She’s Hot

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I got a phone call from Brooke the other day. She is my oldest daughter and the mother to the bulk of my grandchildren.She had the kids at the park because Alexis had ball practice. I think she was a little taken back as her kids were playing when she over heard a couple of boys make a statement as they looked at Peyton. Two simple words. SHE’S HOT

She is only eight years old and the boys weren’t much more than that I guess. Brooke is a teacher of kindergarten so she pretty much hears everything but this was about Peyton who thank goodness never heard the statement. She needs no more self confidence. She oozes it like water from a crack in a Michigan basement and it drives her big sister Alexis crazy.

I know what that is like. In my eyes my little sisters were always way cuter than me and it took it’s toll on my idea of how I was perceived to other people. Thank God Alexis has two wonderful parents that keep the nobody is better system in place. There are no big heads at their house. They are what my dream family would have been when I was little.

We laughed as we were talking about those wonderful kids and I kept thinking that my love for Brooke just gets stronger and stronger. How is that possible when she has always meant so much to me. She is the mother I always wanted to be. Peyton is kind and loving because of the way Mike and Brooke taught her. She is one lucky little girl and her and all of the kids are fun to be around because of that. Like I said everybody has their heads the right proportion for their age.

I just wish I would have been the one to over hear little boys say something so stupid. I would have replied— Yes,  she always sweats like that.

The Wedding’s Off And I Love My Family

IMG_1012Two weekends ago I had about all of my favorite men at my house. They were working on the foundation of our old farm home so that it doesn’t leak anymore. It was a weekend project that made Hungarian Work Horse miss church and everything. My favorite Little Dude was right in the mix of things. He loves all things machinery and Uncle Greg brought his digger and here Little Dude and his Daddy are digging. I love these two with all my heart. Little Dude was so happy and I was glad the big guys let him help until he ran in the house and I asked him for a quick smooch.

“Nana, I don’t have time right now. I got work to do and I can’t marry you.”

I got kicked to the curb for machinery.

IMG_1009They dug all around the foundation of our house and tarred and put a drain system in it. This is my favorite brother-in-law of the day working. He is the one that my sister Linda dresses up so they can sing like Sonny and Cher every Sunday in church. The Sounds Of Sunday will tell you all about it . That Linda is so lucky to have him with all of his machinery and his kindness. He brought all that equipment and my nephew Josh just to help us.

IMG_1007That’s my other Dude Josh. I love him like my own son. He is the one holding the bottle on my header up there. Yes, he’s come along way from those olden days. It just came to me while I was writing this that he may have gotten his love for starting fires when he was little because he spent so much time at our house. Hungarian Work Horse loves him some fire and Josh probably picked up the trait from him. I am so grateful that he took time away from his family to help his uncle. Read Supper at the Stings on this blog to get to know them better.

IMG_0432Little Dude was filthy all day. I kept my eye on him at all times because I didn’t want him to get hurt. He was going from coffee cup to coffee cup outside sneaking drinks. I just laughed. I finally did get a kiss after a couple of hours when he came in and wanted a sample of the watermelon I was cutting up for the guys lunch. His dad came in a while later and I told him about the coffee caper he was pulling. Mike said he wasn’t stealing any because he gave him a travel mug filled with water so he could pretend that he was drinking coffee like the big guys. I begged to differ because his breath smelled suspiciously Columbian after his kiss.

My heart is full today remembering how my family helped us. A lesson for my grandkids is in here and it isn’t hard to see. They say you can pick your friends but not your family but I say I couldn’t have a better family no matter how I got them. Greg is more than my brother-in-law. He is my friend and he took my Josh under his wing when he married my sister and is better than any dad could ever  be. He is kind and forgiving. Josh has always treated me like a second mother and I love him more than words can express. I am so blessed to have a nephew that still kisses me when he sees me and lets me take his picture when I know he doesn’t want to. If I called him right now he would come and that means something to me. And my son-in-law Mike. He is a son to me in my heart. He is such a good dad to my most prized possession of all, my grandkids. Little Dude has a lot of Mike in him and that is a good thing. I am so glad Brooke married him.

