Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Weekend with Nikki

My friend, Nikki, asked me if I could join her on a weekend away to Minneapolis. It was a little late notice so I had to shuffle some things around on the calendar. But it all worked out and we hit the road before 1 on Friday. 

We stayed downtown so we hit the town for a little bit on Friday night. After a day full of shopping on Saturday we were going to go to bed early. But, we got on our elevator up to our room and happen to notice a couple of big football players on our elevator. We were staying in the same hotel as the Vikings! So we grabbed a couple beers from our room and went down to the lobby to watch the Vikings players come in. We even took a photo with one! It was pretty fun. 

Sunday morning we packed up and headed to the Vikings game. Nikki is a Vikings fan and had never been to a game so we thought it would be a fun way to end our weekend. We had a great time, the weather was perfect. The Vikings played well, too!

Friday night out on the town!

Me. Football Player (Rhoades). Nikki

Vikings Game!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grandma and Grandpa's backyard

After the funeral on Saturday I stuck around with my mom and dad to help around the house with food and entertainment of the out of town guests. Several of my cousins and aunts and uncles and friends came by and we spent hours going thru old photo albums and the house itself. Their home has so many of my child hood memories. I remember begging to move to Mitchell when I was a kid. 

Another place that has so many memories is their backyard. Swinging from the willow trees, playing by the train tracks. I decided to walk back there on Saturday as it could be my last opportunity as they will be cleaning out and selling the house in the coming months. It was a gorgeous afternoon. It was an emotional experience for me. I took a couple photos to keep with me forever to hold those memories close to my heart for the years to come. I just have to remember the memories will be with me forever even though the house will become a home to someone else. 

Swinging from the willow branches

railroad in their backyard

giant willow trees

Celebrating Grandpa Wally

We were in the thick of preparing for my grandpa's 100th birthday celebration for next month. I was organizing a memory book from all the cousins and aunts and uncles to give to grandpa for his birthday. I was getting letters with memories and pictures from everyone, it was so fun to put this together. 

Then, Saturday night (9/12/2015) I had a phone call from my mom at about 11:15, she was in Mitchell taking care of my grandpa and they were getting ready for bed and when he laid down to go to sleep he made a weird sound so my mom went to check on him and he was taking his last breaths. She said she panicked and called a couple of her siblings and then went to him and rubbed his legs and prayed with him and he died a couple minutes later. It's so hard to explain but as much as we were all so blessed to have him in our lives and he lived until he was 6 weeks shy of 100 no one was ready to let him go. 

I decided to use the memories and display them at the funeral for everyone to see. It was so great to have the memories. It would have been so incredible to see his reaction reading the letters but I am confident he had his own chance to read the memories in heaven with my grandma by his side. 

My mom and I went to Mitchell a couple days early to organized the photo and memory boards. It was so nice to have that time to be with my mom and help her with whatever she needed. Kinda like her sidekick. 

My mom asked if my siblings and/or I speak at the visitation and I threw the idea around in my head and wanted to as I had so much to say having all the memories fresh in my mind but I was also scared to death. Speaking in front of so much family and strangers freaked me out. I hated speech class growing up- like dreaded it. 

So the morning of the visitation I woke up at 6am and couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned thinking about this speech. I wanted to do this, mostly for my mom. But I honestly didn't know if I could get through it. My mom said I could have the pastor read it but it just didn't feel like the same. So I went down to the front desk and asked to use their computer and I wrote some stuff up. I went back to my room to edit and back to the front desk to fix it. So, in case I actually wanted to say something I had something written up. 

I went and woke up my mom and we worked on a few other things. Then, I read it to my mom and cried the whole way through and decided I probably wouldn't read it. I went back to my hotel and read it 10-15 more times and finally at the end of the day I got through it without crying so I decided, yes, I am going to do this. 

The visitation was pretty full. I was nervous. I walked up to speak with my cousin and faced the church. Lots of people! Eek! I stood at the podium and started crying and couldn't pull it together. I had to breath and breath and finally I got started. I figured once I got started I could just read away.... ahh nope! It's amazing how my emotions took over and I had no control. About half way thru I just thought to myself, there is no way I am going to get thru this. Crying all the time, it was taking forever. But I just took my time and paused to gather my strength and got through it. Mom, I hope it meant as much to you as it did to me to do that for you.

The funeral was beautiful- such a great tribute to my grandpa. Grandpa was wearing a yellow rose on his lapel and the casket was covered with yellow roses. After the burial all the great grand kids that were there each got a yellow rose and we took a photo. 

