Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Dad ~

My Dad died a week ago this past Thursday, unexpectedly.

I knew this day was coming, eventually, but it was a shock.  There were quite a few times over the past two years he was in the hospital and very close to dying -- times we were more prepared to hear the news -- but he had been doing pretty well for quite a few months.  He was on oxygen and limited in activities but still a full part of all of our lives.  He had a cold since right after Christmas that he just wasn't getting rid of and his body couldn't handle the strain anymore.

His death was very peaceful though; he was in the home he built, in his own bed, with my Mom, sister and nephew talking with him.  He heard their voices as he took his last breath, and that gives me a lot of peace.  I did think it would be easier to accept, knowing he is finally breathing clean air and is not sick anymore -- but selfishly I am really sad.  I'm not ready to not have my Dad around to talk with, run an idea by, or to hug -- and it makes me really sad that Zoe and Ella don't have more time with him.  I feel a lot of pain for my mom too.  It all doesn't seem real.

One thing I've learned, a person is never old enough to lose a parent.

{Dad's Obituary}
Lynden Charles "Lindy" McLain

McLain, Lynden Charles "Lindy" age 73, of Buffalo passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at his home. He was born on June 23, 1938 in Renville County, the son of Arlyn & Ruth Eggert McLain.

Lindy graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1956 and later attended Mankato State University for two years. He played baseball as a kid and in high school, and then town ball for the Hutchinson Hornets. He was a left-handed junk ball pitcher.

Lindy honorably served his country in The United State Army and was a proud paratrooper in The 82nd Airborne Division. On September 4th 1965 he married his best friend Dianne Soule, in Madison, South Dakota, and over the years raised three children together. He was a former business owner in Hutchinson and later a banker at First State Federal in Buffalo, where he was also the branch manager. Lindy was a faithful member of The United Methodist Church in Buffalo where he served as Lay Leader, he was involved in the formation of the Men's Club and served on the Finance Committee. He was also a past President of The Buffalo Rotary Club, past President of The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, a Master of The Masonic Blue Lodge and participated in many other civic activities over the years.

Lindy was a woodworker at heart and truly enjoyed creating many beautiful pieces of furniture. After his retirement he happily spent a few years building grandfather clocks at Kuempel Clock and Chime Company in Deephaven. Family meant everything to Lindy and he lived his life by example. He loved Dianne and was a very devoted and involved dad and grampa. He always had time to listen and would help anyone in any way he could. He loved spending time with his family at the cabin, and will also be remembered as an inspiration to many in Little Guy Football and Baseball. 

Lindy was a very compassionate person who took pride in Buffalo and will be greatly missed by his family, many friends, neighbors, church community and civic groups. He was a special man and was one-of-a-kind.  He lived his life well.

Sleep well grampa. We love you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{Nature Walk}

The week between Christmas and New Year's Tom, the girls and I went for quite a few bike rides, which is crazy for late December in Minnesota.  The girls and I also went on this hike/create nature art walk in the woods one afternoon ....

Zoe wore her baby (from Grama and Grampa) ....

..... and Ella wore her Lalaloopsy (from cousin Brenna).

The girls love their dolls, I love that they still love wearing their dolls, I also love how Zoe's doll reminds me of Zoe and Ella's reminds me of Ella and I really really love how these two can create art out of ANYTHING!!

Walking home we saw the most beautiful sunset that was like cotton candy in the sky.  It was a perfect afternoon.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year

We had an awesome New Year's Eve -- 2011 had quite a few challenges for our family (and changes) but we rang it out in a fun way, starting with the super colorful *funfetti* New Year's cake the girls and I  made ....

We also had our good friends Jane and Joe over along with their sweet and fun daughters Jia and Willa.  The girls all had a super time playing together and started their celebrations by creating lots of art ......

.....  then they put on two different performances {which included costume changes for everyone but Ella, she kept on her new Cinderella dress-up pajamas she got for Christmas from Grama and Grampa all night} starting with an Art Show and ending with a play about two princesses, their pet cheetah and a mermaid on a beach (at least that's what I think it was about).  I just LOVE how well these four get along and play together, makes my heart happy ....

Jane and Joe brought dinner over too (they are amazing friends for many reasons) so we had a fun time fonduing some super yummy food:

They kid table was especially fancy ....

.... and toasting in the New Year with such special friends was perfect!!