As I sit typing this it makes me realize that men are good. I need to remember these guys and not jerks from my past. I grew up thinking my Hungarian Work Horse was the only man that mattered and that is not true. My sisters and I have many men to be thankful for in our lives. The Little Hahn girls may have had a rough start but we are in good guy heaven now. I love the men in my life. It feels so good to be able to say that. I know we have more good guy plantings coming in the future and I can’t wait. My sister Linette will see to that. My Little Dude has some good examples from men on how to treat his woman some day. He will be loving and kind. He will be a good dad and someday Papa. He will work and he will be a family man because that is where he came from. I just hope the woman he marries likes skidders and diggers because I have a feeling they will be part of his employment. He may be a little stingy with the smooches but if she has a cut up watermelon and a cup of coffee she’ll be all right. One thing I know for sure is that he will love her because he has lots of practice in that department and I plan on giving him many more lessons.

This day I want my grandkids to remember to be a good family member. Don’t grow absent from your aunts and uncles. They are part of who you are and they love you no matter what because you are mine. God put us in this family for a reason and the older I get the clearer it becomes. We are very blessed to have each other and I know if I died today my sisters and their family will keep you all close. You are loved by many and especially me. Today I am thankful for family. Blessings everyone.

I Miss My Navy Girl

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MOM!
I got your great package with the great books (which I am realizing that I am totally into those types of books) and the crackers, snacks and peanut butter. The sad bad news is that the Jar BROKE 😦 and I am saddened to say it just
didn’t make it. But, when Jan and I do go back to Michigan, when ever that may be (before Jan 21st because my drivers license expires) we will be taking some back with us!
I am so glad to hear about the family and I just wish I could be home to enjoy everyone and everything. It makes me sad when I know the kids are growing up without me. But I love that they are learning so much and that they are so loved and I am always just so grateful for the amazing loving family that we have! After going from country to country and having seen so many sad things, I have really realized just how blessed I am.
I cannot wait to go home and make goulash of all things. Here on the ship, they say they make "Hungarian goulash" but it is really just beef cubes and noodles….nothing like it! I wish I could show them all how to make the real stuff from scratch!
Again mom, thank you for everything that you have done for me out here. No matter what happens, know that I am always thinking of you guys and know that you are all safe and sound at home. Maybe that is what this is all about?
Oh and you need to write some more blogs! I have saved every single one of them in a binder so I can always go back to them.

I love you mom and will talk to you soon,
Boots

That was the last email I got from my Beth and I have it memorized. I am so missing her and when I read her words I can actually see her lips move in my mind. I miss her freakishly long second toe that I used to kiss when she was three. I miss her hair and I miss her beautiful long fingers with the slightly square nails so perfectly shaped. I miss how she says Mom. I miss how she laughs. I miss her hour long showers and her running down our steps. I miss how she thinks her dad can do anything and I miss how she plays with the kids. I miss the sound of her voice and I miss how she says my brother. I miss her little nose. I miss how she looks when she drives. I miss her playing her flute. I miss how she chews. I miss how she leans down to hug me when she walks in the door. I miss hearing her sing. I miss her beautiful smile and I miss her writing messages on Grandma Perkie’s note board. I miss how she blinks. I miss how she runs. I miss how she puts the best spin on everything. I miss how she is so proud. I just miss.

She is a soldier but to me she is my daughter and she is a sister and an aunt and a niece and my mother’s granddaughter. Our family is missing a piece and we are ready any time to get it back.

I love you my Bethy Boots and I am trying to be patient but it is not easy. We are waiting with jam to replace the broken jar and goulash bubbling on the stove. We too are grateful for our family but it is so missing you. I am trying to remember that you are soldier but it is hard for this mother that is missing her daughter. I am sad and lonely for my girl. I am waiting to hear your voice and praying that you are safe. I wrote this so you can put it in your binder with the others. Now that you have it go get some rest. When you lay your head on your pillow tonight remember how I tucked you in bed and helped you say your prayers so many years ago. Feel my breath on your forehead as I gave you that goodnight kiss. I can’t do the same tonight in person but know I am doing it with all of my heart in my mind. I love my Navy Girl. I miss you. Mom

Blame It On The Heat

We have had unbearably  hot weather here in Michigan this last week. I was so looking forward to the storm that I knew would eventually break the heat wave but I never knew it could cause such commotion. So rewind here we go.

Hungarian Work Horse came home from work yesterday with a big grin on his face. He works outside all day and this was the first night in a week that I saw him really smile when he walked in the door. I knew he had a story and I was ready. Sometimes he finds stuff out about the grandkids before I do because our son-in-law Mike works with him. His abbreviated story was that Brooke had to evacuate the house because the smoke detectors kept going off and she didn’t know why. Mike left work in a hurry to help. It seems it was so hot outside and somehow one of the windows in the basement got opened and it kept making the smoke detectors go off. Can you guess who Papa thought the culprit was? I’ll show you a mug shot from this winter.

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We had a bad storm last night and this morning quite early I got a phone call from Brooke that they had no power and she and the kids were coming over. I knew my day wasn’t going to be like I planned and I hopped right in the shower thinking that today would be a good day to take Brooke to see this little Mennonite grocery store I love to go to. I was just getting dressed when the bedroom door popped open and here comes the Little Dude and all he has on is his underwear. His mouth was going so fast with stories about the no power deal I was just cracking up.

“Nana, not a man or a monster open da window but I was wooweed about dat smoke deflector.”

I knew when he said that he never opened the window. He would tell me if he messed with something. Remember I am his girlfriend and he is going to marry me.

Downstairs we go and he is the first in the shower. I help him dry off and people I know what heaven smells like. Little boys that just get out of the shower with shaggy hair and stained feet. I suck in the baby loveliness that will be replaced by dog smell in about an hour. He lets me rock him for a few minutes and then he is off.

We get all the little girls showered and I start telling about the adventure we are going on to my little store. Please don’t judge me but I tell them we are going to a for real Mennonite store and if they look they will see a real Mennonite. Miss P asks if they sell toys there and I answer that she will just have to wait and see. I know she will be my partner when we get to the store because she is so curious about these Mennonites.

We get there and Miss P and Little Dude go with me and we shake Brooke and her two. As we are walking I start to tell her about the Mennonite faith and she asks me if they believe in our God. I tell her yes and let her know that God is everyone’s not just ours. Little Dude is walking a bit ahead of us and he comes running back excited because he thinks he found some pizza ice cream. When we look I start laughing because it is pineapple orange but it does look like pizza on the box.

On our way home Brooke tells me her version of the smoke detector caper. She wasn’t as rattled as her Dad made it sound but she did pack up the kids because she didn’t know why the thing kept going off. Mike had her looking at wiring and everything when she was on the phone with him. She just said it was so hot in that basement she couldn’t believe it and it had a weird smell so she took the kids and left. Mike came home from work and finally  figured out a  window was open and the temperature got so hot in the basement it made the detector go off.She said that they were talking about it later and Miss P was listening. She stated that she and Alexis never opened that window in the back room.

The funny thing about that was nobody said it was the window in the back room.Hmmmmmmmm. It kind of reminded me of a television set that got shot with a pellet gun at my nieces house. Nobody did that either. It must have been a man or a monster.

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Here is a photo of the suspects. Who do you think opened the window and let all that hot summer air in and caused such havoc that their dad had to come home from work to shut a window.

I hope he wasn’t too mad because there is a silver lining in all of this. He got to start his weekend a little early and he got his favorite cheese from the Mennonite store. Let me tell you I don’t care who opened it I love them all and someday when they read this it will come out how it happened. A lesson was learned in the Mennonite store and next time they come over we will thank God for pizza ice cream that tastes like orange pineapple. I am so blessed and sometimes I forget. I let worry take me where I should not go and then I have a day like today that brings me back where I belong. I need to remember to be patient and know that things don’t always happen when I want them to.

image (12)I love you Alisha and McKenzie. We can’t wait to see you.

Pillow Talk

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Hungarian Work Horse is the love of my life. Plain and simple. The first time I ever saw him he had a broken leg and somebody stole his crutches at the bowling alley. Even though I was only fourteen years old I knew there was something special about him. He was very quiet and his smile was movie star quality.This guy was different from anybody that I had ever met. He never said anything to the person that was goofing around with his crutches and that made an impression on me. I was used to fighting for everything and here was a guy that was sitting there waiting to get his crutches back not saying a word. He was so handsome and I being a care giver to my sisters all my life wanted to beat that guys brains out that was teasing him. We never spoke that night but I remember going home thinking about him long into the night. I thought he looked just like Davy Jones of The Monkees and had the lips of Ricky Nelson,but that is where the comparison ends. When he opens his mouth to sing it is very very scary and that is quite often because he loves to sing. You should hear his rendition of She Kicked Out My Windshield.

It was quite some time before we started dating I remember but when we did it was wonderful. He drove a 1962 green Chevy that he called Lucy and people would tell us that when they passed us on the road it looked like someone with two heads was driving because I sat so close to him. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other and to this day he still wants to hold my hand and have his arm around me where ever we go. I suppose it drives my kids crazy but what can you do? He kisses me everyday and he tells me he loves all the time. He loves to have his arm around me in bed and is always putting his lips to my forehead. I don’t know why after all these years he still feels like that but I now come to expect it. I really don’t think he loves anything on this earth more than me. I am beginning  to wonder though because as we were drifting off to sleep the other night he saddles up beside me his mouth next to my ear and whispers,”That asparagus soup Linda sent over was delicious.”

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I love you too Asparagus Breath!

Footsteps

Bethy 3My daughter Bethany is in Korea right now and today I got an email from her. How I loved it while I was reading her words that so sounded like my girl. Her Grandma Perkie baked her some cookies and they finally arrived. Some of the things that I have been sending her was also in the mail drop and she was so grateful. Sometimes I complain about this computer but today I am so thankful for it. It is a lifeline to my daughter so many miles away and technology is something that I take for granted but won’t after today. On Mothers Day at two o’clock in the morning I and her dad heard her sweet voice. She apologized for calling so late and for a while I thought I was dreaming. She sounded like she was here in the States. I couldn’t sleep for hours after we talked those few minutes.I cried and cried like I do when my kids are involved and my heart was full of so many emotions.It was such a gift for me on Mothers Day and I needed that because sometimes I don’t know if I am a very good mother.Sometimes I wonder if I make good choices when it comes to my kids but that phone call made me feel so appreciated at that moment. It was truly a gift for a worn out mama.

My Beth is a woman of the utmost in family and I am so proud of her. Smiling comes easy as I think of how different her dad and my conversations were with her. I was asking about how people treated her,about the food,and how she was feeling and she was asking about her nieces and nephews and her grandma and how she is sending them gifts from Korea. I told her about how my Dad was a paratrooper in the Korean War and was on Pork Chop Hill.

Her dad on the other hand was wanting to know exactly where she was and where she would be going.She couldn’t tell him a lot but that she would let us know as she could. He was popping out questions like the grandkids before a party. The love in his voice was so thick that it was hard for me to listen to. He is a man that loves hard when it comes to his kids and I wondered what that was like because my dad was taken from my sisters and me when we were little and never knew him as adult women. Would Daddy be proud of us and how we turned out? How different would our lives have been if he wasn’t taken away from us? Some day I will ask why he made it home from war just to be killed in a car accident leaving five little girls and a wife not out of her twenties all alone.

daddyservice 001My dad was one of the paratroopers that landed on Pork Chop Hill.That is him on the left.I think he is so handsome in this picture. I googled it and spent half the morning reading about it. So many soldiers were lost and I felt so sad. I don’t know much about war I admit but seeing some of the things my dad was a part of was an emotional roller coaster for me. A young man like my Beth is a young woman so far from home. I wonder if their footsteps felt any of the same path. To think that my daughter and my dad were in this place in the military is something I have never thought about. I hope he knows about Beth because he would love her. She is like him even though she has never met him. Like my dad Beth loves her family intensely. She loves to laugh like he did. They both rode a ship to Korea though their jobs were very different.He told my grandma all he did on that ship was peel potatoes. Beth on the other hand tells me she works twelve hours a day and is very busy. Both soldiers,yet one a man and one a woman both connected by a family that loves them so even though they never met. I get reassuring words from Beth about how safe she is just like my Grandma Hahn did from Dad. His letters to her were always upbeat and Beth is too.

I told her on the phone that night how Dad fell in love with a Korean girl but her parents wouldn’t let her come home to the states with him. It’s probably for the best because he fell in love with my mom the first time he laid eyes on her after he got home. My mom jokes about how different we girls would look if that Korean woman would have been our mother. I can’t even imagine. I guess it’s funny how things work out sometimes and maybe he was heart broken when he left without her but I believe God knew that her life would have been so hard after he was killed here with all her family in Korea. I hope she is a happily married woman and that her life is good. If I could give her a message I would tell her thank you for caring about my dad and that we loved him so.

As always I would like to leave my grandkids with this. Footsteps are something we make on this walk of life. They sometimes take us far away from home but you never know when God will connect them from something in the past and your family can be entwined in ways you can’t even fathom.The future is a wonderful thing but sometimes looking at those footsteps from the past can bring you joy. I know it did me today. I feel that my dad and my daughter,two of the most wonderful people that you could ever meet,are part of these footsteps.Like my friend JoAnn said to Bethy in her message I salute you.

Carry on soldier and God’s blessings.

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.