Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Sweet 16

We leave tomorrow on our trip, so we didn't want to get too crazy with the socializing today, but we couldn't help ourselves. It's the Holidays, we're on Vacation, and the boys are so amazingly adorable I couldn't help but take a bazillion pictures today. So here you go:

1. First our friends the Gornto's popped by, so we met them at Starbuck's, and the kids got to play. Chris drank real hot cocoa and played with his new favorite toys, the Dinosaur Transformers. He even shared with Samantha.

When it was time to go, he wanted to give her a smooch, classic ladies' man. But she would have NONE of it.

2. We went over to my Dad's for lunch, and the kids got to play with Daddy's 8 month old German Shepherd puppy Schnitzel, she was born the day before Sam.

Sam Adored her.

Chris was terrified. It took serious work, but Schnitzel eventually won him over with Kisses.

3. My Favorite Dish that my Stepmother makes: Turkey Pie. I know, it's crazy, she makes all kind of extreme stuff by hand, but this turkey pie, it's her "leftovers" from the holidays. Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, all thrown in a made from scratch pie crust, served with homemade gravy and squash. My perfect bite is gravy dipped turkey pie with a splash of squash. Oh my.

4. Sam joined in the fun today too. He got to sit in the high chair like a big boy!

5. Like that wouldn't have been enough. Rather than eat his baby food , he sampled some of MB's homemade squash...and he Loved it.

6. Clearly Sam was on a roll today, after lunch, he was sitting in my lap, and he sticky-fingered Christopher's cup of water and put it in his mouth. It was a sippy cup but it had no stopper. So he drank. (Unfortunately it wasn't his first incident with water, he drank some from the bathtub-ugh- a couple weeks ago.) A little least I think he did.

7. Chris got to the the honored boy who helped Oma put out the stable.

The Final product.

8. She showed him how it was done, then he got to choose where they put the wise men. The wise men move closer to the nativity throughout the Christmas season (in our house), not to arrive at the Baby Jesus until Epiphany.

9. The Abominable Snowman attacked my Father.

10. But somehow my father found the energy to bounce both boys on his knees.

Both boys. He's 60! I can barely do that. They had a Good Time. Chris was not happy to come home.

11. So when we got home, and after naps we started putting out our own Christmas goodies. Eric had gotten the lights on the tree yesterday. But today, we brought out all the Stuff. First we put our own Nativity. The tremendously awesomely Child Friendly, Little People Nativity. That has edible people. (Of course I snagged Baby Jesus while he wasn't looking, to hide him until Christmas morning.) And he moved the Wise men (and woman so Chris says) to the piano to start their long walk around the house.

12. Sam on the other hand was infatuated with all the Christmas Stuffies that we brought out. The Grinch was his first choice. He took a hold of him, smiled and wouldn't let go.

13. Sam wasn't about to let go of the Grinchy just to go investigate the tree, Grinch came along for the Roll. Sweetboy rolls up under the Christmas tree. With the Grinch.

14. Then this evening, after supper, we put the ornaments up. Chris was actually Quite Helpful. Mostly helpful. It was pretty cool to see him enjoy it. But there was a bit of confusion how some of these were not Toys, but the ornaments to "make the Tree Happy".

15. Sam observed most of the festivities. He was pretty content to chew on an ornament box while the rest of us decorated the tree.

16. The last. This year's honor of who got to put the Angel up goes to Chris. I wouldn't say he was a good boy all evening, he kept wanting to play, but he was really thrilled when 10 minutes after putting him to bed, I snuck back in, and said, Oh I forgot, I need you to put the angel up. He was wobbly, he laid it on its side, and let go, and it fell down, so really Daddy ended up doing it. But it was Very Cool for him to put up the Angel this year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Happy Thanksgiving

