Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Roadtrip for Freddy

This is Freddy. The very first time I ever remember talking to Freddy was freshman year, with my roomie Lynnette, in the cafeteria. We were talking about a chant that a guy's club had done the previous night. We were being so girly talking about how much we loved watching them parade through campus stomping around, and Freddy must have thought that letting us know that he was one of "them" would be good for conversation! It was, we talked for the rest of that meal, and Freddy was a part of my college experience from that day forward.

I cannot tell you how many times we would go in groups out to eat, or to the movies, or concerts on campus. Going on club events, and doing Spring Sing--so many of my college memories have Freddy in them. Even just hanging out at his apartment watching movies and eating grilled chicken was a fun way to spend the evening. Freddy was such a fun friend. He always had a smile on his face, and he was always a good friend. Everyone knew that.

Another special thing about Freddy--before Jon and I were even friends, we were both independently friends with Freddy. He didn't become Jon's or my "default" friend just because we started dating each other and all of a sudden we were always together--no, Freddy was legitimately both of our friends before there was even an "us".

After graduation, Freddy went on to Virginia/DC, and Jon and I did our thing...except for email and Facebook, we didn't keep in touch as much as we should have, and I hate that. Freddy did send us a gift, though, when he found out that we had had Lawson...little light-up Wee-boks! I'm telling you, he was such a thoughtful, generous guy!

Jon and I were both so sad to hear that on July 7th Freddy had been taken to the hospital and had emergency open-heart surgery after collapsing. We joined with our friends in praying that Freddy's big heart would be strong enough to recover. The next few days were touch and go, but on July 15th Freddy's physical body just couldn't take anymore.

Jon and I went back and forth that weekend trying to decide if it would be possible at all for us to get up to Maryland to attend Freddy's memorial service that Tuesday, and we finally decided that we really couldn't miss it.

Our amazing friends Jason and Sunny agreed to keep the kids for 2 days, and Jon and I rented a car Monday, July 21 for our whirlwind roadtrip for Freddy. I dropped the kids off with Sunny about 11:30 and Jon and I were on the road by 12:30. We drove all day and we really enjoyed that time together! We listened to old CDs that reminded us of our college and dating years. We played silly games. We updated our Facebook statuses and enjoyed a lot of fun conversation with our friends. Really fun times. We arrived at our hotel in Hagerstown, MD at 11:45 Monday night.

For all of the light-hearted fun we had Monday, Tuesday morning brought a whole different mood. The idea that we were there to say farewell to one of our friends was really starting to set in, and we both prepared ourselves emotionally for the day we were facing. We were glad, though, that several of our friends were able to make the trip too, and we were looking forward to catching up after too much time apart. This was my Facebook Status that morning:

Today is going to be a day that is full of both tears and laughter. Saying goodbye to a friend is never an easy thing to do...but reuniting with friends after too many years apart is sure to lighten the mood. I am sure God meant for those two things to go hand-in-hand.

It really was a beautiful service and a tribute to the man Freddy was. He was a believer. He was a son and a brother and an uncle. He was a friend. He was a hard worker. He was generous and kind. He was compassionate. I was so glad to have that time to hear what so many who knew him better than I did had to say about him. I was thankful to meet his mother and his sister and brother. We met one of his friends that we had heard about since we had known Freddy--and were amazed that even after his passing he was bringing people together.

After the memorial service, we all decided to drive the hour and a half to DC and walk around the capital for a few hours before Jon and I had to leave. I am SO glad we were able to do this--It was Jon's first trip there anyways, and I'm glad we were there together, along with our friends. We walked FOREVER and EVER and it was SUPER hot, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. SO many memories were made that day!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that trip. The whole album is on my Facebook, so if you are my friend and want to check them all out, feel free!

All of the Harding folk who came, plus Jasmine, one of Freddy's closest friends
Our group sitting in some little booth things we found
Jon and the Washington Monument
This picture cracks me up...I was actually at the WW2 monument and the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool were eye-level for us. I tried to snap a picture, but a lady on the sidewalk 20 feet in front of me walked by. If I would caption this, it would be "Lincoln Memorial and surrounding tourists stomped by 200-foot-tall woman!!" Maybe I should send it into the Enquirer...what do you think? :)
Me and my hubby in front of Link
Jon and the Washington Monument
Love this view of the Memorial
Grabbing dinner before Jon and I hit the road to go home
This picture cracks me up because it looks so doctored! This is our friend Armand, who is almost 7 feet tall, using 5'1" me as a arm rest! So funny!
After dinner, Jon and I hit the road at about 9pm, headed back for Hville. The plan was for Jon to drive until 1am, then I would take over driving the rest of the way so Jon could sleep, because he had to work Wednesday morning. After the fun day we had, I had the hardest time falling asleep and was so worried that I wouldn't be able to drive my whole shift! Jon ended up driving til about 2 or 2:30, then I took over. About 5am, I was in pure misery (since I had been awake since 630 to get ready for the service that morning) so I pulled over and took a nap in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. I slept for an hour and 45 minutes, then woke up and drove on home.