Pretty remarkable legacy he leaves behind. 

grandpa and grandma

my speech

some of the great grand kids with their roses

grandparents day at school

Friday was grandparents day at school for Isaac. He was so lucky to have 3/4 of his grandparents there. They went to mass and played some bingo. 

When they finished grandparents day John and Linda stuck around and picked up Anna from school and took her to lunch. 

A great way to spend their last day in town before they leave for the winter. 

Thank you to John, Linda and Dad for supporting our kiddos during this fun event!

grandparents day

lunch with grandpa and grandma

Isaac loves to read to Jeff and Anna.

guitar recital

Isaac had his guitar concert last week and he was all smiles. He played most of the songs and had fun while doing so! Jeff and I were so proud of him! He is really getting good and it's definitely making all the practice worth it. 

Great work, buddy!

Isaac the Buccaneer!

Isaac has loved the game of football for a while now and now that he is a 1st grader he finally gets to take a chance at it. He was having mixed emotions about playing which I am sure is because he was afraid it was tackle and he didn't want to get hurt. When he finally understood with was flag he was excited. He loves going to practice and seeing his friends and he really loves the games! 

It is so fun watching him play and having fun and getting better!

Isaac and some teammates!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dakota Bowl 2015

The Dakota Bowl is all about the kids nowadays! 

Isaac did football camp. Anna did cheer camp.

We met some classmates and their parents at the game. the boys played catch with the football and the girls chased the boys. We went into the game and watched the girls cheer and the boys line up to give the football players high fives on their way into the game. The kids played and laughed and had so much fun. It has been fun meeting new friends with Isaac in school. 

Mason. Isaac. Ruthie. Paxton. Rylan

Isaac and Anna
football player and cheerleader

hanging with her daddy

Last weekends at the lake

Just like a snap of the fingers another summer is behind us. 

We spent the last 2 weekends at the lake and Capri joined us not once, but twice. She had so much fun the first weekend she came with us again. 

The most fun about this summer for the kids was definitely the jet ski, Arnold's Park, flips off the boat, mini golfing, the lily pad, jumping off the dock and swimming. Every weekend I am sure Jeff took those kids on the jet ski an hour a day. Begging for more rides. Arnold's Park was more fun this year as Isaac was finally tall enough to go on the big kid rides. He loved the roller coaster and the log ride the best. Anna loved all the rides and having friends (or her brother) to go with her. Isaac and Anna both got so brave this summer and both loved jumping off the dock or off the boat. Then Isaac got even more brave and was attempting flips off the dock and boat! Crazy moves, kid. Of course, Isaac still loves to play mini golf. Anna joined us more this year. Her attention span is getting better but she is usually over it by about the 8th hole. Another major highlight was the lily pad. The kids could spend hours on that thing. Swimming all day was so fun. It was fun to watch them swim and to help them swim without lifejackets. We swam off the boat, swam at the dock. 

Thanks, John and Linda for all the memories and accommodating us weekend after weekend. Always welcoming us and making us feel right at home. The kids love spending time with you and making memories with you. I think the lake will be some of their best memories growing up and thank you so much for giving them that. Linda and John, Jeff and I enjoy spending our weekends with you, too. Catching up on life and just spending time together. 

We are all looking forward to the summer of 2016!

the kids with uncle joe

so fun having capri with us

family selfie!

raspberries and peaches

Whenever we go to my mom's house I have the clear intention of staying for lunch and then home within an hour or so. That never happens, ever. It is hard getting out of there. Last week we went over there and the kids ended up picking raspberries and peaches before it was time to go home. The kids had so much fun taking their turns picking the best one. 

picking peaches with grandma

grandma with
greta (22 months). Anna (4). Sully (3).

Married 9 years!

Jeff and I celebrated 9 years of marriage last week!

It was a crazy busy day:

1. sick child (Isaac).
2. Jeff had to go to work early and had month end.
3. Anna started gymnastics. 
4. I picked up Rudy from puppy school (surprise for everyone)!
5. Jeff had to coach football (Isaac was sick from school so he couldn't play but tagged along).
6. Anna and I went to Sophia's soccer game

We were finally able to take a few minutes to be together at the ice cream shop at 8pm. We met there on our way home from the days events. 

As the years pass I am learning that life is happening and we may not get to celebrate each other on the actual day but we celebrate each other everyday by being together as a family and working together as a family. We have to lean on each other always to make this life work. 

I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Happy 9 years, JJ.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Anna started gymnastic yesterday. I think this is going to be so much fun for her. It is a fast paced class and they dance to music, tumble on the mats, swing from the bars, and so much more. She was happy and full of smiles the whole time.