Some of you know I've been having trouble with my Mom. Up until now, I have been polite and not blogged about it. But it's been running heavy on my heart, and with all the joy and Thankfulness of this time of year, it's been hard. It's hard to say I'm Thankful for my family, when part of it is so Broken.
Don't get me wrong, I'm SUPREMELY Thankful for my little band, our little family of 4. In that spot, all is perfect. It's when I extend my thoughts to all angles of my family, that being Thankful and Happy about all our family gets a bit harder. There is drama and bitterness because we went to Marion and Disney and not up to Michigan to see my side. So I was feeling pretty bad and guilty as we've gotten closer and closer to the start of these festivities which have been part of all the heart hurt. But yesterday, my heart didn't hurt.
Yesterday, we schlepped up to Marion, as we do every Thanksgiving Day. There's just something about Eric's grandparents. You don't cross them, you don't argue, if they say be there, we're there. They have our respect, they earned it, and they keep it. We lost Grandma Willman last year, and though Grandpa is deafer than a post, he still commands that same way, probably just like he did when he was a Colonel in the Air Force in WWII. So we go to Marion. It's like a given, an If/Then statement, a Guarantee. If they are "Doing" the holiday, like Thanksgiving or the Saturdays before Christmas or Easter, Then we go.
We got to Marion, and as usual the family was boisterously and gaily welcoming us all with open arms. As soon as we opened the door the smells and the sounds of laughter rolled over us. Aunt Betty swore she was going to kick it down a notch, but I didn't notice. Though when I asked, she rattled off a list of things she didn't make, and had delegated to the family members to bring. We brought asian salad and green fluff, two annual staples. Every inch of space in the kitchen was filled. There was: 2 types of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, yeast rolls. The salads have their own table: cranberry relish, layered salad, broccoli and cranberry salad, asian ramen salad, green fluff, yellow fluff, reuben dip, pumpkin dip, veggies and dip, relish tray. I didn't even Make it to the Pie table where there was: pumpkin pie, peanut butter pie, chocolate pie, and some Aunt somebody or other's layered pie. It was Amazing. We ate. We ate so much, that I didn't even need dinner, I had leftover green fluff for dinner and that was all.
Sam had a great time getting passed from family member to family member, everybody was thrilled to see him, and love on him. Love both boys really. At one point, all the girls were gathered yapping in the kitchen and all the boys gathered (some snoring) on the couch watching football, and I looked, and MY baby Boys were all hanging in the living room with Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa. It was really beautiful. And it did my heart so good.
It's hard to put into words the happy bliss I experienced standing there watching my boys fall into happy place with their family, but it just made me happy and smiley. Overwhelmingly Blessed?! You know how stressful the holidays can be, how we have to Rush Rush Rush, and Go Go, and we don't get too much time to just sit down and cherish what it's all about. Being Thankful. Yesterday I was given that gift, everyone was so busy loving on my boys that I got to just be, just be Thankful for the food I was eating, and for the family that I was with, to actually be able to carry on a conversation without having half my mind on Where is Chris, Where is Sam, who is crying?...I got to be happy and thankful for all the happy noises, and the love that just overflowed.
Speaking of happy noises, once we arrived Chris latched on to play with the cousins, and I barely saw him until we left. He played until he dropped. He didn't even get a nap he was playing so hard. We had brought out Eric's old Transformer collection and taken it up to give to the girls after our meal. So we did. Little did I know Chris was going to go BATTY for them too! He grabbed two that transformed into Dinosaurs, one for each hand, and he didn't put them down for hours. (Luckily he left them in the car, and I'm not pointing out that's where they are, otherwise I don't think he would've gone down for a nap today.) He had been missing his Grandma, and repeatedly asking for her earlier this week. So, we had arranged for him to spend lots of quality time with them. Chris drove home from Marion with them, and spent the night with Grandma at a slumber party. He was having SO Much fun! He barely noticed when Sam was making it clear it was time to go for a ride...out of exhaustion. We had a quiet ride home. Eric and I have talked more in the last 36 hours than we have in the last 36 days! I love being on Vacation! We came home, and watched movies. Holiday Inn! Which I think tops my list of favorite movies of All Time. And I had netflixed Funny Girl, which I must say had a very disappointing ending. And I bet if they had made a musical about Fanny Brice today, the music would be a little more Flapper and little less Hippy...People who love People? Come ON!
I digress.
So, Sam didn't sleep much, so it wasn't like a super awesome night's sleep without Chris waking us (which he still does periodically). But we had an extremely productive morning, of putting the lights on the tree, and tree together which usually makes an insane mess (that Chris just can't keep his hands out of) in the living room. And Daddy is putting the finishing touches on the outdoor lights as we speak. It's been calming, therapeutic.
For lunch we met my inlaws to get Chris back. Chris was still wanting to sit in Grandma's lap, and she wasn't minding, and she was helping him eat. That's 2 days in a row that I've gotten to eat meals because my Fabulous Inlaws are helping with the kids. Don't think Gratefullness for that goes unvalued or unmentioned. Sometimes I just have to say Thank You.
Thank You Willmans for being Awesome. Thank You for being the family that I didn't have. Thank You for offering to change diapers without me having to ask or beg. Thank you for Volunteering to have slumber parties with my boys, or just borrow them so Eric and I can have a date. Thank you for conducting experiments to see if a child can be totally spoiled rotten by Love. Jury is still out on that one. ;)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cousins in the Bond

One week from today we'll be in Disney World with our friends the Julius Family. It's getting really real. And it's so exciting!

We tried calculating when we started talking about this trip. Was it in college, was in when we were married, and they weren't quite, or once we both got married? All that was 10-15 years ago, and gotta tell you That's a lot of scheming for all of us to go to Disney World together.

At the very least, we've been scheming THIS trip since the kids were born. (Pardon the fuzziness of the picture of all 5 kids, they RARELY are all still, and I think Sam slimed my camera.) It started getting real last year, when I made the comment, when all this feeding tube business is over, we're going to Disney World. Kathleen was like, Yeah! And we'll go with you. We had drama, they had Drama, and this trip has become our Super Bowl!

Eric's workplace made the mistake a couple weeks ago, of asking Eric how flexible this trip was (planting the seeds of him cancelling it). He told them, "We're going with Extended Family, and it has been in the making for 3 years." They stopped asking.

And that wasn't entirely a lie. A. I just told you in truth how long this trip has been planned. B. We're planning on seeing Eric's grandparents and aunt on our first day there! But C. That's where the title of this comes in to play:

Many moons ago, Eric and I were in an honorary music fraternity in college. The gals were in Tau Beta Sigma (TBS) and the boys in Kappa Kappa Psi (KKPsi). Kathleen and I were in TBS, and Eric and Mike were in KKPsi. When initiated, the other members became your Brothers or Sisters. And when we'd write letters or refer to each other, we used the phrase Brother (or Sister) in the Bond.

If we're brothers and sisters, We figure that makes our children Cousins in the Bond. Chris and Sam have lots of Cousins in the Bond. But Emily has been Chris's best friend since he was 6 months old. And the twins will be Sam's. The twins aren't going to Disney with us this trip. Maybe next time.

However, as far as Disney is concerned, the Julius and Willman Families are Family.

We've been trying to plug for rooms next door to each other or connected. We pre-registered with Disney and we mentioned it. At first we weren't telling them we were Family, but I actually did call Emily our Cousin yesterday. Two weeks ago, we rearranged our plan and signed up for the whole Disney package, Dining plan, tickets, and all. We were previously enrolled with just hotel and flight. Hadn't gotten the tickets yet, and were thinking we wouldn't mess with the dining plan. However, once again the signs pointed us in a different direction, the deal was too good, so we signed up. The next day Mike pointed out to us that we were signed up for 6 days in the park, not 5. Our plan was to not be in the park our first day. I called to change it, and they told me that they were going to charge me $60 to change it. That the 6th day was really only a few dollars extra and it wasn't worth it. Well, Dawn wasn't friendly, or sympathetic, and I got MAD. Like they aren't getting enough money already for our trip. I sent an email and told them as such. I may have lost my temper. I felt a little bad after venting to my friends, but you know what, it Was their mistake getting us 6 days worth, and whatever happened to the customer is always right?
Imagine my surprise yesterday when a Guest Services representative Sally called to talk to me about my complaint. She apologized, which I greatly appreciated, and I explained why I had been so upset, and that would've been enough, but she also offered to sent a "little something" to the boys. She said Hats, Mickey Hats, with their names engraved on them. I told them, that would be PERFECT, because we were totally planning on shopping to buy the boys some hats on our first day. I told them their 'cousin' already had one, and that would be a perfect gift.

I can't WAIT to see what else our little FAMILY is going to do and see a week from today. I'm so EXCITED!!!!

**Meanwhile, Emily has a fever, and Chris and Sam have noses that won't quit dripping. I told them they could be as sick as they want, THIS WEEK, but come Saturday, everybody better be healthy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mostly GQ Boys

The boys have been keeping busy, being adorable.

Sam is getting very good at sitting up. Chris really enjoys helping him. These brothers are beginning to have fun with each other. Sam has discovered that he can sit up AND play with his toys.

The other day, I sat him on the floor, and he sat there for 20 minutes, contentedly watching the goings on outside, watching Fina jet back and forth from the front to the back of the house, and playing with a couple toys. He's discovered the beauty of a rolling ball.

Chris also has been bouncing off the walls. He's rarely content to just sit and chill. Normally I yell at him for climbing on the furniture like this, but he just looked like such a boy doing it, I had to snap his picture First.

Boys in the morning, drinking their drinks. (Well, Sam had just finished his.) But for some reason they love to cuddle with Daddy just after he's finished running, when he's at his grossest. Someone said when you smell the most like you. Yup. Sam LOVES a stinky Daddy. Now that Daddy's nasty project is finished Daddy is going to be around a lot more. That makes ALL of us excited.

Speaking of dirty, we put the boys TOGETHER in the bathtub Wednesday night. They LOVED it, it was great fun. They thought each other hysterical. Chris accidently touched Sam, and giggles "I touched his pee pee". He thought that was funny. Yes, And don't do it again. Sam just LAUGHED and Laughed, at everything Chris did. And Chris would just laugh at Sam. Both boys laughing, it's my new favorite noise!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The March

I got an email today from the March of Dimes. Did you know November is Prematurity Awareness Month? And Today is Prematurity Awareness Day? Did you know that on a worldwide scale the US scores a "D" on a premature preparedness scale. Indiana got a "D" on their report card. That is Pathetic. It scares me that 1 out of 8 infants is premature, but through modern medical miracles like those done by the March of Dimes, 1 out of 8 do not die.
A girlfriend of mine posted telling her story about her premature infant. And I'll just refresh your memory tonight with why I Support the March of Dimes.

Chris was born at 37 weeks, just at the threshold they begin to consider full term. I had pre-eclampsia so they had to induce. The induction didn't go so well, and they had to go in, Chris 'changed' direction, they had to do a C-section to go in and get him.

He didn't cry right away, he was a little low on oxygen so after a couple pictures, they sent him to the Special Care nursery. 12 hours later, they discovered his Imperferate Anus, they sent him to Riley Hospital for children, which has the Best NICU in the state, one of the top in the country. He spent his first Christmas in the NICU, having had surgery the day before to create his ostomy.

He ended up having three surgeries before 6 months old to correct his problem. He's still not 100%, but you can't tell that to look at him. If not for the advances made by the March of Dimes, and medical research, I KNOW Chris wouldn't be here today, and I'm not to sure if I would be either. Maybe they wouldn't have discovered I was having problems, maybe they wouldn't have been able to go in and gotten him. It's really scary to think about.

But then I look at him, and I am AMAZED a the Miracle that he is. I think of all these Miracle Babies, and I just Praise God.

Look at Christopher now!

In Review: Dawson's

We actually got to see a bit of Eric this past weekend! His project is coming to a close, and while they debug, he's had some small chunks of hours where he can Close the Laptop and just BE with us. So Friday night, when we realized he didn't have homework, we opted to go out on a date. I called Grandma who was More than willing to watch a couple sweet boys. On our drive over there, Christopher told me, "Mommy, you doe on a Date with Daddy, I doe see Drama." Good Idea Son! I liked that idea (of course that's what we were doing anyway, but I had only told him that he was going to see Grandma.
So we dropped off the kids, and headed out. Eric was sweet and opening doors, he decided he wanted to take me this place in Speedway, Dawsons-on-Main. It's a Mom and Pop joint, owned by a couple of our church members. They've catered some church events and their food is Scruptious! But I hadn't been there. Eric is doing a gig at Allison, right next door, and he keeps reminding himself he wants to go there for dinner.
So we did.
It was nice. The atmostphere was nice, kind of romantic for dinner: candles on the tables and cloth napkins, my idea of Nice. There were families there, so kids are allowed, but it was quiet enough that is was a good date place too.

Well, we were impressed with the menu, so we ordered quite a smattering of things to try. However, we didn't put our wine order in right away, after we put our order in, our gal disappeared. For a long time, like 20 minutes. Eric was Not Happy, and I said, "So pull over another waitress and get a glass of wine!" A gal overheard me, and immediately rushed over. She gave us the wine list, we ordered, and she disappeared too. Our appetizers arrived. No wine. Our dinner arrived. No wine. They got Eric's dinner wrong, bringing the special when he wanted same steak differently done, acc to the menu. So we mentioned that Eric's soup and our wine were missing too. They brought us wine, MINE was wrong. Sent it back only to learn (eventually) that they were out of the wine I ordered. So I got something else. We sampled the House Onion soup (very cheesy). Eric got steak and crab cakes. I got calamari and mustard crusted chicken with artichokes and sun dried tomatoes. Every single thing we tasted was Wonderful. Eric eventually got his meal, I got my wine, and things were good, for about 5 minutes, when I had wine but was out of water. (I like to drink both.)Three different gals had 'served' us, and None of them successfully. Finally a 4th gal helped, things got resolved. I got my water, but by this time, I was full and ready to go home. Everytime some gal came by to ask how we were doing, we'd say, The Food is good. Because it was.

The Food was Fabulous.

The service sucked.

It took us another half an hour to leave. We had to ask for our bill, Wait forever for our original server to bring it, then wait some more while she ran it through. Good Grief. The 4th gal mentioned in passing, I'm sorry, I heard you guys had 3 different servers tonight. Maybe no one could decide "Who's" we were. So we were no ones and thus neglected. I'd like to try it again to see if the bad service was a fluke, because the food was Really Good. But not anytime soon. At least the boys were happy at Grandma's.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two Weeks

Two weeks from today, we'll be on vacation.
I'm counting it from today because in theory this heinous project Eric will be working on will be done. Theoretically next Saturday is his last day. I'm usually the kind of girl that tries to write about the Joy in my life. I have so much to be thankful for, and I'm pretty Blessed. But lately, the boys are about the only things that make me happy.
I hate to vent online, I usually do that in person, but I'm so frustrated. Eric is here but he's not HERE. He's here, but he's ignoring me, ignoring the boys. They just want to spend time with him. Chris went into this long almost tantrum about how he NEEDED Daddy. And it's just not good. But I see that its upsetting him too. He's so sleep deprived. How can he be fixing things if he's too tired to see straight, or if he's forgetting to eat?!

So I found some HOPE. 2 weeks.
We'll be on Vacation. It will be Thanksgiving. This project will be done. And even if it isn't they aren't bugging us, because as far as they know he's taking the vacation as of Thanksgiving. I joke about taking his computer or his cell phone and throwing them out the window. But I won't. We will box up his computer and not open it beginning Thanksgiving and maybe he can open it after we return from Disney. Maybe. He and I are arguing the point of whether or not he should leave his cell phone too. I say leave it, we'll take mine if we need it. He wants it, not for work, but if we want to talk to each other across the Parks. It will be nice to debate about vacationy things.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordier Wednesday

**For some reason this didn't post, so I'll post belatedly.

A friend of mine posted a wordless wednesday picture of her with one of her favorite veterans.
I like that idea. So I'll tell about my one of my favorite Veterans, my Grandpa Jim. He passed away during the December that I was pregnant with Chris. (I keep losing Grandpas when I'm pregnant, I better just hold off so we don't lose any more.)Anyway, Grandpa Jim came from a long line of Navy men, hundreds of years. The Bagg and Collins family have been in America a long time. Grandpa had the same buzz haircut for 80 years. He joined the Army when he was 18, when the cavalry still had horses. He worked the cavalry during WWII, and stayed with them while they moved from horses to tanks. Here pictured with my Dad, in 1951 when returned to the states after adopting him in Ireland and doing some time abroad.

He was Career Army, and stayed with them until the mid-70s. By the end there, he was stationed at the Pentagon. He retired. For 6 weeks. He couldn't take it. He started working at the Pentagon again, Civilian status, for another 25 years. He was 87 when he finally retired for real!
He was a cool head under pressure, he was in the Pentagon when it got hit on 9/11. He poked his head out of the office, took a look around, as my dad says, "realized no more work was getting done today" and headed home. He checked in with his boss, and hopped the LAST Train out of the pentagon before they shut the whole system down.

Here's the last photo I snapped of Grandpa, his 90th birthday party, when I made him a quilt, my first, The front was an american flag, but in place of stars there were the letters and the back was camo fleece.
He passed away in December 2005, and was buried with all the pomp and circumstance they could offer in Arlington Cemetary. Horses, carriage, 21 gun salute, the whole thing. I wasn't able to make it there, but I look forward to taking Chris to Arlington to find his Great-Grandpa's grave someday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Over Coffee

This week has been a rough week. I'm not usually happy to see a week end, But this one, I think so. Lately Eric has been so busy on weekends, that I'm just as lonely on the weekend, made more stressful because Chris doesn't get the added bonus of going to school. Today, while we were outside waiting for the bus, the neighbor came by and said, "You know that tere is no school today". Oops. That has sort of been my luck this week. I've just been such a jumble of emotions lately. And my back is acting up. It's exhausting and I can't sleep.
First, we found out that Eric's brother is getting a super awesome Promotion in Spain. Barcelona. They'll be there for 2 years. I'm going to miss them So Much! On one hand I'm jealous, I wanna go, I spent a good chunk of my school career studying Spanish, the art, the history, the language. It would so AWESOME to go to Spain. On the other hand I'm losing my Girls. Ryan too, but really my Girls. It's so SAD that they are leaving. They are 10 minutes away, we had it timed including getting kids in the car. We may not drive it as much as we could, but its so nice to know they're right there. Spain is SO far away. But on the other hand, its only 2 years. I can speak from experience being away from the family for 2 years is Doable. And they assured us they were coming home for major holidays. But still, I got teary listening to the birthday song when they celebrated Kaylee's birthday at school this week, I won't get to hear it again for a long long time. On the other hand, WOOHOO for the girls! What an opportunity! Like my neices weren't smart enough already, let's get them Bilingual and Cultured. It's a lot of highly emotional hands, see the jumble.
Another thing this week was realizing the loss of my friend Kelly. She's been gone 6 months, but I think the hardest thing has been that there isn't anyone around here that I talk to regularly that knew here like I did to mourn with me. Eric did, but he's hardly been home. I look around our home and see signs of her; the picture frame she gave me as a wedding gift, the picture of our wedding party hanging in the living room. When I hear a song by the Four Seasons or Chicago, or see anything about the Lion King.
Even when I drink a cup of coffee I think of her. I hated coffee when I met her. She worked in a coffee shop, and she tried to get me to drink it, to like it, but I wouldn't. I always loved the smell, but hated the taste. So she brought me in Slow. She'd get us these fancy cocoas. Oh they were so good.

