Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Almost Birthday


My father in law turns 65 at the end of September.  And my mother in law isn't going to be around.  She's going to Florida for a month.  So she decided to have a birthday party for him early.  And that was after church today.   I was happy to see that there were a good few dozen family members and friends that made the trip out for Dad.

It was a good showing.  Though Dad's not one for presents, or cake, or all the schmultz, it was just what he wanted.  Fam, sitting around, snacking, talking, and enjoying the cuteness.  I wanted to make him a cake or something, but I didn't have time.  He told me he like Sugar Cream Pie.  So I went to go buy one.  But it turns out, a. there's a 'season' for sugar cream pies in Indiana, and the end of August ain't it.  b. But you can buy frozen sugar cream pies.  Although I didn't realize this until after the third store, so Dad got a frozen pie, and no candle in it to blow out.  Well, it will just fall to us to spoil him a bit come the end of September.  I mean, come on, what is turning 65 if not a reason to have two birthday celebrations!

But anyway, we got to enjoy Quality Time with the cuteness and the fam.

Our nephew Cole, who is 8 months old.  And such a sweetie.  He loved chewing on my necklace and bracelet. And I was totally ok with that.  He's teething, so if a nice beaded bracelet gives him some relief, I'm good.   

And my boys were pretty sweet playing with each other too. 

Sam and Jake are learning to play well together.  
Both Chris and Sam are becoming really great big brothers.  

Chris and Jake almost play 'Don't sit on the mountain'.  

The Chambers "kids".  Mom, Uncle Bill, and Aunt Teri. 
I was able to snap a pic of them together before UB hit the road.  

Then we went to Mom and Dad's to watch the latest episode of Outlander. 
And we sucked Erica into it too.  I hope she enjoyed it as much as we did.  
After Outlander, Dad wanted to do dinner together.  
So we all packed up and walked back to our cars.

Sam walked with his Godparents, Erica and Karl.  

And the rest of my boys walked with Daddy.  
We were a crazy crew.  We'd gone to chuch in the morning, and just never come home.  

Dad chose Bagger Dave's.  
I like their food.  And turns out so does Jacob.  He liked the sweet potato chips.  So much so, that he ended up flipping the bag over.  And his look of puzzled disappointment after flipping the bag of chips was really humorous to us.  Yeah Babe, you made a big mess.  That's ok, we all do. 

The Scout Super Soaker


It's taken us a while to get back in the groove after being gone a week.  But this week we found our groove.  We were even doing so well as to kick it up a notch.   Now that we've been home a few days and found our groove, and feeling the joy of a three day weekend, we could begin to resume normal type activities.

And one thing that Christopher requested at the beginning of summer was to become a Cub Scout.
So we attended one activity, and he had such a great time, we signed him up.  There were a couple random things that they did over the summer, but we weren't available to participate in any of them.  Then yesterday we were.  They had the Scout Super Soaker, also known as a Playdate at the Ellis Park pool.  It was from 7-9 or something.  It was also only 75 degrees outside.  So it had been in the 90s all week, but then it got cool.  But that didn't stop the boys from wanting to go swimming.

On the drive to Danville, Chris was unsure what to expect at the place we were going swimming.  He asked, is it like a Water Park, or like a Body of Water (pool).  I didn't know.  As we pull up, and he sees sprinkler things, and a pool, and waterslides, "Mommy, It's BOTH!  It's a Water Park AND a Body of Water!"  Oh man, he was stoked.  And Sam, Sam was Thrilled just to be able to participate too. 

The pool had a semi-lazy river, that you could just kind of walk through with a small current, then there were a couple tiny whirlpools off the side of the lazy river.  The kids loved popping into them.  And Sam rode turtle back.  We met friends there, and we had a great time.  

Even though it was Cold.  That didn't really stop the kids from playing until they were blue.  


The boys wanted to come out, then they didn't, then they did, and then they didn't.  
They were so cold.  They didn't want to end the fun. 

I took Jake out, and warmed up a bit. He was my bitty buschka snuggle bug.  Daddy eventually got tired of the rigamerole and they got out.  Then they lost their minds after they were dressed because they'd had such fun they wanted to go back in.  It really was fun.  I have high hopes for this organization.  They seem really neat, and well organized.  We've only just begun and Chris is having a wonderful time.  

Hope you all like Boy Scout Popcorn, because Chris will be selling it in the fall! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vicious Pit Face


Some people think that a Pit Bull mix breed dog is Vicious.
I say to them  HA!
It's all about the owner.   Our Princess was not treated well before we got her.  And she would have had every reason to be vicious.  But she's not.  She's just a lover.  She knows she's lucky to be here, and are lucky to have her.  She has had it pretty cushy since moving in with us.  Even more so when my cousin Suzy used to dog sit for her.  I hear rumors that Suzy liked to take her to Arby's for sandwiches.  Uh huh.  That explains why she thought she could just run out and get in the car with us wherever we went after we returned.  She got a little spoiled.  But she deserves a little spoilage.  She is a Good Dog.  She puts up with a lot.

