Monday, September 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Gabe!

Our little man turned 8 last week!  It's amazing to think that on a dark and stormy night 8 years ago, I got to play catch (literally) with my first son. :) For his party this year, he begged for a Thor-themed party to go along with the Captain America party last year. Sadly, Thor wasn't in the latest movie to come out, so there wasn't any Thor-specific party stuff and we went with the whole Avengers team instead. 

So we compensated by making Mjolnir (Thor's hammer) watermelon, 
 Mjolnir cheese and pretzels
And the crowning achievement:
 The Mjolnir Cake (complete with lightning!), which was a big hit.
Speaking of big hits...

 We got a hold of a few Nerf Mjolnirs and I stayed up all night creating a "Whack-a-Loki" game. 
and whack it, they did! 
 Then we put the hammers to a more precise use and played Lawn Hammers.
 They had to toss the three hammers and get them in a hoop on the ground.
 Then we put their swinging arms back into action with a pinata.
 It was quite a mad scramble for the candy. :)

The day really couldn't have gone off better.
  Everyone had a lot of fun, from the littles... 
 To the adults. 
Happy Birthday, big guy!
What's next year? Iron Man? :)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb 2016

With this year being the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, Rebecca wanted to participate in the annual stair climb that they do in downtown Greensboro each year. The memorial climb honors not only the first responders that gave their lives that day, but also the 911 operators who handled the thousands of calls that came in, not only from people on the street, but people trapped in the burning towers. Before the stair climb began, they played a moving song/montage of recorded 911 calls from that day and many of them were trapped people asking the operators to pass along final messages to their loved ones. 
This is Sandy, Rebecca's kick-butt fitness instructor (she literally kicks Rebecca's butt every week...) and also a 911 operator. She's the one who talked Rebecca into doing the stair climb, not that it took much convincing. :)

In order to equal the climb that the firefighters had to make on that fateful day, the participants had to make 12 round trips. They had to climb these stairs, cross the top of the parking deck and then come down the car ramp on the other side.

 The kids were blown away by how big the flag was.
 The older three decided they wanted to participate, so when we went to register them, they were each given a firefighter's name and company info to pin to their shirts.

 After a number of heartfelt speeches, they had a trumpeter play Taps.
 And then it was time to go.
 The Greensboro Fire Department started everyone off. It amazing how they were able to do that in full gear! It was not a cool day and I can only imagine they were much hotter than we were.
 The kids watched as the first folks slowly made their way to the top.
 And then it was their turn! They all went up with no problem.
 Olivia was the first down.
 Followed shortly by Mama and the boys. At this point the boys dropped out. Olivia went a couple more times and then we walked to the new playground they built downtown while Rebecca finished her remaining trips.
That way, even the littles got some great exercise. :)

The kids know what happened on 9/11, but we've never shown them the footage of that day. When they're older, we definitely will.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Goodbye, G'ma

I love you G-ma. Thank you for your legacy. You were so smart and caring. You always looked at things for bright side and you were always interested in others. You mothered your family so well. I pray that I will be the kind of mother and grandmother that you are. Thank you for my family legacy and I look forward to passing it on.

My beautiful grandparents, Carlos and Mona Baldwin:

My precious G-ma left this earth for heaven Aug 25th. She has been in pain for many years and her health had been declining such that it was very hard for her to get around or get out of her home. In recent years her spine was so bad that she couldn't look up at all. It is sad for those of us here but I am so glad she is pain-free for the first time in so long and that she can look up. When I called her or visited, she would always put on a positive face in spite of her challenges. She would admit that she hurt or was having a rough day but she would take the time to talk with me and keep a positive attitude. She always asked about our family and her great grandkids. She would even admit when she was starting to forget little details between my kids but always wanted them to come close and talk with her. And they were comfortable with her. She was always encouraging me to take care of myself. She wanted to know that we had what we needed and would often help with clothes or things for my kids. My kids really love my G-dad and visiting their home as well. They set up a swing set and a zipline and made sure they had toys for the kids. My G-dad even gets down on the floor with them.

G-ma loved me and encouraged so much through the years. She had high standards and I always wanted to please her. I could always feel how much she cared for me. You know when you feel totally accepted and loved for who you are? That is how I felt with my grandparents. And their home is one of the most comfortable places I know.  My grandparents are such a funny couple. My grandma is as honest as they come and my granddad loves to tell stories and often spins tales if you know what I mean. :)



Below are some pictures from her memorial service, mostly of my cousins and their spouses, and sweet baby Callahan (Pat and Emily's first child). They played Clare De Lune by Claude Debussy, her favorite piece of classical music. She almost always had a radio in the kitchen and her bathroom that played classical music. She loved cats. Throughout the years she had Siamese cats. Prior to the memorial service we had a viewing for family only. It was very hard but it was also such a special time where we shared memories of Grandma. There were lots of tears but lots of laughs. Olivia wrote my Grandma a letter as she processed her grief and I think she summed it up well.