I Can Do It

My boys were very young when I got divorced. 

In some ways it was easier for them that way, as they don’t really have much of a memory of ever living with both parents. 


However,  it was initially really hard all the same because even though they were young, they still knew something was different. There was a lot of clinginess, calling out in the night and general insecurity and anxiety.


 They both seemed to struggle with the fear of abandonment which I talked about over here.

They always wanted to be with me. 

I think that’s pretty normal for most kids at different stages, but it became extreme in our home. The daycare would call me daily letting me know that Josh would be crying and crying at nap time (not that I could do anything, but they needed to let me know – that’s how bad it was!) Drop off at daycare was also a complete nightmare. It would have me crying after I left….

 Even at home, Zach would refuse to go upstairs without me. 

Our house had three floors. In the basement was where my office was. I usually was only in my office when they weren’t at home or when they were asleep. So, they rarely came down there. (Josh suspiciously created the idea that a “mean mommy” lived down there — hmmm, I wonder if I was stressed when they did see me come up from there?! He swears it was unrelated to how I acted….)

The main floor was where we spent most of our time. It was open concept, so they could see me wherever they were.

Upstairs was where the bedrooms and bathroom were. Zach would sometimes need to go to the bathroom or go to his room to get a toy and insisted I go with him. He became so scared of doing that without me. 


Initially, I thought it was cute, and I actually liked being needed. But then I started getting really concerned. I didn’t think it was normal for a four-year-old to be so scared of going upstairs on his own. Even in full daylight. For 2 seconds. And even if it was “normal”, it was not practical.

I started to tell him that he had to go up alone. He did not like this idea, and pushed back with many tears. Regardless of how much I was a sucker for his tears,  I knew he needed to learn how to do it. He certainly was capable of doing it. I just needed him to know that he was capable. 

We decided on two main strategies for him to get upstairs. The first one, was I would be speaking to him so he could always hear my voice. That way he knew that even though he couldn’t see me, I was still there. And I wasn’t going anywhere. 

The second strategy, was to teach him to self coach. He would start talking to himself. At first he would talk out loud with me, then gradually he would talk outloud alone and I would just reassure him every so often (“I’m right here; you’re doing great”.) 


Then gradually I would encourage him to say it softly, or even in his head.

We decided his mantra would be a very popular one: “I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.”

I so clearly remember having to go through the stages with him. And hearing his little voice telling himself he can do it. And me telling him he was ok, and he could do it ; he was doing it! 

Eventually he would go up the stairs and just say, “I’m doing it Mommy!”, and then, “I did it!” Finally, he just did it. It became a complete non issue.

It would come up here and there throughout his childhood when he’d get a bit anxious about something. “Talk yourself through it”, “tell yourself you can do it”, “what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen?”

I don’t know how much of that initial “stair climbing” saga he actually remembers. Perhaps vaguely. 

I, on the other hand, have the memory etched into my heart. Because as a mother, I learned a very valuable lesson. It was nice being needed and wanted and having him depend on me, especially at such a vulnerable time in our lives. It was nice to feel that he needed my support always.

 But what was even better, was was seeing him learn that he can do things on his own. That he is capable. That even though he may feel anxiety, or be outright scared, he can coach himself through anything. Hopefully he will also always have my voice in his head reassuring him that I am always there and I believe in him. And hopefully, in all those trying moments, he will also know to turn to prayer and that will be a great source of strength and comfort to him.


Fast-forward 12 years later and he is setting out on an adventure on his own. He’s heading to Ecuador on a Humanitarian trip all on his own tomorrow morning.  He knows no one going on the trip, is the youngest in the group, and has to navigate three different terminals in LAX on his own to meet up with his group. 

As exciting as this adventure is, it actually makes me feel a little sick.

 I look at all the challenges that he may face, and I wish I could be there to talk him through it. 


However, I have complete faith and confidence that he is able to do it on his own. He will grow so much from this and have experiences that I know will forever change him.

I know that that little voice in his head will reappear every time he feels a little stuck or anxious, reminding him that he can do it. Hopefully mine will be there too reminding him of my love and faith in him. 


And of course, prayers along the way from both me and him will bring strength and comfort as a constant companion for him to travel with.

Off to finish packing. 

Happy 16th Birthday Zach! 

I can’t believe we have another 16 year old in the house!

