Saturday, April 25, 2015


This weekend marks the death anniversary of both my mom and bonpapa.  11 years for mom and 7 years for him.  It's so hard to imagine it's been that long plus that we've lived up here for 7 years.  So unreal. The following  I received as a forward from Rebecca Stay--from Mary Riczo Hall who is attending Rebecca's institute classes.  It was a lovely tribute to these wonderful people and I am glad to have received it.  Posting it here so I can always have will my children.

In February I asked if you knew some of the people who influenced me joining the Church in Cleveland. You did. There is a further family connection with our mutual friends. 

My father, a staunch Hungarian Catholic, owned two funeral homes in the Cleveland area. I believe my father handled the funeral services for Gladys Osborne's first husband (actually her second). Gladys was always kind and sensitive to my mother's situation as a Latter-day Saint with a non-supportive husband. She helped my mother in many ways. 

One of my fondest memories was when Gladys was visiting my mother one afternoon. I was about twelve or thirteen years old. My mother let me read her copy of Eternal Man by Truman Madsen, which she hadn't yet read.  I shared with my mother Brother Madsen's insights (which were very different from what I was learning from the nuns at the parochial school I was attending). My mother told Gladys what I'd read and then they both called me in and asked me questions about the book and Bro. Madsen's thoughts. I felt extra valued that afternoon that someone of Gladys' stature would be asking a kid like me questions about things that mattered. It stuck with me.

 As per my father's wishes, I wasn't  baptized until I could leave home and support myself. I was 20 when I thought I could make that happen (what was I thinking???) and it was Bishop Osborne who interviewed me for my baptism and also to attend BYU. Like Gladys, he was always kind to me. 

And I I babysat once for Susan and Robert Hatch's first baby when they were in a jam. Susan probably wouldn't remember but she came to my baptism a week before I left for BYU. I remember her asking afterward if I felt any different. I felt very strongly that getting baptized was the right thing. That was enough for me that day and what I needed most confirmed. It's interesting what specific memories stay with us. 

My father passed away three decades ago but my brother, who has taken over the business, took care of the funeral services for Mae Rice when she passed away several years ago. My eleven brothers and sisters learned what little they know about the church through funeral services.  Yoshimi Inouye baptized me, and Chris Miller, if you knew him, confirmed me. Bro. Miller passed away a year or two ago. Mary Hall 

How I long to have a conversation with my mom...sometimes I just imagine she's sitting by me or walking with me down the stairs and I talk to the air.  Maybe she is there.  Wouldn't that be something nice to find out when I pass over.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cody takes Hope to her prom

Hope is Cody's friend. She is in the same program but attends a different high school, only being at Cody's school for half a day each day.  We met her lovely parents and wonderful godparents (I love having had godparents and love it when others have godparents who are as involved with their lives).
Here are pictures from that big date.

Hope is exquisitely lovely and so very nice and fun but she met her match in  Cody...very handsome, very GOOD, so nice and full of fun.  I'm glad they are friends.  I hope to live long enough to see what Cody does with the rest of his life...graduation and then mission and then college...and then?

 Cody was sweet enough to ask for a shot with us!

We left the sweet couple at her home and they went on to the soiree and had more pictures taken which Cody shared with me the next day.

 The couples went to a gold course and everyone got a buggy and they drove around for pictures.  Very clever idea.

to the Kennedy's in Evansville

Jacob had a medical conference in Hawaii and he told Cara to ask us if we could come and stay with the kids so she could go with him.  Since all the emotions and busyness of Marissa moving to California was completed, we were more than happy to go.  This was the first time we could be there without any other cousins and without their parents.  As Cara said, it would give us a time to see them and know them...and I felt it was also time for them to get to know us, without the shadow of anyone else.

Monday April 6...It was a nice trip down to Evansville, about 8 hours since we stopped to stretch and to get lunch on the way.  The kids' schedules after school are mind blowing.  I don't know how Cara gets them all to where they need to be let alone see what all they are doing but she does.  It helps that Cody can drive himself.  Sometimes the kids got rides from friends but we were overjoyed to be able to attend their events.

The first event we saw was on Tuesday...and it was Peter in the Academic Challenge sponsored by Purdue.

