Hey there everyone...got back Tuesday from Missouri...bittersweet trip, but a lot more sweet than bitter I would say :)
My grandfather had a full military service, complete with Taps and a 21 gun salute...it was amazing, and emotional, but very fitting for him :) It was very tough saying goodbye, but he is in a better place. That is what I am currently focusing on.
Day 135: Home...
We stayed with ma and pa Mueller...they are amazing, opening their entire lower level of their house for us and the herd of dogs to take over for the week :) And they have this LOVELY lake/pond/whatever you want to call it...to me it's WAY too big to be a pond. So I'm calling it a lake :)
If you look at the clouds you can see how things were this week...obviously Joplin and much of the south is getting hit hard with storms and tornadoes. We were lucky that no horrible storms came through Northeast Missouri during our stay. I forgot how much weather is of HUGE importance down here...life or death and a constant threat during this time of the year. In Minnesota I've taken that for granted. Where we are in Minnesota it's rare to have any weather like that...or at least it hasn't happened in our almost 7 years up here.
Back to the lake...swimming the dogs was NOT in the plans...they had just gotten baths, and were inside, but EVEN had other ideas. We let them out of the van RIGHT as we got to the house...and Even took OFF, straight towards the lake, and jumped in. And then proceeded to REFUSE to get out...while I was arguing with her about this problem...the other 4 (not Crackers of course!) jumped in...sigh...
This is pretty much how she spent most of the week we were home :) She DID come out of the water when asked after that incident...we reached the agreement that I DID know best and listening to the momma was a good and rewarding idea :) BRAT!!!! She's an otter...swear to God.
After getting the dogs settled and dried off...we headed out to my grandparents place...it was tough. Things were not how they were when I spent my summers over there...walking through the woods everyday to go see them. It was emotionally overwhelming...the first I had felt this way...they were gone, both grandparents were gone and their house was the same way. It was REALLY tough...but luckily I had family around me and we all supported each other. Grandma had all these peony bushes, she LOVED them and she and grandpa took amazing care of them. Amongst all the disarray...I saw the big, bright pink blooms, so gorgeous, and it reminded me that just because things don't LOOK the same, memories are what you have. I am planning on, in the fall, coming home again and getting one of them to bring back to Minnesota...something of the grandparents that I adore, to live on and remind me of them both everyday.
Day 136: Dad :)
I love this photo :) It's just so much "Dad" it hurts and fills my heart all at the same time :) He was looking at me as I took this picture with a look of "Do you really have to do that?"...which is pretty much how he always looks at me :) A snapshot in time...
One of the things that I really brought me back was Grandpa's sawmill...he ran it for many years (can't tell you exactly) but I saw the old sawmill truck that I used to ride in as a kid...I remember it being SOOOO bumpy :) But riding in it with grandpa was a great memory :)
And he farmed...so all the old tractors...each with a memory...as we walked around the property...there were stories told :) Funny ones that we were all laughing about, the best kind.
Then we headed over to my house...I wanted to take the husband for a walk along the creek I played in everyday for HOURS during the summer...if I wasn't in the house, I was at the creek. You could bet money on it :)
Day 137: Summer home :)
It was so amazing to see it again...the frogs, the birds...due to all the ticks and grass overgrown...I wasn't able to walk the creek...but I did take some pics of my favorite swimming hole :)
And all the snakes that live there...
Waaaiiiittttt....WTF!?!??! There were no snakes that lived there!?!?? I swam there EVERYDAY...
There were FISH...see?? Happy, completely harmless FISH...
HOLY SHIT!!!!!! My dad let me play here EVERYDAY!!??! DID HE HAVE A DEATHWISH FOR ME!?!??!?! This big one was at LEAST 4 feet LONG...SERIOUSLY DAD!?!?!
We saw at LEAST a dozen snakes at my old swimming hole...Either I was a very LOUD child (yes) made a LOT of noise (yes) and threw lots of rocks around (yes) or these snakes were not there when I was a child...
I'm going to go with "they weren't there"...because the alternative is going to give me PTSD. And I will never trust my dad again...shudder...
Back to happiness and green stuff...
Day 138: Little ones :)
It was really cool seeing the creek again :) And showing it to my nephew Lukas :)
He thought it was pretty boring until the snake situation was discovered...then he was ALL interested :)
My road :) The house is on the left at the bottom of the blacktop :) When I say I grew up in the sticks...OH YES. IN. THE. STICKS :) Loved it...we won't talk about how fast I drove down that hill...lets just say it was a "totally appropriate speed for a 16 year old" :-D
Day 139: That Red Dirt Road...
It's where I drank my first beer.
It's where I found Jesus.
Where I wrecked my first car;
I tore it all to pieces.
I learned the path to Heaven,
Is full of sinners and believers.
Learned that happiness on earth,
Ain't just for high achievers.
