Good Bye Summer

The summer of 2014 in pictures….

IMG_1132Miss P lost her first tooth. She was so excited at first because her big sister was such a chicken every time one of her teeth loosened and I think she thought that she could be braver. I don’t think that happened.

 

IMG_1137Everybody at the Merchants can ride a two wheel bike. Even little Minnie.

IMG_1130Collin learned how to wink. I love this picture of him.

IMG_1162Little Peaches found out she loves to bake and when she bakes Charlie winds up in the washing machine.

IMG_1158Boots found out that when Peaches says walk they walk. Poor Charlie! I think he is hanging upside down. That guy never gets a break.

IMG_1211Papa ended it with a big kick to his bucket list and walked the Mackinaw Bridge on Labor Day. He has wanted to do that for years.

IMG_1184 This may have been my favorite. The kids camping in their back yard and getting so scared they came tramping in about two o’clock in the morning because they thought something was killing Mike’s hunting dogs and mosquitos were biting Miss P into craziness. They all looked punched drunk the whole next day.

So good bye Summer of 2014 and thanks for the memories. Blessings everyone.

A Letter To My Peaches

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Peaches,

Today is the first Sunday night you will not be tucked into your bed here and I miss you.I am crying as I type this and I hardly ever cry anymore. I went to your Mom’s work and told her you had to go to your dad’s. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I feel like I have failed you miserably and I want you to know that you are so loved by your Momma and the rest of us. These last six months have been a gift from God. I don’t know what is in store for us and my heart is heavy right now but I know things can change in the blink of an eye and that is what I am hoping for.

Your mom loves you so much. She is trying to be able to be with you no matter what. Remember that. I am writing this so some day you know she has fought for you since the moment she knew about you. You are so blessed to have such a strong mother. No matter what anyone tells you she wants you all the time because you have a bond that only mothers and daughters can have not to hurt someone else. She wants you because God made you in her womb and she kept you safe there until you were ready to come out. She loves your fat little feet and your soft peaches cheeks. She loves your laughter and your giggles. She just loves you. She will tell you with her own mouth some day when you are big like her that she never did anything to ever hurt you only what she thought was best. She had to leave your dad’s house so she could be healthy and take good care of you. She did not want to break up your family and she did the right thing. It wasn’t something she did lightly and we had many conversations before she left.

Now for this, I want you to know that I tried to talk to your dad about taking you away from your mom for a week and then him missing you for a week. I think that there could be a solution to this but tonight he couldn’t listen to me. My only hope is that peoples heart soften to the point that they start thinking about you and nothing else. There is a story in the Bible about two women that were fighting over a baby and they had to go to the king to decide who was the real mother. The king told them he would cut the baby in half and that would solve the problem. The real mother then told the king to give the baby to the other woman because she couldn’t bare to have her baby hurt. That wise king then knew who the real mother was and she got her baby back. This is my hope for you. Your aunt is not your mother, your dad’s girlfriend is not your mother and I am not your mother. You have a mother that loves you with everything in her no matter what anyone tells you. I want you to have access to both of your parents but especially your mother.

Now as I close know that every night you are tucked in your bed here that we say your prayers and I am missing that right now. I love how you fold your little hands and look up at us with that grin. Your mom and I will say them for you until you get back. We love you my little sweetheart and so does your crazy dog Boots.

                                                                                 Love, Your Nana

P.S.

I have to tell your mom this McKenzie. I love you Alisha. Know your dad and I are in your corner. We are proud and so blessed to have you as our girl. I know how humbling it was for you to ask for our help and how hard it was for you to ask God back in your life. That’s what is so great about giving up the old and putting on the new. You grow and God will sustain you through it all. He will put people in your life that will help you, Always remember that I don’t care what other people say and never have. You are my sweet sweet girl and I love you just as much today as I did when you were little like my Peaches.

Double Digits

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This weekend we celebrated a very special birthday. Our oldest granddaughter turned ten. Here she is the picture of health at nine months old. She was such a blessing and can you tell by looking at her she had a rough start in life? I don’t think so but that picture is a lesson for all of us.I know for sure that God doesn’t make junk and I am proud that my daughter and son-in-law knew it from the start too.

