Monday, February 27, 2012

Door County

We just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Door County. Courtney, Paul, and Tizita joined us, too. We stayed at the Birchwood Lodge in Sister Bay on Courtney's reccommendation. It was a great place, very suited to our needs.
We started out by surprising Tizita at school when we got there on Friday morning. We took her to Caramel Crisp for lunch. What a great way to start our long weekend. Tiz drove up with us and as soon as we checked in, we headed to the pool. We all enjoyed the hot tub and the pool. After our swim we had dinner at the Sister Bay bowl. The whitefish fish fry was so tasty. We took Tizita home with us so Courtney and Paul could spend the evening with friends who were also up in Door County.

Our bathroom has a bidet and that was an unending source of fun for all of us. Tizita just loved making the water shoot up to the ceiling. None of us knew exactly how to use the bidet and we were not brave enough to give it a try. I think we may have left water marks on the ceiling.

We also had a huge jacuzzi in our bedroom. Tiz decided to play photographer. This is one picture that she staged and then used the timer on my camera to set up this picture. She can do things with that camera that I cannot even do. After this picture she had all of us in the jacuzzi for various shots.

Then Tizita decided to do another photo shoot in the living room. We must have taken at least a dozen shots all orchestrated by her. She sure does have an eye for photography.

Another unique feature in our room was this huge shower. I had three shower heads plus a head that rained down on you from the top. The biggest problem was that there was no door on the shower and you were in plain view if someone walked by. We had to announce if we were going into the shower so no one would walk in on us. I also found it weird to have so much water showering out on you from all different areas in the shower. Not sure who designed this particular bathroom, but it has some odd features for sure.

After breakfast each day Tiz would ask to go to the community room where we had discovered ping pong tables, bean bags cornhole toss, and a few other games. Tiz enjoyed setting up a fort with the different equipment. It was a nice area to use on a cold wintery morning.

We did celebrate Paul's birthday on Saturday morning. Tiz brought him a muffin and a glow stick which we used for a candle. I think he had a very nice birthday.

Saturday afternoon we hiked at Cavepoint county Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park. The weather was perfect for hiking. Anyone that has not experienced Door County in the winter is missing so much beauty and peace. We all thoroughly enjoyed the hiking that day.

Tiz loved climbing the rocks. Here she is jumping into Paul's arms.

We hiked to the top of Mt. Baldy which is one of the tallest sand dunes on Lake Michigan. It was a three mile hike and 112 steps to the top. Even Tiz completed it without any complaint. After our hike, we went over to JJ's in Jacksonport for some yummy Mexican. It was an early bedtime for all of us that night.
Sunday we walked to the park in Sister Bay, but the wind was biting and way too cold to do any outside activities, so we all holed up and enjoyed our fireplace, the pool, hot tub, and games. Courtney and I did manage to work on Natnael's memory book for a bit, but it was hard and our minds wandered from the task. It will get done in time though. We ate our Sunday dinner at Husby's. The beers were going down easily.

On Monday Courtney and Paul had to leave for home early, so Tizita, John, and I headed out later in the AM. We decided to stop at the Packer Pro Shop. Tiz enjoyed looking at all the cool things. Here she is trying on some earmuffs and pretending they were earphones and a microphone. She was broadcasting the game, she said.

And finally, posing with her new friend in the Pro shop.

We took her back to Oshkosh and now we are home. It was such a wonderful, fun filled weekend, but it went by way too quickly!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wouldn't she have been a great big sister?

When I first saw this picture of Natnael, all I could think about was what a wonderful big sister Tizita would have been to him. I could just picture them crawling around the house like this with him following her every move. Thinking about a sister/brother relationship that will never be is one of the saddest things about losing Natnael.

However, I am cautiously optimistic that someday, hopefully sooner than later, Tizita will be that wonderful big sister. It just won't be to Natnael, but some other lucky little sister or brother.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Scrapping good weekend

I worked really hard on my scrapbook/memory books for Natnael this weekend. I am making one for Courtney and Paul and then I decided to make on for John and I, too. Scrapbooking can be like blogging for me, usually very therapeutic unless I suffer from scrapping block much like blogging block. Luckily, this weekend I did not suffer any blockage and was able to make good progress on both books. This is the cover of the one that I am making for Courtney and Paul. I will just give you a little peek at the cover. I actually bought this as a scrapbook kit because I really liked the pre decorated pages with their cute embellishments, but as I started working, I found that I had to add many of my own pages anyway. So far I am pleased with the results.

And this is the book for John and I . I bought this book at Michael's and then found the silver frame at the dollar store so I added that to the front. I love the picture of Natnael in this frame. It has been very comforting and actually fun to work on the books. This weekend we are going to Door County with Courtney, Paul, and Tizita. Courtney and I will be putting final touches on the books so they are ready for the memorial service on March 17. Door County should be a very peaceful setting in which to work on the books.

