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.

Grandpa’s Girl

Bethany and Grandpa

My Bethany is in the United States Navy and she is deployed right now. As her mother I am anxious because she is so far from home and I haven’t heard from her. We usually email back and forth but that has not been possible this last month because my internet has been down. The frustration I have felt trying to get my provider to get me up and running just about drove me crazy. After many phone calls to a stupid computer telling me to try this and try that and sitting on the phone for hours to talk to a live person I had about had it. We had a technician out and he thought it was fixed and it was for about ten minutes. The next day I called and waited forty minutes to talk to someone and told them if it wasn’t fixed by the end of the day we were cancelling all of our services with them. Why didn’t I do that in the first place I don’t know. The reason I even bring it up is because usually I am a take charge kind of person but I let worry overtake this thing because of my Beth. I just knew she was emailing me and thought I wasn’t taking the time to answer. I knew she needed to tell me something important and I wasn’t there for her and I worried she was feeling all alone. That wasn’t the case I am happy to say because I never got one email from her when my computer was up and running. That’s how it goes when you have a kid in the service. You go through what I call the three W’s,wait wonder and worry.Not good and I am trying to get over it.

My Beth is an Aviation Structural Mechanic for Safety Equipment. She loves her job. I sent her some questions when she first left and this is what she told me.

They have church everyday on the ship and Lutheran services on Sunday.

She works twelve hours a day from six at night until six in the morning seven days a week.

She really can’t tell me where they are because of Operational Security.

The food is pretty lackluster but you can buy snacks until they run out which is often.

She shares a room with about fifty other females from different commands.

She doesn’t like to touch anything in the shower.

She has trouble keeping weight on right now.

People tell her she is refreshing to be around and she has made many friends.

When she emails it sounds like she could be anywhere and it is still my Beth. I hope that if you know someone in the Armed Forces you take a little time for them. Send them a letter a package or just a card. Let them know they are missed and loved. It is our responsibility to keep them informed about what is going on back home. They miss us and they are tired so I am sure that even brings on loneliness. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers but also give them something tangible to hold on to and look at. If you belong to an organization or a church hand out their address and ask them to help.Anything from home is something they will love.

I know my girl reads this blog when they have access and that was another thing that tricked me off when our service was down but it is up today and I am doing this for her.I love you Bethy. I miss you and I can’t wait to hear from you. Dad and I talk about you every day. I put that picture up there of you and Grandpa because he was so proud of you. You remember the day don’t you? I bet he has the biggest grin on his face right know and is spewing ship details to everyone up there that will listen. Grandma too is so proud and she loves you so much.She asks everyday if we have heard from you and she plans on sending you some of those cookies that you love. She has never erased that I love my Grandma Perkie off her message board by the phone that you wrote many moons ago.

You are on everyone’s mind back here at home. Thank you for doing what you do and for being my daughter. You are a blessing and I love you.

I have one last thing I want to do for my girl. If you could please give her a hello today on this blog. It doesn’t take but a little bit of time and it will make me so happy that she has something to read from all of us wherever we are. People she is special and has been from the start. Give her a little love.

Thank you and Blessings Everyone.Bethy 2

The Christmas Miracle

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With Christmas coming up the past few days has got me to thinking of how not only do seasons change but so do our lives.When we were young parents Christmas was so important to me because I wanted my kids to have a good holiday.I know that sounds bad but there is a reason.

My Dad was killed when I was eight years old.He was in a car accident on September 8th,my sister Linette’s birthday.We were sitting at the table getting ready to eat birthday cake when a police officer came knocking on our door.I can’t remember how the whole thing went down but I know they took my mom to my Uncle Ralph and Aunt Charlene’s that lived around the corner because we didn’t have a car for Mom to get to the hospital.We were farmed out to family as my Mom stayed at the hospital with Daddy.He died of head injuries on the 13th of September,my cousin Elaine’s birthday.Some of the things I remember so vividly and some of them are sketchy.Eternal sadness was the worst because our laughing Daddy was never coming back.Reality set in and with it came responsibility shoved on a big sister way to soon.I felt the world change in an instant and took my sisters in my aching heart never to be taken out.As kids are I soon got the new normal down pat and we got to living this hard life.After September came October and no Halloween for us.I think Mom was just used up by then.I can’t imagine having five little girls and no job not driving you stark raving mad.