We were so excited to hear that the kids were going to have a baby. Mike and Brooke were starting their life together and all was well.  I as usual even then was fixing something broken on my body.I had an accident with the lawn mower and pulled the socket out of my arm. It broke in several pieces and the big bone of the same arm had to have a rod inserted but that’s another story. I was next door to the doctors office at physical therapy and the receptionist told me someone had been hanging around my car. I went out to a note from Brooke,my daughter, telling me to come over to the doctors office. I still have that note. When I got in the office they let me go in the room with Brooke.She was having a pregnancy test. I was there when they examined her and the excitement for me was almost unbearable. The doctor told us that because she was a tiny girl that we might be able to hear a heart beat so they got that jelly stuff out and the machine and sure enough we had our first introduction to a very special baby. I remember crying as I heard that steady thump thump thump and Brooke giggling. Her smile lit up the room and I will never forget that moment. So Lexie Lou when you read this your Nana was the first person to hear your heartbeat besides your mother.

As the weeks went on we were planning and making way for our little baby. Brooke and Mike were going for an ultrasound and some time later they were going to stop at our house after the appointment. We waited and waited and they never came. I really can’t even remember if we finally went to their house our they came to ours but I do remember the conversation and we were devastated. The ultrasound showed that the baby was a girl but she had a condition called gastroschisis . Basically the baby had intestines and other parts of her body growing on the outside of her body. The doctors told the kids she might only live for two years or she might be fine after surgery. It didn’t matter,Brooke and Mike were in for the challenge and I am so proud that they knew Alexis was perfect from the moment God gave her to them. I believe sometimes God gives you the baby you need not the baby you want and it has been true for us many times over in this family.

baby lex 001Alexis made her grand entrance after a helicopter ride to Ann Arbor in her mama’s belly. Her papa tried to follow the thing and almost got us arrested when he tried to drive out to the take off place when they were hauling Brooke away. Poor Mike had to drive up to the U of M hospital and we waited with Brooke until she was released to the paramedics. I am so thankful he had his sister Amiee with him. I sat white knuckled as Hungarian Work Horse took me on the ride of my life.Who knew he could be so aggressive behind the wheel. When we got to the hospital we found Mike and Aimee and they didn’t know where Brooke was. Because of the HEPA laws the hospital wouldn’t give us any information and we were all about nuts. Apparently they did not know Brooke’s dad. He went on a search and found her. That hospital is lucky and so are we and the quarry where he works because if he wouldn’t have found Brooke we would all be visiting him behind bars. You just can’t mess with his family.

Alexis Elizabeth was born cesarean section in the middle of the night on May fourth. We all loved her intensely from the moment we saw her. Our little girl thrived under the care of her parents and she is loved by many.

100_0047Here she is with her crazy Papa a few months later. Can you tell he likes her?

She is growing up so fast. Gone are the days that she slept with us in our bed when she spent the night. Papa never liked that because she would tell people that he slept naked and he didn’t. Most of the time he would sleep on the couch and she and I would get the bed. I remember one time he snuck up there before we did and when we got upstairs she looked at him and said,”Papa you’re in my spot!”

Another time he had to watch her for about twenty minutes while I ran down to the church.

When I got home he said from the bathroom,”Thank God you’re home because Alexis wouldn’t let me out of the bathroom.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, every time I opened the door to get out she would tell me to get back in here.”

She was two at the time and had him wrapped right around her little finger.

I could go on and on about this little girl that had a horrible start in life but I better end it before I bore you to death. You know how grandparents are.

I guess what I want to leave you with today is this. It doesn’t matter how you start out in life it matters what you do with it. The lesson is from a little girl that has made it into double digits with a zipper. We match now,mine on my knees and hers on her belly. We are a team and she is wonderfully made.

IMG_0319 I love you Alexis Elizabeth.