Peter is one crazy smart dude.  He seemed to know so many answers and the best part was that the older students on his team looked to him for those same answers.

We were able to attend this event of Peter's on Tuesday because Jacob and Cara had not been notified of a change in the air schedule so they missed their first flight.  It was even more delightful to attend this with them (and this after Jacob convinced me I needed a MAC).  Fortunately they were able to leave the next morning for a wonderful stay in Hawaii.  They took a Wilderness Survival class together which was part of Jacob's studies..among other things.   All typical Hawaiian adventures.

So the next afternoon, Wednesday, Robert and I were on our own enjoying Ella's tennis, Peter's soccer, and Samuel's basketball.  Somehow we never did get to see Kipp and his la cross, mainly because we had quite a bit of rain that cancelled his practices. That's a bummer.

Peter is good at soccer; hence some big kid went after him, kicking him in the legs.

 Peter has the ball here and the big kid to the right with glasses is the one who kicked Peter.

Later that night we watched Sam's basketball game.  He's tall and very athletic.  His team won 52-25.
 Here Sam is going up for a basket.

 and Sam made the last 2 points of the game at the foul line.

Peter had fun with our camera during the basketball game as did Sam during Ella's tennis.

Cody decided he needed chickens and a rooster and with the help of a man from church, he built them a chicken coop.  I thought I was in S. Lorain everytime that stupid rooster cockadoodledooooed!  But it was Kipp who gathered the eggs every day.  Not sure what they will do with those animals (not to mention the hamster that I never saw Cody feed once, nor play with) when Cody leaves for his mission. Kipp however was a true champion when it came to fetching those eggs.

Friday, April 10 was National Sibling Day. The kids all went outside for games with that huge 'rubber band' thingy.  I got them to pose for one picture in all their silliness. The most amazing thing about these 5 is that they never argue. They might not agree but they don't say mean or hurtful things.  At one point Cody told me his mom was "Sweet...just plain sweet."  Oh if only all 18 year olds or any age, could recognize this about their moms and say it.  Cara and Jacob have done this part of their children rearing very well.

Saturday midmorning, Ella and I had another Granny's Cooking School as we did when she was this very young munchkin....again Cinnamon Roll. While outside playing on Sibs Day, we were talking with their wonderful, elderly neighbor Dotty and Ella said she had tried to make cinnamon rolls and they were so hard and nasty that she just threw them away.  I think she's now got the idea of a soft dough, not a stiff dough...her cinnamon rolls turned out wonderful.

There was one of those moments when the long girl in the crowded household of males had had enough.  Kipp wandered in and asked, 'What are you cooking?' to which Ella replied, "I'm BAKING!  not cooking."  Luckily the camera caught the moment.  You can see it on her face, can't you?

But look how they turned out

and if some icing is good, more is even better.
And the boys were so very complimentary.  Cody even said she could bake these every single day.  Now I wonder when she will bake these next time?

Sunday was a hoot and a half.  Cara had left me this notebook with blow by blow details or who goes when and where and how. Quite the time schedule.  She had written that everyone needed to be in the car at 8:10 for church.  Robert started the countdown about 30 minutes earlier...telling all that in 25 minutes or 15, or 10 or 8 or 3 minutes the car would be leaving for church and if they weren't in the car they'd be left.  At 8:08 Peter asked me to make him 2 poached eggs...sorry sweet boy....not enough time. At 8:10 we walked out the door with just Sam in tow.  Cody, we knew, was driving himself because he needed to return his tuxedo from last night after church so the kids would get to church. 
On we drive when suddenly we get a phone call from Cody asking us if we had his car keys by any chance...well, no..we didn't.  I can only imagine the ensuing commotion as he searched for the keys which he had just had (since he had to reposition cars so we could get out).  Turns out the keys were just where he put them but in the panic of being left, the siblings were not cooperative, and he was 'blinded' and couldn't see them. But he made it to church JUST as Sacrament Meeting began.

