Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas letter and pictures

Spoiler! Some of you will actually get a physical copy of this. I wanted to post it before I left though, so here it is, probably before you'll see our actual card.

Merry Christmas! 2012 has been a very, very busy year for us!   

Edward (10 mo.)  was 4 days over due and was born on Valentine’s Day. He has been my best sleeper and probably the calmest baby I’ve had. He learned to roll over, sit up, stand up, and talk (mama, dada, hi, bye, yeah, more) earlier than the other 2. I guess when you’re the third you just have to keep up. He currently is working on standing alone and has taken a step, but decided he was not ready for that just yet and hasn’t tried it again. He is very good at climbing our stairs and just today figured out how to go down the stairs in a safe way. He gets very excited to say hi and bye to “dada” and loves being around people.  He has 6 teeth and his favorite game is peek-a-boo.

Walter (3 years) is convinced that he is older than Dean and does not believe that he is only 3 years old. He is finally (FINALLY!) in underwear, though we are still working on taking breaks from fun activities to avoid accidents.  He is all boy, that kid. He loves to wrestle, tackle Edward, tackle Dean, tease Dean endlessly, play with cars and trucks and superheroes, and he thinks potty humor is the funniest kind of humor (just came programmed that way!). He really is our little funny guy. He loves trying to make people laugh and doesn’t quite get that some things are only funny once…He’s been attending a co-op preschool that I rotate teaching with 2 other moms. He loves it and often asks when school is. He holds his pencil (even as a lefty!) correctly and is quite good at tracing. He is very good at riding his balance bike, and feels like he’s in constant competition with Dean. His current favorite show is Curious George.

Dean (5 years) has really started growing up.  In the last few months, he has learned how to play with Walter and has loosened up a lot.  They mostly build “rockets’ out of legos and fly them all over the house and yard. Their second favorite game is “Edward is a monster”.  That one usually ends in me telling them not to shut the door on him or cover him in blankets or drag him around. But Edward endures it well.  He learned how to pump on the swings, ride a pedal bike without training wheels, he can read, do addition and subtraction and can even do simple multiplication and division. And he hasn’t even started kindergarten yet! He is extremely bright and often thinks he is an adult. The biggest things we have to work on with him are respecting adults and not bossing other kids around. He’s in preschool 3 hours a day, 4 days a week. He loves art, science, math, and is amazingly good at navigating computers. He loves watching Matt play computer games and often “plays” those games in real life when he is at school (and much to my chagrin, in church and public as well!). His current favorite show is Cyberchase.

I (Celia) was able to have an unmedicated VBA2C in Feb., which was amazing. Since then my time has been filled with adjusting to 3 kids, getting our house ready to sell, selling our house, buying and moving to a new house/town, driving Dean into McKinney every day for school, teaching Walter’s preschool co-op, and teaching piano.  I LOVE my new neighborhood. Love, love, love it. It’s an amazing location and I love the people here. I finally feel like I have a place and community where we could raise our kids for the duration of their childhood. Since moving to Melissa, I immediately acquired 6 students, and I have since added 10 more students to my studio!  My life feels very busy and full. I love teaching piano. I have actually started taking piano lessons again and am trying to focus on technique, theory, and pedagogy that I didn’t get when I was younger. The only  “hobby” I’ve kept up since having Edward is running. I’ve been working on speed. I ran a 10K in May and got second in my category, but I ended up in the hospital. I hadn’t hydrated well enough to compensate for nursing a 3 month old.  I ran a 5K in November and got a personal record of 23:28 and took first in my category. Next on my race list is a 10K minus the hospital visit at that same pace, and then a half marathon at that pace. I still love running in my Vibram 5-finger shoes. We also had a chance to drive to UT (20+ hours each way) for a family reunion with my entire family  (7 kids, 21 grandkids). It was a blast! I also got to see my family at both my Grandpa and Grandma Hunt’s funerals. Reunions like those are bittersweet. My parents came here for Thanksgiving, which was also very fun.

Matt is still a software engineer at Raytheon and has upped his commute from 3 min. to 15 min. since moving. He worked really hard to get our house sellable and it really paid off! We sold it for 7K more than the realtor wanted to list it for, and we had multiple offers within 2 days of being on the market. Most of the beauty was a result of Matt’s hard and immaculate work. Since moving here, he’s already built himself an awesome workbench in our garage and has fixed other random things. He’s quite an amazing guy.

We hope all is well with you!  Life is full, and God is good. We’re grateful we have all of you in our lives. 