The Fish Was Bad

grandma1 001I have been thinking of my Grandma Jahr for the last two days about nonstop.I don’t know why except that it is Lent and it reminded me of a story I tell about her.I want my grandkids to know what kind of person she was.I believe she is my reason for sanity and she was an amazing woman.She wasn’t afraid of anything and I want my grandkids to feel that way about me.She was sensible about most things but sometimes she sent me into orbit with some of her decisions and this is one of the reasons why.

After my Grandpa Jahr died my Grandma’s life changed.They lived a very structured life.She made every meal they ever ate and going out to eat was a rare treat.She now had more time to do things that she never had time to do when she was a farmers wife.I talked to her every day after I got out of work and she started to socialize with her widow friends more.Her best friend was Madeline Menzel and Madeline’s husband had passed away also.I never really liked Madeline much because she always seemed kind of mean but Grandma and her were friends since grade school days.They would go shopping and visiting other widows and I was glad she had someone to spend time with when I was at work.I would hear about their adventures after I got home and it was nothing for my ear to be sore after a talk with Grandma on the phone and this day was no exception.

I think I was home about five minutes when the phone rang and it was Grandma.

“Hi,Dilly, how are you.”

“Fine Grandma,what did you do today?”

“Well,Madeline picked me up and we went to the Big John’s for the fish dinner for lunch.”

My Grandma had a habit of putting the word THE in front of a lot of words.Like she always said cream of the mushroom soup.I loved it when she said stuff like that and I remember smiling when she said the Big John’s.It was a little restaurant in Caro about a half hour away from her house and I thought it was nice they went out to lunch together on a Wednesday.

“Well, that was nice Grandma.”

“No, not really because the fish was bad!”

“What do you mean the fish was bad?”

“The fish was so bad I couldn’t eat it.It was so greasy and it was cold.I wound up bringing it home for the cats and tomorrow when I go out I will give it to them.”

That didn’t surprise me because she would never waste the food.I just knew she was mad because she paid good money for bad fish.She went on—

“We weren’t the only ones there at the Big John’s.I saw Con and Vernita Curry and when Madeline went out to start the car I stopped to talk to them.”

The Curry’s were Grandma’s neighbors and Mrs.Curry did Grandma’s hair.I’m sure she was discussing the bad fish and taking her time doing it.

She went on.”I went out to get in the car and there was Madeline laying on the sidewalk.”

“Oh, my,goodness, was she hurt.”

“Well, no, she was dead.”

“What?”

“She was dead and I didn’t know how I was going to get home.I didn’t know if the cops would let me drive her car or if I could hitch a ride with the Curry’s because they were still in the Big John’s.”

“Grandma I am so sorry that Madeline died.”

“Well,she had a bad heart and I think she had a massive heart attack and it killed her. They took her drivers license away about a year ago because her heart was no good.”

“What in God’s name were you doing riding in the car with her if she was that sick?She could have died when you guys were driving down the road and then where would we be.I can’t believe you Grandma.I can’t have anything happen to you.”

“Well, she looked ok to me and I am alright so quit worrying and the Curry’s gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to drive Madeline’s car.”

I was thinking thank God because you haven’t had a license in twenty years!

My Grandma had to learn a lot of stuff after Grandpa died and she did.I taught her how to balance her checkbook and I helped her figure things out,but she taught me things until the very day she died.She wasn’t afraid of anything not even getting into a car with someone that shouldn’t be driving.I want to be like that for my grandkids.I want them to smile thinking of me like I am right now thinking of Grandma long after she is gone.I hope that they feel blessed to have had me and I hope that I drive them a little crazy too.I am thinking that’s what grandmas are supposed to do.Keep you on your toes.

I can’t end without this.Grandma I love you still and thank you for everything you ever did for me.You were always ready for the challenge even if it was the death of a friend.I think of the lessons you taught me on how to protect myself from hellish stepfathers and where to kick them if they attacked.I remember to keep God foremost in my life and to teach my grandkids like you did me.I still hear your sweet voice and I will never forget it.If mean Madeline made it to where you are I hope you and her are having a good time and that the fish is good.

three 001This is Grandma and Grandpa.My sister Linda on Grandpa’s lap and my sister Lori in Grandma’s arms.That’s me standing in the middle.

Under House Arrest

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I have a little quiz for you today.This is the little Dude and his twin sister.Little Dude was going to Walmart with his Papa today and Little Dudette was going grocery shopping with her Mama.Guess which one got to go and which one didn’t.

Here is how it all started.This morning while talking to Brooke on the phone I was getting lonesome hearing the kids talk in the background.

“Mama you are a princess here.”

Little Dudette must have had a photo album or something and saw Brooke in a prom dress.

“Why aren’t you holding me?”

“Because you weren’t born yet,Honey.”

“Why?”

How I remember the WHY days.There were times that I thought I’d rather have a nail poked in my eye than hear that word again.

Then I heard a little voice,”Is dat Nana?”

“Yes, Buddy it is.”

“Can I talk to her?”

“In a minute.”

“Is it a minute yet?”

We talk for a few more minutes and she hands the phone over to him and he says,”Can you come to my house,I got my tractors back.”

The sad fact is he doesn’t have full use of his farm equipment.If he doesn’t put his toys away they get put up for a week or so and I have seen times that the only thing he has to play with is maybe an empty broken cardboard box and a spatula.I know it’s his own fault but the Nana in me feels sorry for him.Not today though,we got farming to do,the equipment is out and the barn doors are all open.

“Buddy I can’t come now but later on today I can.”

He is sad and then I have The Great Idea.I ask Brooke if he can go with Papa to Walmart and she says yes.We hang up and I get to baking the cookies Alexis needs for her bake sale and a few extra for Little Dude and me when we have our coffee.Don’t worry I make his weak.He loves black coffee.I guess it’s the Hahn in him(my maiden name).Besides that I happen to know he drank part of a wine cooler when he was with his mother last summer.Granted she was in the bathroom and he stole it but still.

About five minutes goes by and the phone rings.It is Brooke and the plans have changed.Collin got picked up for malicious destruction of bathroom property and put under house arrest.No Walmart for him.He allegedly turned on the faucet full boar in the bathroom and was playing in it while the back of the sink and the floor flooded so bad it went down into the basement and left a large puddle.Does anybody know a good lawyer?

Later on in the evening…………..

I go over to the kids house with some stickers and my checkbook.To my surprise Mike tells me that Brooke and Little Dude are on their way to my house and Little Dude gets to spend the night.I could tell he felt sorry for the little guy missing his day out with Papa even though he was the one that made the arrest.I love my son-in-law.I played with my little girls for a bit and then got ready to leave.As I was putting my checkbook away I wondered how much his bail was or if they let him out on his own recognizance.

One Year Ago

Ward

My daughter Alisha sent me this picture  and I wanted to share it.I guess everybody in my family is thinking about Ward today.I must admit I was too.Alisha is really good at taking pictures and making them special and I love this one.It made me think of how different today was compared to a year ago.I know now what the saying about time healing means.Last year at this time was probably one of the saddest days of my life.It was the day that Ward and cancer parted.Today I can rejoice in the end of suffering and not be selfish in letting go of a very dear person that I so loved.I love that smile on Wards face.Our Bethy was home from the Navy the day this picture was taken and she had just given Ward this hat from one of the officers in the Navy.I remember she told him that not everybody had a hat like that,it was an officers hat and he was thrilled to get it.

I don’t want to get sad because he is gone.I want to be thankful that I knew him.I know that I will see him again some day and he is in good company.Last year as I laid beside him as he was dying and even after he died I was so amazed that I wasn’t afraid.Death was a blessing for Ward because he was suffering.He fought the good fight up until the end and I am so proud how he left this earth.He was such a gentleman that even in death he was no trouble for me.He slipped away in quietness just like he came into my life.I didn’t want to meet him and I was as stubborn as a mule whenever Mom talked about him.All I could think was,here we go again.We never had an easy time with blended families and I wasn’t looking forward to another one.He was kind of stubborn too because it took him a while to warm up to us.After we adopted Bethany and Alisha they just one day started calling him Grandpa and he never corrected them.He was the only grandpa they ever knew.Bethy would crawl up on his lap and he would sit there like a statue.After a while he caved and he grew to love those little ones.He taught the girls how to drive in his Mustang and would take them for long car rides.They are the ones that really got him to go to church too.They kept bugging him to come to their Christmas program at church and one day Mom called me and announced that Perky wanted to get a new suit because he was going to the Christmas program.Once he went to church he was committed to that church.He went to everything and everybody loved him there.My Mom and he became good friends with every pastor we had.He cherished Bible study and he never missed.I knew those last few Sundays that he didn’t go to church the end was near.Perky knew where he was going and he was ready.

