A Wonderful and Loved Grandma

On February 19th, 2015, my sweet Grandma passed away (wasn't she just beautiful??). She was 89 years old. She was a wonderful grandmother and I feel so blessed for all the time we got with her.
My family has always lived fairly close to her and so my childhood is filled with visits to her house or her coming down to visit us. Before second grade, this also included my grandpa, but he unfortunately died that summer. What a long time to be without your companion. When I heard that she had finally gone (it was a Thursday and she had been struggling for a few days), I felt such loss. Like an end of an era. Grandparents really are something special. After a few minutes, my tears turned more to happiness. Oh, the reunion my grandparents must have had! I can only imagine how long they embraced for! 
I am sure she was also greeted by my aunt, my cousin, the children she lost at birth, and the rest of her family. I think it was a few years after my grandpa passed away, my grandma served a family history mission in Texas. She did so much family history for us. I bet there were plenty of those family members there to welcome her as well :)

The day after Brad left for India, my sister drove down with the boys and I to where my grandparents lived for 20 years, and my grandma for another 10 after he passed, to attend her funeral. SO many childhood memories there, in Paradise, CA. I forgot how much I love it there and it seriously felt like coming home in a way. I loved seeing my kids love it. I'm just going to interject how amazing they did on this trip. They were awesome. We spent some time outside and it just about made my heart burst see my children enjoy what I enjoyed as a kid. My brothers were able to fly out from Utah and Montana, so all us Dell kids were able to be together. I wish we had had more time to just hang out, but I'm just grateful we could all celebrate my wonderful grandma's life together.

While we were there, we drove around to see the old house my grandpa built. We spent so much time outside, exploring or picking the wild blackberries along the road or traversing the creek that ran through the woods. I even remembered the spot where we had come across a buck and it charged at my cousin. So scary when you are young (mmm... scary no matter what age you are...).
That is the store that was down the road from their house we always walked to and we always got War Heads. Just looking at that place made my mouth water and pucker!
The hospital I was born at :)
 My dad informed me the wing pictured below was where I was delivered
And then the house my family lived in when I was born.
After my grandpa died, my grandma sold the house. She eventually settled back down into an older community trailer park. I loved it here. It was so homey and full of love coming to visit her. She always had a cookie jar and a candy dish full. 
The funeral was to be held on Monday. For Sunday dinner, our Aunt Kate had us over for dinner. It had been years since we'd all seen her and I swear she hasn't changed. She's so sweet and has this laugh that is so infectious and genuine. Loved being there and around her again. My boys were smitten with their dogs and when Aunt Kate asked if they wanted to take them for a walk, they were so excited!
Us snuggling in our hotel room. ♥ these boys!!
The next morning was the funeral. We held it at the LDS church building where my Grandpa served as the first bishop of one of the wards and we had had his funeral service in. A bit of a surprise was James became very emotional while we were there. Pretty sure he cried for about twenty (or more) minutes. Nothing I said could get through to the fact that he was going to miss Grandma Great. Sweet little James... I should have seen this coming, he is such a sensitive boy. Finally, we were able to distract him and he listened to what I had to say- even though Grandma Great isn't with us anymore here on Earth, she is waiting for us in heaven. We get to be with her forever. He still talks about her once in a while. The funeral went well- heard sweet stories of our grandparents. Almost all our cousins were there and we always love seeing them. Once the service was over, we all got in our cars to take her casket to the cemetery where she will rest next to her husband. We then headed back for a nice luncheon put on by the ward they used to be in. Such a sweet kindness. Then, sadly, we all went our different ways.
All of the family that could make it. Love them all, even if we aren't always in contact with each other
Our family quickly headed back to the hotel to change and empty my room for checkout. We then went to a local candy store my mom and grandma frequented and picked up some goodies.
After that, it was time for Rach and I to head up north. We really didn't want to, we loved being with our brothers and parents. But Rach had school to get back to and so did James. Before we said our good-byes, I actually remembered to take pictures with my siblings!!
 "I feel like we are some 90's punk band"
 Me- "Wait... are we all posing like that?"
 Aaaand a deep side tickle by the sister I trusted. Betrayed...
 Rachel, Craig, Sam, and me! I love my sister and brothers!
As much as we all will miss our Grandma, I know she is so very happy where she is. I know she is back with my Grandpa, the companion she missed for so many years. I know she is working hard right now and watching over us all. I love her deeply and will hold our memories close to my heart. Love you, Gramma... thanks for be one amazing lady.


Little Date of Mine

A little over two months ago (man, i'm behind...), a sweet six-year old asked his mommy on a date. Yes, Mister James asked me out. It was so dang cute. I was kind of surprised and of course I said yes (who on earth could say no??). We planned our date for the next Thursday, February 19th. I gave him some options for food- burgers, hot dogs, pizza, or go more exotic like Indian (ha, i wish! someday). He quickly said hot dogs. Hot dogs it is! I then asked if he would like to go bowling. We've never taken our kids, something I had just realized and quickly need to remedy, and he excitedly said yes. Date planned!

I had scheduled a hair cut for 4:30 that day, so he tagged along while I chopped two-ish inches off my hair. He was a rock star. So well-behaved. We then headed to Five Guys to get Mister James his hot dog and me my burger. We were happy!
The handsome six-year old date. He chose his outfit. How darling is he??
After dinner, we headed over to the bowling alley. I was kind of excited to use the bumpers kids get so they don't get in the gutter... because I get in the gutter quite often. Bowling is not my sport, that's for sure. Alas, this alley was ahead of the times and the bumpers came up for James, and sadly went down for me. Oh well. By the end, James didn't even need the bumpers. I was impressed... and maybe a little jealous ;) Final score- James, 83. Mother, 61 (or something close to that). James was the winner!
 I was informed my first outfit wasn't nice enough because I wasn't wearing a skirt. Which I was trying to avoid. But, hey... gotta look nice for the dapper boy
We were supposed to head home after that, but James said we had to go to Target and look at toys to finish our date. Who am I to argue with the guy who took me on a date? To Target we went. 

This special date was so much fun. To have one-on-one time with a child... such a bonding time. Their personalities and uniqueness just shine and it's so wonderful to see them just be them. These boys love each other, but you almost forget how individual they can be when you don't get very much separate time with them. James informed me our next date is a family date so everyone can come with us to get hot dogs. I suggested maybe we get pizza next time... spice things up a bit ;) 


When the Husbands Away...

Brad has been in India for a two and a half weeks now. He will be gone for another half a week. This is what I've learned while he's been gone-
Brad in the traditional veshti clothing of India
- taking care of our kids isn't the hard part. Yes, I know I still have one more week and anything can happen. BUT it's the day to day stuff that is easier than I thought. Which is actually a really great thing to learn!

- that being said, I'm gaining more faith in my abilities as a mother and homemaker. My house is kind of a disaster (though it's getting better because i'm slooowly cleaning it), but my kids are happy, we're having fun, we're eating good food, and we are all still alive. I am capable of more than I realize and that is really empowering :)

- i'm lonely. And I'm surprised at how lonely I am. It's kind of pathetic how much I just miss him being around me. Being able to talk to him (in person), text him when I want (cuz that ain't happening), couch cuddles, going to bed together, waking up together. Just him being with me. Basically it sucks. I miss my husband.

- distractions are a must. The day after he left, we left with my sister to go down to my grandmother's funeral. Two days after we got back my wonderful mother drove up and stayed with us for six days. She kept trying to help out, silly woman. I seriously just enjoyed having another adult around and wanted her to just hang out with me! I thought she was just a distraction for my boys, but after she left I definitely missed having her around and felt Brad being gone pretty heavily. So I've been trying to do more home projects or cleaning (... or binge watching Netflix shows...) to make time go faster. We've also been getting busy visiting people which leads me to my next lesson...
James being an awesome big brother and teaching the little(r) ones to blow bubbles in their drinks
Off the Waffle! This place never gets old
- take people up on their offers to help. Oh. My. Goodness. Can I just say how awesome and amazing people are??? I am so humbled by how much our friends want to help me and the boys out while Brad is gone. I have a hard time accepting help, but I knew I couldn't do this by myself. And when people are genuinely offering, take them up on it! It's funny, because when I'm the one offering help, it is in no way inconvenient to do whatever needs to be done. So happy to help. But being on the receiving end of it all, so hard to not feel like you are a nuisance and people are being TOO kind. This week basically every day people are opening their homes to us or coming over to keep us company. Friends are amazing. Plus all the people who are just asking how we are doing, how Brad is holding up, and being concerned for us. It all means so much and I am seriously grateful for it all.

- my schedule is off. I had these grand plans of getting on a real schedule (because i totally am NOT) . Yeeeaaaah... not happening. I had no idea Brad being gone would mess with my body clock. It probably doesn't help either that I stay up way too late because I have nothing to go to bed for. Except sleep. But that's totally overrated, right? (wrong)

- gives plenty of time to get things done! Knowing everything falls on me has really motivated me to be more proactive in checking things off my list. I did before, but I'm trying harder to make the best of my time. What else am I going to do, sit on the couch? Pine for him? Might as well pine while getting stuff done. Cue distraction again! Plus it feels a lot better, getting something done, that's for sure.

Brad and I (and the boys, for that matter) are ready for this trip to be over. Brad has had a great time and seen some pretty neat things. I'm excited to look at all the pictures he's taken. He even gets a couple days in Amsterdam on the way back. To say I'm jealous would be a gross understatement. But I'm grateful he gets to experience it... though I told him next time, it's my turn ;) The last thing I'll say that I've learned is, it really has shown us how much we mean to one another. In the day to day of things, it's easy to get in a rut and take each other for granted. I hope we keep this experience close to our hearts and continue to learn and grow closer from it.

Now I am going to anxiously/frustratedly/excitedly wait for Sunday to come, when the jet-lagged man finally comes home! 


Much Belated Birthday(s) Post

James had his sixth birthday a little over three weeks ago. Six! He is growing up so fast. Right now James loves learning, being crazy, drawing, dressing up as a knight, viking, or whatever tickles his fancy at the moment, being sweet to others, and just loves life. James is seriously such a sweet and amazing kid.

We were still in California for his birthday but Jack decided to get sick that morning and we kind of cancelled the food celebrations. We were leaving the next morning and wanted to make sure all of us felt as good as possible. Ha. Though there was no cake (actually, there was. i just didn't make it. my parents had picked one up the night before, I was just super lame and so focused on Jack I forgot to have him blow out a candle. mom of the year, right here) or fun dinner, he still got to have both sets of grandparents over and get fun presents. He got a baseball mitt and ball, a bag of balls, new pants and a shirt, and a hiking backpack. Well, that day. I was awesome and forgot some of his birthday presents at home. Did I mention I'm super excited to not be traveling for the holidays/his birthday next year? Because I am. When we got home we gave him the rest- new church sweater and shirt, winter boots, and a Star Wars AT-AT shirt (which is basically the coolest shirt ever).
We partied hard
The Saturday after we got back, I was finally able to make his birthday dinner and cake. The morning we headed back home, I woke up feeling horrible and was out of commission for basically the whole week. Yay for winter... or not. James had requested a Transformers cake and I did what I could- not too shabby, right?
 In his new church clothes. And first of the year church picture- all boys are in Primary! Crazy!
AND going through pictures, I realized I never posted about Gavin's fourth birthday. I'm telling you, mom of the year!! Not that forgetting to blog about your child makes you a bad mom, but when you have a yearly habit of doing it and you forget... makes you feel kind of bad. That's just me :) On a somewhat completely different tangent, these pictures also make me miss summer. Which is silly, because winter has been great (so far). I don't think I'll ever get used to colder winters, though. And Oregon is so mild compared to Idaho. But it's no California. OR I just don't like winter.

Moving on...
 THIS FACE!! Says it all
Sometimes I forget Gavin is as young as he is- he is just so sharp, funny, and articulate for being four! But then he reminds me with some tantrums and fits and brings me back to reality :) But really, Gav is one amazing little guy. He is such a ham, very honest, a hard worker (really, he gets mad at me if i do chores without him), loves to learn and can't wait for kindergarten next year, and is so sweet. We are so blessed with these sweet and awesome boys of ours, for reals. 

His birthday started with balloons, streamers, and donuts. So perfection, really. I don't think we did anything out of the ordinary that day, but I do know it was a good one. We then had our friends come over for some cupcakes and ice cream. Gav got lots of books (which we loooove. and that isn't sarcasm. book nerds over here), new clothes, art supplies, and a Star Wars toy.

We sure love these two boys of ours (and the third one, obviously... but i blogged about him already). They really are such good kids and I have to remind myself that a lot. James is a great oldest brother and Gavin has really taken to his middle brother role. As much as I want to stop the clock with these boys of mine, I wouldn't pass up on watching them grow and learn and develop their awesome personalities.