Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Bag of Mixed Memories

August 30, 2008 and August 30, 2011
Same day, three years apart.
Both of these days full of happiness, hope, and a bright future for very different reasons.
One of these dates is sweet to remember.
One of these dates is bittersweet to remember.
Both of these dates are forever etched in our minds and hearts.
I never want to forget either one of them for very different reasons.
August 30, 2008.
Alissa and Nathan got married.
Great wedding, picture perfect weather, fun with friends and family.
Sweet, sweet memories.

 Alissa and her beautiful bridesmaids, Courtney, Laura, Mallory, and Kim.
Four girls who were and still are very important to Alissa.
I know that all four of these ladies still make Alissa laugh.
 My mom with her three granddaughters.
I know that Alissa has gotten many of her great qualities from her grandma Marge.
 Alissa with her Uncle Kevin and a lint remover as well as some breath spray.
As I recall these were items to be used in the bathroom as needed, but Kev helped himself to them.
Alissa has a lot of her Uncle Kev in her!
 Since the wedding was in Bloomington IL, a number of our friends were not able to make the trip, but my good friends, Lynne and Melissa along with Lynne's husband and Melissa's daughter, Meghan did make the trip and I was so happy they thought enough of us to travel to the wedding.
Meghan is going to be nine years old, hard to remember how little she was in this picture!
 Paul's  band played at the wedding and we all danced the night away to fun live music.
It was a fun wedding and today I want to wish Alissa and Nathan many, many more happy years together sharing outside beers and brewery tours.
August 30, 2008, forever full of sweet memories for us.
In contrast, August 30, 2011 started out with happy news,
We went to spend the day with Tizita and were greeted with the surprise news that Courtney and Paul had received their long awaited referral for Natnael.
 We went on a shopping spree that day with Tizita and picked out many fun things for our new little grandson.
We had never met him, only seen his picture, but we were in love with him already.
He was part of our family.
 In January 2012, Courtney and Paul went to meet Natnael for the first time.
We were all so excited as they reported back to us from Ethiopia, telling us what a handsome, joyful boy he was.
 Little did we know that only a few short weeks later, he would be gone.
Called home to heaven.
So our very happy memories of August 30, 2011 quickly turned into heartache.
 August 30, 2011
Bittersweet memories, but God had a plan, life moved on.
Soliana became a part of our family.
We honor Natnael in many ways including a memorial stone and tree in the Van Auken yard.
So, today I will take a few minutes to remember the joys of both of these August 30's.
I will thank God for his blessing of marriage and Alissa and Nathan.
I will also thank him for his blessing of my three grandchildren, Tizita, Natnael, and Soliana.
August 30, a very big day in our lives for so many different reasons.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tizita's visit to Watertown

 Last year, we took Tizita out for a day of fun before she started K4, so this year we decided we needed to do something special with her before she starts Kindergarten.
We picked Tizita up in Oshkosh on Saturday morning and headed to Little Americkka.
We had a wonderful time enjoying all the rides.  Felt good to feel like a kid again.
Tiz chose to ride in the caboose on the train ride.
 Tiz and I enjoyed this parachute ride.
You can see us wway up there.
Unfortunately there was a weight limit, so John could not go up in the air with us, but
 he rode the Tilt a whirl numerous times with Tiz.  She loves to spin,, the faster, the better for her.  She has decided that Uncle Cheddah needs to ride with her and grandpa next time to really make it spin!
 I got my body scrambled on the scrambler and it took a bit to recover from our two back to back rides on there.
We also enjoyed riding the merry go round, the ferris wheel, the monorail, and a roller coaster.
We all got brain freezes from our slushies.
It was a fun day full of laughs.
 After our day at Little Americkka, we came to our house and Tiz got the doll that she wanted for her Tiziversary this year.  It was a few weeks early, but I couldn't wait and neither could she.
She had so much fun feeding Baby Alive and then changing her poopy diapers.
Not sure her mama will appreciate the extra work it takes to keep this doll running smoothly.
 We had a big day on a rainy Sunday.
First we had church and a potluck for our new teachers at St. John's.
Then we spent the afternoon mixing up concoctions in the kitchen.
Here Tiz is making homemade watercolors.  Fun to make and they worked well, too.
 We made playdough and slime.  The slime is made from equal parts of starch and glue.  It felt so cool.  I think I enjoyed it more than Tiz.
 We also made an apple pie with cinnamon rolls for the crust.  Tiz is busy mixing up the crumb topping.  The pie was awesome and we will be making it again.
On Monday, we went shopping with Gigi.
Tiz was an excellent shopper and picked out this cute new outfit from Gigi.
We took her to Waupan tonight to meet Courtney and Paul.
Our house is so quiet.
I miss her.
I do not, however miss the many messes that seem to follow her around.
Hard to believe that the next time I see her, she will be a big kindergartener!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Girls and their Cars