So was eating our *funfetti* 2012 cake -- it was almost too pretty to eat : )

We rang in the New Year's early for the girls and Jane, Joe, Jia and Willa headed out in time to avoid the icy/snowy roads that make driving in Minnesota (especially on New Year's Eve) scary.  And after the girls were asleep Tom and I hung out while I tried so hard to stay up until midnight but at 11:50 I went to bed (I am really lame, I know).  Tom came in right before midnight though so we did ring in the new year together : )

I am really looking forward to all of the fun adventures in store for our family this year.  Ella and Zoe are so settled in their school routine; they LOOOOVE kindergarten, they LOOOOOVE their teacher Mrs. Olson and their 'helper teacher' (as they still call her) Mrs. Joyer.  They LOOOOOVE their school, their art teacher, their music teacher, their silly gym teacher and their Friendship teachers.  They LOOOOVE their friends and knowing a variety of kids that are in Kindergarten all the way up to 6th grade.

They  also love, love LOVE Karin.  They missed seeing her during our time off and were so excited when she picked them up in their classroom yesterday (she usually does pick-up in the car line).  They showed her around their school, re-introduced her to Mrs. Olson and then headed to the park before they came home and warmed up with hot chocolate.  They also saw how karin's baby belly is growing and told me when the baby moves they will get to feel her tummy -- they are both fascinated by this.

I can't put into words how happy all these things make me, and how grateful and happy I am that they are making such a strong and positive connection with Karin.  When I got home last night they were just getting ready to put on a play for Karin and though they were excited to see me they told me I was too early, they wanted to do their play first : )  Knowing Ella and Zoe are doing such fun things at school and after school, fun things I would do with them if I were home, gives me such a sense of okayness.  

And school for me, though super busy with so much to keep track of (and not enough time to get everything done that I'd like to), I'm starting to feel like I can breathe a little more calmly now.  I LOOOOVE teaching, I'm so grateful I have a job in a school that's so close to my house, a school that has an amazing music program (have I mentioned the Kindergarten students all have 20 minutes of violin lessons EVERY day?!), a school that is full of dedicated, nice, supportive and fun teachers and staff, a principal that is approachable, a good listener, super smart, very fun and funny, and the absolute best teaching partners I could ever hope for.  Ia, Barb and Gao have helped me so much transitioning back into the classroom, they've been so supportive and understanding as I figure out how to be a strong teacher and still be an involved mom, wife and friend; and they can make me laugh and smile even when my classroom smells like poop, or my head is ringing because my class is so loud, or I just got screamed at and hung up on by a parent, or when I can't remember what we're supposed to bring to the meeting I forgot we had, or I can't get the data to enter on the computer correctly (etc., etc.,).  I also am really getting attached to my class of little turkeys (and I say that lovingly).  There are a lot of them, they are with me for a long day, they are very loud even just when they're talking (and it takes a lot to get them to stop talking) -- but they are working hard to meet some very high expectations and they are making academic and social gains.  When they are goofing off and doing something they know they're not supposed to, they actually look to see if I'm looking (before many really didn't have a clue what behaviors were okay and what ones were not, or sadly didn't care).  But now they look to see if I'm noticing or paying attention!!  Progress -- yay! : )  My days are long and full, I got more sleep when I had twin babies, I always feel behind with school stuff, home stuff, mommy stuff, wife stuff, friends and family stuff -- but I also feel like I'm moving in the right direction ......  and that's huge.

So 2012, Welcome .....

Here's to a great year!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ~

Christmas Eve Day started with finding Fred Charles hanging out with Santa on top of our Christmas tree --- he also left the girls Magic Reindeer Dust to sprinkle around our backyard so the reindeer would know to come to our house that night.  It was a very good (and fun) start of our day.

The girls also received emails from Santa himself, from his workshop at the North Pole.  It was so sweet watching Ella's excitement ....

..... and it was hilarious watching Zoe -- she was very excited but the possibility of getting the red light from the elves and being on the 'naughty list', kept her on edge ....

.... until she saw the green light and knew for sure she made the 'nice list' : )

We also baked cookies for Santa (oatmeal chocolate chip), and the girls were big helpers ....

After dinner we sprinkled the reindeer dust around the outside of our house ....

.... and then it was time to open gifts ....  

Two happy girls .....

Christmas Morning Zoe and Ella woke up to a Lite Brite messages from Fred Charles ....

....  and lots of gifts from Santa, Santa Mouse and even Rudolph (he made sure they got new undies, which they thought was so funny) .....

After a fun morning of opening presents and playing with gifts we headed to my parent's house for the day, where we kept so busy I didn't even take one picture : )  A very nice holiday indeed!!