Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life is full!

Since my last post, it seems like we have hardly had time to process life.  Lots has happened in the past month. We said our farewell to Teresa and her family, and a quick hello to Sarah and Micah.  She was here for a long weekend and wanted to celebrate Micah's second birthday while they were here. She invited us to celebrate with them, since Dylan is just 9 days younger than Micah, and we probably won't be together too many times, near their birthdays, to party together.  She invited her family, and some dear mutual friends, and we enjoyed a fun evening! 
 Micah and Dylan
blowing out his candles
Dylan playing with his homemade playdough from Everett and Sherry!  What a fun gift!
The next week Collin was practicing with the All-Star baseball team, which found the rest of us at home with no dad or Collin in the evenings...this next picture is my sweet Bryce...we all were playing on the trampoline and taking silly pictures!
gotta love a toothless grin!
Dylan, Bryce, Diana, Halle
and of course, you can't have a fourth of July without sparklers! 
That Wednesday, (July 1) Mom Gudeman called to let us know Grandpa Stoller was declining quickly. Lucas had struggled with wanting to go, but feeling a responsibility to work and he worried about the cost too, with an impromptu flight. I decided that he wouldn't ever regret going, and made a reservation for him to fly out on July 4th and back again Monday. He wouldn't be missing any work, and I felt like the cost shouldn't be stopping him from seeing Grandpa once more before he passed. He agreed, but really wished I could come too. I had used a "name your own price" website and had gotten a REALLY good deal. The problem was, I had only purchased one ticket for Lucas, I didn't have a babysitter for our children, and there were no guarantees we would be able to get a ticket, for me, at such a great price again. After lots of texts and phone calls, my itinerary was finalized...my ticket was just a few more dollars than Lucas' and the kiddos were taken care of! We flew to Peoria Saturday morning and were able to spend a few hours Saturday and Sunday both, with Grandpa, before he won his victory early Monday morning. We are so thankful to have been able to be there to see him one more time. He wasn't able to talk to us, but did acknowledge our being there with a few hand squeezes. It was so difficult to see him as he was! We had taken Dylan along, as a "lap dog," as Lucas referred to him, and planned to fly home Monday.
Dylan and Lucas
Lucas holding Grandpa's hand
Lucas and I
We were able to enjoy some time with Lucas' siblings while we were there. We took in fireworks in Chillicothe as well as up in Walnut.
Lucas, Shannon, Brandon
Dylan and Micah
When we heard of Grandpa's passing, we made arrangements to leave Dylan in Tremont with my family, while we flew home for our other three children, Monday night. We got home around 12:30 am...Lucas headed to bed while I unpacked and repacked. I made it to bed by 2am, and we were back up by 6. We hit the road Tuesday morning about 6:30 and drove straight thru, arriving at Mom and Dad Gudeman's that evening around 9:00. The visitation was Wednesday evening, the funeral Thursday. How difficult it was to see the casket close and know we will never see Grandpa again, this side of the grave. My heart aches for Grandma, as she certainly will face many lonely days and hours ahead. But rejoices with Grandpa as he is walking streets of gold today. No more pain!
Our kiddos were glad to see their Gudeman cousins. We didn't have time to make a stop in Tremont, but did see my parents. They came to the funeral bringing Dylan back, and watched him for us during. Thursday evening we spent at Tyler and Tonya's with most of Lucas' siblings.
Bryce and Aleya
Bryce and Rhea
Dylan feeding the goat
Gudeman family pic
My boys...Collin, Dylan, Bryce
Gudeman grandkids
Tori, Aleya, Halle, Collin, Wade, Alex, Dylan, Micah, Lane, Rhea, Bryce
Friday morning we headed for home! We planned a stop at Niagara Falls, NY. None of us had ever been there, and we decided we would explore a bit as a mini vacation! Every Friday night the falls has a fireworks display put on over them, so we headed over to check it out after supper.
Niagara Falls
Halle, Diana, Bryce, Collin
Dylan, Lucas, Bryce, Halle, Collin

