Category Archives: family

Uncle Gene

My cousin asked me to share my favorite memory of her dad.  As I went about my day yesterday I realized that there wasn’t just a trip, or a funny story, or a moment…it was how he lived.  The fact that there is a handful of men that gave me hope that all fathers don’t walk out and abandon their children, who stay in relationships with their wives even when it isn’t easy and fun.  Uncle Gene was a man who worked hard and took care of his family.  Aunt Dee and Uncle Gene only had one child, Christene.  In our large family we have the cousins, you become playmates and friends because you are around the same age.  I was lucky that Chris and I are closest in age.  Going to visit them in Toluca was always exciting, 20 miles away was a world away.  Their house was safe, no drunk dad, no brothers and sisters fighting over who’s toy is who’s.  No hand me downs, or having to share your mom, or food, or bedroom.  And her dad, was always there. ALWAYS. He had an easy going vibe, positive, always smiling.  To say perfect dad might be going too far, but from my point of view then, and now, he was this amazing protector, provider, supporter, that never gave up on his family.  Even in the end, his thoughts were of his family.

We knew he was fighting cancer for several years.  There always seemed to be something else to try, another round of this or that, Gene wanted to live, did what he could, until he was out of options. The Friday after Thanksgiving mom called as we were on our way to Williamsburg for a get away for my little family.  He was leaving the hospital, hospice was called, medical company bring in a hospital bed.  And in all of this…in the sad facts, knowing there is NOTHING ELSE that an be done, he wanted Dee to order a cake for Christene’s birthday.  Who does that?  No poor me, how can this be happening to me, what this man wanted was his daughter, who was the light of his life, to make sure she had a good birthday.  If you are unclear about what unconditional love is, this is it.

So as Christ is in Florida hanging out with her dad while we all know his days are numbered.  And in every picture she sends me he looks so happy and he is smiling. Who does that?!? He doesn’t look like a man who isn’t going to live to Christmas.  He looks just like the man he always has been, a dad who loves his little girl.  (Who BTW fought her own battle with cancer 5 years earlier and I am sure uncle gene would have said his fight was NOTHING compared to watching his daughter go through what she went through.  That is the kind of man he is/was.)

So my favorite memory of my Uncle Gene is just how much he loved his daughter.  He set the bar impossibly high.  Gene allowed me to see how a father and husband should be since I had bad first hand experience.  Sometimes when we are hanging out with my family, and there is always 20 some people total with the Onnie’s and everyone is loud and teasing each other about golf or weight or whatever the 60, 70 year old brothers and sisters joke about, I look at Boomer, who is just smiling.  And I think he’s an Uncle Gene.

I am trying to find pictures, to flood FB with them, this is the first one I came to,  it was easter and as Madigan and Gabe were looking for eggs, Uncle Gene standing near the road, protecting the kids in case a car came by.

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

― David EaglemanSum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Let’s never stop speaking our loved ones name.  Don’t think avoiding speaking of the dead helps the living.  Not talking about our loved ones who passed isn’t protecting our feelings, in fact,  it denys who they are and how much the mean to us in our life and still after death.  Keep speaking their names and we keep them alive in our world.

I love these people so much.

imageI forgot how much I miss having family.  How much I miss sitting around talking and laughing and reminiscing.  I have loved Justin from the minute he entered this world, and I am lucky that I get to be a safe harbor in the storm for his family.  Jenn and I stayed up late talking and woke up early for coffee.  Noah and I got to play a vicious game of Monopoly.  Nate and Ava giggled, laughed and played…reminding me just how awesome little kids can be.  Nate saying “hey guys, I got an idea.”  Ava peeking her head around the corner each morning while I got coffee ready.  Helping How I could to make sure they knew our home was safe for little kid ds and nothing mattered more than them having fun.  I cried when they said they were leaving.  I wish my family lived closer.  I need more days like thIs.  I would spend every minute I could with these people.

Sometimes we need help

Since we don’t have a chainsaw, we have to ask for help when it comes to trees.  Boomer’s dad came over yesterday to help cut up the HUGE limb that fell from the neighbors tree.  We waited for them to come over and take care of it, but they didn’t.   I think I am going to use these to make a new raised bed in the front yard.


Also, the well cover that was here when we bought the house had seen better days, and Jerry made us a new one.  It’s heavier and sturdier than the other one and is much better looking.  It is also the right size so when boomer mows around it the cutting deck won’t bang into it!


Thankful for family!

My mom

It was a great visit despite all the rain.  Two of my favorite people Mom and Madigan had a great time together.  It had been a while since she has spend more than a few days with us.  We ate a lot.  I gained about 10 lbs.  she made extra of everything to load our freezers with pork roast and homemade chicken and noodles.  She made gluten free cookies for Boomer.

I will see her more this year than I have in years, With one more quick visit Thanksgiving weekend, with a bonus of two Aunts, a sister, nephew and grandniece.


Labor Day weekend

We didn’t go to the beach this year for the unofficial end of summer, instead rocked the weekend our way.  In the past at the beach, we would go with the group to PF Changs and get minced chicken in a lettuce cup.  This year, made it at home…so much better with bibb lettuce from Thornfield Farm!IMG_8055

We rocked some other apps–poppers, stuffed mushrooms…you know the good stuff.  Saw some friends at the market, hung out for a lazy Saturday.

Sunday before we went to see my family we made a detour for what we have decided is the best GF pizza around at Cootie Browns.

IMG_8058We bought the sauce so we can make it at home, between our visits.  Which seem to be every couple of months.  It was funny when we got sat, our original waiter from March, Landon, told our current waiter what we order.  I guess they remember us as the crazy people who drive 2 1/2 hours for pizza.

After pizza we went to see my sister, her son and his family.  We had such a great time, talking, laughing, holding babies and eating that I didn’t get a single picture.  It’s always easy and fun, the fastest 6 hours of my life.  Madigan and Noah hang out, we cook, laugh, tell stories, pass the baby to the person who doesn’t have their hands full, make sure Eva is happy with games and funny voices.

I have another trip planned for the beginning of next month with my mom in tow.  Can’t wait!

the babies






Justin Jenn and the kids moved into a new place.  And being the person I am decided I needed to visit on what might have been the busiest day of the year.  School starts tuesday for them, a friend of Abby’s had to get to the airport and of course, there is still unpacking to do.  We got there around noon and left after 6.  For me the time FLEW by, with talking, laughing and cooking.  It’s amazing seeing what smart, considerate, kind people they are.  The kids are happy and really isn’t that all we want!

I saw my nephew and husband do a good deed when an elderly woman walking her dog lost control when another dog walked by.  She fell and the dogs were fighting.  Justin went to deal with the dogs and Boomer went to help the woman who fell.  I was impressed with how each of them handled the situation.  I of course did nothing by make sure the kids didn’t get around the dogs fighting.

so much…just…SO MUCH

This year seems to be action packed.  There is so much going on.  Making costumes for Madigan, knitting for babies, new chickens, old chickens, a new adventure that will involve all three of us doing what we want/love to do.  (deep breath)

I wake up in the middle of the night, with a thought of how I am going to make the crazy striped leggings for Madigan’s next costume?  If the grey is going to be too dark for the nursery on the next baby blanket? How soon can we process the meat birds? Should I start my garden with seeds only or buy plants at the farmers market?  My thoughts seem to be racing with excitement over my life, not the life I hope to have but the life I have.

Maybe this is what people call a passion for life.  Being excited about all the things you are doing , regular life stuff, doing them because you really want to, not because you have to.  My job, more specifically, the hours I work, allow me to use my time off to get stuff done.

A by product of this, I am loving  my family.  Yes, I love my kid and my husband, but we have a new spark a new excitment.  I miss them when we are all off doing our solo work, and when we are together we are having fun working together.  (deep breath)


Busy weekend

We enjoyed the anime convention in Roanoke and decided to go to another in Johnson City Tennessee.  It was a busy week, with Nate being born and driving over to meet him on St. Patrick’s day, I was still working on the costume Friday when we left.


We put the BIG birds in the garden fence pen.


The little birds went in the transitional brooder.  IMG_7120

We got to the con early-ish, Madigan got into her Envy costume. We hung out, got some pictures and hung out at the “dance”  (it was music, and people, and lights, but no dancing).


It was a small convention, so we called it an early night.


Saturday, she was France from Hetalia!

IMG_7134 IMG_7136 IMG_7173 IMG_7177

She met up with some other kids dressed as other countries in the Hetalia series.  They joined the costume contest, won for best group.


We hung out for the rest of the weekend. Had the best gluten free pizza EVER at Cootie Browns.  Enjoyed the closing ceremony.  Driving home, Madigan still wanted to wear her wig.


Not sure when we will make it to another convention, but for now, I need to clean up after this last costume.

IMG_7189 IMG_7190

Next project for me will be making garment bags for the different costumes.

Happy St Patrick’s day–expect a crap-ton of pictures!

Today I drive to Tennessee to meet my new great nephew.  (Today he will become who he really is, but in my heart, always Nacho Jazz Butcher)  I love my ever expanding family in so many ways!

It’s also my 1 year anniversary at CVS.  Feeling good about my job, still really liking it and look forward to the next year working.

Another St, Patrick’s baby turns 18 today and that is amazing.

So ends the dreaded “10 days in March.”  (still trying to write the post about the “10 days in March”)