I can’t believe that my baby is 16.Oh I said it. My baby.Because that’s what he will forever be, right?And my baby is getting ready to head to Ecuador all on his own on a humanitarian trip.That freaks me out a bit.But makes me darn proud at the same time.  Combining the passion of travel with the passion of service.The downfall with turning 16 in the middle of the summer is that no one in our family is really around to celebrate with you (other family schedules/vacations), and Zach is also pretty much out every night either with soccer practices/games or his job reffing (and of course heading out with friends after each one of those).The upfall is 16 is the “official” dating age in our home (I haven’t let him know yet that all dates have to be prearranged by me, though, haha), as well as his eligibility to get his driver’s license (learner’s) Woot woot!!So it certainly will be an exciting year ahead!There are many things I love about this boy, and the man that he is becoming. Let’s just focus on 16 of them:

1.I love that he is who is wherever he is and with whomever as well. Whether it’s with me, Rob, his Dad or his siblings, with his friends, or the girl he likes, his teachers or his coaches, he is Zach. Through and through. You get what you get. 2. He is a communicator. Not only is he willing to share, he is willing to listen. He also responds to texts right away, and is quick to let me know things (where he is, if he’s running late etc.) I really appreciate that! (In fact, as I write this, I just received a text from him letting me  know he is walking home now from a specific friend’s house!)3. He is a hard worker. He wants to do well and puts his mind to it. He puts a lot of effort into his studies; he will wake up early, go to bed late. He wants to succeed.4. He is hilarious. He makes us all laugh all the time! He can also be a little “edgy” and that comes out in his instagram meme account “edgymormon”. I often laugh outloud when I see a new post!5. He is a great brother. He can bug his little brothers like there is no tomorrow (I won’t mention the poor friend of Sam’s who slept over at our house and had to call his Dad at 1am to come pick him up as Sam’s older brother had scared him so much…) He cares about his siblings, likes to teach them, and will always have their backs.6. He is our fashionista! Except he now has way too many clothes….7. He is a great soccer player and captain of his team. He also won MVP this year for his school soccer team. He has put a lot of work into his game and over the years it has paid off.8. He is completely obsessed with tickles. Still. You can’t be anywhere near him without him asking you to scratch his back. And if you want information, you know what you need to do…9. He is quick. He’s responds quickly, acts quickly and even walks (too) quickly!10. He is passionate about travel. And when he travels, he takes pictures and always keeps a travel journal. I think I’m biased about why I love this so much about him…11. He is a very positive person. He is an optimist. He is cheery. He laughs a lot and  usually has a big smile on his face.12. He is a negotiator. I know it will serve him well in life; sometimes I wish he wouldn’t try to negotiate as much… but as he gets older, he is learning about limits and when to stop pushing them:)13. He is a good friend. He looks out for his friends and he is supportive.14. He is fiercely loyal and reliable . You can count on him. When he says he will be there, he is there. If he says he will do it, he will.15. He is ambitious. He sets goals. He makes plans on how to obtain them. Then he follows through. And these are HIS goals (but he is open to discussing them with you and open to suggestions too.)16. He has a very strong spirit that is developing every minute! He stands up for what he knows to be true and right and he is proud of his values and character.Who could not love this kid? Couldn’t be prouder to be his Mama.

Love you more and always!

(And now a few pics summarizing his day:)

I was the only one around when he woke up, so a little breakfast was in order: 

He has been taking a driving course and it ended early and my client conveniently cancelled so we got to head out for lunch! A little schnitzel in memory of his Germany 15 trip!!

We ran a few errands picking up stuff for his upcoming trip and started to pull together things for packing. We had a good chuckle at the 4 different medications I got for him “in case” he has stomach problems:)

We then did some gifts when we had a bit more of an audience (Josh):

He had a soccer game that Rob ended up joining us for (he had a huge work meeting so had been gone all day). Good thing he did because it was an awesome game with Zach scoring 3 of the 6 goals (they won 6-3)! Birthday hat trick!!!

And then we celebrated with some of Zach’s traditional homemade icecream cake:

(Note the driver’s manual… he’s been studying to go take his learners test!!) His birthday celebrations continue tomorrow with Canada’s wonderland with his friends! 

Ah…16….

Happy Birthday Sam! 

Well he’s our littlest guy, but I have to say he ain’t so little anymore.

The big 12. 

Heading off to middle school, young men’s, priesthood, and shaving. All that combined with a deeper voice and a little bit of attitude.

Summer is so hard to celebrate birthdays as everyone is out (usually at soccer) or off with their other parent. This year we had to celebrate Sam’s birthday dinner and cake the night before (on Gabe’s bday), because Sam has a soccer game tonight and soccer pretty much dominates our lives…


We had his favourite rapini pasta, and then topped it off with an ice cream cake:


In the morning, we squeezed in the candy poster and small gift before he headed off to soccer camp! His big gift (a soccer jersey) hasn’t arrived yet.


I really can’t believe this little guy was 2 when I met him. Diapers and mischief. And chocolate milk in a sippycup in bed at night (say, what?!?! Yup. I didn’t even mind being the mean stepmom who squashed that habit immediately!!) But he was a cutie.


And still is.

12 things we love about Sam:

1. He is a natural born leader with his peers. Everyone loves Sam and everyone follows Sam (so we are always encouraging him to make sure he’s leading the right direction!!) 

His friends’ party (nerf gun fight with a sleepover had a cake too):

2. He is enthusiastic! He’s energetic! He’s spunky! 


3. He is so appreciative and grateful. Without being reminded. He says thank you for everything, all the time. 


4. He is helpful and is usually the first to ask if you need help, and when he sees need, he gets in there to help!


5. He’s quick as a whip. He picks things up quickly, he’s quick to do things (and yes, sometimes too quick with homework!) and quick to get going.


6. He’s always got a smile on his face! And with his braces, it’s a big smile! It really lights up a room!


7. He is a great brother. He loves his siblings and tolerates being the baby brother really well. They can be a bit hard on him and he is able to cope!


8. He’s tough. Being the youngest of the herd means there’s no time to be sucky or whiny. We notice a huge difference compared to many of his peers that he can “handle” a lot more: work, rough play, exertion and even conversation. He’s a survivor.


9. He’s a smartie. He does well at school, and enjoys learning. He likes to read which is a huge plus for learning!


10. He’s independent. Maybe a little too independent?! Have a feeling we are going to have to keep an eye on this one as a teen so he doesn’t fly under the radar… 


11. He’s a loving guy. Big heart, big hugs. Kind spirit.


12. He still says the cutest nighttime prayers. Love that he is so excited to progress to Young Men’s officially and ready to start serving the sacrament with his brothers. Love that his Spirit is growing. 


Who wouldn’t love Sam? Everyone loves Sam.

But we love him more and always.

Happy 12th! 

Happy Birthday Gabe! 

Today is Gabe’s 19th birthday and the whole country he now lives in is celebrating in his honour! How welcoming!


(It is sort of nice to have the day off from school on your birthday…)


It’s weird having him across the country, (in a different country!)  for his birthday and not doing the birthday usual. He still has a couple of more weeks at school and then he will be heading home for a bit at the end of the month. We will celebrate officially then with him!


But it doesn’t stop us from sending him lots of good birthday love and vibes and celebrate all things we love about Gabe:

1. His smile is contagious!!


2. His humour is spot on. He knows how to tell a story and he knows how to make people laugh. 


3. His passion for cars; he is so like he Dad in this way! Drives me a bit crazy, but it’s a family trait! He will sleep in or complain about getting up, but if a race is on?  Doesn’t matter how early!


4. His passion for technology. He’s the go-to guy. 


5. His big brotherness. He sure is missed around here. When we FaceTime him, his siblings are always asking us to make sure we get them so they don’t miss the call. And he’s there for them. Still often knows about stuff before we do…. I love to see as the boys get older how their brotherly bond continues to grow. I hope they will always be the best of friends (and they know my plan is to force them anyways. Nothing like having and being a good brother.) 



6. His laugh. He gets right into enjoying himself and can get very silly which is great, because it is contagious too! We miss the family dinner banter with him as he tells some ridiculous stories or does some funny impressions.


7. His guts. It takes a lot of guts to pick up and move clear across the country to a small town to attend school! Definitely courageous and he has done it with such ease.

8. His growth: this year has definitely been a year of growth and maturity. There is no real safety net when you are so far away! You need to rely on you!

7. His loyalty. I see so many parts of his Dad coming out in him, and the fierce loyalty is developing more especially as his roles and relationships grow. Love that he is a rock. 


8. His appetite! We miss him at our dinner table for also being appreciative of every meal and being an easy going eater! (Ok, I miss that more than maybe the other kids do!) 


