Thursday, October 29, 2009

California Trip: the memorial

Ever since we heard about Uncle Tom's death back in June Ronan was very interested in seeing pictures of him and hearing stories about him. He was also very concerned for my mom, his Memaw, and would often talk about how sad she was. ): Ronan knew that we would get to hear some of Uncle Tom's music at the memorial and that Uncle Tom's instruments were going to be there, so when we packed for our trip he asked if he could bring his guitars along. Then all on his own, on the day of the memorial, he remembered to bring his guitar with him. (:
My uncle was a very talented artist, musician, and song writer. I really enjoyed watching the slide shows of photos of his life and his artwork, and hearing his voice singing the songs he had written over the years. I am so sad that his life was cut short~ he will be dearly missed.

My mom did an amazing job of telling her little brother's story and what it was like growing up with him. She has such a good memory, so she was able to share a lot of funny and heartfelt memories from their childhood. (: I was so proud of my mom for being brave enough to speak in front of everyone at such an emotional time .
Uncle Tom's best friend & fellow musician, Kevin, also shared some great stories and songs.
Great Aunt Judy, Great Aunt Sister Roberta, and Great Aunt Norrine
My dad & Aunt Connie (his sister)
The reception
It was very touching that some of our cousins on my dad's side also came to the memorial.
Erik, Katrina, Me, Becca, Heather, and Adrienne
(Justin was also there, but had to leave before we took this picture)
After the memorial we all drove up Glendora Mountain Rd to the place where we were going to spread the ashes.
Aunt Conxita (Uncle Tom's ex-wife) met us there.
The gate was closed so we had to squeeze though a little gate to make our way to a bridge that my cousin Wyatt built for Eagle Scouts.
Posing for a picture before sneaking past the barricade. (:
Me & Gr. Aunt Norrine
Katrina took this beautiful picture of our mom spreading her brother's ashes. It was such an emotional moment for everyone there, especially the four sisters and Conxita. In this picture Mom is standing (red shirt), Aunt Robin is kneeling down, and behind her is Aunt Nancy, Aunt Conxita (in white), and Aunt Carol. Each of them along with Kevin and my dad took turns spreading handfuls of ashes and saying a few words. I had never been a part of anything like this was very meaningful.
One last group shot before the night was over:
Mom, A. Nancy, Kevin, A. Robin, A. Conxita, and A. Carol

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

California Trip: pool time

August 29th~ The morning of the memorial service we all went to the Barrett's house to go swimming & let the kids burn off some energy. The Chases had arrived that morning after driving through the night, and their kids were eager to get into the pool, too. (: It was great having all the cousins together (the 1st cousins & 2nd cousins)!
Cohen & Griffin-both SO full of excitement!
We had fun taking pictures with our underwater camera (:
Super close-up of Ronan
Crazy Uncle Erik
Me & my boys
Ronan really improved as a swimmer on this vacation!
Tyler & Ronan had a great time jumping off the diving board & practicing swimming in the deep end.
Finley tried out the diving board, too.
Josh doing flips
Griffin visiting with Cedar & Aunt Katie

Griffin getting ready to jump in...
Josh and I appreciated being on vacation with our boys, since the last two trips we went on were without them. It was so great spending time together as a family and with so much of my extended family.

California Trip: family dinner

That same evening, Aunt Carol & Uncle Keith hosted a big family BBQ at their house.
Josh & my cousin, Wyatt
Mom and Peggy, her cousin from Kansas City, Missouri, helping set up for dinner.
Erik, Mom, Katrina, and Melissa
(Uncle Keith & Wyatt in background)
Aunt Nancy visiting with the out-of-state relatives
Great Aunt Norrine (Louisiana), Great Aunt Sister Roberta (Colorado), Aunt Nancy, and Great Aunt Judy (Missouri)
Aunt Carol with baby Cedar
Me with my cousins Eleanor & Emily
Ronan & Mama
Cousins Kellie & Melissa~ team effort to feed baby Lincoln
All of us cousins were gathered for the first time in about 2 years (on this night we were missing the Chases, who arrived the next day).
Eleanor, Emily, Melissa, Lincoln, Kellie, Steve, Shaheen, Hannah, Katrina & Cedar
Me and my brother~photo by Ronan (:
Another photo by Ronan~me & cousin Natasha
I forgot to mention how HOT it was while we were there~over 100 degrees most days! Griffin, Finn, and Ronan cooling off with popsicles

Road Trip to California

On August 27th we packed our car and left Eugene to drive through the night to southern California. This was our first big road trip since having kids, so we thought it would be best to try to drive while they slept (like my parents did when we were little). My whole family (parents & siblings & their families) made the trip so that we could all attend a memorial service for my uncle Tom, who passed away in June. Although we were traveling for a sad occasion, we saw it as more of a family reunion and tried to make the most of our time there.
Happy boys ready for vacation!
We got on the road around 7:00 pm and only made stops for gas. Josh drove the entire time--thank goodness for Starbucks Doubleshots!!--and we made it to Glendora in only 14 hours!
The next morning...
Griffin had the most comfortable seat, which was good for him because he was the only one in a 5-point harness. (:
Josh looking tired, but still focused on the road.
When we got to Glendora we drove to the Hickman's (my Aunt Carol & Uncle Keith) house where we would be staying for the next few days. My mom offered to entertain the boys for a few hours so Josh and I could rest. Erik had flown in from Seattle that morning also, so he and my mom took the kids to a park. Later that afternoon we all went to the Barrett's house to swim in Aunt Nancy's pool as the kids call it. (:
It felt so nice to swim after spending so many hours in the car!
Griffin & Uncle Erik swimming together
Josh helped Ronan get used to the deep end (:

checking out the Barrett's tortoises