These pics are all the right way on my computer, but I don't have time to fix them for blogger. Sorry 'bout that. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


As if I weren't already busy...

I recently tripled my piano studio due to a teacher in my area having debilitating arthritis. I am looking forward to it, but hope I haven't over booked myself. 

I had my second piano lesson with my new teacher today. It was very interesting. I have always felt like I am a good pianist. Now, I know that I am not a concert trained pianist, but I've always felt like a solidly GOOD pianist. Today I felt like I was playing for the first time! I am basically in need of a total overhaul in technique, and I am realizing how much my theory is lacking. I basically stopped taking piano from classical teachers when I was 14. Years of playing "incorrectly" and now I'm having to strip that and rethink what it really means to PLAY the piano, to COMMAND the piano. For a split second (ok, a little longer than that) I wondered if I really was qualified to teach.  I wrote my teacher an email expressing my frustrations, and she sweetly replied with encouragement. I feel very blessed to have found her. I really think she is the right person for me right now.

It is easy to sit comfortably stagnant. While it might be painful and embarrassing at times, it is in the stretching that we find growth and movement and new life.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving and Meeting goals

We had my parents here for Thanksgiving week and we had so much fun! It was the first time in over 10 years that I had Thanksgiving with them. We got a new camera, however, and I'm having problems getting the software to convert the RAW pics to JPEGS, so photos will have to wait. The few pics I have are from my mom's phone that she posted to facebook.

Bike ride to "the climbing tree" with gpa and gma
The week was fantastic. My parents took a red eye flight on Spirit to save a little $$. My mom said she would never do it again, but my dad didn't seem to mind. My dad is amazing and played everything from sword fighting to rocket ships to finger painting with the boys to swinging and giving horsey rides. My mom humored the boys and played some wii with them, read to them, and painted with them as well.  One day she was playing wii with Walter (3) who was beating her. He asked why she kept losing. She said she didn't really play games much. He said something like, "Don't worry Grandma, the more wii you play, the smarter you will get." haha.

wii with Grandpa after his red eye flight
On Wed. we went to the Fountains at Fairview and the kids played in the beach sand park with Grandpa while my mom and I looked for some new vibrams. NO LUCK! I have looked at 5 places now and I can't find any of the style of 5-finger shoes in my size. Boo. But the kids had a lot of fun. We picked up the last few items for dinner at Whole Foods since it was right there.

My mom and I made 3 pies: apple, pecan, and pumpkin. We experimented with the crust and used coconut oil instead of the shortening. It was not exactly the same, but it worked out quite well and I loved the hint of coconut flavor it gave to the pies. We also made bread dressing (I made my own bread for worked well), green bean casserole (with organic frozen green beans), sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce with walnuts, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, celery with cream cheese, and Matt made the best turkey we've had to date! It was even better than the smoked turkey we got from Hutchins one year. It was a free range turkey that was grass fed. TOTALLY made a difference in flavor.  We did our traditional Alton Brown brine on it and roasted it in the oven. He made some awesome gravy from the drippings and homemade stock as well. It was moist and tasted great. We decided against rolls this year, and while my sister Julie thought it was tragic, I don't think any of us missed them. There was plenty of food to satiate us.

The weather was beautiful here this week. In the70's mostly. They were able to run every morning. Such good examples. My dad found a Pilgram Dr. here in liberty on Thanksgiving morning. Fitting.

They flew back to AZ late last night, and this morning I ran the McKinney Believe 5k.  I ran it last year 30 weeks pregnant and had a chip time of 26:29 and came in second in my category. This year I set a goal to have sub 8 min. miles and come first in my category since, you know, I'm not 30 weeks pregnant! ha.

I felt great and decided to run in my Brooks Pure Connect rather than my duck taped vibrams since it was chilly this morning. I made sure I ate a real breakfast (oatmeal with walnuts) and drank plenty of water before I left. I didn't want to end up in the hospital like that last 10K I ran!  Only problem: while I used the restroom twice before I left, I still really could have benefited from them having a port-a-potty at the start of the race. No such luck.  As the race started I had a few minor problems with my mp3 player but quickly fixed it and got in a good rhythm. I was keeping a 7 mi./hr pace the first while, sometimes dipping into the 6s. I was getting pretty thirsty because I thought I forgot my water bottle (I really didn't! It was just buried in my bag that I left in the car.) so I drank from the first water station. I think it slowed me down a little, but I didn't care. When a woman I'd chatted with before the race caught up with me, I tried to kick it up again slightly. The next two water stations I just sipped in and spat out. My body was feeling pretty great except I could kind of tell I'd eaten a full breakfast. I nearly caught a super tall girl that I had my eye on the whole race. I put the heat on her and she ended up beating me by 10 seconds. After it was over I had a man come up and tell me I did great and that my sprint at the end made him kick himself into high gear. That made me feel good.