9. His helpfulness : his offers to help around the house are also missed! He will make a great equal partner one day:) 


10. His desire to learn and quest for information. Such an important lifelong skill! 

11. His curiousness. One of the best qualities one can have in order to learn is the ability to be curious; he’s got it! 


12. His big shirts. We always tease him that he’s wearing shirts two sizes too big, but it is now “so Gabe”.

13. His kind heart. His genuine niceness.


14. His ambition. It’s tough being a teen and figuring out what you want to do! While he’s still exploring, it’s clear his ambition is there, just trying to figure out the right path!

15. His ability to express affection and show what’s in his heart.


16. His ability to negotiate and debate. Although I think I like those skills better outside of the home:) Ha!

17. His independence. He really has taken moving out to school as an opportunity to be himself, and take care of himself. He is taking responsibility and becoming his own man.


18. His love for family. Being so far away can have perks, and I think one is missing each other and gaining a bit more appreciation. 

19. His ability to love. His heart is so big and he has a strong capacity to love. 


We love and admire you Gabe and look forward to you being home if only for a short period of time! 


Happy 19th!! 

Love you more always! 

Sam’s Grade 6 Graduation 

I remember when we first went to Gabe’s grade 6 graduation.  I counted that over our lifetime, we would attend 17 graduations: 1 for grade 6, 1 for grade 8, and 1 for high school, for each child. That would end up being 12 all together (Zach and Zandra share all their’s being the same age, otherwise it would be 15!) Then of course, University, so that’s an additional 5 (likely Zach and Zandra will be at different times/schools!?) So we are up to 17 (and if they go on to graduate work, even more… ) 

The other night I sat in the gym of the elementary school that all 5 kid went to and thought about the many concerts, and activities, as well as 4 graduations we had attended there. This was the last time I would sit in that gym! And I calculated, we have attended 8 graduations so far.  We are pretty much halfway there.

Yikes.

The days are long but the years are short.

Sam had a dance at school in the afternoon that I was able to catch him running out the door to get a picture:


The graduation was early evening, and Sam got ready at his Mom’s. Before going to the school however, he had to stop here so someone could tie his tie:) (I didn’t realize that Zach ties his tie for him every week for church; we will have to make sure he learns for himself this summer!)

I was able to quickly catch a couple of snaps before he left:


We headed to graduation where cutie little Sam graduated!


I told him he looked like Zach in his outfit with his hair. His response was, “Really? That’s such a compliment!” So cute. The brothers really do love each other! 

We headed outside for a reception where I tried to get more pics:(I will upload more off my good camera soon!) 


Of course, they served blue cupcakes (why?!?!)




His best buddies ^^^

And just like that, he was trying to ditch us to head to a graduation party….which by now, being the youngest of 5, we were prepared for and sent him on his way with the wise words of wisdom “remember who you are and what you stand for and why you stand for it.”

Ok that is often my parting words to all the kids when they head out, but Sam was gone before I even had the chance to say it. But I thought it.

And he had a great night.

Oh the places you will go, Sam! 

Josh’s Grade 8 Graduation

Can it be that yet another child of mine is done middle school?

In our area, we have a grade 6 graduation, then a grade 8 graduation, then a high school graduation (which sadly is the worst one of them all as they do it in the fall AFTER they have really graduated when most people are already well on their way in the first semester of university! And most are even away at school, so don’t travel back!).

Tomorrow night we have our last grade 6 graduation for Sam, and tonight was Josh’s grade 8 graduation.

He was more happy to pose for all the photos:

And happier when they had to include me (and we had to keep retaking them to try to get an good angle of me…ahh the things we have to endure as we get older!)

It’s a bit easier with Rob:

Off to the ceremony we went, where we sat through the 10 graduating classes getting their certificates. And you guessed it, he was in class 10!

I missed the next part where he went to pat the large round bouquet of roses, which then toppled over… As my neighbour and friend who was there said, “I think he thought it was a soccer ball so he reached out to it!” Oops…

We tried to get a few pics outside with him after the ceremony, but he was dying to get with his friends:

I ended up missing all the group shots though:( So had to just take ones of him hanging out with his friends (as there was no way he was going to get everyone to pose again!)

This next one was one of my faves:

He calmly came over, gave me a big hug and then very politely, but seriously and firmly, told me I had to stop taking pictures and I had to leave!!

He headed out with his friends; I thought about following them a bit to take more pics…haha (just kidding)

How did Baby Josh get to be this awesome young man?

Love him more than he will ever know!

Father’s Day 

Poor Rob. Having birthday and Father’s Day so close together is not as fun.

We try to separate the two: celebrating the birth and life of Rob; and then celebrating the father and stepfather Rob is. 

Not hard to do because he seriously rocks at everything! 

Rob is a patient, kind, loving, super smart, funny, compassionate, and a great looking guy! He will always put both me and the kids first, ahead of any of his own needs. He is often found driving people around or picking them up – at all hours! He is the go to guy for any school projects or work, and pretty much knows everything. If he doesn’t, he quickly becomes an expert on it. All that, and one of the most humble guys I’ve ever known.

He serves at our church as the leader of the young men, and he is constantly trying to find ways to teach them, inspire them, and have fun with them. He dedicates a lot of time to all this volunteer work and is always concerned for their well being. 

At work, he is so respected and admired for his smarts, hard work, integrity and relationship skills. So it’s not just us who love him! 

For our family, he not only is a Dad, but he’s a Stepdad. Many people don’t understand how challenging a step role can be and he does it so amazingly well. Even Zach and Josh’s Dad will sing Rob’s praises. The boys really feel they are loved by two Dads- how amazing is that? 

Rob also has the spiritual strength, hard work ethic and character filled with integrity that I know is what holds us all together. He calms the storm, finds the light, listens to understand and focuses on the important. He is a cheerleader, a guide, a negotiator and protector. He teaches gratitude and gives us all unconditional love.

Need I go on? You get the picture. We are blessed. Very very much.

Father’s Day is pretty fun because we have some traditions which include going to walk around the outdoor exotic car show. Rob missed having Gabe around this year though because he’s the biggest car lover out of the boys.

We had a good time; followed by a low key afternoon and then a nice dinner.
Here are some moments I captured: 

Father’s Day brunch after church (we decided we’d do a sleep in this year!):


The outdoor car show: 





Happy Father’s Day Robbie McHottie! 

Surprise!

Zandra had her Sweet 16 back in May.

A couple of weeks ago, Zandra’ s Mom sent Rob an email inviting us (including Zach and Josh) to a Surprise Sweet 16 party with all her family from her Mom’s side.

That in itself was a surprise, but we certainly jumped at the opportunity to celebrate the special occasion and surprise Zandra, in addition to try to make positive steps towards a much healthier relationship her with Mom.

Things didn’t start off too well when we were stuck in traffic along the way and ended up pulling up close to Zandra and her Mom (on their way to the party too) on the highway!! Zandra leaned out the window to wave and then quickly texted me to ask where we were going.

Luckily, the boys’ Dad lives that same way, or we are always on that route heading to soccer anyways so it was easy come up with an excuse. Not that she would ever be suspicious that we would be attending a family BBQ on her Mom’s side that she thought she was going to!!

We arrived at her Grandmother’s home (who has always been very kind and welcoming to us) and most people were just arriving too. I thought it would be stranger meeting everyone. But, the kids have talked about their aunts, uncles and cousins so much over the years, it was really just putting names to faces.

What was so nice to see (and really not surprising) was how happy everyone was to see Rob! He was greeted and hugged so warmly! Everyone said he had not changed a bit (although Josh nicely pointed out that he had more grey hair!!) and it was nice to see him catch up with people he had not seen in so long.

When Zandra arrived, I didn’t have my phone with me to capture the moment, but her reaction was priceless. It was irritation! She looked around and just said “What?” She had a lot of studying to do; she  thought it was a simple BBQ so she could sneak off and study, and all of a sudden her entire extended family was there. Then she saw us! She was perplexed and shocked, but then the realization set it that this party was for her!

I was so happy for her, as I know all the kids had wanted to have peace between their parents for so long. Life is just so much easier when you don’t have to worry so much about things between your two families. We have done things before all together and it definitely has gotten better over the years, but this was the first time that it was initiated by their Mom and we thought it was a great success. I think maybe we are all ready to turn a new chapter and forge a new relationship!

Here are a few pics of Zandra at the party:

 




 

 

 

Happy Birthday Robbie! 

Getting older can be such a drag. I know, we are only mid 40’s and that IS still young; but you feel it with how your body changes and how you feel emotionally and mentally. Just slight changes, but they are there.

However, having a heart attack in your early 40’s gives life a very new and very real perspective. While initially everyone always asked how Rob was doing after his heart attack, like most things, it fades in the past and people eventually forget. It becomes a minor thing you endured. Which is the way it should be to others.