She puts up with small boys trying to ride her like she was a pony.  And all she does is look at us like Help Mama.   But she has yet to snip or snap anywhere near Jacob.  And he hits her, and chases her, and can be loud enough to scare her.  But she's not vicious with him at all.  If she doesn't like how she's being treated, she gets up and walks away. She knows he's just a baby, and she'll be so good to him.  She'll curl up on the couch next to the bigger boys too.  She is so good with the kids.  

She may claw and chew doors, pee on couches, and eat croc shoes, but she is So Good with the kids.   She's my good girl.  

This Face


Thursday was a rough day for me.  I had invited someone over to share my testimony about Essential Oils.  I got so frustrated.  This 'friend' spent half her visit cruising through fb on her phone, in my home, while I was talking.  When I got fed up enough enough that I just stopped talking and waited for her to finish, she looked up at me.  "Oh yeah, you don't text.  You're so lucky."  Excuse me!?!  I am just not so rude as to waste someone else's time by cruising on my phone in their presence.  I actually now have the capability to text.  I just don't.  When I am home, I have fb open, or my blog, and I keep online there, but when I am around others,  I'm not online.  I really thought I could help her, by sharing the gift that essential oils have become to me.  In sharing them, and working with some of my other family and friends, we've been able to use their healing to help each other.  But this person was not open to listening.  And that was really upsetting.  She wasn't just not listening to my oil story, that I can understand, some folks are just not into it, but not even listening to me at all.  What a waste of my time.  My time is just as valuable as yours, even if I don't hold a job outside the home, and if I choose to give you the gift of my time, you should at least have the decency to respect that, and leave the phone connection to other people at the door to spend time with me.  I've set aside time for them!  But you know, I get the impression some folks don't care about my time.  I don't get a whole lot of child free time, and if I choose to give it to someone, it is a very precious gift indeed, and frankly, if friends online is all they want, that's all they can be, I don't think I'll be spending a whole lot more in person time with them.  Like I said, it was a rough day for me.  

After she left though, I realized, I have someone with me, who does value my time.  Someone small and wonderful who wants to be with me all the time.  This person sometimes drive me nuts because he doesn't want to be out of my reach.  But he also has the most beautiful smile and laugh.  

This Face.

So, yes, Jacob values my time and my attention, he and my family deserve my focus, much more than the some hypothetical, hypocritical, online community.  And it frustrates me so, that I think I need to be trimming down my online lifestyle to focus on people in Real Life.

Mr. Big Stuff


I have a friend who helps me out.  She comes and cleans our home every couple of weeks.  We never intended to keep having help after I was pregnant, or while I was sick, but really, she's become a member of the family.  She loves my kids and even my dog.  She spoils us with her love.   and smoochies.  When she's not in a rush, we can get in danger of yapping too much.  She came over on Wednesday and we got to yapping.   Jacob came over and brought me his crocs.  He does that now.  It's his new trick.   Well, the first time he did so, I put them on him and took him outside.  It was 90 degrees, but he Clearly wanted to go outside, so I rewarded him for bringing me my shoes.  While I was talking to S, I didn't want to go outside.  I gave them back to him and told him to put them away.  He did, and I was so distracted yucking it up with S, I didn't notice him come back. Suddenly, S looks up at him, and starts yelling, He Put His Shoes on HIMSELF!  

And Oh my word, he surely did! 

So, I had to get my own shoes on and take him outside.  Not only was I tremendously proud of him, but he was rather proud of himself.  

So we all piled outside.  
And Mr. Big Stuff decided to let himself out the front door.  He didn't want me holding his hand to do it, or carrying him.  Oh now, suddenly he's big boy!

His brothers weren't home from school yet.  
So he had the whole porch, and all the sticks on it to himself.  
So, as soon as he got outside, he took off playing on the porch. 

Mr. Big Stuff is pretty proud of himself.  
He walks tall, AND carries a big stick. 

He walked to the edge of the porch, so I zipped down there to stay close to him. I thought I might try taking a picture or two of the hostas in bloom on the north side of the house.  Then I saw this. 
The biggest bumblebee I've ever seen!  
This thing was really scary.  

But I was able to get a nifty shot or two of the hostas.  
Then I got too scared of that bee, and we went inside.  Still, I got a big kick out of my sweet baby as Mr. Big Stuff, putting on his own shoes and taking on the bumbles.



