Monday, September 28, 2009

Emolyn anecdotes

Emolyn is blossoming like crazy. And like a vibrant bloom that quickly fades after a few days, the details of her life story from my vantage are beginning to fade. Every time I see her she has entered a new phase that if I don't write it down, it is forgotten and fades from my memory. I have so many snapshots in my mind that need to be recorded for posterity. Ok, maybe just for me. So, occasionally I will do just that. I will tell a little Emolyn anecdote through the eyes of her Mimi. And who is this Mimi you speak of? That would be me. Emolyn calls me MIMI!

Shawn, Nicole & Emolyn came over Friday night for dinner. Have I told you that she literally lights up the room when she sees us? She loves us. Anyway, she calls Randy PopPop and it's cute as all heck. But she's unable to, nor has she tried to come up with any form of Grammy. So I just casually said "Emolyn, can you say Mimi?" And she proceeded to not only say "MIMI!", but she said it with the biggest grin I've ever seen! She was actually quite tickled with not only saying it, but the reaction she got. We were all so delighted at how sweetly she said Mimi. I thus became Mimi at that moment and well, it's like I am truly her Mimi now. So I hearby proclaim that Randy & I are officially Mimi & PopPop!

On a side note, the following night I was sharing with my friend Dennis about my Dad knowing me and saying "well Linda!", and my friend quickly said "it's like when your grandchild recognizes you and calls you by name". I couldn't believe he had said that because he was right. And he had no idea that Emolyn had just called me Mimi the night before. The two were very similar. Both recognizing me for who I am and feeling such a deep satisfaction that I was addressed by my Dad and now my granddaughter as someone special in their lives. One was 83, the other 19 months old. Both similar reactions.

Back to Emolyn's latest anecdote. After we ate dinner together, Nicole, Emolyn & I went to my little thrift store. We put Emolyn in her stroller and she immediately noticed all the baby dolls in the toy section. She would point to one and I would hand it to her. She would look at it carefully and set it aside. She continued to do this to several other baby dolls till her stroller was piled high. Then I happened to unearth a particularly cute doll, handed it to her and you would swear the heavens parted and she had found her long lost soul mate. Motherly instincts poured out from every fiber of her being. She proceeded to cuddle and kiss and rock her new baby in her arms. Oh, but not before she flung all the less adorable babies from her stroller. Seriously, she wanted them gone, out of sight. Cracked me up. We also found the perfect baby bottle too. She would take off the lid, feed the baby, put the lid back on, pat the baby, take off the lid, feed baby, lid back on, and so on. I could not take my eyes off her the whole night. She was in her own little world.

I know what you're thinking. Oooh. Ick. A thrift store baby doll? I know, but you need to know that I am so NOT a germ freak. I was fine. Her Mommy was fine. And once we got home I cleaned her up as best I could. Along with the baby bottle.

Em, baby and bottle... they have been inseparable ever since.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

all roads lead home

On our way to the wedding rehearsal Friday night we stopped at the nursing home to see my Dad for the first time. Miranda had not seen her Grandpa Larson in 4 years. What a special reunion. And I was beyond pleased at how well my Dad was doing. He was alert and peaceful and at home.

Sunday morning after the wedding we all gathered at my Mom's for some fun, family time. After a delicious dinner (noon meal is called dinner in these parts) the six siblings and Mom went to the nursing home to take family pictures with my Dad. My sister-in-law Kathy came along to take the pictures. Thanks Kathy.

Now get this... as we gathered together in the sunroom, my Dad sees me and says "well Linda!". I couldn't believe my ears. My Dad knew me! He had not spoken to anyone by name for quite some time, so this was a thrill for everyone. I can't tell you how blessed I felt. No matter what happens from here on out, for that brief moment my Dad knew me, and I could be at peace about his future.

My Dad and his girls.

My brothers Kevin and Gary visiting with Dad. The beautiful mural of Norway makes the nursing home so warm and friendly. Everyone here is so good to my Dad. I could not be more pleased with his care.

After we spent some time with Dad outside, my nephew Erik came by to say goodbye to everyone before he took off for Milwaukee.

Then it was time to say goodbye to the gang from Oklahoma- my sister Kathy and son Aaron... and her daughter Kristen's family in the middle.

I couldn't leave without taking pictures of my Dad's beloved flower gardens and sheds. This is his zinnia garden. In the spring this garden is full of vibrant colored hollyhocks. He has shared his zinnia seeds with me and I have shared my hollyhock seeds with him. Don't you just love friendship gardening!

This is the home my parents built when Ron's family moved on the farm. It's next to the farm on a couple acres and beautifully landscaped. My Dad was meticulous about his many trees, flower boxes and gardens galore.

And of course it's always hard to leave the farm. My childhood home. I bought a wooden plaque last year that says "Home Is Where Your Story Begins". And this is where my story began. And regardless of where our paths take us, all roads lead home. And I am forever pulled back to this place where it all began.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Erica & Nate's wedding

Congrats Erica & Nate!
What a beautiful wedding!
And the best part was spending time with my whole family the whole weekend!

The Three Sisters had fun hanging out at the rehearsal before we went to Club 95 in Hixton for the rehearsal dinner. Yes, they serve the best Friday Fish Fry ever along with an amazing buffet!

Miranda and her cousin Kristen from Oklahoma look so much alike. When Miranda styled their hair for the festivities, you would swear they were sisters!

My sister Ginny, Miranda & I spent the morning of the wedding at the Plaza in Eau Claire putting on the chair covers and bows. So fun imagining 300 people filling the room later that day.

Miranda and her Grandma Larson
We arrived at the church in plenty of time to take lots of pictures with friends and family. The day could not have been more beautiful.