I ended up getting a chip time of 23:28!!! I placed 1st in my age category and 8th out of 305 women overall in the 5k, so not bad. That came to 7:30 min./mi. pace. I was ecstatic. It was my personal record for any run over 3 miles. After I had Edward my ultimate goal was to get to 7:30 repeatable miles! 9 months later and bam. Now I just need to be able to repeat it for a 10K and then for a half marathon. I got first in my category and managed to not have to go to the hospital. (Though, I failed to call Matt right after my race and stayed for the award ceremony. He called the hospitals to double check to make sure I wasn't admitted anywhere! Ooops.) So yay! All goals realized.

After I got home and showered, I fed the boys and put Edward down and took the 2 older boys to Dickens of a Christmas in McKinney. It was fun. They got to do the bounce house, go down a fake snow hill on a tube, and ride on the train. They even got kettle corn at the end. This is our 3rd year going, so I feel like we're making a tradition of it.

It's been a great holiday. Hopefully I can figure my camera out and can start posting pictures again. Hope everyone reading this had a fantastic holiday too! Family just made it so much better for us. So grateful to be a part of a good family.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First words

I just realized I still need to post Halloween. Oops. I've been busy. Another piano teacher here had to retire because of bad health problems and I inherited 10 of her 15 students! So now I'm up to 16 from 6 last week!!  I'm hoping I am not overextending myself...

Anyway, I wanted to record that Edward has started talking. He is just shy of 9 months and his first words are: hi, dada, and bye. His main word it dada. It started out as ada, but he's been saying dada more the last few days. He is waving and just figuring out how to clap. He can pull to stand on just about anything and he can stand alone for a few seconds.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The whirlwind week and Dean is 5

My house looks like it's been hit by a tornado.  The truth of the matter is, it has been a ca-ray-zy week around here and I have not had a spare moment to clean up. Or rather, I've not had a spare moment to clean up the 5th or 6th time each day and that little bit adds up to a disaster area. 

On Monday I taught Walter's preschool on the letter I. We had an insect infestation and did a lot of insect activities. For snack I cut up hot dogs and had green grapes and gave them toothpicks and let them create insects out of them.   That was fun.That afternoon I taught 2 piano lessons.  I also started Dean's rainbow cake since I had to bake 6 individual cakes to stack on top of each other.

Tuesday was Dean's 5th birthday.  I got up at 5:30 and began baking. He told me he wanted muffins for his birthday breakfast, so I baked muffins followed by a batch of sugar cookies for his school snack/treat. I frosted them in a rainbow since he loves rainbows. I quickly dropped him off at school, went shopping for the ingredients I was missing for his frosting, came home and put the cake together.  Then I picked him up and we got hotdogs at sonic and then went for his free ice cream at baskin robin.  After we got home I set out to clean the kitchen enough to make the meat pies he wanted for dinner. Phew. That was a lot of baking on Tuesday.  That night we had a family birthday where he opened our gifts and had cake. He seriously took 2 bites of his cake and proclaimed that he had had too much sugar that day. haha. Overload.

Wed. I taught the letter J. I've had J before with Dean's group and it was a disaster from beginning to end. Next to nothing "preschool cool" starts with J. Seriously.  Think through it. Not much.  Anyway, I pretty much just did a loose Jack O Lantern theme and added in lots of pumpkin stuff since that's what Jack O Lanterns are made out of. We talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin, weighed and measured pumpkins and compared it to the weight and measurements of the boys. We tested to see if they would sink or float. We played pin the nose on the jack o lantern.  Lots more stuff too.  That night I taught more piano.

Thursday after I dropped Dean off at school, my visiting teachers stopped by.  I kind of unloaded my busy week on them.  As one of my VT was leaving, I apologized for still being in my running clothes and explained that I'd planned to run, but I missed my window of opportunity since Edward was napping and it was nearly time to get Dean.  She so very kindly offered to stay with Walt and Edward while I went running right then and there. That was such a blessing!  I hadn't been running once this week because it's just been too crazy with too much stuff for me to prep in the morning or at night.  I busted out a super fast run (seriously, I averaged 7:24 min. miles!!!), came home and took a cold shower, and then went and picked Dean up. It was the only run I got in this week, so bless that sweet sister's service!  I tried catching up on some neglected house work, but I merely dented it after folding 4 loads of laundry.  That night I tried furiously to finish sewing the boys' costumes, but I only nearly finished one of the vests.

 On Friday I did more sewing, tried to finish up Dean's party preparations, and Matt and I ended up going to a Halloween costume party.  As I was getting dressed in my one and only costume (asian lady and Matt as a ninja), my zipper popped on my dress. The dress was plenty roomy, but it was a 10 year old dress and it was, afterall, made in China. =) Luckily I had back up Asian clothes. haha. The back up outfit was actually quite a bit more comfortable anyway. It was the same fabric but in a shirt and I wore my black slacks and my sky high Chinese hooker heals and black wig.  We didn't really know anyone at the party well but had only met a few of them at church. It was a lot of fun though. The funnest game was "never have I ever" and there were a lot of yummy desserts. It was really fun to do something like this because it has been AGES since we've gone on a date or mingled with other adults in such a setting.  After I got home I sewed a little more.

This morning I got up and made the boys breakfast and commenced sewing. I finished their vests and then set out to finish up party planning since, you know, the party was in a few hours. I made some black "cannon ball" bean bags for a game I called sink the ship. I got out our Noah's Ark since that was the only ship like thing I had, and I had the kids try and knock the ship over. They also played pin the nose on the pumpkin, cannon ball bowling, had lunch, and had a scavenger hunt around the house (thank you pinterest for making one up for me since I didn't have a spare moment!), just played for awhile, and had cake and presents. It turned out as well as I could have possibly imagined. Since I didn't have time to make any cupcakes, I had Matt pick some up at Tom Thumb while he was out getting the pizza. Best decision I made this morning. =) I didn't need one more responsibility.

After the kids left, I made some chili for our ward party tonight and got back to sewing. I finished up the boys' pirate costumes minus the boot covers about an hour before the party. We'll see if I get around to making the boot covers at all. The chili turned out great. I tried a tomato-less chili since Matt doesn't like tomatoes/tomato sauce in his very much. I thought it was really good for all experimentation. I fed the boys some sandwiches since I knew they wouldn't eat the chili and didn't want them to get it on their costumes anyway. It was a mad dash to get them all dressed and to the church by 5:30.  It was pretty chilly out and the boys (wait, just Dean) complained enough about being cold that I went and found a coat in the car for Dean and gloves for Walter (who actually didn't complain at all, but I could tell he was cold). After dinner, we made the parking lot rounds for our ward's Trunk or Treat. I thought it was much better laid out than any of the trunk or treats we did in McKinney.  A lot of the cars were decorated and they were all backed into the sidewalk so you could easily go from car to car without worrying about getting hit by anyone.  It was a lot of fun.

We came home and got the kids in bed and I took a little break to do this. Now it is 10:30 and I'm dreading going down stairs to see the mess-I-should-probably-clean-up-but-will-most-likely-ignore-until-tomorrow.

It has been a very full week. I'm glad it's over and that I was able to accomplish the most important things. I am blessed. I have a great family.

Friday, October 05, 2012

There goes trouble...

Edward is a mover and shaker! (Literally. He has learned to shake his head "yes" when I ask him a question. haha) He is only 7 months, but he can already climb our stairs completely by himself! Come down that's a whole different matter. He just cut his first top tooth and the second is right behind it. I can tell it's really close, but he has really been quite good about it!  This kid likes to eat WAY more than my other 2. He is insatiable! He'll eat a lot and nurse as much/often as I offer. He pulls himself to stand. I just wish we had a better camera. Ours is 7 years old and is really having a hard time focusing lately. I'm crossing my fingers we can get one for or before Christmas.

This was my first week of teaching Walter's preschool. Dean happened to be here since this was a Friday and he doesn't have school on Friday. I taught C and D. C was for Curious George and Cars. D was for Dinosaur and dough.

 The weather has been pretty warm still, but we've had a few fun rain storms recently. Tonight we actually had our first real cold front blow in. It's supposed to be a high of 54 tomorrow (! We had our AC on earlier today to get our house down to 77!!), though next week we're supposed to get back to the 80s. We were out on a walk and we got caught in a rain with big fat drops. I piled all three in the jogger to get home quickly. Walter had to sit on Dean's lap. =) When we got home, the boys wanted to play out in the rain with the umbrella.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rest my sweet Gram

You may have caught it in one of the photo captions of my last posts that my grandma passed away. It was not unexpected. It started with breast cancer years ago that turned into bone cancer and eventually made it to her liver. She really altered her diet and was able to extend her life for quite a few years until she had fulfilled her mission here on earth.  Her husband passed away 5 months ago and her cancer really escalated since then, but she was able to finish the book written for Native Americans she's been working on in her mind since she was 13.  