I have been very Grateful to my friends that get in touch with me, and force me to get off my bum.  
Last year, we formed a group, BAM!, Butler Alumni Moms.  Well, at least, that's kind of what we say.  But we fell a bit off the wagon in meeting regularly last winter/spring.  When Jill wrote, to get us in gear and resume, her timing couldn't have come at a better time.  I've missed these ladies.  And now our friend Amy is back in town too, she joined the group.  Kat missed out for a small child with an illness, she was kind enough to keep the cooties to themselves.  But it was such a different dynamic now that Jacob and Josie are on the move together.   They almost are kind of playing together, or at least watching each other warily.  But they warmed up to each other.  Jacob had fun playing toys, throwing things and yelling Doh!  And then when she brought out the slide, he slowly tried climbing it.  Of course, once he got to the top, he couldn't really do much once he got there.  And he'd gripe, and demand to be rescued.  They were all rather entertaining.  It will be good to resume our group again.  

It exhausted Jacob.  I let him have the phone all the way home, so that we could get a good nap.  That worked out.  

After naps, and just before the big boys got home from school, my friend Kristen brought over our Mary Kay goodies.  How nifty that she had the stash at her home already! I was always terrible about keeping a stash.  She also was having a cupcake problem.  The problem was... that she had some.  So she brought some over to me, and there were enough for the boys.  And when they got home and saw cupcakes with their favorite colors, (There was a green one, perfect for Sam, and one with blue, perfect for Chris) It made their day!

Sugared and colored up!  
Some boys were happy with cupcakes.  
And BAM!  I could tell Exactly when the sugar kicked in, they went a little crazy.  
But they sure can be awfully cute and kind of sweet when hyped up on sugar.  I just have to watch out for the crash.

Someone had so much cupcake and icing that his lips and teeth were turning blue!

Can you tell Green is Sam's favorite color?

Oh ho!  Jacob wants some cupcakes too!  
He only got pinches of cake, I kept the icing minimal to non-existent for him.  
Still cake made him happy.

It made me happy too, to be with friends.  All that time with family last week was good, but I'm pretty darn Blessed with some Good Friends too.

By Gum


By Gum, I'm going to get caught up on Blogging!  But Monday morning seemed more rough than many others.   Yes, I did have a case of the Mondays. I didn't have a chance to do much, I just wanted to caught up on blogging about our 'adventures', if I could.   And I really didn't feel like doing much.

But Jacob is my Blessing.  My Blessing and my Baby.  And he doesn't let me just sit and do nothing and be sad.  He makes me move...and get dressed.  Well, that and my friend Amy needed a book I had, so I did get dressed, leave the house, and swap out books for Book Club.  We also talked, and that was just nice.  Just when I think I want to hide out in a hole all day, my friends and family pull me out, and that is good.

One great thing about this day.  Jacob has figured out how to maneuvre on the stairs.  He goes up, and he can go down.  I'm not entirely sure that I'm ready for him to go both ways all the time, so we'll still be locking the gate.  But he learned how to go down steps while we were in New York, and now he's putting the skills to practice.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Made Over...Again


My friend Kristen came over again on Sunday and we had a Mary Kay Party!

Mom, my sister in law Erica, my friends Angela and Jamie all came out.  

And it was so nice.  I made some lavender lemonade, since I didn't think we'd want to snack much or anything, and we chatted, and we got to get girly.  I really am loving getting all dolled up and feeling pretty. I feel like I haven't taken any time to develop myself or take care of myself until recently.  And if I don't take care of myself, even just a little bit, how am I going to take care of others.  I want my boys brought up to want to take care of themselves AND others too.  So it's a fine line to walk.   

But we had a great visit.  All are Moms and we bonded over that, understandably so, because we generally don't take the time to pamper ourselves.  We did Satin  Hands, and I left out a few Essential Oils to try on with the scent free lotion if they wanted.   I tried the Bergamot, and I'm really finding I just love it's limey light floral scent, not super citrusy, but just enough.  And it was good to get girly.
Afterwards, Eric and I had schemed to run away for a Girl's Night Out.  We were all made up, and we weren't going to have Nowhere to go, so were going to go.  We invited the other gals, but Mom W was the only one to take us up on it.   Frankly, to be without children, I didn't care what we did.  Eric had taken the boys over to Ryan's to go for a swim.  And Karl had taken Cole over to play with Grandpa, while Mom and Erica came to my house to play.  Eric called just as our party was ending, and I decided to send him over to his Dad's to have a Boys Night Out and all of them could eat dinner together, while we had dinner together.  They went to BDubs.  It took us quite a while to decide.  But when Mom said, well, we could go for Sushi.  We jumped on that!  So we three girls went out to Hirosaki and got drinkies and sushi, we each picked 2 rolls, and shared them.   But I felt so fancy, having sushi and drinkies with the girls, just like times before kids. 

When we met back at Mom and Dad's house, the boys were all exhausted, so was I. Everyone had a wonderful time.  And we'd needed some joy.  It was so refreshing to have a Girls Night In and Out.   I may need to do that more often!  

Sweeter Skies


What do you see?

