Thursday, November 12, 2009

Andy Turns 17!

In the midst of preparing for my parents 50th wedding anniversary party and beginning preparations for hosting Thanksgiving, Andy had his 17th birthday on November 10th.

I know everyone tells you how fast time will pass when you are a new parent but, gosh, it is so true! I remember very clearly the morning Andy was born. He arrived at 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Hospital during Regis and Kathie Lee! He didn’t cry much and really never did. He was the perfect baby! He slept through the night at six weeks, no colic, no fussing. Mark likes to say that if we had Andy first and could guarantee that all of our children would be just like him, we would have had 10!

And he did grow up so fast!

I’ve been looking back at photos in preparation for the anniversary party and have run across many of Andy growing up through the years. Here’s a flashback of some of my favorites:

He will always be the "baby" of the family but now, standing at 6'2" and growing, he is no longer our little boy. He just remains that in my mind and in my heart.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Writer in the Family

Back in September of 2001 Mark's job took us to Tampa. Andy had just started 3rd grade in South Bend and he had to move part way into the year to a new school in Florida. I remember going to his first parent-teacher conference and being very nervous. I wondered how the transition had gone for Andy in the classroom and I wondered about this new school and new teacher.

Her name was Ms. Alonso and she turned out to be wonderful, as did Andy's conference. She told me what a good student Andy and especially what a great writer he was. In fact, she said, I set aside this paper he wrote about his cat. I thought you'd like to read it. I took the paper from her, read it, and had to agree, it was wonderful! Very descriptive and detailed. The only thing is.....Andy didn't have a cat. Never did, never will (I'm way too allergic). When I asked
Andy why he wrote about a cat he told me "I just felt like it". Too funny! And that's when we found out....Andy can write!

Last year Andy wrote a paper in school for a contest in which he ended up being a finalist. It was all about his trip to Washington, D.C. Again, a wonderful, well written paper. We were proud. And not a bit surprised that Andy could write a paper about a trip he had, in fact, never taken!
After all...Andy can write!

So this year, when Andy signed up for Newspaper at school, Mark and I thought that was a good idea. We knew he could write! Two weeks into the class Andy was made News Editor and assigned three stories to write. And this issue, the second of the year, all three of those stories appeared! Including the front page story on Homework, Too Much or Too Little.

Mark and I weren't surprised. After all...... Andy can write!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walk for Hospice

Hospice entered into our family when Grampy got sick and passed away in 1994. He hadn't been sick too long, just a couple of short months, so his death was devastating to our family. Hospice was there to help keep him comfortable and at home those last few weeks and was there for our entire family as we tried to deal with the shock of losing him.

In 2008 when Grammy, who was in a nursing home, took a turn for the worse, Hospice was again there to make her comfortable and also to counsel the family on how to let go. I can't describe how important their support was during that time. There really aren't words to thank them for caring about us and taking such loving care of grandma.

So this year when the Walk for Hospice came around I sent out a message asking for anyone who might want to walk with me. And many family and friends responded. Hospice has blessed so many families and everyone, it seemed, wanted the chance to give back to them.

So, today, on a brisk but sunny fall day, we all gathered at Newton Park and walked in support of Hospice.

Here is a group shot of 11 members of our 18 person team. Tricia Morton, Mom, Jon, Darcy, Mr. Zutter, me, Aunt Connie, Dane, Sarah and Dana Rigby and Abby. Missing are Dad, Garrett, Sally, Jada, Mady, Alex and Sterling.

Tricia, Mr. Zutter, Mark and I all walked together and managed to go 4 miles. It went by so fast with the four of us talking and laughing and sharing the day together.

They provided a Memorial Board for anyone who wanted to share. I wasn't prepared for this so just wrote what was in my heart. We miss you Grammy and Grampy.

The Zutter family also has been the recipient of Hospice loving care. Mr. Zutter wrote a beautiful memorial to Mrs. Zutter. Today was their wedding anniversary and she walked with us in spirit.

Here a shot of Mr. Zutter and Mark after we crossed the finish line. What a special day to support a special organization.
Hospice is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of living through physical and spiritual care of the patient and their family. No one is ever turned away due to an inability to pay for their service. They rely on the support of the community and financial gifts.

To learn more about Hospice click the link below:

Monday, October 5, 2009

24 Years

Today Mark and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. And this is what he sent to me at work. 24 perfect long stem red roses.

What a hubby!

But that isn't the whole story of our courtship. Mark and I actually met in high school and starting dating when I was 15 and he was 16. That makes our years together top out at 32.

In honor of our anniversary I dug out some of the pictures taken while we were young!
Boy did that time fly by! Here's to 24 more years together!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Manchester Baseball

Last weekend Jackie and I took a trip down to Manchester to watch Ben and Cody in their first pre-season, inter-squad baseball game.

It was a BEAUTIFUL afternoon to enjoy the games and we saw baseball played at the College level for the first time. Wow, what a difference! So much hustle! At one point the player at first ran for a foul ball, hit the fence face first, went off the field for 5 stitches and then returned later to reenter the game!

Ben played for the Gold team and Cody played for the Black team. Both played third base ,which is Ben’s position, but a new position for Cody. It looked kind of strange seeing him standing at third!

During the third game they brought Cody in to pitch for a couple of innings. And who is the first batter he faced? Ben! What are the odds? Cody did great, he threw between 84 and 85 mph. Ben, however, is used to facing Cody and managed a base hit. It was so much fun seeing them both up at the same time , Jackie and I had our cameras flashing away!