Light show on the falls
The next morning we went back to see the rest of the falls and explore some more. What an incredible sight! The thing that amazed me, even more than the amount and speed of the water flowing over the falls, was the fact that it never stops!  Thousands of gallons of water every second...always! 
Me and Halle
Collin, Bryce, Dylan, Diana, Halle
Diana, Dylan, Collin, Halle, Bryce
Bryce, Lucas, Dylan, Halle, Collin
 Collin, Dylan, Lucas, Halle, Bryce   

 Bryce, Collin, Halle
  Horseshoe Falls
 We made it safely home Saturday evening at 8:30. So glad we were able to go, but so thankful to be home again! Sunday we just enjoyed an evening at home after a whirlwind week. Monday Lucas took Collin and Bryce fishing with Brian Luginbuhl, while I made preparations for our company arriving Tuesday afternoon.
Collin's catch!
Tuesday I headed up to Boston to pick up my sister Marcia and her kids. Their flight was delayed, so we didn't make it home until after 8pm. As sad and embarrassing as this is, I can't remember what we did Wednesday. Too much happening and not enough time to process.  Thursday we babysat a couple of sweet boys for my cousin, did a bit of swimming and finished off our evening with a wiener roast at our cousin Gene and Lynne's! 
Dylan, Lincoln, Emma
 Halle, Dylan, Hannah, Emma
Friday Rob was flying in to Boston, so Marcia headed up after breakfast and they spent the day seeing the sights. I stayed home, did some laundry, grocery shopping, and organizing for the weekend ahead. Uncle Roy and Aunt Joyce opened their home for a bunch of us to enjoy a dinner planned by Beth. It was a lovely evening! Saturday our plan was to spend the day at Crystal Lake, but it fizzled. The day was cloudy, cold and when it started sprinkling, we packed up and headed home. Since we had nothing better to do, we loaded up the kids and headed in to town for some shopping. Not the most brilliant idea, but oh well! By evening the sun had come out, and it had warmed up. We decided a hike up Soapstone Mountain was in order. We had a good hike, but we had underestimated the humidity...ugh! We rounded out our Saturday with homemade pizza for supper! 
 Bryce, Leah, Collin, Jesse, Caleb (friend of ours) Hannah, Halle, Jesse
Sunday, after church, Doug and Jane hosted a bunch for supper. The kids swam the entire afternoon/evening. Only getting out to eat! A person would've thought they would be whooped, but they were still going strong!
Monday we headed to my dear friend and gracious hostess, Ken and Jan Boynton's, house on the shore. The day could not have been more perfect, 90 and sunny! Rob and Lucas were fishing, Collin and Joshua were sailing, and the rest of us were soaking up the sun! We took our little brother's mother-in-law and sister-in-law, who are also visiting, along with us for the day! We all had a blast! 

Bryce, Dylan, Jesse 
 Hannah, Halle, Tonya, Leah
 The girls sunbathing
Our day ended with a bunch of sandy, sun-kissed kids and piles of laundry! 
 Marcia and Rob headed home this morning. I spent the day doing loads and loads of laundry, and struggling with my baby boy who just needed his mommy! The past two weeks have been anything but normal for us. Many times today I heard, "I hold you," from his sweet mouth. And many times I sat in the chair just to let him hold me! ;) He didn't have to twist my arm too much!
Tomorrow we get back to real life, with eye dr. appointments and grocery shopping to replenish our cupboards. This weekend Lucas' cousin and his family will be in town, visiting other family. We will get to see them, but won't be "in charge" of all the hosting.
And that brings you up to date with the goings on of the Gudeman family! Our hearts have seen many emotions the past weeks. I keep thinking I will have time, one day soon, to sit down and process it all. In remembering our sweet Grandpa, I dug up a couple of old pictures, and shed a few more tears. So many special moments we had with him. And it's those memories that help us thru our grief.
This is one of my favorites...Grandpa with Tori and Collin
Lots of love and hugs from CT!