It's a random squash, right?
Well, not exactly.  This is a squash my cousin brought me, when she dog sat for us a couple weeks before she died.  I didn't know what to do with it then.  I hadn't thrown it away, because I guessed that Eric would have pulled it out and made some magic with it.  But there was no time.  It's been a whacky month.  And then we lost Suzy.  And then we came home, and I was cleaning up from the carnage of travel and I came across this squash on the island.  I can't throw it away.  My Suz gave it to me.  It was the last thing she gave me.  I don't have any idea what I'm going to do with a random squash.  Eric thinks maybe just let it dry out, and become a gourd, that we can just keep on display.  Maybe.   But who else looks at a random squash and wants to cry?  Or hug a squash? Seriously, I have to stop getting teary about a squash.  

I don't get teary about everything.  At least I'm not getting teary about the flowers that we got from Grandpa's funeral dying.  He had some really beautiful bouquets.  And the boys took samples that they wanted to keep.  We got a couple yellow lilies, and some blue and white carnations, that made a really pretty bouquet for the kitchen.  

I took this picture as my picture of the day, because I was bound and determined to Go Nowhere on Saturday and Do Nothing.   I was "mad and sad, and thinking about things that I never had".  And being so sad and blah, I didn't want to do anything.  But there was so much to be done.  At least, I was able to not leave the house.  It was a kind of blah sort of day, and it looked like it wanted to rain all afternoon.  But it didn't hit until Right when Eric was pulling the Sahlen's hot dogs off the grill.  If you have to make a horrible trip to NY, at least we can bring back hot dogs and lingonberry, and make something yummy out of it.   Then it Poured!  After dinner, I noticed the neighborhood turned pink. 

And I went outside.  

Yes, I actually left the house, but only to walk around out front and back, to see the crazy colors in the sky.  I was thinking there should be a rainbow.  I love rainbows.  It's like God is saying Hi.  But I also have a theory.  My running theory on rainbows, if the weather is Just Right for a rainbow, and I can't see one, it's because it's right over my head.  Because I am certainly Blessed with more than a pot of gold.  And God tells me that too.  

This was the view out the back door.  
The sky was peach, pink and purple.  This is totally unadulterated.

And the view from the front porch. 
Even the street looks pink. 

As the sun sets. 
The view from our driveway right down the street.  I kind of love the way the trees are growing and merging.  I know the squirrels love it too, because they hop from one to the other all the time.  But I can't see the sun anymore, just the glow.  The glow is gorgeous though.

This was the best one of all.  This is the Queen Elizabeth rose that Eric got me for anniversary this past year.   Just beautiful.  And with the slight splash of raindrops, it was gorgeous, and so was the evening,  and it took away some of the sting of the week. 

Fare thee well, Grandpa


Last Friday morning was Grandpa Willman's funeral.

We had to be at the church pretty early, so that we could set up.   Somehow I ended up being the only person with a video camera and a tripod.  So I wanted to get there in time to set up.  While I was setting up, Jacob and the big boys ran around, playing with their cousins.  

The 'boys' practiced their trumpets too.  

Grandpa had wanted a trumpet quintet of Taps played at his funeral.  Eric's cousin, and brothers both play trumpet, as well as his Dad, and Uncle.  Eric was the weirdo of the Willmans by choosing saxophone. ;) About 10 years ago, Dad made an arrangement of Taps intro to the National Anthem, and Grandpa had gotten to hear it at his 90th birthday party in 2006.  But, when it came right down to it, the boys (Dad and Uncle Jon) didn't think they could go through it.  I don't blame them.  I have been able to sing in a group at the funerals for our grandparents, but I don't think I could blubber though playing an instrument without cracking.   So, they decided to use a video of the Anthem, and then have the cousins play an intro of Jesus Christ is Risen Today, which actually sounded wonderful.  

I love that Willman Family funerals are full of music and Joy.  It may sound weird that I say a funeral is full of joy.  But by coming literally from a tragic surprise like Suzy's death and funeral had been, coming to Grandpa's, well, he was 98, he'd led a full life, and in the grand scheme of deaths and suffering, his end had been pretty quick.  He'd only been in pain for a few days, they gave him morphine for the first time Monday, and he had slept a lot during the week, but felt good enough to go for a haircut on Wednesday, but then he was gone by Friday.  They had some notice he wasn't doing well on Friday, so Jon and clan had gone to spend the evening with him.  They said their goodbyes for the evening, and he passed away before they got home.  He didn't want or need to linger, he had Better Places to be.  And that's the thing, this funeral was a great celebration of where we knew Grandpa was now, back with Grandma in heaven.  Grandpa was a Faith Filled man, and although not the most outspoken of his Faith, it was a part of daily like, and we knew and he knew where he was headed.  