This past weekend I flew to AZ for the second time this year with Edward for a funeral.  The flight was not quite as easy as it had been with a 2 month old, but honestly, my 7 month old baby was a total champion, especially considering we took 2 red eye flights!

It was interesting how different the funeral was than my grandpa's. There was a slightly different crowd amongst the grandkids and last time it seemed so rushed that no one was able to visit afterward.  This time we had time to prepare, time to share, and time to visit.

When we got to the church before the viewing, all of the grandkids and some of the great grandkids present practiced the song A Child's Prayer to sing at grandma's request. My aunt Jenny was in the audience recording it and crying and that started a bit of choked up water works. I reminded myself that when it came to "show time" that I needed to look at the rafters and not in the audience!  The second time through, my dad tried to put on a silly face, leading the music to try and help people stop the tears to get through the song, but I could see his bravado start to fade once the second verse started and he moved to the back of the room to try and mask the emotion. 

After the practice we moved into the relief society room for her viewing. When my Grandma Grider passed away, I didn't want to go see her because it didn't look like her with her spirit not in her body. I felt more at peace viewing my Grandpa Hunt. Before we went in, my mom tried to prep us that if you looked at her straight on it didn't quite look like her, but if you went to the top of her head and looked down, it looked more like our dear sweet Grandma. When I got in, I picked up my pink carnation and moved immediately to the top of her head since my mother was indeed correct. I patted my grandma's head, touched her hand, and whispered my love to her and that I knew she loved me too. I teared up again, but I knew what I said was true. I knew she was not gone forever, that she was right there watching and smiling, comforting, and loving.

After the viewing we went into the funeral.  It started out with her children and in-laws singing Love at Home with me playing the piano. My mom Lois, the oldest child, gave my grandma's life story. She had researched and written a thorough outline of the highlights of my grandma's 84 years.  While I don't have my mom's full discourse yet, here is the obituary from the news paper:

Beloved wife, mother and grandmother passed away peacefully in her home in Snowflake, Arizona on Friday September 14, 2012 at age 84. Zena was born December 1, 1927 in Ocean Beach, California to William Beadle and Winona Lisonbee. She was the oldest of five children and spent her childhood in Vernal, Utah and Holbrook, Arizona. Zena married Bruce C. Hunt of Joseph City, Arizona in 1947. They spent their married life in Wickenburg, Flagstaff, Snowflake, and Mesa, Arizona. She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her sisters Mona Dee and La Berle, and her granddaughter Casey Nimmer. Zena is survived by her children Lois Waterman (Dennis), Deborah Esquibel Hunt (Antonio), Jennifer Menegas (Nick), Colleen Crane (Curtis), Sandra Harenberg (Randy), Jefferson Hunt (Trish), and Douglas Hunt (Melinda), her brother Douglas Beadle (Patricia), and her sister Sherry Beadle Connor. Zena and Bruce were proud of their posterity: 36 grandchildren and 55 great-grandchildren. Zena loved LIFE and the gospel! She and her husband Bruce served an LDS stake mission to the Cameron Branch on the Navajo reservation and full time missions to Ireland and South Africa. Her first calling was as a mother and grandmother, and she enjoyed "making things pretty," feeding her family, singing, dancing, and genealogy. She was an artist, a creative seamstress, designing and sewing dresses for five daughters. Zena was passionate about education, and enjoyed her experience at Brigham Young University. She encouraged all young people to go to college. She learned something new every day. Zena loved people of all races and cultures, and was proud of her Cherokee ancestry. This year, at age 84, she published an inspirational book for Native American LDS youth.