But, not to Rob. It’s always there. It’s always a memory that can be pulled up instantaneously. Something that affected him to the very core. Not in a frightened, anxiety, fear driven way that it was initially, but almost in a reverent way. What blessing it has become in many ways. How grateful he is to be alive!  Every time he sets out for a run, no matter how tired he is, or doesn’t feel like running, he is so grateful to be able to run. That his legs move, that he is breathing, and his heart is pumping. 
It’s a honour to be able to feel all the small things that go along with getting older. 

Funny way to start a birthday post for the love of my life, but one of the things I adore about Rob is his gratitude for being alive, and his ability to live in the present.

So turning 46 is a privilege! (And don’t worry, I know he is still young and there’s lots more to come. But what an honour to be able to wake up every day to create whatever day you want).

As my kids get older (and my nieces and nephews, and friends’ children) I look at them experiencing the joys of falling in love, the heartbreak of breaking up, and all the in between. As they explore who they are, and strive to find their place in the world, as well as the perfect companion, I am filled with excitement (and worry for them). So many adventures lie ahead of them! 

I feel so so blessed to be married to this birthday boy who is the perfect match for me. We are perfectly imperfect together. He is perfectly imperfect on his own.

I sent my niece a text a couple of weeks ago (she has been dating a boy who seems really awesome and I have been drilling her with questions) and told her that to this day, I can spot Rob in a crowd of people across the room and think, “wow,  he is mine” and he’s still my favourite person to be with. 


There’s no one I’d rather share my dreams with, parent with, laugh with, plan with, travel with, debate with,clean with, work with, binge watch Netflix with, eat sushi with, walk with, converse, explore with, serve with, pray with, and certainly grow old with.


I can not think of a better father and stepfather. There is no difference to him; which makes him the perfect father of our family. His wisdom and concern is always   there. As is his ability to to have fun and share in their lives. He is always sacrificing and doing things for them with pleasure. 



He is truly a joy to be around and you feel a little bit wiser after spending time with him.

We are so blessed to call this guy husband, Dad, and Rob.


Happy Birthday Robbie! Enjoy your special day (or days since we have to squeeze in celebrations around the kids’ exam and sports’ schedules!! Another testament to what a guy you are….)

A few snaps of the celebration: 

Cake number 1 on the actual day: 


Presents:

It had rained so our picnic plan was ruined; front porch it was!


The boys always try to blow candles from afar! 


Zandra and I made the famous oatmeal cake and it was delicious!

Quote of the Week

“Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it.”

Today marks 14 years since my Dad’s passing. So when I came upon this quote, I thought it fit perfectly.

My Dad was certainly the kind of guy that you really couldn’t say much bad about.

Well, ok. Maybe you could say he was a huge talker. And sometimes talked about random things. He also tended to name drop about people on his mission (like you were supposed to know who they were??). And Sundays took him FOREVER to leave church (this one scarred me for life I think, as now we are usually one of the first families to leave the building after church)! He also liked to get into political debates particularly when he knew you would get flustered. He could be a bit of a bugger like that.

But anything “BAD” about him? No.

If anyone spoke badly of him, it would be hard to believe.

All his talking was usually because he wanted to see how people were doing, or he would be giving some advice, or telling a funny story to make people laugh. Or sometimes because he was just in a social mood. Despite all his talking, he was generally a loner.

However, you would not hear him criticize anyone. He was the first one to go visit someone who was ill. He would stop to chat with people on the street  and say hello to absolutely everyone. He would pick things from his garden and deliver them to neighbours. He would shovel people’s driveways in the winter.

He would go into random churches to pray and light candles for someone he knew was suffering. And take you to those churches every chance he got which fostered a love of all churches everywhere. This was of course in addition to diligently attending all his own church services and meetings.

He was a teacher who didn’t work school hours. In early, home late, and delivering course work to the homes of student’s who were sick.

Most importantly, he would show up on my doorstep with a danish pastry, after taking the bus and subway for 1.5 hours just because that morning he thought I sounded sad.

I miss him. I feel like with every year I miss him more, as there are so many things I would like to ask him. As the kids grow older I wish that they had a chance to know their Grandpa. When I see one of the boys do something that he used to do though, it makes me happy to see that part of his legacy is continuing on in small ways.

He blessed our lives when he was here and continues to bless our lives now that he is watching over us.