Sunday, May 15, 2011

griff's trees

It's overwhelming how people come out of the woodwork and show how amazing they are when bad things happen. We're so blessed to have such wonderful folks in our lives who've shown their generosity and friendship by honoring Griff's memory through trees for yard.

From Tiffany, Jeni and Matt, a gorgeous prariefire crabapple that we can watch bloom a glorious pink each spring. Our high school coach, Brent Johnston and his son, Danny drove out to our place with the tree and did all the work planting it. It was just a little bit amusing to watch Mike "watch" as other folks did work around his house. This is not his comfort zone! It was great catching up with Coach and the good vibes continue to emanate from Griff's crabapple every time we look at it.From the Marienthal's, Sack's, VanGilder's and Ayers', a gift card to one of our favorite places on earth, The Growing Place, was used to purchase a lovely Bloodgood Japanese Maple that we planted right outside our dining room windows. It's leaves peeking in at every holiday meal will be the perfect reminder of Griff.

Words cannot express our gratitude for good friends and fond memories.

finn turns 5!

It is truly amazing to me that my youngest child is five years old. Five seems like such a solid, round, old number to me, putting our little man in a new category entirely. He rarely needs me for things like shoe-tying, prefers I have no input at all regarding his attire (this is scary if you know his father) and would already, mostly, run off to play with "the guys" instead of curl up with me.
But I know that's really not true. He's big on hugs and cuddles, too. He loves to tell you about his latest "larious" stories or personal accomplishments, he's achieved a new level of awareness and appreciation for us cheering him on from the sidelines of anything. Yesterday he scored a goal in his soccer game and we witnessed his realization of what it feels like to have his posse behind him; the crowd erupted - his crowd erupted - and he liked it!
Finn is smart and strong, reading like a champ and up for pretty much any challenge. He stresses a bit before any athletic event, worried about doing well and winning. Mike says he was exactly the same as a kid. Then he gets out there and shows some serious athleticism. (Another "just like Daddy" thing.) He insists on reading a book to us each night and so proud of moving on to the next, more challenging read. He loves his school and pals and is all boy - from his mannerisms to his commentary. He makes me laugh every single day.
At night, when we put him to bed, he still searches out "Whoa Whoa" his lifelong polar bear pal. Whoa Whoa no longer sits up, has barely any stuffing inside and has multiple worn hairless patches along his backside from an experiment with those ridiculous Nexcare tattoo band aids. But that ramshackle little bear, that Finn chose from a veritable banquet of stuffed animals in his first room, is loved like no body's business. Finn says he talks to him, but no one else can hear. I'm sure he does. They have a serious bond when bedtime hits and I hope it never ends.
So as my youngest baby turns five at 11:01 this morning, I remember the pure joy and excitement when I learned that I was blessed with a son, in addition our two glorious girls. I am so grateful to have this tough little mini man to learn from, love and lead for a long, long time.
Happy, happy birthday Finn. I wish you a long, healthy lifetime of abundance, peace, love and joy.
(Thanks to Karen Loffing Photographs for these great shots of Finn!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

mother's day breakfast

This year, Mother's Day celebrating began on Friday for breakfast at Finn's school. Grandmom and I were invited to share some time with Finn in his classroom and we had a great time. Most notable though, was the priceless letter from Finn, all about me. This, my friends, is a "keeper" in the truest sense of the word. Thanks to almost-five-year-old Finn for a morning that I'll never forget!

Just for the record, I've worn a wedding dress ONCE, and I assure you that Finn was not there!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


At the age of nine, I would have never dreamed of auditioning for anything, much less for a solo singing part in the school musical. I am so proud of Logan for throwing caution to the wind, trying out this spring and snagging a part in this year's Third Grade Musical.

The kids were all so amazing, fearless, supportive of each other and excited about their performances alone and as a group. It was a perfectly-timed show that kept the crowd interested; even the youngest audience members. We had a great turnout, with Granddad and Grandmom here for the weekend, Nana and Tony, Grammy and Uncle Jim, Uncle Tom, Aunt Michelle and Ellie all up front and present to watch Logan's big moment. As I looked around, I thought how touching it had to be for Logan to know that her family just plain shows up, time and time again. I am thrilled that she will not know it any other way and will always look out to see a plethora of smiling, supportive faces in the crowd facing her. Gratitude beyond words to all that came in support of her big solo debut and have made this kind of family life the reality for our children!

Oh, and her lines weren't too shabby either.... she sang them beautifully!

"It's my own voice
It's my own choice
To do my best!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the wisdom of finn

Last week, I had the opportunity to ask Finn how he was feeling about Uncle Griff's death. Kids are so resilient and they do move on so quickly - a blessing for sure - but I want them to know that we're available to talk about this, or anything, at anytime. While coloring with chalk on the driveway (we were drawing an elaborate mural of Whoa-Whoa) I asked.

"How are you feeling about Uncle Griff?"

"Sad," he said.

"Was it hard for you to be at his funeral with so many people who were so sad?"

"Yeah," he answered.

"How did it make you feel when you were there?"

"Sad. It was bad," he commented. "But it was the worst for Nana. I was so sad for Nana because she lost her son."

"I know," I said. "Come here and hug me."

"Why do you want to hug me?" he said. "Did you like what I said?"

"Yes I did," I answered. "But I want to hug you because I have a son to hug."

And right there on the driveway, surrounded by chalk drawings and dust, we hugged like crazy. Because we could.

Monday, May 2, 2011

young fox valley singers

Logan completed another wonderful year with the Young Fox Valley Singers at the spring concert on May 1st. I can't tell you how blessed we feel to have our daughter be a part of this group of incredibly talented musicians and vocalists. She is learning things we could never dream of teaching her, thriving and loving it. The performances they deliver never cease to amaze us!

Congrats to Logan on completing her second year with the group. Can't wait to see what they do next!