On an entirely different note, a few weeks ago, Kev asked me if I knew anyone that might like a telescope. My first thought was, Of course, he has a telescope. He won it at some auction. After carrying it around in the Taurus for a few weeks we finally brought it in the house and put it together. Have not used it yet, but one of these nights we will give it a try. It is not taking up permanent residence at our home however, Nathan voiced any interest in a telescope, so it will eventually make its way to Bloomington. I meant to post a picture of the telescope, but it didn't load. Suffice it to say, it is a big telescope!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fun times with our good friend, Joan

Take a step back with me to a few of the good times that we have had with my college roommate, Joan when we get together. A New Year's Eve at Fat Boy's Roadhouse.

My birthday a few years ago at Fat Boy's Roadhouse. A college friend happened to be playing at Fat Boy's on these two occasions which is why we chose to hang out there.

Some Mexican Restaurant on Brady St. Why I chose to wear this circus tent top is beyond me.

Taking a swig at Swig's. You notice that Alissa has joined us on a few occasions, too. I do remember this was a hot August evening.

Sliders at the Harley Restaurant.

Martinis at Tulips on a very cold January night.

And, finally, our night last Saturday at an Italian Restaurant in Joan's hometown of Sout Milwaukee. (not a typo!) It was a fun night as usual even though some of our conversation was very serious as we discussed Natnael and our aging parents.

We got these carnations since it was Valentine's weekend.

John and I really enjoy the restaurants that Joan picks for us since we would never go to these places on our own. Joan keeps us worldly and in touch with culture.

It has been such a blessing to go through life (since college) with a great friend like Joan.

Wow, just wow!

This past weekend has been so healing and comforting to me. It has brought so much peace to my soul. I felt God's presence all around me. It started wtih me working on a memory scrapbook for Courtney and Paul. A week ago I couldn't even look at the photographs of Natnael, it was too painful, but all of a sudden, I could not look away. I scanned them, laid them out on scrapbook pages, and made copies of them. I just could not get enough of that sweet face.
I was also so comforted to receive some photos of Natnael's final resting place. It is a beautiful spot. I don't know what I expected, but this is so much more than I thought it would be. These photos came from two different women, both friends of Courtney.
Bridget is in Ethiopia bringing her son home. Her son was Natnael's best friend in the care center and Bridget spent time with Natnael when she first visited her son there. She asked Courtney if she could visit his grave and put flowers on it.
I feel that God put Bridget into our lives for a reason, she is an angel to us. I feel so comforted by her photo but also by her very sweet message to me which stated that "this cemetery is a very peaceful, beautiful place, visited by the kind, caring people of Ethiopia and that she would never, never let Natnael be forgotten by her son." Her words made me cry tears of happiness. She cares so much about our family. These other pictures are from another one of Courtney's friends, Renate. Renate and her husband live in Ethiopia where he works for the embassy. They visited the graveside along with another couple and their children who Courtney and Paul also know. So many people over there in a country so far away that care so much. God is so good.

I believe this is Renate at Natnael's grave. Never having met her, I am not sure though.

And these are the two families that they know visiting Natnael. The little girl in the background was adopted at the same time as Tizita. It just amazes me how God brought all these people together.

These were flowers placed by the adoption agency that Courtney and Paul work through.

The important thing for us is that Natnael is not in the ground in Ethiopia, but he is in heaven, happy, healthy, and in the arms of Jesus and all our family that went before him, but there is still something comforting about knowing he has a beautiful resting place honoring his memory.

Now wait till you see what is in store for you next. I said I was scanning photos of Natnael and I want to share a few of my favorites. Thank God I can finally look at them!

Here is our beautiful little grandson.

Here he is with his mama. Didn't he just fit perfectly in that spot?

This was the hardest picture for me to look at. It made me think of how much fun he would have had with his big sister. She loves to walk around just like this and I would get so sad thinking about him following her around like this. Now I just look at it and enjoy it.

Here he is a bit more serious, but

just look at him here! Ready to tell us all something. What a spunky, little fellow he must have been and how he would have fit into our family.

Anyway it has been a great weekend for me emotion wise. I am sure there will be difficult days ahead, but for the most part I have found some peace in this whole situation. Thanking God for the people he has placed in our lives and for the comfort he has provided.

On one last very exciting note, John did our taxes yesteday and it appears that we will getting quite a nice amount back from the feds, may I just say that it is about time, too! Anyway, if John calculated correctly and we do in fact receive this amount, we are planning on going to Ethiopia to put flowers on Natnael's grave and see all the places that are so special to Courtney and Paul. I will keep you posted on this.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scrapbooking a Memory

Today, as I sit at the dining room which is completely covered with sympathy cards, pictures of Natnael, inspiring quotes, comforting words from friends, cardstock, glue, and stickers, I feel happy and peaceful.
I always knew there was a reason that I find scrapping so much fun. I love to create a memory with special touches. I love seeing my ideas come to life on a page. I love to use my creativity and share it with others through my scrapbooks.
Today I am sharing the memories that we have of Natnael. I am making them part of a permanent book and I will treasure it forever.
I worried, how will I fill up a scrapbook when I never even met my grandson.
There was no need to worry. I have enough to fill up all the pages and then some.
Isn't it a miracle how one little boy that we never even met, has given us so much joy?
God does work in mysterious ways.
I am feeling peaceful and comforted today as I work on this project.