Our cousin Sean is a Pastor now, and he gave the sermon for the service.  Earlier in the week, in NY they used the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead at Suzy's service.  I thought it an odd choice to talk about all of Jesus' miracles, when here Suzy died.  If we were gonna talk about Miracles, let's get Suzy back, eh?!  But Sean took the same passage (it was a Sign!) and ran in a different direction, a much better direction.  The bible tells us Jesus wept at the news that even Jesus was sad at the loss of his friend, just as we are sad at the loss of Grandpa.  We will miss him.  But we weren't made to die. Jesus had the power over the grave.  He raised Lazarus.  So then Lazarus got up and went to Jerusalem with Jesus, and it was a Party when they arrived, yeah, Palm Sunday.  And then Jesus turned around and Raised Himself from the grave a week later.   It was like, Lazarus's death was the last one that Jesus or any of us needed to worry about, because once Jesus' job was done.   And we don't need to worry about Grandpa, or Suzy, because we Know where they are.  They knew Jesus, and they have gone to see him.  We never need worry about Death, ever again, because Jesus went before us.

Can I have an Amen! 


Now, why couldn't they have said that in NY when my sister needed to hear it.  I felt so comforted by Sean's sermon.  Sure, we cried.  We laughed.  We remembered with love how Grandpa would make us laugh. He loved his kids and grandkids, and although he was not a man of many words, you knew when he cleared his throat to speak to all of us, it was going to be important.  There was always a hush when Grandpa stood to speak.   He had a commanding presence, and the whole family respected him  But at the same time, he was loving.  I'll miss that.    The children brought him Joy.  He loved being around the boys; there were a couple rare occasions a few years back, I got to zip up to Marion without any kids, and well, Grandpa demanded to know where the kids were.  I learned my lesson. I brought the boys.   It made me smile when the kids would go tearing through a room, and he'd just smile at them.  Their noise never made him upset or angry.  Well, he couldn't hear it anyway.  We had to Yell at him, Bang on the door when we visited, repeat everything, but mostly he was content to just be in a room with his family.  He loved doing puzzles, being surrounded by them.  For his birthday this year, he got 5 new big puzzles as a gift.  One would think that he would have done them in his little hospital-ish room one at a time - Nope - he had one opened on the bed, one opened on the table, one on a chair... No surface was left uncovered by puzzles.  I remember going to their old place, and seeing half complete puzzles on multiple tv trays, and I was so worried Chris would knock down one of those trays.  Grandpa never minded though.  

These were the last pictures I have of Grandpa, at his 98th birthday party just before Easter.
Christopher volunteered to "help" him open his presents.  

Grandpa had his own ways about things.  He was proud of his Service, but he didn't like the Marion VA, so for the longest time, he would have Aunt Betty and the cousins drive him to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for doctor's appointments.  He insisted on it.  And as Grandma pointed out long ago, you don't mess with the Colonel.   He liked twinkies, and gardening, and golf, and clothes that he had worn for 30 years.  It was nothing to see him in maroon pants hoisted up above his belly button, and a green shirt.  And the socks...oh the socks!    He wore all manner of crazy socks.  All of them probably 30 years old.  When we arrived at the viewing, the cousins began to ponder and discuss. What sort of socks was Grandpa wearing in that casket: green? orange?  The world may never know. 

Right before the Service, Aunt Betty brought out some pairs of Grandpa's socks. 
The pall bearers were allowed to put on a pair of Grandpa's socks.   The colors were awesome, the elastic practically shot on a couple.  Travis's were anklets.  And Karl's had a red stripe along the top, like socks my Dad used to wear in the 80s.  But Grandpa would not have spent money on new ones, or asked for then, when these were still 'perfectly good'.  It's a sign of the generation.  And I love it.  

And I loved it even more when the boys put Grandpa's socks on, to honor him, and his brassy taste.  
It takes a rare man to rock avocado green, or orange socks in a blue or grey suit.  

All the pallbearers.  
We were debating what the verb form would be?  Pallbearing?  
Travis declared it Bearing Pall.   

We had a mighty handsome crew:  Eric, his brother Karl, cousins Travis, Kyle, Simon, and his brother Ryan, I know it's weird to take pictures at a funeral. But at the same time, we're all together, and how often does that happen?  Our boys all clean up pretty good.  

My boys did pretty well too.  
Jacob fell asleep on Eric's shoulder (I'm pretty sure Eric has magic shoulders) during the service, and was so mellow when it was done, he even let Grandma hold him.  He really is getting better at learning that lots of people love him, and it's ok to let them do so.  

We got a big kick out of the next generation.  Now Eric's Dad is the oldest son, so that puts him as Grandpa, the patriarch, of our group anyway, though technically, there are some cousins that are older.  In fact, cousin Tom's daughter Peg came over, and she said her Dad was making demands of someone or other, and she said, "He's taking his new job of Patriarch, and letting it go to his head!"  But no one had the job of Patriarch down like Grandpa (Wilbur Willman).  I get sad to see how the band may break up.  I'm already scheming some kind of giant family reunion trip.  Anyway, I got a big kick at the after funeral luncheon at the church, of seeing our generation loving on the next generation.  Chris went through the line with his Grandpa.  And the next thing I know, I see Dad sitting at a table surrounded by kids.  Yup, the next generation Grandpa, sitting at the kid's table.  Not bothered at all by the noise or the crazy, just like his pa.  And really, my boys were doing a wonderful job.  I actually got to talk to some Fam, because Chris and Sam were having such a great time with their own cousins.   

Aunt Kitty (Katie) and her niece Tula, who is only 7 months older than Jacob, and they are catching up. Tula calls Katie Kitty or KiKi.  I love it.  I would be known by Kitty forever if that's what my niece called me.  I have been Cafry, Cafee, and Aunty Cathy and I wear those names as a badge of honor.  

After the luncheon, we all filed out, got in our cars and drove to the cemetary, which was some 20 minutes away in Hartford City.  That's where the Willmans were from.  Back in the day, they had a store, and the storefront read The Willmanns.  I want to say that was Wilbur's grandfather's store, but I'm not sure, his Uncles would know.  Anyway, all the clan, both Willman and Willmann are buried in Hartford City.  So we went out there. His name was already on the stone next to Grandma, but the ground was slushy, they'd gotten 11 inches of rain the night before, and the cars had to drive all wonky around the cemetary to avoid floods.   And apparently, the ground wasn't holding.  So they put  Grandpa at the top of the hill, under his own space, not necesarily where he was going to end up.  They were going to try again on Saturday to get him into the ground, but the funeral home just set up their tent and chairs and stuff on top of the hill.  It was actually really lovely.  And no one had to fear falling in a hole while walking near the casket.  

My mother in law took this picture with her phone at the end of Jacob by the casket, with the caption, Circle Of Life.  Yeah.  

The service at the graveside was Beautiful.  Since Grandpa Willman was a WWII Veteran, a Lt. Col. in the Air Force, he qualified for Burial with Honors.  So the local Honor Guard came out.  A Half dozen men and woman and dress blues.  They beared arms, saluted, and there was a trumpeter a 100 yards away that played taps.  I videotaped that too.   It was funny, even though Grandpa was gone, there was something quiet and solemn and almost holy about being there, and even the kids knew it.  At first Chris and Sam started to mumble about how hot it was (like 90 with 98% humidity) but when the trumpet played, all was quiet.  It was neat.  It made me think of what my own Grandpa, Grandpa Jim's funeral would have been like in Arlington Cemetery.  I hadn't been able to make that service as we'd just had Chris and all that entailed.  But this small Honor Guard shot their guns in respect of Grandpa, and they even had a tiny cannon.  Pastor warned it the cannon was coming, but that didn't stop me from jumping sky high when it went off.  And me, holding the video camera.  Dollie Beth later said I had the Best Startle Reflex of all us.  I bet.  Even though they warned us, like I said, I jumped sky high.  It was Loud!  Bone shaking.  No wonder vets ears go bad, they deal with those guns and cannons and all kinds of noise.  Disconcerting.  Then they folded up the flag that had lay drapped over Grandpa's casket.  You know how they fold it up so it's in a tight, flag triangle.  Well, then they walked over to Dad and presented it to him.  That got me.  I thought they'd pick the oldest person there, which would have been Dollie Beth, but no, it went to Dad.  I don't know why it surprised me, it just did.  
There wasn't a dry eye in the house when they presented the flag to Dad, and they said something to him, I found out later it was, "On behalf of the President of the United States, and the Department of Defense, we Thank You for your Service."  

I still get a bit teary.  60 years after he left the Service, they are still grateful.  So are we all.  And I'm Thankful that they show it, especially for the family.

After the service was over, and we were milling about in the hot cemetery, I suggested that our family stop in Upland at Ivanhoe's on the way to the cookout that Uncle Dean and Aunt Jan were having.  It's not really on the way, a bit north to go south.  But they have the longest lists of sundaes and milkshakes you ever saw.  It's So Good!  And you can spend all day choosing your flavor, because they have Everything.  We stopped and spent about 20 minutes thinking.  Sam wanted green - so mint chip it was.  Chris wanted plain chocolate.  It was Eric and I that had trouble.  I ended up with snicker bar in chocolate.  And I picked for Eric - High Noon, orange and vanilla swirled, topped with pineapple topping and a cherry.  His ended up being the best one of all.  Jacob loved sampling them all.  He screamed at us something fierce, when we put him in his bucket while we continued to drive along and slurp our milkshakes.  Maybe he is mine after all.   

Then Eric and Jake crashed during the drive to Noblesville.  I don't blame them, I would have taken a nap too if I could have, but then there would have been no one to drive.  