After the game we had just a few minutes to visit in the parking lot before they headed out to ice their arms and go to dinner. It was good to see them. Gosh, are they missed…….

Monday, August 31, 2009

Moving In

Yesterday we dropped Ben off at college. This is the sign that greeted us at the entrance to campus.

And this is the WONDERFUL site that greeted us as we pulled up to the dorm! Dozens of student waiting to unload the vehicles and move all the items into the room. In about 10 minutes time they unloaded 4 vehicles and we had them moved to the parking lot. (They unloaded the van, Ben's car, Cody's car and Bill and Jackie's van).

This is just half of the hallway outside their room when we got inside. The boys needed to go get the key to their room before we pulled into the circle but we missed that instruction! We also missed the instruction that the boys were to have their student ID's with them at lunch that day......oh well, I'm sure we weren't the only ones and I'm sure Ben and Cody have got it together by now!

This is a photo of their door decorated by their Student Orientation Leaders. They were kind of bummed. Cody is NOT a Dolphins fan and Ben is REALLY NOT a Vikings fan! But they will survive.

Once we got inside Ben and Cody got to work stacking their beds and deciding how to set up the room. The parents stood aside for as long as we could stand it but ended up jumping in to help. Which I'm sure Ben and Cody appreciated! (Not really!)

Here's Jackie trying to make sense of it all!

The boys finally accomplished the bed situation and thought they would take a short break. Very short break!

And a final shot of the roomies before we headed off to lunch and goodbye's.

It was an exciting day and a bittersweet one for us parents. It's so hard to let your children grow up. But I love what my friend Tricia said (she always says such wise things just at the right moment.)

It's a wonderful time and exactly what we raised them to do. Why does it tug at our hearts so much? Time to see them through a different set of eyes. Tough when I LOVED the other way. A new chapter in our lives...

I have loved raising Ben. The best time of my life will always be when the four of us lived together as a family. (also a Triciaism!) But this is a new chapter in both our lives. And, I'm excited to see the man he will become.

Friday, August 28, 2009

LC Typesetting

My mom and dad retired today.

They sold the family business and closed on the sale of the building today.

All my life my parents have owned LC Typesetting. They worked side by side for over 40 years building up that business. It's not easy being a small business owner but they stuck it out all these years. They changed with the times, time and time again. I'm so proud of them for the example they gave my brother and I about hard work, dedication and compassion.

Located just a few doors down from the Homeless Center, my dad gave a job to anyone who asked. Sometimes it was nothing more than a few dollars to shovel the sidewalk or a few more to paint the side of the building. I've lost track of how many times the side of that building has been painted! It didn't matter what the job was, it gave someone dignity and that's what mattered to dad. To both my parents, because they are selfless givers, both of them.

I know making the decision to retire has been hard for them, especially for my dad. But in doing so, they have given a priceless gift to this community. They sold the building to the Homeless Center and it will now be renovated as a shelter for Homeless Veterans.

The look of the building will change but I will always remember the years it housed LC Typesetting. I'll remember dad's wall of photos of his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids and all their drawings. I'll remember my boys riding their motorized cars from one end of the shop to the other. Mostly I'll remember the sound of my dad's voice answering the telephone "LC Typesetting".

I love you Mom and Dad. Enjoy your retirement!

You deserve it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

He's a Junior!

I always take a photo on the first day of school each year. This year Andy wanted to wait until his second day of school. His first day he had to wear a Clay tee shirt and shorts in his role as a Freshman Mentor. So this is actually the second day of his Junior Year.

Have a great year, Andy. Enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Senior Pictures

Like most parents, Senior pictures were a big deal to me. To Ben? Not so much. So in the Fall of his Senior year we had a disagreement as to which poses he would sit for, how many clothing changes he would make, etc.……. So, we decided to postpone the photos until Spring.

Bad planning on my part.

Spring brought baseball season and all the Seniors decided to mohawk their hair! So much for Senior pictures. So we had to wait until the hair grew back.

In the meantime, Kelli’s mom scheduled Kelli’s Senior pictures to be taken by Jenny Hoke Photography up at Lake Michigan. We got in on that action and here are the results.

If you live in the Michiana area you must contact Jenny Hoke Photography. She is the best!

IMG_6521-2 IMG_6335IMG_6537 IMG_6542 IMG_6158 IMG_6221IMG_6175 IMG_6244

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

July at the Lake

This year at the lake was the best ever!  Best weather, best company, best memories.

It was the first year that Jan rented too and that was the best.  This year Patty and Carrie came up with Carrie’s kids and loved it so much they rented for next year!  This year was the first visit to the cottage for my new great nephew Connor.  He came to visit us at 6 days old!

We celebrated Abby’s 5th birthday and my cousin from Austin came with her family for a couple of days.  Just an awesome time!

I can’t wait to go back…..

This is the life for me! This is the life for me!Andy and Connor Andy meets Connor.Andy in his shades Andy in his shadesBen and his Grandma's Ben with his grandma’sChillin' on the beach Alex loved the sand!Grace, Abby and Will tackle Ben Ben gets attacked!He ain't heavy, he's my brother He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.Kelli and DarcyKelli and DarcyMark catching dinner Mark drowning wormsNights around the fire Bonfire at nightSun and Fun Chillin at the beachThe cousins, Ella and Abby The cousins, Ella and Abby. Happy birthday Abby!