"While we are mourning the loss of Natnael, others are rejoicing to see him in heaven."
Now I must get back to work.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How did I become a member of this exclusive club?

I never wanted to be a part of this club. It's not like the sorority I couldn't wait to join in college or the prestigious National Honor Society in High School or even the dance team in grade school.

No, I never ever dreamed that God would choose me to be a member of this club. Right now, I am not so sure that I am happy about this choice either. I don't even know many others in this club. My good friend, Pam Wilke has been a member for years now. I used to listen to the sad story that made her a member never imagining that I would join her in this exclusive circle.

Did you guess what club I am talking about?
I have joined the group of grandmas who have lost their grandchild(ren) and I am not a bit excited to be here, but there is no quitting or giving up one's membership. I am a lifetime member and the only dues are tears and sadness.

I believe that God has a purpose and a plan for all of us. My hope is that some good will come out of my membership. I am hoping that perhaps I will be able to help some other new member of this club at some point. Maybe there will even be another grandma of an adopted child who was called to their heavenly home before getting "home" to their new family. I could really help with that.

So, for now, I will try and accept this new club I am now a member of with grace.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hope for the best, expect the worst, and roll with the punches

The title of this post has been my motto for years now. It has always made perfect sense to me. I figured if you lived out every possible tragic scenario, thus expecting the worst, nothing could ever blindside you. This is the very reason that I call my girls multiple times when I have not heard from them. I have already conjured up every bad thing imaginable that has happened to them and until I hear their voice, I will not rest. Right, Alissa?

Anyway, I am here to tell you that my wise words that have guided me all these years, have failed me terribly in the loss of Natnael. The phone call from Courtney came out of no where, blindsided me totally. I had not expected any bad ending to that story. I had my eyes on the prize.
I did not approach that chapter of my life with the caution with which I approached everything else.

Am I somehow to blame for not playing out this sad ending? Of course not, but if I had at least thought about it, I could have been prepared, right? It would not have stung so much when I heard Courtney say, "Natnael died."
I could have said, "I knew something like this was going to happen."
Not that it would have lessened the sadness, but at least I would have had that idea somewhere in my head.

I know this post is rather odd for me. I am usually a half full kind of person in the blogging world as well as in my classroom world, but in the privacy of my own thoughts and probably with my close family, I am very cautious, very half empty. I am always a little scared to get too excited about things that could turn out badly.

So, why did I approach this adoption with such happiness and hope and never have any negative, sad thoughts? I guess because I was just hoping for the best and completely disregarding the worst case scenario. Will I do this again? No, I am going ahead cautiously, slowly, treading lightly in all areas of my life.
Expect many calls my dear daughters.

In closing this post, I am indeed rolling with the punches even when this punch took all my breath away, like someone punched me hard in the stomach and I got the wind knocked out of me.
I am moving forward with faith in a God that will not let us down.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Annual trip to the Milwaukee Museum

Today, John and I took Tizita to the Milwaukee Museum for our annual visit. We loved taking the girls to the museum when they were growing up and we enjoy it just as much, if not more with Tizita.
These first two pictures were from our trip last year. Here is Tizita in the butterfly area and

here we are by the storyteller in the European village area. I cannot even believe that I wore the exact same outfit this year except for the shoes! Time to get some new clothes, I think.

Anyway on to our trip today.

We headed up to Oshkosh to pick up Tizita and from there we went to the museum. We started out in the Butterfly area. I think we all really enjoy that area. The butterflies were really active today with the warm sunshine streaming into their home. We spent about 20 minutes just enjoying the pretty butterflies.

Tizita studied up on some bugs after we left the butterflies.

We had a great lunch in the museum cafeteria.

Tiz wanted to go back into the butterly area, so we did just that. Here we are checking out a butterfly that landed on my finger.

We had to stop in the igloo. It is like a required stop when you go to the museum.

Here is the storyteller again. This time Tiz was checking out his nose for some reason.

Back in the butterfly area, this time checking out the cocoon.

We spent a long time in the Dinosaur area, too. I think that was probably Tizita's favorite. She and John spent about 15 minutes just looking at the giant T-Rex taking a bit out of the Triceratops.

We took a very quick trip through the Rain forest with a stop at the button that makes the howler monkey screech followed by another quick trip through the Streets of Old Milwaukee.

It was fun to see the museum through Tizita's eyes. We could tell how much more interested she was in all the things this year as compared to last year.

After we got back to Watertown, we had dinner and read books before Tiz fell quickly asleep.

It was a great, fun day.

On the way home, Tiz told us that they would probably get a sister this time since the boy didn't really work out so well. Out of the mouth of babes! I guess he really didn't work out all that well. She also said that when something not so good happens like it did with Natnael, then we have to find something good again. She said our day at the museum was the good thing. So simple, but so true.

We move on and wait for good things to come again.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails