Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy First Birthday, Jack!

Jack actually turns 1 tomorrow but we celebrated his birthday a week early while I was still there.  We had quite a crowd for burgers and dogs, swimming, playing and cake!  So much fun!  This little boy is well loved and such a sweetheart.  And you'd never know he was a preemie who scared us to death this time last year!  We love you, Jack!

 Jack and Mommy Sarah

 Cake time

 Pretty good stuff!
Some of Sarah's friends and their babies.  I guess bigger families are becoming the norm once again as many of her friends have 3, 4, or more kids!
Jack and his two girlfriends Charlotte and Addie

 Presents are fun, too!

 Jack and Daddy Miles
 Gigi's 8th grandchild!  :)

Back to Dallas for a few days

I had a few more days in Dallas before flying back to Alaska.  Sarah and I went back to one of the apartments we'd visited and I rented one for Rich and me.  Move in date: October 22!  Very exciting! We also went to her bank and I opened a new account. And we went to look at furniture.  I have never furnished and decorated a house from scratch before so it's gonna be lots of fun!

 Hanging out with Jack at the house
Elle is quite the little soccer player and continues to get better and better every time I visit.  She always plays really hard!  She made a goal in this game.
 With Elle and Beck
 Elle had a game at 9 and then another one at noon.  Beck had one at 11:45.  We all went to Elle's first game, then Miles was going to take her to her second game while Sarah and I went to Beck's. We came home in between and Jack went down for a nap. Since he was still asleep, I stayed home with him while the parents went to the kids' games.  Beck was also on fire that day and made three goals!  Sorry I missed that!
I'm looking forward to being in the same town so I can participate in more of the grandkids' activities!

Living Life and Saying Goodbye

Amarillo was kind of a whirlwind, with all the moving and unpacking going on!  One day I took Luke to Barnes and Noble while Emery was at school and Ada was napping so Bonnie could get a few things done at the house. We had fun playing with trains, looking at books and all kinds of toys, and choosing a book for each of the kids before getting a drink and sharing a big cookie.  :) He's such a sweet boy and we had a good time off by ourselves.

Another day I picked Emery up from school and asked her if she wanted to go get a snack somewhere. She chose Target, which kinda cracked me up. She likes their slushies, I found out.  On the way in, I told her we could also look for a toy for her and for her siblings.  She said, "Oh, the toys are right here!" as she looked at the dollar bargain bins at the front of the store.  I thought, "Sweet! Gigi comes out way ahead on this one!"  She picked out 2 one dollar items for herself and 2 for Luke and was perfectly happy.  We then had a slushie and a pretzel.  It's the little things, isn't it?!
My girls always go to their dad's in Abilene for Labor Day weekend when he has a family reunion of sorts. David had to photograph a wedding so Bonnie had told me in advance "What would really help me is if you would drive to Abilene and back with me and help with the kids."  So we packed up the car and headed for Abilene on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I'd made arrangements to stay at my friend Karen's house even though she was going to be out of town! And her daughter Kaci nicely left me her car so I wouldn't be stranded; thanks, Kaci! We had a pretty good drive to Abilene and Bonnie dropped me off before heading out to the lake to meet the rest of the family.  I didn't take any photos for some reason but had a full weekend meeting various friends for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and doing some shopping and errand-running while I was there.  Bonnie and the kids picked me up on Monday morning and we began the drive back to Amarillo, which was a little less fun this time with different kids fussing at different times along the way.  :)  We stopped to get gas and there were two guys from the Bandidos motorcycle gang at the pump in front of us.  I told Bonnie, "Bandidos! Be careful!" and she thought that was the funniest thing she'd ever heard.  One guy had a "probationary" patch on his jacket so I was teasing her that he might need to do "something" to earn his full status.  Anyway, we had a good laugh over that. I'm sure they were perfectly nice guys, right??!  We finally made it home and Bonnie claims she will not be taking any road trips with all the kids by herself to come to Dallas and see us.
 My last day there. We took a few photos before Emery went to school.

 And a few more  before we went to the airport
 Sweet kids

 Ada and I were pretty good friends by the time I left

 She's walking and very proud of herself!
My flight was supposed to be at 9:40 and Sarah was going to pick me up in Dallas, then we were going to our friend Kirk's funeral.  It was super foggy in Amarillo and when I got to the airport, they said the flight was delayed due to fog there and storms in Dallas. We waited and waited and were finally told the flight would not take off till 1 PM. The funeral was at 2, so this meant I would not make it.  I texted Sarah and Bonnie and was considering just going back to Bonnie's for another night and trying again the next day when suddenly Southwest changed the departure time to 11:50.  This put me in Dallas in time, if a little rushed.  Upon landing in Dallas, we sat on the runway for another ten minutes before getting off and then it took 20 minutes to get my luggage.  By the time I got in Sarah's car for a 30 minute drive to the funeral, we were already going to be late.  I had worn jeans thinking early that morning that I would have time at Sarah's to change clothes and fix myself up a bit.  That was all out the window so I managed to change into a dress in a moving car in Dallas traffic while Sarah sped along to try to get us there at a reasonable time.  A brush through the hair and a little bit of mascara and I was going to have to be ready.

We made it just a couple of minutes late and found our friend Karen at the back, as well as a few other old friends and former coworkers.  We were told there were over 500 people there, such a testament to Kirk.  He was only 39 but had affected many people in his life, through his job as a social worker and a supervisor at several health care organizations, through his church, and of course as a family man, neighbor, and friend.  We worked together at West Texas Rehab and had so many fun and funny times together as colleagues and friends.  It was so sad to say goodbye to him but his celebration of life was also full of laughter, great stories, and lots of love from many people.  His wife Dana stood at the front of the church as every single person filed past and gave each of us a hug.  I don't know if I could have done that. She was the picture of graciousness and strength--I admire her so much. I know it will be a long road for her and her three young children but I have no doubt she will handle it all with as much grace as she did his illness and his death.  But I have to say that I am really angry still that such a kindhearted guy was taken so young.  Life sure is not fair.  Don't be stingy with your love, folks--life is not only unfair but awfully short.  Goodbye, Kirk.  You were a good one.

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Meet the Teacher" with Luke, Lunch with Emery, and Luke Starts Pre-K

Luke will be attending Preschool two days a week this year. We went to meet his teachers and see his classroom one morning.  He was a little reluctant to go in at first, but after seeing all the fun stuff, he then did not want to leave!

 With his teachers, Ms. Jennifer and Ms. Sheila
 We met Emery for lunch and her comment was, "Aren't you so happy you get to come see my cafeteria?!"
 Daddy was able to get away from his own teaching duties to join us.

 A strangle-hug
 Luke started Preschool and had a great day!

Bonnie had to decorate a little person to look like Luke to bring with him the first day.  He loves Spiderman right now so they went with that theme.  Pretty impressive, huh?!
 Cute boy  is growing up on us!

At the park