My aunt Colleen gave snippets of memories collected by kids and grandkids. I think she had 17 pages to pull from!  I will give you some of mine: I remember Grandma showing me how to draw a face proportionally, clean up my bedding in the basement FIRST THING, painting with watercolors at her kitchen table, singing at her piano, playing the piano for her and her making me feel like I was a true concert pianist, chatting of life and friends and love, her massaging me when I had migraines, her big hug and smile and kiss on the cheek that smelled and felt like the make up she wore, insomnia that required 1 pm naps, interesting left over casseroles (very thrifty and didn't like waste!), PINK, flowers, beauty, aloe vera, homemade fried tacos, green beans with bacon grease, an enthusiastic love for life and her family as well as a constant raging battle against muck. I loved getting replies to my blog posts in recent years.  I was lucky to have lived close, so I have a lot of memories, and mostly just a lot of feelings associated with my beautiful grandma. She always made me feel like someone special and I honestly felt like I was her favorite. But one thing that I learned was that she had a gift for making almost everyone feel special and think that they were her favorite.

My Aunt Jenny gave a few more memories, and my uncle Doug read some poems and gave some spiritual guidance in relation to the passing of our loved ones. There was a beautiful musical number that seemed to be written about my dear grandma by a friend (because the daughters knew they would not be able to make it through that one).   The grandkids all got up and sang.  It was beautiful. I looked to the rafters and made it through the song.

Her Bishop spoke at the end and encouraged the family to come together and stay unified as a group.  My favorite line of his (he and grandma shared a lot of spirited gospel banter and often disagreed on points of doctrine) was, "When I heard that Zena passed away 5 months after Bruce, my first thought was, 'Just like Zena to go and ignore my advice!'"  After my Grandpa's funeral he'd given her the advice to "Live, Zena, live." Anyway, it was pretty funny. He went on to say that she obviously lived and was able to accomplish much in those 5 months despite her increasingly frail condition.

After the funeral we headed to the cemetery.  My car got there after the pallbearers had brought the casket to the graveside. My Aunt Deborah and her two daughters Julia and Liz sang Amazing Grace in Cherokee with a nice drum. It was very uniquely Zena and was quite beautiful.  There were a few more words said. Antonio, Deborah's husband, got up impromptu and stated how precious it was to watch Zena pass with her daughters by her side and how he was impressed at how it really was childbirth in reverse. Rather than push, push, breathe, breathe, it was "Let go mama. Rest."  It was very sweet to see how moved he was by the experience.

Her children all sang to her the lullaby she sang to each of them every night. That was very touching to hear them sing her "to sleep".  My Uncle Jeff gave the dedicatory prayer and I think it's the first time I've ever heard laughing/laughed myself in a graveside prayer. He blessed the workers to keep her grave tidy because of how much she hates weeds and likes everything in its place.  And oh how true and relevant that prayer was for my grandma who waged such a war against all things untidy.

As they were lowering Grandma's casket into the ground, Jenny led a favorite song of my grandma's, Aloha oe (which translates to "Farwell to you, farewell to you; the charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers one fond embrace, 'Ere I depart; Until we meet again.") as she hula-ed (another Grandma favorite) for grandma's final farewell.

After the graveside service we quickly headed to the church for lunch since it was wayyyy too hot to stay there and visit. The dinner was a lovely chance to visit with cousins I've not seen in years. I had a great visit with Bridgette there. There was an open mic and my uncle Curtis shared a funny story of him kissing Grandma on the lips thinking it would get her to stop hounding him to hug (he came from a non-hugging family of all boys), but it in fact did the opposite! haha. My Uncle Doug played a voice mail from her in the last month, and my Aunt Melinda shared a voice mail of her singing happy birthday to her as was her tradition to call and sing to each child and grandchild. I thought, it's not often that you get to speak at your own funeral!

After the dinner we went to her house in Las Palmas and a lot of the grandkids went swimming while the Hunt children tried to divide up some of the bigger pieces of their estate.  It was a glorious time to visit. I felt so happy to have time to get to know and love my cousins that I have not had a chance to see in years. I felt like a lot of hurt had been mended and a lot of the barriers erased. We come from a diverse clan, and it was fun to celebrate and laugh at and enjoy our differences while relishing in our similarities. I especially loved my time visiting with my Dawson and Sartain cousins. It really filled my heart with love and peace. After a few hours the grandkids were given permission to come look through her things to find a few mementos to remember her and grandpa by. I found a few treasures from my childhood that I got to take with me, as well as an extremely cute pair of new pink dress shoes that fit me perfectly. I will definitely wear them and channel my inner Zena. I love that woman with all my heart.

I am grateful to her for always giving positive, encouraging, unconditional love and praise. I'm grateful to know what it means to be a strong and spirited woman. I'm grateful we had kindred spirits and that I inherited her "gift for gab".  I am grateful she savored life and "licked the sugar off of her babies and grandbabies." I love her and will miss her. She is in my heart always.