 John and I have been waiting for a long time to fill the second seat of the Escalade.
Everytime Tizita took the car out for a drive, we would envision our second grandchild riding shotgun with her.
Well, I am so happy that the day has finally arrived, the seat is on longer empy!
 A few weekends ago, Tizita took Soliana for her first spin and is was enjoyed by all, especially John and I.
Soli also enjoyed being able to drive her own vehicle.
Girls and their cars!
We never quite knew anything about the child that would occupy that seat except for the pictures we had conjured up on our dreams, sometimes over the past year, we didn't really know if that seat would be occupied, but we could not be happier with the occupant.
I am just waiting for the day when Soliana is not just content to be a passenger and wants to take over at the wheel!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memories of Riverfests past and present

 Riverfest 2009
Tizita's first Riverfest.
Riding the teacups is a Riverfest must.
 And so is picking out a few ducks for a prize.
 The best part of Riverfest is the dancing.
Here is Tizita at her first Riverfest 2009 showing off her dance moves.
 Riverfest 2010.
One year older and wiser on the teacups with friend Aaron.
 Luckily we ran into Aaron at the park so Tizita had someone to go on the rides with her.
 Driving the ever popular dune buggies.
 Riverfest 2011.
Riding the teacups with one of the twins.
 We took Sinai and Aquila with us to the park and all three of the girls had a wonderful time.
 I do believe that dancing was once again the highlight of the evening.
 This brings us to Riverfest 2012.
We chose to take our friend Ava with us.
 We were brave and added the ferris wheel to our list of rides.
 Grandpa joined us after work.
 We enjoyed good food.
 The roving magician did many tricks just for Ava and Tizita.
 And, of course there was the dancing.
 This was Soliana's first Riverfest and she enjoyed the dancing as well.
 On Sunday, we headed back down to the park to ride a few more rides.
There we are way up at the top of the ferris wheel.
 Tizita rode the Tilt a Whirl solo.
Very brave of her.
 We found our friends, Erin and Adam and were able to ride the ever popular teacups with them.
 Beautiful face painting.
 I took Soliana home early and she found the best place to sleep.
While she and I were relaxing at home,
Tizita won a dance contest and as a prize she got to go up on stage and get an autographed drumstick.
Another Riverfest goes down in the books.
More memory making for us!
Till next year...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Little Librarian

 You might have remembered from a previous post that I helped Tizita clean out a closet and create a library for her. 
She wants to be a Librarian, Lawyer, and Snowplower when she grows up, so she is busy practicing by running her own library for now.
I do not think she was too happy with the rather loud Soliana visiting the library here!
She has opened her library to the neighborhood and she has been quite busy checking out books.  Hopefully they will return the borrowed books.
 On my last visit, Tizita took her Librarian-in-Training program one step further by offering a storytime for Soliana.  In this first photo, you can clearly see that Soli is not too interested in the book, but I told Tizita to press on since little ones are often preoccupied and they hear you even if they appear to be totally distracted.
I told her about my good friend, Lynne who runs the story hours at the library and how often she has to just keep reading when the kids aren't paying attentiion.  A good librarian like Lynne can always get them back.
 Tiz just kept on reading and finally it paid off.
 Here you can see that Soliana took an interest in the book and until she started trying to tear out the pop ups, it was quite successful.
Eventually it became easier to make it a lap sit.
I am not sure if Tizita will grow up to be a librarian, a lawyer, or a snowplower, but I am sure that whatever she grows up to be, she will be great at it!
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