Once we got to Uncle Dean and Aunt Jan's, I think we spent an hour in their family room just watching the babies interact.  We have 6 kids under 2 someone pointed out.  And Jeremiah, Jacob, James, and Cole all within 9 months of each other.  They were a lot of fun to watch interact.  They are just beginning to notice other kids, and want to play.   The played catch.  It was hard to tell who was having more fun - the kids or the grownups.  Yeah, the grownups.  Those kids are all So Cute! 

After supper, we caught Sean crashing with little Rudy.  I love this.  

The cousins went outside to play.  It was too warm for me, I was too hot and tired to hang outdoors too much, but I loved seeing them go back to their roots, and pickup some sort of game.  It wasn't horsehoes, or football, in fact, I have no idea what game it was.  But it made me smile to see them play, just like old times.  

And the next generation gets serious outdoors.  I've never Seen Sam go up this high and not flip out.  But he was up and down this ladder a zillion times.  They didn't drink enough, and their cheeks were all red, especially Sam.  On the way home, he still wasn't drinking, and he started complaining his tummy hurt.  I hoped he wasn't going to puke. All this travel, and we'd been Blessed with no one puking yet.  So we pulled over, and I dumped cool water on his head, neck, and down his throat.  I wasn't very kind, but he cooled down quick.  Then I put some peppermint on his neck, and gave him the peppermint roll-on just to smell for the rest of the way home.  It worked.  

An eventful Rainy day


Thursday, we were going to be headed to Marion for Grandpa Willman's Viewing and the funeral on Friday.   So, we return from one trip, to load up and go for another.  The boys were fine the day before, but by lunchtime, it was clear, they needed their routines back.  So Thursday morning, we sent them to school for the half day.  I was up very early, and couldn't go back to sleep for the storm. It was pouring down rain, so the boys put their raincoats on as they ran for the bus.  They barely fit them still.   

After loading up the car, we got dressed for the viewing and headed to the boys' school, to have lunch with the boys, and take them home.  

First, we went to Sam's class.  
And we saw this self-portrait outside his classroom.  
She'd taken a picture of him which was rather entertaining.  

We'd arrived a bit early for Sam's lunch, they were still doing some finishing up of their english work, so we lurked outside the door, and got to see Sam finishing up.  Parents and a baby brother can be very distracting in a classroom, and we didn't want to disturb.  We made Sam's day by having lunch with him.  He picked 2 friends that are girls from his class P and B to join us for lunch.   And turns out I don't mind school cafeteria food.  They have a small salad bar now, that's not too shabby.  

We had about 15 minutes before Sam's lunch ended and Chris's began.  So we went to the office for the elevator keys and got to go up to Chris's class. We found this t-shirt project outside the classroom on the wall.  We were invited in, and when we went in, they were all doing an earth science project on the sun.  Chris was just reading, since it was apparently a group project, and we'd missed most of the group time by being gone all week.  That was ok though, Chris was able to give back a good chunk of the work we'd missed, and pick up some more, so that even though we'd be gone the better part of a week, he wasn't missing too much, he was staying pretty caught up.  I was pretty proud of him.  

He was pretty proud to be able to wear the elevator key, and escort us out.  He opted not to stay and have lunch, but for us to go get Sam from recess, and head up to Marion, he had his lunch he could eat in the car.  So we hit the road and headed north.  

I'm very proud of the boys and how they handled just popping in for one half day during an entire week.  They both do better with the routine.  But I'm proud that they were following up and trying to stay current with their class.  I have some very smart boys.  Seeing them do normal things helps heal my heart too. 

It was a blissfully brief drive to Marion.  And the hotel there was much nicer, one of Eric's second cousins, Matt Willman is a manager at the Comfort Suites there, so he reserved us a wing of rooms at a discounted funeral rate.  No exploding toilets, no strangers walking in on us as we exit the shower, and 2 queens and a foldout couch.  Perfect.  Cousin Matt took good care of us all. It was funny checking in, because the desk clerks would ask, name, Willman.  So many Willmans, so little time.  

It was good to see everyone.  It really was.  I hate that this was what brought us together, but it was good to just have some time to talk to folks, to laugh and tell stories, and to reminisce.  

When we got to the viewing, there were all kinds of really neat memorabilia out for Grandpa. 
Scrapbook pages.  
His memoirs, that the kids and cousins had all worked together to type up, the story is officially called "The Autobiography of Wilbur Willman or The Farm Boy Grows Up" by Wilbur Willman.  I didn't get to read the whole thing, but it was good.  One of of Eric's cousins took pictures of Grandpa's entire golf ball collection, and put them into books.  There were nearly 3000 golfballs.  
I looked those books, and just got teary.  Each ball had a story, it may have been from a game he shot, or a gift from someone who loved him.  That's a lot of little love stories. 