We went to a little church school and as Christmas came up started to practice for the pageant at church.It was the light of the school year for me and my sisters.We always had a pretty dress and my Mom fixed our hair and had us smelling pretty from our baths.We would come home from church and Santa would have come and left our presents.This year was going to be different I knew because Mom wasn’t acting right.I would hear her crying in her bedroom at night and wonder what was wrong but too scared to go ask her.How I wish I would have went in there now and comforted her.She needed me to hug her now I know.To tell her everything was going to be OK but I never did.

The night of the Christmas program came and we went to church.Mom was so sad I remember and I couldn’t imagine why.After the program was over she packed us up and we went home.Mom was crying.We lived in a big farm house that belonged to my Grandpa Jahr.It had a sun porch that you had to enter before you went into the kitchen.When Mom opened that door she got the biggest surprise of her life.It was stacked from front to back with presents for us.More than we had ever had in our life.I really don’t remember what we got but I remember the look of disbelief on my Mom’s face.

That night we stayed up late playing and it was my old Mom back for a while.I found out many years later that she was crying because she had nothing to give us for Christmas.To this day we don’t know where the presents came from.I wish I knew so I could tell them that as a grandma now I still am thankful for the little girl in myself.That is why I think Christmas is so important to my sisters and me.That picture above is of our little kids that were about the same age as we were when Daddy was taken from us.We never wanted them to feel the sadness of a parent like we did and for the most part most of them haven’t.

What I want to leave you with today is this.Don’t be afraid to do a random act of kindness for someone.I have heard people grumble about so and so not having any money because of this or that,but the little ones are not in charge of the money.They are the innocent in all of it.You never know what kind of a Christmas Miracle you can create at any time of the year.I know the one my sisters and I got that day long ago is something I will never forget.Was it a person or was it something else,a vessel God used,I don’t know,but it is something I will always be thankful for and I will never forget it.

To my Grandkids when they read this after they get older I want you to always remember that giving is a part of growing.Kindness is one of the things that is so important to your Nana.Try not to judge.It is something your Nana has struggled with and if there is anything I want you to remember about me it is that I want to be kind.You already know that I love you now I want you to take it out into the world and pass it on.

Thoughts From a Navy Girl’s Mother

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My daughter Bethany is in the Navy.Right now she is out on the ocean on a big ship and I can’t just pick up the phone and talk to her like I normally do when I miss her.Now we email.She knows I love her with all of my heart but I wonder if she knows how much I appreciate how much she loves me and that it has taken me a long time to realize that.

Bethany came to this family when she was fifteen months old.If you haven’t read about it my little post Home Made or Imported That is the Question give it a look now.I have loved this beautiful creature since the minute I laid eyes on her.She was scared of everything at first and  wouldn’t go from the living room carpet to the linoleum in the kitchen.To think that now she is so far away from home on a ship and loving her job is almost unimaginable to me.

The reason I need to write this is to let her know how important she is to me.We have had our ups and downs and at times I am sure she thought I was from another planet.Sometimes I wasn’t understanding and maybe expected too much but I always wanted what was best for her.I now realize that when she was looking for her heritage it wasn’t because she wanted a new family,it was because she needed to know where she came from.I would do the same.Maybe what she doesn’t know was that I wanted to go on that journey with her.I wanted to be there when she needed me and I needed reassurance that she wanted me and not them.I hope that Bethany thinks back on our life together as I do my childhood with pride and the knowledge that her mother and father in this tiny town of Owendale were a spring board for the adventures that she now has.I want for her to think of a pink bedroom that she shared with a little Wheel as a soft place to fall and I hope when ever she sees the word home it reminds her of a big blue house with baking cookies in the oven and kids everywhere.

