him new clothes, I just don't get the all clear from him very often at all! So I cashed out my voice lesson money for the week and proceeded to spend it all on two pairs of Levi jeans, one pair of khacki's, one pair of cami shorts, a t-shirt, and five new collared shirts (not hot ones, as requested). Yay! I also looked for shoes, but Jeffrey's size 15's are really hard to find, so I lucked out. Oh well, I'll keep looking! In the meantime, if I can keep him from putting a hole in the jeans or getting a stain on the new shirts we'll be doing good. I love my manly man, but, really, honey, you don't have slide down the roof with these new jeans, ok?!

I am completely exhausted. Off to bed!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Madame Shimer

Gaylene has a blog!