Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Rest of the Weekend in Iowa

This is how we spent the rest of our time in Iowa. Hanging out with Oma, visiting Grandma and Julie and playing with kitties.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Strawberry Point Iowa

As one would expect from a town called Strawberry Point Iowa, there's a giant strawberry in the middle of town. Because why wouldn't there be? Obvious questions arise when you see a Strawberry this big....yes, yes it has fallen off. Yes it has been repaired multiple times. Yes, there are strawberry festivals.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bath Time

Troy usually takes bath nights around here. I use the time to straighten up the girls' rooms, catch up on laundry, or other things that always seem to be in plentiful supply.

I love listening to the giggles that come from the bathroom. Tea parties, magic tricks or hair-dos there's almost always something to laugh about. As I stand there with a basket full of laundry and 20 other things that need done I can't help but smile. With the nightlight on low, the smell of peppermint on the pillows and three sets of laughter coming from the bathroom I find myself overwhelmed with happiness. Does it get any better than this? 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekend In Iowa

The girls and I were back in Iowa this weekend. My grandfather passed away earlier this year and the memorial service was scheduled for the summer when more family could make the trip. We went back Friday night, stayed at the farm, then left Saturday morning to drive to Strawberry Point, Iowa where he would be buried.

This trip though wasn't for him. It also wasn't for me. It wasn't closure or reconciliation. It wasn't to say my peace or even to say good bye. For me, this trip  was more for my mom, and our girls. I wanted to be there to support my mom and I wanted to embrace the opportunity for our girls to meet others in our family that we rarely see. 

I had no last words. Not because I don't care, but because I didn't know him. My Grandfather had a whole life that I didn't know. He held great grand babies, celebrated birthdays, and offered an empathetic shoulder when his grandson was having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. 

For me though, he will always be a bit of a mystery. I didn't know him at all save from the stories that my own mom had passed along. I remember him in blurry images in my memory. I remember Troy and I stopping to visit while we vacationed in Florida. I remember him eating popcorn in his milk. I remember them at our wedding. I remember his smile. I remember his eyes. 

Standing in a cemetery in Strawberry Point, Iowa listening to a circle of family sing Amazing Grace I found myself wishing that I had known the person they all did. I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm not regretful. Rather I'm thankful that he had so many people in this life that he loved, and that loved him. In the end that's all that really matters. And perhaps one day, far from now, in a different world we'll be given a second chance to get to know one another. Imagine all the stories we will have. 

I love you Papa.

I asked Mom for a picture that I could post. She gave me a number to choose from, but this one is perfect. The man to the left is Papa when he was probably in his late 40s. The man to the right is Mike, my stepfather who I wouldn't meet for another 30 years. Seeing them here in this setting I see a glimpse into Papa's life. That smile to the right I would know it anywhere. Its mischievous and ornery and full of life. I'd give quite a bit to know what they were talking about. I think I could fit in at that table quite well these days. Confident, energized, strong. Wherever we meet again I want to pick up in the middle of this conversation.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fourth of July

We celebrated 4th of July with our new neighbors this year. They had the whole thing already figured out. There were tables of food, games, and plenty of viewing spaces. The girls got along great with everyone there and the crowds were minimal.

Great way to celebrate the day. Happy 4th of July to everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2016


We enrolled Charlotte in a musical this year. She's loved stage play and dress up since she received her first costume dress. We've also had the chance to go to a couple of musicals which she has also enjoyed.
So when the park district offered a week long program over the summer we thought why not.

The Mister shuttled her back and forth from there to school all week. We played CD's in the car to practice and learned what hand motions we could to help her along.

Going into Friday's performance our expectations were fairly low. She had had fun the whole week, but we wondered how much could be retained in a week.

Oma came up for the weekend to see the show as well. She of course wasn't going to miss it!

C did way better than expected. She kept up with the other kids, said her line (single) exactly on cue, and ate up the stage attention.

Good experience.