Bethany and Grandpa

I have to remember that my Bethany is a gift.God made her in His Image and she was given to me because He knew that we would be the right fit.I know now that she is doing important work and she is a soldier.She may be a world traveler but I know her heart is always where her family is.Her beginning in this world came from another woman but she is ours.She was the pride of her Grandpa and is a sweetheart in our family.I don’t want her so far away but I am so proud that she is serving our country.

She knows how to swim in the ocean and she can shoot a gun.She knows about airplanes and how to command respect.She is so much smarter in worldly things than her mother and I hope she knows that her mother is amazed at her resilience.When she couldn’t do what she set out to do in the Navy she learned something else and was first in her class.

Sometimes I  think of the song Blue Navy Blue sung by Diane Renay from a long time ago when I look at Bethany’s Navy picture that hangs on our wall.I change the words around a bit to suit her and me.

Blue navy blue I’m as blue as I can be

‘cause my steady girl said “ship ahoy’’

And joined the Nay-ee-ay-vee

Bethany is an adult woman protecting our country,but to me she is still my little girl,my baby that I rocked and that slept with her big sister Brooke.I can picture her long beautiful hair flying as she runs down our upstairs steps and I am sad right now because I miss her so.I want to touch her and I want to hear her goofy laugh.I need my baby home and can’t wait for her to get here.

beth baby 001This is the beginning of a Navy girl.Just a little baby in a foster home that came to live in a big blue house with a big sister,brother,mother and dad that thought she was the most precious thing on earth.She is all grown up now and I still carry her around.The only difference is it is in my heart.Love you Beth!

The Love Mobile

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This is the vehicle I get most excited about when I see it pull in the driveway. As you can tell it drives down our dirt road frequently.It is driven by Brooke the oldest of my kids and I laugh every time I think about how she came to be the proud owner of it.

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Brooke is a kindergarten teacher and so most of her adult life has been around the raising and development of little kids.She loves kids just like I do and we have many laughs over the things that we hear come out of the little one’s mouths.I am getting off track here but I really love this picture of her and Maddie my niece.She has taught several of the kids in the family and our Maddie was one of them.

Any way back to the Love Mobile.At the time Brooke and Mike had two little girls,Alexis and Peyton. Brooke’s little girl Peyton was the end of the line in the kids department for Brooke and her husband Mike. I guess she started thinking she would have just one more.They drove a little four wheel Blazer and it was perfect for the four of them.It was sturdy,went though the Michigan snow,and she never had any trouble coming down our plugged up road in the winter to see her doddering old parents.I think she really loved that Blazer.Plus it had the room for one more car seat.Here’s where it gets a little tricky.

She obviously doesn’t have any trouble getting kids when she prays for them because soon she was pregnant again.She kept telling me she felt like she was getting bigger so much faster with this baby.I smiled knowing she was going to have twins but I never told her.Twins run on both sides of the family and when she had her first ultra sound there was the proof.

It was a shock of course and there was much preparation for two more kids in the house.Their house was small and the Blazer wasn’t big enough for two more car seats.They finally stacked the baby beds in a tiny third bedroom and started looking for a bigger vehicle.We would talk about the new car hunt and she would be aggravated because every four wheel drive was so expensive that she could load up four little kids in.Finally one day she looked at me and said,”I guess we’ll have to get a stupid van.”Hence came the The Love Mobile.

Back when we were young vans were cool and I remember my grandparents having a talk with my sister Linda and me one afternoon when we were visiting.We were heading to the city to do some shopping and Grandpa warned us not to park by any of those panel trucks with curtains.He told us they would nab us and we would be kidnapped never to be seen again.I remember laughing with Linda after we left.A van was a party on wheels back then and I for one loved riding in them.This isn’t really the case today.I don’t see any vans with curtains. They are smaller in size and just scream- family rides in me- when you pull up beside them.This is Brooke’s lot in life for a long time now.She has to drive the family van and if we go anywhere it is her vehicle we take because no one else has enough room to load up all the monkeys.It is a party on wheels yet but now a little different.We have the girl that always has to go to the bathroom,a laugher,the talker,and the weepy drunk.The difference is they are all under ten and being driven by the designated driver that happens to be their mother.