Something I will always love about Grandpa Willman was his patient way around little kids.  They always brought him great joy, he'd get a special twinkle in his eye each time he met a new member of the family.  Each of my boys loved to steal his cane and try to run off with it.  And he'd just sit back and smile.  He got such a kick out of kids just being kids.  He loved being outdoors, and seeing the kids go out and play.  The cousins loved and still love to go toss a football around, or whatever other thing one could toss.   He was an avid gardner, putzing around in a garden until his 97th summer.  This had been the first year he hadn't been healthy enough to tend to it.  It was his idea of Good Times to just sit in the living room.  He was deaf as could be, so their noise didn't bother him, but he loved to see them having fun.  And family get-togethers, well, they were always fun for the littles.  In my mind, he was the kind of Grandpa everyone wished they could have.  Eric was very Blessed with his Grandparents.  I tell you, Heaven is a very lucky place.    

It occurs to me, it's the End of an Era.  I guess as long as Grandpa was with us, we'd still be going up to Marion, and the cousins would all play, and we'd all eat well, and the menfolk would all fall asleep smiling on the couch, not listening to the kids be all crazy around them.  Geez, I'm going to miss that. 

And yet, as I sit, getting teary, all the cousins of the next generation, go running around the funeral home, playing, and having a good time, just being together.  We have 6 Willman kids under age 2 right now.  Grandpa had 4 children, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren!  It may have been the end of an era, but the fun goes on.

My boys were having fun playing with their cousins. 
It's a little blurry, but cousin Tula was playing with Jacob.  It was a lot less noticeable this visit that there is only 6 months between them.  

Christopher performed his Karate kata for Uncle Bill, who he just learned was a Shihan.   

The viewing was 4 hours, from 4-8, and the family was there at 3, so they could have some personal time.  So it was a long evening.  Blessedly, cousin Dollie Beth and Aunt Betty had put out plenty of snacks, so the kids (and a fair few of the grownups) could sneak into the lounge and have a bite to eat.  No hangry mamas at this family get together!  And I'd brought the dvd player, so the kids could watch cartoons if they wanted.  They did.  They watched lots of Batman: Brave and Bold.  That's Chris's favorite.   About 7, they boys started to show signs of wearing down.  They started to lose their minds because they wanted to go swimming in the hotel pool.  I decided to take a break from the viewing, and take the big boys back over for a swim break.  I'd done the math, and we wouldn't be back until late, then eating dinner after, and the funeral was at 10 the next morning.  It wasn't going to happen, unless I made it happen.  So I took them over for a swim and left Eric with the baby.  It was exactly what we needed for refreshment, nice cool water, and laughing.  I had both of them playing with me, playing tag, swimming underwater.  Then 5 minutes before I had planned on getting out, it started to storm, so they had to close the pool, because of the glass moveable panels windows or something.  That was fine, we needed to get back to the viewing anyway.  But we walked back over as it started to rain.  I didn't mind, my hair was already wet from the pool anyway.

After the viewing ended, the Willman kids, and grandkids, and even a couple of the great-grandkids all practiced singing When Peace Like a River.  There were easy 30 of us singing.  And man, it's a gift to be a part of this family, to be surrounded by their musicality.  Even though there were some moist eyes, it was Beautiful.  

I could have been perfectly content to go home right then and there, but there was more beauty to come in saying farewell to Grandpa the next day.  

After the viewing, we all headed back to the hotel.  By that time, it was Pouring down rain.  Good thing the hotel was right next door.  But we walked, so we were dashing across in the rain, I was holding the big boys hands, screaming/singing Singing in the Rain as loud as I could, so they didn't upset at the thunder, lightning, and pouring down rain in the dark.  I ended up laughing it was so silly.  We were all soaked.  So we changed our clothes, back into the kids school stuff, and went down the hall to the conference room.  The Willmans had taken over the conference room for dinner.  Mom and Dad had chosen Pizza King pizza and BW3 Wings.  Eric pointed out that we may have inadvertantly started a new tradition this summer, that after a funeral, we need to get pizza and wings.  Even Jacob was grumping for more pizza and I was sharing the meat of some of my milder wings with him too.  Turns out at least these Willmans love pizza and wings.  So we all sat around eating, and drinking, Ryan had brought some of his homemade wine.  We got to talk with the family, laugh and tell stories.  Aunt Betty and I started to get a little teary when we thought about the future, how the dynamics and traditions might be changing, we opted to end it with Don't even talk about it.  So I'm not, I'm going to focus, not on the end of the era, but on the new lives, and the stories of love and laughter we can all share.  About 10:30-11, the boys started to lose their minds.  They'd held up like superchamps, but it was time to go to bed and call it a night.  So we did.  Eric stayed up a little longer yucking it up with his cousins.  I think we need to do this again, plan an adventure, the kind not about a funeral, wherein we all can sit around and yuck it up into the wee small hours.   

I'm thinking Summer 2016.  For that would have been 70 years since Grandma and Grandpa got married.  When Eric and I were dating, they all went to Colorado, where they'd met and married to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. But that is a schemey story for another time.