Greetings. Sorry for the very long delay in posting. I am just now catching my breath from the busiest August I could have ever dreamt.
After a few hikes with the kiddos around our area, we thought that would be enough adventure for the rest of the month.
Then my mom called.
My Grandma, living in California, was not doing well and while I knew she had been struggling with blood clots, I was told that she would be making a slow recovery. However, many trips in and out of the ICU took a toll on her and she finally requested that my mother come down and see her.
My desire to see my Grandma had been quite strong for a while. She is my last living grandparent and my closest relative beside my parents. Her faith in Christ and her fervent prayer for her grandchildren have always been a source of great comfort and strength in my life. We would talk on the phone for as long as she could about raising kids in faith, making Godly choices and what we were thankful for....she was precious to me and I desperately wanted to see her again....knowing this, my mom asked me to accompany her to see Grandma in California.
Two days later, I managed to run like a chicken with my head cut off to plan 5 days worth of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free meals for the kids, childcare for when Tim was at work for 5 days from Grandma Christina and our friend Teagan plus a playdate with their cousins, book a flight from Bellingham to Portland to pick up my mom and then fly to Long Beach, California with mom. Our budget was under $400 and all we could afford was the flight to Portland. Sensing the urgency of our visit and the desire to have me along, my parents graciously covered the flight from Portland to Long Beach so that I could go....I cried.
We arrived Wednesday at lunch time only for my dear Aunt Anita to tell us that Grandma had slipped into a coma that morning and was unresponsive. We felt defeated...as though we had lost our only chance to see her alive one last time....it came as a shock and a surprise. We raced to the hospital and cried over my Grandma's lifeless body....being kept only physically alive by machines.
My mom and I sensed immediately that she had already gone to be with Jesus and that her body was just an empty, unrecognizable shell. We sang my Grandma's favorite hymns, songs and recited all the memorable things she used to say. We laughed and cried with her husband, Phil, who had become "Grandpa" to me over the last 10 years. We all knew that her recovery from this point would certainly have to be a miracle left to the will of God....but we all knew she wanted to be home now.
The doctors tried to keep her alive until the whole family could say goodbye to her, but she died the following afternoon.
That afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting with a friend that I had met in the Philippines who I had emailed telling her I would be in town. She was only in the Philippines for 3 months, but the two of us became deeply close and Sherry became a forever friend. She raced into Long Beach to pick me and my mom up for lunch and we had an amazing, encouraging time of fellowship. She's the same age as my mom, so the two of them got along so well. It was a very precious break from the grieving and put things into perspective as we celebrated my Grandma's life with someone who had never met her.
The rest of the week was filled with planning services with family while I got to spend a very special time with my Aunt Anita. She is one gracious and generous lady! I had no idea what a precious woman my Aunt was having only seen her once in the last 15 years! I was stunned at her strong faith, constant positive attitude and gracious hospitality....being in her home and being with her was a kiss on the forehead from the Lord.
She even offered to drive us to my dear friend's wedding in San Diego....a 90-minute drive that took us 4 long hours! Arnica was getting married near the beach down south and there was no way I could go, as we just could not afford the airfare or time away from the kids, but the fact that my Grandma was not well the very same week made the wedding so much more feasible to attend! AND, my cousin, Christa, lives in San Diego and I got to see her, too, after 15 years! What a blessing to cram all that into a very stressful, difficult 5 days!
Sunday arrived, and after much fellowship with my mom (which was priceless), I was dropped off at the airport to fly home....with a wonderful stopover in Portland where my Dad, my brother, Andy and his wife, Ruth and their kids, Ben, Grace, and Levi came for dinner! What a treat.
Tim and the kids picked me up at 10 pm that night in Bellingham and I arrived to hugs and a very clean house. What a trooper they all were!
Then Monday started Tim's work week and my mad dash to make Promise's and Tim's birthdays special.....what a zoo!
Promise's was friday the 24th and we had a small party with 3 of her friends and Toby. We went mini-golfing and had a GAS! Then for Tim's birthday, we had a relaxed day doing all kinds of odd things, but mainly relaxing....
The next week yielded clean up from the previous, birthday parties and BBQs, and finally ended with our 10 year wedding anniversary. We needed a break just the two of us....it had been well over 2 years since we had a night just the two of us without kids or alarm clocks!
Tim took me to a little cabin near Mt. Baker in Washington for Sunday night. We hiked a bit and had forgotten to get gas before heading up the mountain....so we coasted all the way down the mountain on empty praying that God would multiply the gas until we could find a gas station...which were quite rare in this mountain region! We headed into the little town for gas and dinner where the only two restaurants were so full even after 8 pm, that we contemplated going hungry....the first place we tried (a pasta place) we wanted to get an order to go and they just rudely said, "We're too busy". Surrounded by families waiting hours for tables, we headed across the street....we were in the mood for pasta, but thought, at this point, we would take anything...but we had been craving fish and chips for days and days and quickly noticed it on the menu! After snagging the first table we found just after a couple paid their bill, we fell into our chairs and waited...and waited for someone to take our order...with only two waitresses and a full place, we knew it would be a while....now 9 pm and STARVING, this pregnant lady chugged water and started to get a little light-headed.....finally the waitress came and we ordered....fish and chips..."Sorry...we're out." "Poutine?"...."Sorry, we're out."
We ordered what we could. :)
We went home full. :) And "fish and chips" became code for any inconvenience we experienced the next few days. :)
We slept a TON and were never woken up by angry toddlers....then we slowly made our way home to the kids after a cheap, yummy lunch at a Mexican restaurant on the other side of the border. Gotta love cheap US food. Grandma Christina graciously watched our kids for the 24 hours and said there were only a few minor beatings needed. :) Just kidding. The kids were certainly better with Grandma than they were with us when we arrived home!
Tuesday, Promise started her first day of preschool. I was so proud of her. And tomorrow will be day two.
I am eager to get this little one outta me...I am tired and feel as though my center of gravity will soon have me sprawled on the floor...she's a big one. Eight more weeks....we can do it! However, I am hoping she comes in 6 weeks. :) I am not sure my varicosity-ridden legs can handle any more! :)
That's our life in a nutshell....whew. I will post pictures as soon as Blogger will let me....it's being poopy right now and won't let me load them.