Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Until We Meet Again

Our bodies can be so, so tired, but sometimes we just can't shut our minds off. I wonder if that's how it was for my Grandpa these past few weeks. I've been wide awake since 4:30 this morning and I just can't stop thinking about him. I can't get that last image out of my mind. Our dear, sweet Grandpa Harry passed away last night at 7:10 pm at the ripe old age of 95 (November 11, 1915 - July 27, 2011.) I was lucky enough to be there at his bedside when he took his last breath. I'm not sure I've ever felt so helpless. He sounded like he was drowning with his lungs so full of fluid, and then it just stopped. He took his last breath and my grandma was sobbing. "Oh, Harry!" And another sob. All of us were crying hard. A few seconds later he was gone and suddenly his countenance looked so peaceful. All his kids were there...Katrina, my dad, Dale & Jim... along with Aunt Diane and my cousin, Rita, Aunt Nedra, my cousin, Kristi, Stacy the caregiver, and me.

(Grandpa Harry and me)

After a few minutes passed, we all gathered around the bed and my Uncle Dale offered a very sweet prayer of thanks for the wonderful life he led as well as a blessing of comfort on all of us still here on earth. Bishop Uncle Jim shared some words of comfort with us and with his mom about how he had just been called home on a mission to serve...just like Van had been called to serve a mission in Atlanta. He reminded us that Grandpa was "home" now, reuniting with his parents and 11 other siblings who were surely waiting for him with open arms.

For the next hour, Grandma & Grandpa's house filled with family coming by to pay their last respects and give Grandpa's head one last rub. He always loved the head rub. And the sweet kisses. After some time had passed and we gathered our emotions a bit, we were joking lightly with the cousins about the musical talent (or perhaps lack thereof) in the Goodman family. We all conceded that the athletic talents in our genes far outweighed the musical ones. But as we talked about the music for Grandpa's funeral services, Dyan joked that the brothers should sing their traditional "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." Hence the picture above. It was an annual tradition for years and years and years when we were growing up. We'd gather at Dale & Ned's for the nativity and a little program, and the 4 Goodman boys (including Grandpa Harry), would always entertain us with that same number. It's one of my cherished memories.

Growing up just around the corner from G&G brought countless blessings to my life. They were there for everything...all my church talks, all my life events, all my ball games (and all the other grand kids too). They sure loved their ball! They'd even go in the older years to support Mtn. View when my Uncle Dale was the girls varsity softball coach. Really, I think any excuse to watch a game would do. They were amazing. And I have so many memories of Sunday dinner with them...eating together with my other grandparents, Reid & Sue, over at my mom's house. My mom always loved to cook for us (and still does) and we'd all get together often.
Rowan has a special place in Grandpa Harry's heart and always will. She was our little miracle baby, and Grandpa had a choice dream about her before she was ever born. His mother, Annie, appeared to him in a dream one night and told Harry not to worry...that Rowan was going to be perfectly fine, and that she had "picked her out special" to come to our family. Annie told him that Rowan would not only be a blessing to Ryan and I, but also to our whole family. Every time we'd go visit Grandpa, he'd perk up a little extra and give a little extra tight squeeze to Miss Rowan. He must have told Rowan that story 10 times. She was such a fan...and had the hardest time last night of all my kiddos when I told her that Grandpa had passed. She had just been there a few hours earlier and was there with me the day before for our visit. Little Rowan, only 7, cried and cried last night, even though she knows that he is in a better place now.
Grandma Rita and Grandpa Harry...sweethearts forever!

This is Barrett's favorite picture. I like it too. It brings back great memories of my youth without a doubt. I spent 5 1/2 years working at DQ growing up....I thought I was hot stuff having a "real job" at the end of 7th grade (only 13 years old and probably not legally old enough), but hey, the place was owned by Grandpa & Grandma, Uncle Jim & Dale. I spent so so so so many days and nights at the DQ during those years. So many of my cousins worked there too - it was really too much fun. My cousin, Julie, and I were a mean duo on the drive through. We whipped those cars through like nobody's business. We learned all the essential Spanish words for our DQ Brazier menu items so that we could communicate with our cooks. We had slang names or abbreviations for everything else. I still remember laughing so hard one night the first time we started calling our banana splits "BS." Jules was my best friend on the planet during those years and I still love her to pieces. I just wish I'd see her more often. I did get to see my cousin, Kathryn, last night as I was leaving. We see each other so rarely these days across town from each other and just busy with our mom lives. She and I also had some great times at the DQ...and Craig, Dale Jr., Kimmie, Laura...Good times for sure.

