Monday, August 31, 2020

Funeral for a Friend and the Rest of August

I've known Laurie Weber for as long as I can remember. She's my mom's best friend. I swam in her apartment pool, influenced her toddler's milk preferences and held her newborn son just hours after he was born.  Her daughter, Emily, was a bridesmaid in our wedding.  Laurie and her husband, John, also served as our host and hostess.  I worked with John for 4 years at a previous job and we really became friends there.  He gave me my first fresh peach at the age of 25 and I think of him every time I eat them. Laurie was like a second mom to dozens of kids.  Her friend's kids, her kid's friends, any kid she ever met.  "Love Like Laurie" was the motto of her fight against pancreatic cancer.  She always made me feel like the most important person in the room.  

She was diagnosed just after Esme was born.  She took it head on while still making sure everyone else was cared for.  I took Esme over for a visit when she was a month old.  Laurie didn't want to talk about herself or cancer, just about how I was doing and about Esme.  She went through countless rounds of chemo and other treatments and was even in remission for a while.  As encouraging as that was, we knew the long term prognosis for pancreatic cancer wasn't great.  She stopped responding to treatment in the spring and entered hospice in June, all in the middle of a global pandemic.  We expected to have more time with her, but she passed away at home, surrounded by her family, on August 8th.
I was asked to read some scriptures at her memorial service and was honored to be a part of it.  As I was hearing others share their stories about her, I realized she made everyone feel like the most important person in the room.  But, in reality, you WERE the most important person in the room when she was talking with you. I miss her so much and am a better person because of her. Love you bigger.

August is normally a bit hectic for us.  We are usually trying to cram in a bit more fun before school and getting everything we need for school, but it's just a little weird, like everything else this year.  We introduced Esme to Bee Movie which was the first movie Jimmy and I went to together on our second date.  She thought it was really cute and has been asking to watch it.  Parker continues to be a good helper around the house with laundry and dishes.
We had the biggest storm o the year roll through the middle of the month.  We had just put the kids to bed when the tornado sirens went off and we got severe weather alerts on our phones.  We grabbed them up and headed downstairs just in case.  It was only about 15 minutes before the tornado warning was cancelled.  We found out the next day that an EF0 tornado briefly touched down about 1.5 miles to our northeast.  A friends house was right in the path.  They lost several trees which tore the power line from their house, but otherwise left it untouched.  There were a ton of large branches and tree down and thousands without power in the area.  We were lucky enough to keep our power.  This house has been much better than our old one in that regard.
Esme has been coming in to our room a lot at night.  Sometimes we make her go back to her room and sometimes we let her stay.  I know we shouldn't make a habit of it, but I don't mind waking up next to this cutie.
Some kids in our neighborhood set up a lemonade and cookie stand last week, so we walked over for a treat.  Parker loved the M & M cookie.  We also made another visit to the big pool and Parker really found his stride jumping off the diving board.
Finally, this past Sunday, we went over to my parents to hang out with them and John.  He brought his two dogs, Cooper and Drake.  Both kids had a blast running around with them and playing fetch.
I even forgot about Esme's previous allergic reaction to our nephew dog Gus back in February.  She has been around dogs a lot since there is one at daycare.  I think she needs to have a pretty intense interaction to show symptoms.  This was the first time Parker had a reaction to a dog.  Both of their eyes were itchy and watery and they had some swelling and hives.  Jimmy had a bath ready when we got home and they both got a dose of Benedryl.
Both them and the dogs were out quickly that night.  John also said they slept in the next morning as well and only do that after a day of hunting.  It worked out well for both of us!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Three Days in the Country

Esme's daycare provider is on vacation this week and my mom graciously offered to watch her and Parker for 3 days so I could work uninterrupted.  They had so much fun and I loved getting all the pictures from my mom.  They started the week with heart shaped pancakes.  Esme chose the shape and looks very proud of her plate.
It was nice and warm and perfect for swimming on the patio.  She had a playmate in Peyton on Monday.  Esme doesn't always play nicely, but she did this time.
Parker was a good helper for Grandpa as he continued to work on his deck and loved helping with other tasks like the garbage and emptying the dishwasher.  Jimmy and I were all alone on Monday night which was so strange.  Normally we are on a date night or other plans when the kids aren't with us, so it just felt weird.
We dropped by on Tuesday night for supper and a twister ride.  Grandpa smoked some delicious ribs,
They finished their stay on Wednesday by visiting the cows again.  They both love going to see them and talking to them.  They are getting more brave each time and it's fun to see them get closer and reach out.

One final swim before it's time to pack up for the week.  Thanks for a fun visit Grandpa and Nana!  

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Our Quarantine Birthday

It's a big birthday year for Jimmy and myself.  He turned 40 and I turned 35.  I had some fun things in mind pre-pandemic, but that changed a bit.  Jimmy requested Peanut Butter Cake for dessert.  It was really good and I might add some jam between the layers next time.
We decided not to exchange gifts this year, but I did make Jimmy some new t-shirts.  Over the last 18 months, he has lost 40 pounds, so his shirts are getting a bit baggy.  The Level 40 one is pretty self explanatory.  The sandwich one is a bit more obscure.  Sandwiches are Jimmy's favorite food and I saw a local radio personality wearing a shirt like this, so I duplicated it. 
We had dentist appointments first thing in the morning and planned to bring some cake to my dad while he watched Parker, so we sang Happy Birthday before dropping Esme off at daycare.  Esme has been singing it to everything under the sun lately, so she was all about it.  There is a video below of her singing to a robot on her iPad and to us for our birthday.
We stopped at Costco after the dentist.  I ran in for a few things and grabbed Parker a slice of mid-morning pizza.  Costco pizza used to be a a regular meal for us, but this is his first taste of it since March.  I also made cupcakes for a funeral later in the week and Parker offered to be quality control.
For our special birthday supper, I made a copycat steak sandwich from The Capital Grille.  My original birthday plan was to attend the Minnesota Twins Grand Slam Dinner which is a charity dinner where current and former Twins players and staff are the servers and bartenders.  It is typically held in mid-August and I was going to surprise Jimmy with it (maybe next year).  It had ribeye steak, caramelized onions, havarti and garlic-dill mayo on toasted baguette.  It was amazing and we will definitely make them again.
We finished our day with a visit to see Grandpa and Grandma Herrmann.  They live in a senior apartment building, so they are not allowing visitors inside as extra precaution.  I brought the last of the cake and we enjoyed dessert while chatting outside.  Not the most exciting birthday, but fun none the less!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Big Pool

I have a dear friend at church that has offered up her pool to us (and others) this summer.  She thoroughly cleans between guests and let us have the whole thing for just our family.  Both kids were so excited to swim in the big pool.  It is heated, so we didn't have an issue staying warm.
Parker started with the big swing before taking a dip.
I was encouraging both kids to jump off the diving board and was shocked when Esme actually did it.  It was pretty surprising to her and she didn't do it again, so I only have pictures of her.
Parker took a bit more convincing, but he eventually took the plunge as well.  He really liked it and did it a few more times.
We all had a blast and hope to dip in a few more times before it's too cold.