It was quick. It was fun. It was tough. It was sad. It was a reunion. It was tiring. It was amazing.

I am thankful we were blessed with this trip. And I am thankful we were blessed by knowing Freddy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time with Friends

We love it when our friends Kenny and Jamey come visit every July, and we especially love to watch our kids play together and get so excited to see each other again! They were here this weekend, and we had so much fun, as usual!

Lawson and Avery are only 5 months apart, and Jamey and I were tickled when we noticed that they were both sitting on the ottoman, playing Leapsters, with legs crossed. It was so cute!We had free kids meal coupons for Red Robin, so we enjoyed yummy burgers for dinner!! Here, Jordan is joining in too, but we laughed how Lawson and Avery were doing exactly the same thing again!
We are so excited to have a dollar theater here in Huntsville now, so we took the kids to see How to Train Your Dragon. My kids love this movie--we went to see it several times while it was there, actually! We had a fun afternoon filled with dragons and popcorn and fruit snacks!
Of course there was a ton of swimming! We swam Thursday night, Friday morning, and Friday evening and thoroughly enjoyed the cool water because it was SOOO hot! Here is a picture from Friday evening. Avery wasn't in a smiling-for-a-picture mood that whole night!!
After swimming Friday night we went back to Kenny and Jamey's hotel room to get our clothes back on, and the kids plopped around in a circle to talk, then share a snack. So sweet!
I treasure these times that we are able to spend time together with our dear friends and let our kids grow their relationships and memories. I hope they grow up treasuring these friendships as much as Jon and I do. They are a blessing, for sure!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Look what we learned to do!

This past week my dad and his girlfriend were here and they stayed in a hotel with a pool. Needless to say, that is where we spent much of our free time this week, and after 3 days of swimming, the kids had each made HUGE strides!!

At the beginning of the week, both kids would wear floaties and paddle all around the pool, but wouldn't go under the water, trust us to help them swim without their floaties or try to walk on the bottom of the pool. By Friday, they were both swimming with faces in the water, without holding their noses!

Lawson can swim almost the entire width of the pool in one breath, and Jordan can swim 5-10 feet unassisted. The problem with Jordan, though, is that she starts out on the steps, but can swim far enough that when she stops she can't reach the bottom--and she never wants to ask for help. Several times I ran over to help her back to the top because she had swam out to the middle of nowhere without telling anyone! That child is not afraid of anything, and that causes her Mommy much stress!!!

I had just been wondering about where/how to put them in swim lessons that would be worth our time and money, but now I guess all we need is more practice time! I can't believe my 5 year old and 3 (almost 4) year old are swimming now! Crazy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our Fourth

We had a great 4th of July this year! The kids were so excited about going to see the fireworks this year--they had been looking forward to it since I told them that it was coming up! We started the day with a wonderful worship service with our church family, then we came home for a family lunch. The kids (and Mommy) took a nap, while Daddy went to play video games with our friend Mike. Then Mike and Jenn came over for grilled burgers and corn on the cob. Finally, we headed over to Bridge Street to watch their fireworks show--and we found a great place to sit! It was spectacular!
I am so thankful for all of the things we have in this great country--freedom to worship our God, safety provided by our past and present troops, and the opportunities to spend time building our relationships with family and friends!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fun for the fam, Sentimental for Mommy

Today we went to see Toy Story 3 with the kids. We were in high school when the original Toy Story movie came out, and it was such a big hit then. Over the last couple weeks, we have been watching Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on tv, and my kids have come to love them as much as we did. When Jon had a short day of work today, we decided to do some family stuff like have a picnic, go to the playground, then go see Toy Story 3.

I had heard much about it--I was prepared that I would laugh in some places and be sad in some, and that as a mom I would probably cry a little. I experienced all of those things. I love that we took our kids to the final movie in a trilogy that started when we were younger. Jon and I looked at each other and laughed so hard and some parts, and I also cried when I pictured my own kids as the ones going away to college.

It's a little bit ironic that watching the movie with my 5 and 3 year old kids made me cry thinking about them growing up, and one day when they are 18 and going away to college I will probably pull out the dusty DVD that we haven't watched in years, pop it in the tv and cry again remembering them as they were when they were little.

I'm thankful, though, that for now it reminded me to treasure each moment I have with them at each stage that they pass through.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My sneak peek at 10 years from now...

This is how Jordan spent an entire phone conversation with my mom today. It cracked me up, she would roll from side to side, kick her legs, lean back and laugh and lay there and look at her papers.
I guess I should embrace it, because this is how I picture her as a teenager up in her room talking on the phone. That is, if people still talk on phones then...By then teenagers may only know how to text and IM!!