Me & my Mom
My Mom will be 80 in April and she looks amazing. So healthy and fit. So proud of how she cares for herself.

Me & my beautiful daughter Miranda

Miranda stopping traffic on main street in Whitehall, WI just outside the church.
Whitehall (pop. 1500) is where I went to high school and graduated in 1975 with 73 in my graduating class. Go Whitehall Norsemen!
I rode the bus an hour to school and an hour home, all through Jr. High and High school. And what did we do to while away the hours? We played a card game called Whist. How we managed to balance playing cards on our books as the school bus rumbled along the bumpy country roads is beyond me. But we did and we loved it.

Miranda with the flower girls Mya & Kennady
Mya (3) & Kennady (6) are Kristen's daughters and my sister Kathy's granddaughters from Newcastle, Oklahoma.

No, Erica is not a runaway bride. She is changing shoes before she hops on the wedding limo bus. You see, on the way to the reception, the wedding party stopped by for a friendly game of football at the UW-Eau Claire football field. Erica's husband played football for the Blugolds. What a cool wedding photo op! Love these two pics that Erica posted on FB.

We made sure to gather the Larson cousins together for a photo. We were sad that my sons Shawn & Tyler were not in attendance for the photo shoot. Mmm, maybe we could photo-shop them in somehow.

Gary & Mom and David & I dancing to the Beer Barrel Polka!
David is a dear family friend that I have known all my life. What an inspiration he is to many. He has struggled with recurring cancer for the past several years but he is living life to the fullest. He leaves next week for Alaska with his 86 year old uncle! I know, how cool is that! But seriously, there isn't a better dance partner that I can think of than David. What a special guy.

Kevin, Kathy, Ron, Ginny, Gary & I
One of the highlights of the reception was gathering the six brothers & sisters together for a photo op. When I was growing up I always made a big deal when we were all together by saying "the family's together!". We were together as siblings at the wedding with our Mom, but we were ALL going to be together the next day at the nursing home with our Dad.

We danced to everything you can imagine... from polkas to waltzes, Lady Gaga to Journey, the Beatles to Alabama.

The White Russian girls are making a toast to the evening festivities. I've taken a fondness to drinks that support the local dairy farmers. And seriously, anything with half & half has got to be good, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gary's Birthday

Recently I've been pouring over boxes & boxes of photos and coming across some pretty memorable moments captured on film. Yes, that would be before digital. So I set aside this image of my brother Gary and his ingenious idea of roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over an open fire by using a garden rake. (You may need to enlarge to get the full effect) Hey, come on, you've got to admit, it's pretty clever. But that's my brother for ya, always thinking outside the box. Always finding ways to save time and money. He's resourceful like that. And he's also celebrating a birthday today. So I thought before I get too carried away posting pics from our Wisconsin trip, I'd wish my brother Gary the best birthday ever!
Happy Birthday Gary! You're the best!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wisconsin here I come!

Thursday morning Miranda and I will be taking off for Wisconsin! I could not be more excited! Do you want to know why?

I get to spend time on the farm where I grew up.

I get to experience Autumn. You know, gourds and pumpkins and scarecrows. Oh my.

I get to attend my niece Erica's wedding. That's Erica on the right, with my daughter Miranda, when they were younger. They decided to pick the apples from their grandparents apple tree and sell them in their little make-shift produce stand. (thanks to Little Tykes) Quite the savvy businesswomen I must say.

Erica and our son Shawn are only 3 months apart. Can't believe they're 27 years old now... and both married.

I get to stop at real roadside stands and then wish I could take home armloads of pumpkins and bushel bags of honeycrisp apples.

I get to sew with my sisters. I made the above handbag last October. Ginny made the darling pincushion. I wonder what she will teach us this time?

I get to spend time with my family. This picture was taken at my Dad's 80th birthday celebration in 2006. The last time we were all together.

I get to visit my Dad in the nursing home. It will be nice to be together again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Randy's BD celebration

A week ago we celebrated Randy's birthday at his Mom's house in Surprise.
My Mother-in-law loves when I post pics so she can see her name-sake... her great-grandbaby Emolyn Kate. SO, this post is for her.
I love this pic of the two Emolyn's sharing a bowl of Nicole's homemade ice cream. Nicole makes the best chocolate chip mint and vanilla ice cream. Simply to die for! I actually broke my sugar fast for a bowl of this tempting treat. How could I NOT!

We had such a fun time gathering together as a family. The guys played guitars and sang. We ate yummy food. But with Emolyn as our main source of entertainment. She is so fun to watch. She loves baby dolls. She's such a little Mommy. I love that girl to pieces!

I believe this is Emolyn belting out her favorite worship song. I'm not always able to interpret baby babble, but I'm sure the Lord was blessed.

Does she not look like the littlest angel or what?

Emolyn's pretty Mommy reading her a book. Nicole is such a good Mom.

Love this one of me & Em. And I love this one below of Em & her Popop. Oh did she ever bond with her Popop! And Randy could not have been more thrilled to receive that as his favorite birthday gift of all... bonding with his granddaughter.

Emolyn loves hats. She will actually pile them on her head. She's such a crack up.

Uncle Tyler is by far her favorite toy. Emolyn loves her Uncle Tyler and he adores her. They have the sweetest relationship.

Emolyn and Popop having some serious tickle time. That's what grandpas do well... getting them all hyped up before bed time.

Emolyn and her Aunt Miranda soon after Emolyn got her jammies on for the trip back to Phoenix. She will surely fall asleep the minute they hit the road. I mean, come on, it's hard work entertaining a captive audience for hours and hours.