Well, the day dawn is finally breaking and I must move forward. I love you, Grandpa Harry! Thanks for a life full of fantastic memories and unending love. Thanks for all you did to help everyone out all the time...for your service as a temple sealer and for sealing me to my eternal companion forever and ever. Thanks for donating the land where our ward building stands today. Thanks for being such an active part of my life and most importantly, for raising such a great son, my Dad. I love him with all my heart and am lucky to live just down the street from him too! I'll see you on the other side...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flying High

I think that's a good theme for our last cabin weekend. Flying High. Or in my case, maybe just flying. I figured I'm was still so young at heart...never too old to give the tree swing a whirl, right? I guess I forgot that it's different swinging from a tree when you're not 60 pounds and on the elementary school playground. I thought my arms might come out of their sockets. But it was still super fun. Thanks, Mike, for rigging it up for us. Hours of fun for the peeps for sure!

My super cool 17-year old nephew, Bryant

My other super cool 11-year old nephew, The Tan Man

Afty Cakes

Buddy Boy

Oh, and then there was the rope swing at the Verde River. Go Tanner!

And then there was the flying off the rocks...this is Hallie & Barrett

(Barrett & Tannerino)

Afton & Syd

Afton, Hallie & Syd Bauer, Amy Garner, Barrett, Tanner & Drew

And then there was more flying high when Uncle Mike hooked up the tree climbing harness. Rowan loves that thing and is usually the first to head up as the "test" climber since she's still such a peanut.

Love this place. Such good times. Can't wait to see you again this weekend!

Ice Cream in Old Town

Grandma Cindy treated us to Cold Stone after our tour of the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center in Old Town San Diego. While Easton and I were sharing a cup of sweet cream vanilla & cookies & cream (simple but sweet), the girls stole my camera out of my purse and started shooting away. So glad they did. These pictures crack me up!

(This one is my favorite for sure. Man, I love this guy.)

Thanks for the great day, mi familia. I loved it all!

Pics from the MBVT in OTSD

MBVT = Mormon Battalion Visitor Center
OTSD = Old Town San Diego
ILTF = I Love This Family

Grandpa Steve, Afty, Me, Barrett & Grandma Cindy, just chillin' while the littles panned for gold.

Easton got picked to be the soldier that was outfitted for duty. He was a great sport, although everything was just a wee bit too big on his five year old frame!

Even though we visited the MBVT last summer, it was awesome going back. Such a great reminder of how much our ancestors sacrificed for us and how much faith they had. The other morning as I stopped by my parents house in the early hours to steal a quick drink of hose water during my ever-so-stinking-hot run, I thought about that scene in one of the Mormon Battalion movie clips where the group had been traveling for 48+ hours with no water. Finally, they spotted a small "marsh" for lack of a better word, filled with murky, muddy water and flies all over, and they thought they were in heaven. They lapped it up like it was the best thing they'd ever drank. I was literally dry heaving while watching it, seriously so close to tossing my cookies. I am sooooo grateful to live where I live in the century that I do and enjoy the blessings I enjoy. Truly, truly grateful. Last night I read through the conference talks that I'll be teaching on next month and the topic is all about helping the less fortunate, living a provident life, and being self-reliant. I thought about those pioneers. I thought about the destitute and down trodden. I thought about how lucky I have it. I have a lot to work on. A lot. I need to be more grateful for the little things. Like clean water. Even if it is out of a garden hose.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July is Flying By

Sunday night was a rude awakening for the Brown family. We pulled into the driveway after driving home from Cali and opened our doors to the sticky 108 degree evening. A bit of a shocker since we'd had a 40 degree temperature climb over our 7 hour drive from Carlsbad. Yes, we truly left 68 degrees at 11:30 am. But the icing on the cake was coming home to a warm house and being welcomed by a giant scorpion coming out of the bathroom sink after I washed my hands. Nice. Home, sweet Arizona home.

Really, I guess I was happy to be home (mostly). I love going on vacation, but after a good long one, I'm usually also happy to be back home. I love my house. I feel happy and safe there. I love having my kiddos around me and sleeping in my most comfy bed and showering in my awesome shower and eating out of the fridge instead of a cooler. Don't get me wrong - beach camping is super duper fun and we all love it - but it's a heck of a lot of prep getting ready and a ton of laundry and de-campifying after it's done. Thankfully, the house cooled down over the next hour and the girls and I got to go over and visit my ailing Grandpa Harry who we thought was likely going to pass sometime that night. We'd been getting the daily updates all week while in Cali and were hoping he'd make it until we got back. He'd stopped breathing a few different times that day and was so tired and weak. He got wide eyed and slightly smiled when Rowan came by his side and squeezed his hand. It was very tender. Rowan has a special place in his heart. But then he closed his eyes and just rested so peacefully, like he was hardly breathing. He perked up a tiny bit over the past few days and so far is still hanging on. What a good, long life my Grandpa Harry has led over these last 95 years. My grandma is still hanging in, too. She'll be 94 next month. I hope he is comfortable and peaceful during his last days.

The kiddos are all getting excited for school to start again. Teacher assignments came yesterday, followed by a bunch of texts, calls and emails to all their friends trying to figure out which friends got the lucky draw and which ones didn't. I think for the most part, all our kids are pleased. We shopped till we dropped (or at least I almost dropped) on Tuesday stocking up on school clothes and new backpacks and vans and the like. Easton and Rowan were amazing, I have to say. We were seriously gone for 5 hours (including our lunch break at Paradise), but I couldn't even believe how great they did. Afton bailed and stayed home with Grandma Cindy (she hates to shop) so she could finish her Harry Potter marathon. She was trying to finish the last 3 movies so she could go to the final one with Grandma Cheri and be all caught up. But they are 2.5 hours each and I think she was done after 5 hours of Mr. Potter.

Barrett is heading to Stapley - a 7th grader - holy cow. She was a little bummed about having to miss her orientation on August 5th since she'll be at Youth Conference, but I told her that I couldn't imagine she'd be the only student at Stapley out of town that day and that we figure out another time for her to find her classes and meet her locker:) I think she'll survive.

The two olders are off to Snowflake for 5 days (spending the 24th of July weekend with their best buds, the Bauer girls) and Ry is getting ready to embark on his week long backpacking trip to the Trinity Alps in Northern California this weekend. I know he is so excited. He and his buddies have had the trip planned for a year and a half. Half the excitement is the anticipation of it all. Oh, and all the fun he's had procuring the remaining necessities for his trek at REI and the like over the past several months (like new boots and fire starting things and a portable rocking camp chair and lightweight backpacking lantern - just to name a few).

So the littles and I will be holding down the fort. Lots to do this coming weekend and I'm sure we'll be busy, but it will be so odd having our numbers shrink to 3. I'm still working out a bunch and feeling good, although my knees feel a little tired lately. Not sure why. I can't really afford tired knees now that the Rim 2 Rim is only 2 months away. There are too many stadiums in my training future for that! Running at the beach was cool and breezy. I thought about going outside yesterday morning (I walked out just before 6:00 fully dressed in my running attire), but I stepped out and felt the overwhelming sticky heat and complete lack of breeze and thought better of it. So Tony Horton and I worked out together via DVD and I just worked up a mean sweat indoors. It was all good. I did force myself out for a 4.5 miler today and was soaked head to toe when I got back. Crazy hot. Crazy, I tell you.

Not that it's any crazier hot than every other summer for the past 39 years, but still. I guess I forget and get a cruel reminder each year. Funny how that works.

I'm looking forward to Sunday, too. We've been out of town the past 3 Sundays since they did all the ward boundary changes, so we haven't even been there to see all the new faces. I'm sure that so many will be gone this weekend, too, but it will be nice to be back, even if I do have to teach this week :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


So long to the 70 degree weather, carefree days at the beach and our favorite taco shop, Juanitas. Just had my last 3 rolled tacos fix and now we are heading back to the heat. Goodbye, Carlsbad...see you in October!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mormon Battalion

We loved it so much last year that we decided to come again and let the kids experience the awesome Mormon battalion Visitor Center again. They're panning for gold as we speak!