I've learned; I come to know,
There's life at both ends,
Of that red dirt road.
Great song...by Brooks N Dunn :) Look it up...
A great day for the most part :) Good seeing my family...such great people they are, I wish we could all get together more often and not in these circumstances.
The dogs were getting restless, so we thought it would be fun to take the dogs out on the lake (they were swimming 2 times a day MINIMUM at this point :) So the husband and I got in the little row boat and set off to enjoy the water and the dogs all followed :)
He doesn't like water...typical terrier :) So when he decided to jump OFF THE BOAT when we were in the middle of the lake all hell broke loose. Add to that chaos, a SNAKE coming right for him that was VENOMOUS...and you end up with one crazy situation. Things we learned. The husband turns in to a hysterical woman when Crackers is in jeopardy. Loretta turns into a hysterical woman when Crackers is in jeopardy. Loretta is also willing to tear a venomous snake apart by hand if it touches one of her dogs.The rest of the dogs will swim to shore while the husband and Loretta are totally freaking out (which in this instance was a GOOD THING). Snakes don't know what little white things, splashing in the water, screaming, are. They will stop swimming...raise their heads and as soon as the little flailing white thing swims past them (within 6 INCHES of their faces)...they make a run for it...
The husband and Loretta will immediately stop the boat/lake fun...row to the shore...hug the wet terrier...and go change their pants. After the heartbeats have returned to normal. Terrier is ON LEASH in boat and we attempt another swim (after making a LOT of noise)...
Border Collies don't care about the bi-polar outbreaks of owners apparently. They jumped right back in :) Crackers was a bit freaked out, but was fine within a few minutes :)
Sea Otter--I mean Even :)
Sea Otter attacking the boat ore...freaking BRAT!
Lynn...the troller we call her...she just swims really slowly...treading water at times...and apparently all her hair is now GONE...hot weather combined with lots of swimming equals a naked dog. She looks like she has "the mange"...not pretty :) It makes her ears look HUGE...and they are big enough already!
Gator...who normally ONLY swims to get a toy...gave up after running back and forth on the shore :) And got all Black Stallion on us (remember that book??) and jumped in. Figured out he WOULDN'T DIE and then life was good :)
Even...again :) Imagine that???
The entire crew...not sure were Even is headed...
Ears...lots of ears :)
The Croc as we call Zip :) She will stay in the water like this forever if you let her...
Just treading water...her niece Klink will do the same :)
The dogs swam several times a day the entire time we were home...and already look more muscular and fit! I have decided I am going to make the commitment to swimming them at least once a day here in MN if the weather allows it. They were NOT happy to leave...the dogs informed us that a body of water needed to be built on our property...I'm trying to talk the husband into a big pool...so far, not happening :) So I'll drive them to the lake to swim.
One of the really fun things I go to do this past week was see my niece and nephew :) They are 3 and 5 years old and that is the fun age! I actually like those kids...anything much younger and well...not so much :) The sister has a great little trail on her property where you can hike and go down to the river...very cool.
Me following "the men" :) Dad, the husband (also known as Andy) and my nephew Lukas :)
Gorgeous meadows...it was so quiet out there :)
Lukas immediately attached himself to Uncle Andy :)
Day 140: Maybe because Andy is a complete dork :) LOL Love this picture!
Whatever reason it was super cute :)
Lukas showing Andy the river at the house...talking to him about some island that they could go on or something to that extent :) Kids are creative little buggers!
And then Lukas telling Andy about some waterfall thingie...or something :)
Memories---they're so important. When things are gone that's what we have. Places, smells, songs all trigger them. I was overwhelmed by the memories that came back to me this week. Like this one...
This is what happens to your hair when, it is down to your butt and you decide to take some scissors to it :) LOL
Day 141: Sisters
Keep your sisters close...they're worth their weight in gold. Even if they drive you nuts sometimes :)
Life goes by so fast...dad said that this week...it's so true. One minute you're young...the next, you're old. What happens in the middle goes so fast :)
And some things never change...like my big mouth apparently :)
The death of grandpa marked something huge in me. It was always grandma and grandpa. Always...all my life, that is what it was. When grandma passed, my brain said I still had grandma and grandpa because he was still here...now...they're both gone. To a better place I know in my heart...but BOTH are gone...so final. It's changed something in me. Made me really realize how amazing my life is, how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. And I need to really focus on the good things and enjoy them while I can. Memories are forever...but you have to MAKE them with those you love.
There were so many great stories told this week...so many things I found out about my family I didn't know. Sides of my family I didn't see before this week. And the closeness we all have. When it all comes down to it...family IS the most important thing. Without it you have nothing.
This song really hits home...so very true.
Enjoy the things you have been given. They can be taken away so quickly...
Sending prayers to all of those hit by the tornadoes this week. Please do the same.