I have a tub of the Butter Rum cocoa in my cabinet, I found them at the Cheese Shop. Kelly would whip them up for us on a chilly day, or bring back a stash of sample packets whenever she went home or worked over a break. She'd try to make me a cocoa and put a smidge of coffee in it. Sugary and sweet enough that I didn't notice. It worked. By the time my sister started working at Starbucks, I had a vague tolerance of coffee. At least I could add enough milk and sugar to it to drink it. Now I find them enjoyable, irrisistable even.
This week, Amy and I went for drinks at Starbucks, got to sample their holiday wares.
Welcome back Gingerbread Latte.

There's something therapeutic about a warm beverage, with sugar and caffeine, I think they have magical powers, these fancy spiced drinks like the gingerbread, pumpkin spice, or chai lattes, they make my pain a little less, both physical and emotional. And like this week, when it was accompanied by conversations with a good friend, well it was just Good. After my cup of coffee with Amy, I felt better, the world felt a little smaller, the time just a flash in the pan, and my heart hurt a lot less. Now if Starbucks only had a playground so the kids could play while I drink, I would never go anywhere else.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Because Just OK is Not Enough

The Motions by Matthew West

Monday, November 2, 2009


I lost a friend today. Though as it turns out I lost her a long time ago.

Let me backtrack a bit, I often find myself on facebook. It's easy to find out what the scoop is with friends lately, easy to nurse with one hand and type with the other. It's easy to open up my netbook on the floor while Sam plays Rolly Polly next to me. Recently Facebook revamped the format, and there's a little column in the corner that shows 2 pictures, 1 of someone they think may be a friend, and another picture of a friend you already have that hasn't been on much. It may say something like, So and So does not have a profile picture, it wants you to write to them, or whatever.

This morning, it pulled up a picture of a friend of mine, and it read, "Kelly Rossi
You haven't talked on Facebook lately."

True, I thought. I should hop on and see what's going on with her. I did. And there were these really cryptic messages from her other Friends. The first one read, "6 months, miss you and love you more than anything." As I kept reading, I started to get very confused, there were posts from people like, "I miss you." "I love you." "I saw a preview for a movie, and it reminded me of you." I started to worry. What happened? Did she move to Arizona or Guam or something? Then I saw it.

Kelly was in a car accident this morning.

I followed the link, to an old article, titled Driver Killed in Early Morning Crash. Apparently, she went off the road and crashed into a tree driving at 2 in the morning, without a seatbelt. People our age are not supposed to die. It's Just a Tragedy. I guess the best I can say is that I KNOW where she is. She knew God, Jesus was her Lord and Savior, and it was blessedly fast.

I know that there are people out there who knew Kelly Pedersen, or rather Kelly Pedersen Rossi. She went to Butler from fall of 1994 to Spring of 1996. Though I don't think anyone I know kept in touch with her much beyond her Butler days. That's why I had no clue until today. It was 6 months ago. 6 months, and I had no clue. What kind of friend am I, that I had no clue for 6 months? We had no Mutual Friends. At least none that Facebook knew of. There was no one that could tell me.

It's really spooky. I had been thinking so much about her lately, just the last 2 weeks, I was scanning in a bunch of photos from back when we were in college. Kelly and I met at a BU mixer. It was a thing for Freshman, but I was told to go and make an appearance by my sorority. I was SO Thankful to find a friend I knew, Jason. He'd met a couple freshman that were really nice, from his dorm. Lindsay was going to be in the Marching Band with us too, and her friend Kelly from down the hall, well, before the night was even over we talked her into joining the Marching Band. She was put on the Drum Line with me. I started out on bass drum, but due to an injury, I was on Cymbals with Kelly 2 games into the season. We had so much fun. All the work went right out the window, because we had so much fun together. She really brought Spirit to the games! She brought out the loud and boisterous in me. We hadn't known each other very long, but we just got along swimmingly.

