Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Simple Things in Life

The older I get the more I appreciate the simple things in life. I suppose I've always been the kind of person who has enjoyed those-and friends and family have ALWAYS been a huge part of my life. I think I get that from my Old Grandma (I'll explain the name in a minute), and my mom. My mom still acts like a kid and isn't afraid to be silly. Grandma just enjoyed taking a seat somewhere and watching people; but most enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. When I was a kid, she would come over every Sunday, and my brother couldn't wait for her to get there. He'd be waiting at the kitchen table with his deck of cards so that she could play "Crazy 8s" with him. As she got older and couldn't move around much, I'd have her over to hang out with us for the day. At that time in her life, just hanging out watching the girls play in the sprinklers was something that would make her day. Her name "Old Grandma" came from the fact that she and my Grandma Wanda were only 64 days apart. As the story goes (I don't remember because I was only two), Grandma Wanda said something about the other grandma being the OLD grandma, and that's how it became the name for the rest of her life. People think it sounds disrespectful, but she LOVED it!
When I began writing this post my purpose was to talk about my Thanksgiving week, but my grandmothers just seemed to come through. Maybe because I always think so much about them at this time of year. Oddly enough, as close as their birthdays were, the dates they left us were even closer. They both died in December 1993, eight days apart. It's been sixteen years since they've been gone, but the holidays seem to still keep them alive in our home. Here's (I think) the last photo taken of the two of them. Old Grandma is on the left and Grandma Wanda is on the right.

Sorry for the digression...ah, yes, the simple things in life...tromping around in the snow in tennis shoes; getting stuck driving up a hill; hearing Chance and Cassie call each other silly nicknames; seeing the constant smile on my 21 year old daughter; sitting around a firepit on Thanksgiving night; watching my nephews, daughters, mom and sister-in-law dance in the kitchen; hearing my brother say "I love you sis"; watching my daughter run her first race, when it seems like just yesterday she was taking her first steps.
These are some of the things that make me thankful for my life!

In recent years, some of my favorite memories have been the vacations we've spent with my brother, Mark, and his family. Someday, remind me to tell you about the Thanksgiving we spent in Disneyland-it was quite memorable. We've been to Palm Springs together, and this time it was our trip to Tahoe.
Katie's 21st birthday was the 19th, so we wanted to do something fun for her. I can't believe my little baby is 21-what an incredible young woman she is. It boggles my mind to think about what she deals with on a daily basis and her diabetes. (Here's a photo of Louie and me with her on her 21st birthday, having her first drink! I think it's her new rootbeer float (diet rootbeer, and vanilla vodka..yum!)She's extraordinary!!
My brother and his family graciously offered their timeshare in Tahoe to us for the weekend. My mom flew into town and all eleven of us took off for the Sierras. We left early on the 20th in hopes of beating the storm that was headed our way. Well, we beat the storm to Tahoe, but after we all went out for a late lunch, there was so much snow on the hill to Heavenly, that we had to shuttle people back and forth to the condo in Nick's truck. We all thought it was really funny...well, everyone except my brother! Here's a photo of Mark and me about an hour after the snow was really coming down!
The next few days were spent hanging out together in either the snow or the casino and we all had a great time.

We all headed back home and spent the week planning for the big dinner on Thursday. One of Grandma Wanda's roles at the holidays was to make homemade noodles. Since she's gone, Katie has now taken over that role. The problem with making these noodles is that Mark loves to eat them raw. Yes, you read that right...RAW!!! Here's Katie taking the dried noodles away from her uncle before he eats them all :)

Our Thanksgiving morning started out extra special this year. Louie, the girls, Chance and I all got up early and headed to Sac State where we met Katie and Nick. We were there to witness Ali run her first race! If you know my daughter, you know the journey she has been on the last couple of years and her success story. She's lost a significant amount of weight-the old fashioned way-and this was one of the moment's she's been working towards. The "Run to feed the hungry" race was a 10K race that she has been training for. Her next goal is to run a half marathon. She went into the race with the goal of wanting to run the entire thing and not walk it...SHE SUCCEEDED!!!! She said she cried when she crossed the finish line, but she wasn't the only one. I am so proud of her!

One of the things I loved the most this year about our day to be thankful was that Mark invited his friend Forrest. Forrest has not shared a Thanksgiving with anyone for nine years, so I was SO happy we could open our home to him and make him feel welcome!

(How do you like this photo? The GUYS are cleaning up!)
I love when our two families get to spend time together, and I love the time I spend with my brother. I even got him to come out to the garage and help me hang sheetrock on the other side of the studio wall :)

I was sad to see my mom and brother's family leave, but we have so many great memories from the week and a lot of great photos to show for it! We had lots of laughs, saw a movie, went to the LHS Zebra game (YEA for the Zebras undefeated regular season!!!)Here's a little slideshow a put together. Enjoy catching a glimpse of my crazy family!

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