There is a lesson in this I want to share with my sweet grandkids.If I would have been as bullheaded as I wanted to be when Mom married Ward I would never have had this amazing man in my life.I wouldn’t have learned how to forgive things in my past and they would have anchored me down for the rest of my life.My walk with the Lord would have been compromised and I would have never healed.Sometimes you have to know when to fold and listen to that voice in your heart.Rejoice in the good and forget the bad.

I know that I never had the blood that ran through his veins in me and I accept that,but I did feel the same love in his heart and that means something to me.I miss him but he had to go and even in death he had this way about him.

Here is his tombstone and you can see what kind of a guy he was just by the words on it.It says I’m outta here and has a thumbs up for Little Ariana one of the grandkids he so cherished and spoiled rotten.

IMG_0209A year ago I couldn’t quit being sad but today I am thankful for the times we had before he was sick.Today I want to honor him and all he stood for in my life.I want to thank God that he sent me this man to help me and guide me and listen to me.I am a better person because I let him in.I hope that he realized how much he meant to me and if he didn’t I am sure my grandma is telling him now that he was blessed to have my sisters and me.I think they will be bragging about how good we turned out and proud they are of us.I can only imagine……………….

Rosie,Lilly,Kirk,And My Sis

IMG_0606My sister Linette left to go back home to Montana and I am sad.That’s not her up there,it’s her dog Abigail.Miss you baby.Tonight as I was watching The Dog Whisperer calm a rabid miniature poodle I sobbed uncontrollably with sadness.Abbey aka Rosie please remember all of the wonderful things that I taught you when you were here and don’t be fighting with your sister.You are the first as I am so lead by example.I know it is hard when your most beloved possession is a pig but you can do it.Pigs come and go sisters do not.

IMG_0605Lilly, my darling you were the sweetest little girl after your hysterectomy.I know what that’s like.I too became more aggressive after I didn’t have to worry about all things female.It was liberating not having to stop at the drug store for Midol every month.Be patient with your sis,I think she acts like she does because she has weight issues.She really does love you even if she doesn’t like to share.You were an angel in my training classes and I will be forever grateful to you for signing up for my new class in the Spring,How To Overcome The Embarrassment of Facial Hair after Your Hysterectomy.

FerbKirk, I miss you too,but please don’t kill any more beavers and send them to us in Michigan.My mom’s mail lady is still in therapy after the package came open and that hyena started chasing her car.Word around town is she is thinking of retiring now.Never in her thirty years of service did she have anything so upsetting happen to her on her mail route.I tried to tell her they were just gloves but she didn’t care.She said the hyena didn’t let up until she threw it her lunch.She had a headache for the rest of the day and her sugar spiked.I know it’s not your fault that you like that kind of stuff.You can’t help but think it is normal after hanging around with those Huttterites.I posted this picture of you for Linette.Back off women,he’s taken.

IMG_0510Oh, my sister that I love how I miss you already.Today at work I walked by the vending machine and saw a Hersey Bar.I started hallucinating that I could hear your voice beckoning me to click my heals three times and I would be in Montana.Thank heavens I then remembered you giving us all a lesson in ear etiquette.Notice how your little granddaughter is bursting with interest.Remember when you laughed at mine when you saw them flapping as we were taking the dogs for a walk?Why click your heals when you can fly with these hearing attachments!

I feel better now.Think of me often as I do you.God’s blessings to you all.I love you and I really do miss you.I hope you had as much fun as I did when you were home.Kirk, please take care of my sis,she is precious to me.She always has been and now you are too.