We hung out all the time. She started to rush Tau Beta Sigma, my band sorority. She was going to be my "Little Sis", but she ended up dropping it. It didn't stop us from being together all the time, or being goofy. She had this wild side, this personality I just Loved being around.

I don't use the phrase, "Best Friend" lightly, but we quickly became Best Friends. This was us dressed for Marching Band performace for Halloween 1994.

She kept telling me I should date Eric. HA! I told her, Pashaw. But when a few more friends told me, I mentioned it to her, and she kept telling me, yelling at me really. She was hard to say No to. Then she set up this terribly teenage angst thing, well, Eric and I started dating. We were a big group, we paired off and began dating. Kelly and Jason didn't work out, but they tried. Here are Eric and I, and Jason and Kelly. But in this photo we were getting ready for a hot dinner date and Christmas at the Zoo, before all going home for the holidays.

Christmas 1994, at the Tri Delt house. They made exceptions for Kelly for the no freshman rule.

She was going to join as soon as Open Rush kicked in. She knew she wanted to be in our house. We had told a number of our friends not to bother with Formal Rush if they knew they wanted our house. Unbeknownst to us, there was an edict out, that the day that we got 0 rushees was the day we closed our doors. I told Kelly to save her money and spend her break at home. She worked in a coffee shop (this was before Starbucks went so national) and wanted to work. We got 0 Rushees and They shut us down.
Kelly and I lived in separate dorms the next year, and we lost touch. She joined the Flag Corp in Band. I was trying my darndest not to get my butt kicked out of Pharmacy school, so there wasn't as much after hours play as there had been my sophomore year. She had been having physical problems, her lupus was flaring up, and there were a few emotional ones to go along with it. (I guess another good thing is that she didn't have to suffer like so many can with that disease, she went fast.) We each took a semester off in Spring 96. I came back to Butler, and she didn't. She transferred up to Western Michigan and finished a degree in lighting design. She was living back in Chicago, and though we emailed periodically, it was hard to keep in touch. She came down a couple times, I went up a couple times, it just wasn't quite the same. Yet, when we got together, we would laugh and tell stories, and it was a little like old times. Without the sleep deprivation. We weren't quite Best Friends anymore, but we were Friends. We will always be Friends.

We kept in touch and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. Always laughing and smiling. She was beautiful.

She had a beautiful heart. She found God when she moved back home, and joined a church that in which she was finally comfortable, Willow Creek. She used her gifts in Lighting Design to help with services. She volunteered with the kids. She used her gifts in the kitchen to help out, and eventually was starting her own catering business. She met a boy named Steve Rossi at the church, and they got along so swimmingly, it became clear he was The One for her. We flew from L.A. out to Chicago for their wedding in 2000.

I think they lived happily ever after. She was the first Barrista I ever knew, she was whipping up beverages before Starbucks went national working for Gloria Jean's in college. She was determined to find some drink for me, content that I enjoyed her Fancy Cocoas. After marrying, she part timed helping out at Church and she was working at Starbucks part time too.

The Last time I saw Kelly in person, besides on Facebook, was in November of 2006. Chris was 10 months old, and Eric had been sent up to Chicago for a Microsoft Conference, and we tagged along. It was only 2 days or three days, but one evening we went to Kelly and Steve's for dinner. That was the last time I saw her in person.

And now she's gone.

Kelly, you were my friend, for a while my Best Friend, but always a Good Friend. I'm sorry that I wasn't a better friend to you. But I know where you are now, no longer in pain, but happy forever, and with your Father. I'll miss you Kelly.