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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A few more of the house

After tidying up tonight, I figured I ought to take a few pictures of my house.  

Here we are looking at the dining room, and living room from the top of the stairs.

The pretty flowers are from my visiting teacher because my grandma passed away. So sweet.

I really love this kitchen set up. So many cupboards and enough counter space that I haven't had to use my table once while preparing food!!! I love the Corian counter tops as well.

Our front entrance

The living room that I'm not finished decorating...

The drapes came with the house. A little fancier and more formal than something I would have picked, but still neutral enough that I'll keep them.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Edward 6 month stats

We went to Edward's 6 mo. check up a few days after we moved in. Most things looked great.  The only anomaly was the weird red, hard, hairy patch of skin on his ankle that's been there from birth but has become more prominent as he gets bigger.  We have an appointment to see a pediatric dermatologist in Oct. to make sure there's nothing wrong.

Weight: 19 lb. 13 oz. (79%)
Length: 28.5 (94%)
H Circumferance: 17" (25%)

He's eating tons of food. More than my other kids ate for sure. After we moved in here, I had only been nursing him because I didn't really have stuff for his "food" (we'd only really been feeding him food at dinner anyway, so I didn't think he'd miss it all that much), but he was crying and screaming more than I've ever heard him for 2 days before I realized he was just plain hungry.  Oops. I started feeding him lunch and dinner in addition to nursing as much as ever. I honestly should probably get him something at breakfast too, but he hasn't been complaining about it yet.  The doctor said he could eat soft table foods, so in addition to purees that I've been making, he's also been getting stuff we eat. He ate an entire black bean and quinoa burger the other night! That was more than both Dean and Walter put together!  Most of these pictures are from August since I didn't blog at all that month. 

I absolutely love this picture of both of them. Cracks me up.

Dog pile on the baby!

He has some faces that nearly live up to Dean's crazy baby faces.

He does this funny face when he wait for a bite of food.

Personality wise, he's still pretty content and easy going, though he doesn't like being left in a room by himself. If he's in a room with the boys, he's usually just fine as long as no one is squishing him or he's not stuck. No one can get a smile or laugh out of him quite as easily Dean, though Walter has started trying to get him to laugh and smile and he responds pretty well.  We moved him into the full size crib and started sleep training him after moving in here. He now goes to bed around 7, I feed him around 4-5 am and then he sleeps again till about 7am. I could probably cut out that 1 feeding, but it works out pretty nicely so I can go running without being too full of milk.  He usually naps 2 times, but poor kid's schedule isn't nearly as rigid as Dean's was since we have to work around preschool pick drop off and pick up schedules not to mention errands.

This kid is trying his darndest to keep up with his brothers. He does a mix of army and regular crawl and can go quite quickly across a room. He gets stuck under tables and chairs. He will pull himself up onto his knees holding onto something. He does a stink bug move where he's essentially in down dog. Great. Already trying to stand. ;) I just love this little guy.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Dean's first day of preschool

Dean started preschool again. It has been fantastic for everyone. Dean loves to learn and do crafts and play with toys that are not our own. I love having a schedule, and it's really been nice to have some one on one time with Walter since everyone knows the middle child often gets the time shaft.

We gave the boys haircuts on Monday night.  I'm always amazed at how much hair we cut off since we let it grow pretty shaggy before we cut it.

Dean's in the older preschool class at Little Saints where all the kids (14!) JUST miss the kindergarten cut off (or make it but their parents want to wait to start them).  I think it will be great for him. They'll work on reading, science, writing, etc.  It's 4 days a week for 3 hours. I was a little sad at first that he wasn't old enough for kindergarten since he's so ready for it, but I think this will be a better transition. It's kind of like half day kindergarten.  They do whole day here, and I think this will help get him read for that much time away from home.  Since we're in Melissa now, it means 10 min. extra to the drive, but it's still not bad.

When he came home from school the other day he said, "mom, do I give the best hugs in the family?"  I told him he gave good hugs, but that other people were good huggers too. "We graphed it today. Two of us said we gave the best hugs in our families. Everyone else said their moms did." Hahahahaha. Yes, he does have a high opinion of his abilities and virtues.  Confident.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

I found my way out of the boxes...

Woowee. Moving was/is time consuming! I feel like I've been moving boxes non-stop for 2 weeks now!  I have unloaded some of them, but let's not even talk about organization! My main goal has been to get boxes to the general location they will reside permanently and THEN unload them. I have found all of the essentials and most of the boxes left are the random hodge podge boxes that I just don't want to deal with because I don't really have a good place for anything in them. I'm getting there though.

The first three are actually pre-move. Don't I just have the cutest boys ever???

The boy's room right before we packed it up.

Closing on our house had us on pins and needles. The underwriters waited till the veeeerrrrryyy last second to approve our loan for our new house and we weren't sure it was going to all get processed in time for us to move in over the weekend. BUT, all was well and went according to plan. We picked up our uhaul at 7am on August 25.  We had a good turn out from our old ward (the Mormon Moving Co. as my aunt called it) to help us load and clean. I had people lined up from 9 am -4pm to watch Dean and Walt. It worked out really well. It rained all morning long. Seriously. The air was so thick and humid it felt like we were in Houston.

We got the uhaul loaded totally full and still had quite a few big things we needed to load.  Luckily one of the guys Matt home teaches, Eric C., volunteered to drive up with Matt and help him partially unload.  They unloaded half the truck by themselves and then Matt drove back and loaded it back to full again all by himself. Needless to say, by the time he got to Melissa by 3 for the new ward to help us move in, he was totally spent.  We had a handful of guys unload and by the end of the truck our living and dining rooms were totally buried. We worked and worked that day.

Julie, A &A
 We got up and went to church at our new ward at 9am the next day. It will be a great ward. After church we all went back to the old house and got all the loose ends and cleaned everything.  It took us another 4 hours or so. Entertaining kids for 4 hours while you're trying to work and have no toys around...kinda tough. Enter my awesome friend Julie who lived right next door.  She came over after we'd been there about 2 hours and took all 3 boys back to play with her kids for about 2 hours!  It was a lifesaver because the boys had just about hit their limits. They were tired and hungry and we were too busy to really do anything about it. She was great.

It rained a bit more while we were there, and when we were getting ready to leave for the night, we looked out and saw a rainbow. It seemed fitting. I got a little teary a couple times while we were cleaning and again as Matt started taking a video of our empty house. It was our first house. The house we took 3 babies home to. We had put a lot of hard work into that house, and it was bitter-sweet leaving. This was us saying goodbye for the last time.

 Hello new house!  We love our new house. Sure it has a few little glitches, but overall it is beautiful and great. Our neighborhood is beautiful and I love the community. Our particular street is kind of retirement-row, but that's fine too. Lots nice, nice people.

 We were outside picking some of the crab grass that had gone to seed and these were the pics we came out with. I took a few and Dean took some.

This is the only room that is totally put together. I'll probably put some additional storage in the room, but it looks fine as is. I started 2 new students yesterday and I am excited! I am also going to have one of my McKinney students and one of her friends start back with me in Oct.  I am so happy that she's decided to stick with me and make the 12 min. drive. It made me feel validated as a teacher. =)

I am happy. The neighborhood pool is going to be a great asset next summer!! The boys have already biked while I walked with Edward to it 3 or 4 times since they're open till Oct. and it's still triple digits here. Soooo awesome. I love the pool itself. It's exciting. More pics of the house to come when it's actually put together.