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Grandpa’s Memorial

Today was my grandpas memorial.  It’s been planned for today since he passed away last August.  Since then his wife, my grandma, also passed away (May 19th) so it became a celebration for them both, I think they would have preferred that anyhow.

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A picture I drew of my grandpa when I was in middle school
My mom, uncle (Scott) and aunt (Susie) did a great job putting everything together, there was a military honor where my grandpa (who fought in WWII) was honored and a folded flag was presented to my uncle in his honor.  My families quilts were on display (my grandmother was a great quilter), mom, Scott and Susie each had some words to say, they talked about the life lessons they had learned from their parents, what they hope to offer their kids, their best memories and some pretty funny experiences that were had through the years.
My favorite was a story my uncle told about my grandpa, his family values and priorities in life. You have to understand my grandpa is a horse guy, through and through, he rode horses by himself since he was three years old, his main mission in WWII was under the direction of General Patton to rescue the last of the Lipizzaner horses that were being eaten in Yugoslavia, it was the much of the bond that we had in common.  He has been offered lots of money for his horses and he has always taken a great amount of pride in his animals.  In this story my uncle was telling everyone about getting ‘his’ horse.  They all got a horse when they were 8 and they had to break it and ride it and take care of it.  It was a right of passage. The kids did everything with their horses, they ‘used them as diving boards’, they swam in the river, they dressed them up in clothes, everything.  One day my grandpa was getting an earful from a friend about how those kids were ‘going to ruin those horses’ if they didn’t tone it back.  My uncle overheard grandpa tell this guy ‘I would be real worried if I was raising horses!’  With one sentence he shut that down in the most profound way!  He is raising kids, THAT was his priority, no matter how important his animals were they never were what mattered most.  It was heart warming and it was neat to see into their lives in a way that I never had.
When they were done they turned it over to those who attended to say anything they wished.  The first to step up was a man, probably in his late fifties/early sixties who was moved to tears over the passing of grandpa.  When he was 3 years old my grandpa had saved him from drowning and he never forgot.  He said some very nice things about my grandpa, he attributed all good things in his life, his wife, his kids, his grand kids, to my grandpa.  He said without him he wouldn’t have had any of it.  How amazing.  I had no idea.
I am definitely not a toasting/speech giver but I was prepping myself to go say something, my grandpa was a pretty important person to me.
I was holding Miles, he was fussing (he was not a fan of the 21 gun solute!), I stood up in my first effort to get some nerves in gear.  Flop, my chair falls over.  Unbeknownst to me, Hazel was standing on the back of the chair, me getting up caused her to fall over and hit her head on the chair behind us.  She cried quiet tears and I stepped outside to make sure she was ok.  All was good and I went to go back in, gearing up again.  On the way in she notified me she needed to go to the bathroom, we handled it quickly so that I could get back inside and say something…

I go back in and Miles started yammering on through other peoples’ words so I stuck a boob in his mouth… He was hungry.  I just don’t have the kind of guts needed to get up in front of a crowd while breastfeeding and talk with all eyes on me… so that was game over.  Talks over, people file out, tables get set up and the party begins.  Grandpa bought the first round and we had a great visit (that is still on going).  While the kids nap though I thought I would take my opportunity to say what I wanted to say there, here.  Partly because I feel guilty I didn’t do it there and because I think it’s important to acknowledge the good in others, always!

It would have been something like this – “Here I thought I was the apple of my grandpa’s eye ;-).  I always felt that grandpa and I had a special bond, and we did.  Sitting in here though I see that he had a very special bond with so many people! I think that speaks to the kind of guy he was and if there is anything to learn from that it is that it is important to make others feel special.  To be present.  To make them laugh.  To connect through stories and to just be there, with people.  I think that is something we can all do a little better at and something we can all take away from our interactions with grandpa.  Every relationship is special and it takes nothing for use to treat them that way!”
I will take that through life with me.
I am sorry Miles didn’t get to see you grandpa, he would have liked ya too! I miss you.
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I was really trying to finish the fire pit before fathers day,  for fathers day will have to work!  I have been pretty down low about the whole deck project and I admit it was nice to do a big thing without the obligation to blog about it, it was my little vacation.  This though, was the very last step of the deck, it is done, done now!

I built a 4’x4′ fire pit/table to sit in the middle of our seating area.  It is propane because with two littles we have limited time, even though we love wood fires they take a decent amount of time to start and then you need to watch them.  This has a key that we turn on and off.  we can have a fire basically at the snap of our fingers!  and end it that fast too!  It’s pretty grand!

I built it with 3/4″ plywood, 2×4 framing, copius amounts of mortar, some cheap colored plates and various glass pieecs I could find and a propane fire kit.  add some love and a little magic and we are set for summer (and winter) fun!