Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School

Yesterday was the first day of school for these cute kids.  They were quite excited! 
Grace started kindergarten and is so excited to be in school! She has the same teacher Joshua had in kindergarten, Mrs. Ellis, which is who Grace was hoping to have and we were all thrilled that it worked out that way!
Joshua started 2nd grade (can it really be true!?) and he has Mrs. Campbell.  She seems like a really great teacher, but admittedly the most exciting part to Joshua is that his buddy Huston is in his class for three years running!

Here are a few first day pictures...how do they grow up so fast?!

I did pretty well dropping them off yesterday, and amazingly I didn't even cry.  
It was such a different experience than when I dropped Joshua off for his first day of kindergarten.  It was was so much easier knowing that Grace knew some of the people I was leaving her with.  We walked into the classroom and Mrs. Ellis says, "Grace!  There you are!  I've been waiting for you!" and goes on to tell us how excited she was to have Grace in her class. Huge difference.

I went and had lunch with each of them and they were both so excited about being back in school!  The school staff was getting quite a kick out of Grace.  She has been at the school with me so many times that she already knows a lot of the rules and how things work.  When I went to meet her for lunch the secretary told me I better hurry down to the cafeteria because Grace was waiting for me.  Apparently the teachers had taken them to lunch a few minutes early, so I wasn't there yet when she got to the cafeteria. Grace was insistent that she needed to sit at the special table for kids with visitors, but the cafeteria staff wouldn't let her because I wasn't there yet. She finally sat at the table with the other kindergartners, but kept telling everyone that her mom was coming and she had to sit at that table!  The school counselor said Grace had it all figured out and they might as well just move her to second grade, too. :)   We had lunch and she definitely talked more than she ate, which really isn't a surprise! I don't think I am ever going to lack for details of how her day went!

Lunch with Joshua was really sweet. He had been a bit nervous for the first day, but by lunch he was an old pro again.  Now he was just worried about me!  He kept asking me if I had cried yet, and what I was doing with my day by myself.  He asked how Grace was liking school and if she had made any friends yet. He asked if she was being good. :) What a sweet boy!  We are so lucky to have such a caring son, and these little sisters are so blessed to have such a caring big brother! 

I was so busy yesterday I hardly had time to realize my kiddos were gone.  
Then today hit...
Bryan took the kids to school and I am sitting in this silent house with nothing urgent to do all day...for 7 straight hours.  Really?  After nearly 8 years of not even being able to go to the bathroom alone, I am not sure what I am supposed to do with that many hours alone.  I did okay until about 10:00, and then I bawled! I miss my kids...a lot!!!  But at least I have cute little reminders of them around my house, like this:

Look how little! I love these two...even if they have to grow up. :)
At least I am only alone for a couple of months, then I will have a little baby to keep me company and keep me busy.
Of course that means the cycle of kids growing up too fast just starts over...Yikes!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grandpa Larsen

My dad called me yesterday afternoon, from his cell phone.  
I knew something was up as soon as I saw it was Dad calling, especially from his cell phone. 
He started off like he always does:
"Hi Janelle, what's going on in Texas?"
"Nothing much, Dad. What is going on there?"
I'm thinking, come on Dad, I know something is up...
"Well...I just wanted to call and let you know your Grandpa Mel just passed away about an hour ago."

I knew it was coming, but it is still sad.  Even though he is 86 and has lived a wonderful life, it is still sad to see him go. My world felt sad today, knowing he isn't here anymore. How grateful I am for the knowledge that he is in a better place with people he loves who passed on before him.  And someday we will see him again. I will give him a big hug and he will say "Hi, Beautiful."  The thought makes me smile...and cry. :)

As I have been reflecting on the many memories I have of my grandpa, I have been feeling especially blessed   simply because I have so many memories with him!  How sad it would be to have him pass away and leave me feeling like I didn't know who he was.  Thankfully that is not at all the case!

Grandpa was cheerful, hardworking, patriotic, and a very loving husband, father, and grandfather.  I always loved when he would tell Grandma how beautiful she looked.  She would roll her eyes and "Oh...Mel!" him, but you couldn't miss the sweetness in the exchange.  He would always thank us for coming to visit, and especially for bringing the kids by, because he knew how happy it made Grandma.

I loved to listen to his stories about growing up in Hyrum, UT and about his time in the Air Force.  It seemed like he could remember everything!  Dates, names, places, it seemed that he knew it all. Until he started to forget some things...it was kind of hard for me when I realized he couldn't remember where I lived or why we lived here.  But he was still Grandpa, sweet, and still throwing out that occasional joke.

I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with him alone in June when I was home visiting.  He had just been released from the nursing home/rehabilitation center after 3 or 4 months of recovering from hip surgery. Although, while he was there, he had pneumonia and broke his pelvis, so he didn't come home in very good shape.  He wasn't able to walk on his own, so he couldn't be left alone.  I went to sit with him while my mom took Grandma to a graveside service.  It had been an especially hard afternoon: he had fallen while Grandma was trying to get him to the bathroom.  Grandma was sad and frustrated; I could tell she put her whole heart into caring for him, and it was really hard on her.  She was crying as she left with my mom and Grandpa noticed.  He turned to me and sadly said "This is really hard on Mom, and I don't know why." My heart hurt to see him wanting to take care of her like he had in the past, to fix what was hurting her, but not having the memory to realize that it was his health problems that were making her so sad.  He loved her so much!

We sat and talked about things in the news for a bit, and then we just sat in comfortable silence. I liked being there, just me and him for a few minutes.  I was so grateful to have that time with him and to witness the caring and love between Grandma and Grandpa.  I couldn't help but think that this was true love. 

As we have seen his health decline over the last several months, I have been secretly hoping that when he passed away it would be at a time when I could go for the funeral.  My doctor has already told me that I can't travel anymore starting in a month or so, and I was worried that he would pass away at a time when I wouldn't be able to go and be there with my family.  We already had a trip to Utah planned for this week, one last hurrah before school starts and then the baby comes.  We get to Utah later this week and the funeral will be while we are there.  I am so grateful that I will get to be there to celebrate his wonderful life, and to be there for Grandma.

We love you, Grandpa!  We will certainly miss you, but we will see you again!  Until then...