We had to go to a baby shower for my youngest daughter in a town far away last week and had to take all of the kids with us because Papa and Daddy had to work.I met Brooke at her house to catch a ride and  when it was time to go I said to Alexis,”Let’s get everybody loaded up in The Love Mobile.”

“Nana,why do you call our van The Love Mobile?”

To this I answered,”Because I love it when this mobile pulls in my driveway.”

My sweet girl had the biggest grin on her face and you can’t buy that.I am so blessed to have them.This van might not have been the car of her choice but I guess it really doesn’t matter when it is filled to the brim with our most precious of all gifts—–your children.

The Big House Our Dogs And Here Comes Number Five

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I have told you about our little Love Nest in Sebewaing that I loved and after Mom had four kids in that little one bedroom garage turned house we moved.My sister Linette was the baby and not quite a month old.About this time Mom’s Dad my Grandpa Jahr bought a farm and it had a HUGE sand brick house on it.He would pay us and we could live there for free if we did the chores and fed the feeder cattle or pigs which ever Grandpa was getting ready for the stock market at the time.I was pitching silage with Mom and Dad before I was eight years old.It has both good and bad memories attached to it and I try to focus on the the good.

The house had four big bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs.We turned a parlor  into another bedroom so there was two bedrooms to sleep in downstairs.We girls slept in the bedroom and Mom and Daddy slept in the parlor.The first summer we saw the place before we even moved in my mom and grandma were hoeing the fields of that farm.They would have us take naps in the cool of the house in the afternoon with Grandma’s famous green sponge things we slept on that my sister Linette has commented on.Two girls in a closet,I guess for darkness and two in the room we would later use as our living room.I remember one time Linette and I were in the closet and we heard a like buzzing sound and then the smell of burnt wires.It seems that Lori stuck something in a outlet socket and we shorted out something.I was scared to death and knew we were in trouble.It wasn’t long before Grandma came in and started snooping around saying what happened.I was glad it was her because she never spanked and got everything under control.

us2 001It was here that the last of the little Hahn girls made her appearance and here she is with Linda and Lori.I love this picture of her and as you can see Linda is holding her hand.She always was Linda’s baby.We always had the babies with us even before they could walk.We played in that big yard and pretended with our cousins all the time.

kids 001We had this stroller thing and the babies were always in it being pushed around.I don’t know where that thing came from but we racked up miles and miles pushing our little sisters.This is our dog Tippy that I tried to train like Grandma Jahr did her dogs but I was never any good at it.We lost more dogs at that house because it was on a very busy road and there was a chicken coop across from us that the dogs always wanted to go to.We never had a refrigerator in that house just the big freezer so we always put our milk in between the door and the screen door in the winter to keep it cold and Mom would freeze and unthaw from the freezer  in the summer.One time Grandpa gave Mom some money for feeding the cattle and she gave it to Daddy to go by a used refrigerator from one of his friends that had a gas station in town.She wasn’t very happy that he brought us back a little dog instead of the fridge.There was some words, I remember, but that was Dad.We loved that little dog.I finally had a dog that could do tricks and climb ladders and everything.Her name was Mitzy and we just adored her.Before the end of the summer she was killed on that crazy road down by the corner and I saw her.Daddy and I went down and got the little dog to bury and I remember him being as sad as I was.He took me in his arms and just let me sob and he cried too because I was so sad.You know I can almost feel his arms around me right now as I think of it.I guess there are some things that never leave you and that day was one of them.He hated to see us cry and when one of the animals died it was horrible.This reminds me of our cat Joey that we had in Sebewaing.I was looking for it in the winter and couldn’t find it so I told Daddy.We went hunting outside and found that cat frozen in our shed out back.I begged Daddy to put in on the stove to thaw it out and I remember Mom and him being so sad telling me that we couldn’t do that.Mom remembers that day too and her smile when we said the same words at the same time I will treasure.

That house gave me many things,my last Hahn sister that I love,many fun times with our cousins there(remember the Deeg boys)and it also brought me much unhappiness.I refuse to let the bad take over my memories.I have much to be thankful for.I know that my stepfathers were horrible to us five girls but you know what,Ward trumped them all.He gave me back my childhood memories and I hope he knows it.His childhood was terrible too and he never treated me with anything but kindness and I will treasure his memory like I do my LBS(life before stepfathers).I love my sisters and all that Ward gave me.I hope he is in Heaven telling my dad what good girls that we turned out to be.Thank you God for giving me a dad and a mom that loved me and for Ward.You have given me much Lord and I  hope that I can give it to someone in return.God bless my family,warts and all.

Jami Sue I Love You

jami 001I have been involved with kids all of my life and this little girl was the one that as an adult I cut my grown up teeth on.My sister Linda had the first baby in the family and I was besotted the minute that I laid eyes on her.I was at the hospital with Linda and we played scrabble and walked around worried sick until she was born.I knew I wasn’t her mother but I am telling you I love her as if I am.After she was born I would rock and rock her,singing Merle Haggard songs and holding her while she slept.We were a team my Jami and me.I had toxemia when I was pregnant for Brooke and it was my little partner here that made the days go by swiftly as I waited for my terrible pregnancy to be over.

jami1 001She wasn’t the happiest of campers when her cousin Brooke was born and I think her face shows it here.When I brought Brooke home from the hospital she wanted on my lap immediately  and Linda wouldn’t let her because I had over thirty stitches after delivery and was very sore.You never had to worry about her brother wanting on your lap because I think they forgot to cut the umbilical cord when he was born but not my Jami,she wanted her Aunt Liz,and oh how I wanted her.I heard a thousand times in my life from Brooke that I always liked Jami better and now I know she thinks that is silly but at the time we were so close they were like sisters and brothers so I can see how she felt.I bet it was hard for Brooke because Jami did everything first because she was older just like Jared felt about Brooke.I know for sure that they all loved each other and I hope that is what they take away from that time in their lives.I loved those days and I know my sisters do too.

jami3 001jami2 001Here are a few of my favorite school pictures of her.She was in KDG in the purple I believe.You can tell she is going to be a beautiful woman even here already.She was very fussy about her clothes even when she was little and sometimes I would get aggravated with her because she refused to wear some of the beautiful clothes her mom would buy for her.It was at this time I was thankful Brooke wasn’t like that.That was our Miss Independence.!She would clean her room and hate anybody in it and I didn’t blame her when she got mad at Tornado Jared going in there and messing her stuff up.Everybody knows he had The Dumping Disease and couldn’t be trusted.I hope she looks back and remembers how much we all loved her.Jared too!

cousins1 001Holidays we were always together.

cousins8 001This is how I remember our kids and Jami was the oldest of them all and pretty much knew what was going on.Look at our Dee and Derek.Did someone put Danielle in a Goose?I think little Sarah is just sick about it.By the looks of things here I think Brooke is trying to look innocent………..

jami4 001The teenage  years were hard I will admit but then most teenage years are.I listen to Jami talk about raising teens and I laugh because believe me we remember.Dakota reminds me so much of Jami it isn’t funny.She is beautiful and independent and will be a force to be reckoned with some day.I love my Dakota,Hope,and Brayden.Thank you Jami for giving them to us.

 

jami5 001She graduated with honors and I was there as proud of her as ever.I think my girl turned out great.

jami&al 001Her Uncle Albert thought she was so beautiful pregnant.I can remember her telling me when she felt ugly pregnant she would come over because Uncle Albert always made her feel good.He loves his Jami too.

IMG_0053Here she is today with the guy of my dreams.I hope she marries him and I want to be there.In a church,with a pastor and our family there to join in the happiness.Not at the justice of the peace.They are a wonderful couple and as you can see she is still beautiful and fashionable to boot.Get the pun? These guys rock!

I hope that everybody has a Jami in their life.I know my girl has made my time here on earth a pleasure when we are together and I thank God because my little girl grew up so good.I miss my little snitch that would call to squeal on Brooke when she did something wrong in school and I smile just thinking about it,but it is so wonderful to have this honest caring woman that she now is.

Some of God’s blessings just grow and grow and now we have Chuck because of Jami.I hope Chuck takes good care of this girl.She is special and always has been to me.I love my Jami and I know she loves me.Thank you God for Family.