I had promised to make donuts when everyone was around and Sunday is the day everyone stays at home.  The rules in the Kennedy house is No wheels, No balls, and it's everyone or it's no one.  So this was the perfect day for donut making and eating.
Kipp was good at icing them...and Ella....

paid me the greatest compliment in telling me that she probably had gained 12 pounds since I got there.  Not true but all the kids were very receptive to my cooking.  Always complimented me.  Ella even asked how to make my meatloaf!  And she ate it!

The kids got several lessons from me on Polite to pass food around the table,  how to not short stop a dish, how to use a napkin, how to act, how not to throw away the bacon and eggs you asked for in exchange for Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that turned out to be an empty box (oh the horrors! getting the eggs out of the garbage and having to eat them! 

 After we left, Kipp told his mom that he NEVER wanted to hear the phrase Polite Society ever again.

Cara and Jacob made it home safely Monday evening very late.  The kids stayed up to greet their parents, get some gifts, chat and express their love.  It was a sight to behold.    We also saw some pictures they took during their surfing lessons. How cool is this?
 ALOHA!  Cara's up and surfing.
 Jacob rides the wave to the shore.
 Back at home with this lovely table runner, made by the locals and depicting scenes from their heritage.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sunday 2015

Easter Sunday is usually the day we recognize and celebrate the Lord's resurrection....sometimes with church service and some years with General Conference (which was this year).  But for me, Easter 2015 will be filled with sadness and tears as it is the day Marissa took the boys with Hank and flew off to California to start a new life.   (and She's the one who promised to stick around and take care of me!)
(look at that face, those eyes!  How could I let Simon go?)

I stopped wearing makeup about 2 weeks ago since the tears seemed to fall at the oddest times (To be honest, I have to say I totally enjoyed not wearing make up at all).  Robert helped Marissa pack sometimes but mostly we just had the 3 boys over here to give her some space.  Let's get something straight here.  I don't mind that they are moving to California altho I think it's a waste of space/state.  I firmly believe all my kids need to go where they can earn a living and provide a good life and environment for the wee ones.
 (really Henry?  You had to write me goodbye notes after each of your names on Robert's seminary white board?)

Dawn began married life in Canton, Michigan and didn't really want to move to Lake Orion but she did, probably still complaining about it. We can still get to her quickly. Cara started off in Michigan also and ended up in SW Indiana,  Evansville, about an 8 hour trip but attainable.  Jocelyn seemed to move a few times but finally has settled in Lewisburg,Pennsylvania, about 5.5 hours away.  Jordan was in Columbus and it was wonderful to have our kids surrounding us (in Ohio)  TIL Jordan took a job 2 years ago in Florida.  That was a heart breaker but he's been very good at coming home as well as flying us down to stay with them!  But California?
(Oskar hugs on Bubba or Top Dog as the mood strikes. Either name will do for Robert.)
 (one more visit to the rock with Adelle)

 (or a romp on the island..what will Lake Erie do with these boys?  They may have San Francisco and the ocean but it will never replace OUR Lake).

I am certain the hardest part was having Marissa et al move to Lakewood, about 25 minutes away.  Being able to watch her boys be born and grow up, play, learn to talk...whatever. Then they asked if we could do Sunday dinners together and it was heaven!  We'd swap out dinners almost every week. Here or There.  I think I'd be fine if she moved but left the boys here but really? That was going to happen?  Never!

Jocelyn and kids came to say goodbye.  Dawn and family came through, too, and then went on to a spring break in DC.

It was a crazy week and I was exhausted.

Now who put the
babies in the branches?

Odd to think how much I'll miss their babies, Eeyore (give to Henry at his birth by Pam) and Froggie that belongs to Oskar.  The boys are inseparable from these friends!

 Luckily (perhaps), Marissa's bestest buddy, Michelle Meno drove them to the airport.  Initially I was hurt that I wasn't going to do it but I am sure that Michelle was correct...I wouldn't be able to see to drive.

 (at last I got ahold of Oskar)

Way too many there are now as I write this post.  And I waited a couple of weeks to even do this much and here I sit, with Sears' carpet cleaners in the rooms, weeping. They must think I'm nuts!

 (Evan figured I needed a hug from him even tho he wasn't moving least not yet)

  I had hoped that Marissa would leave after we left to go stay at Cara's for a week and a half. That way, I told myself, I could say goodbye to her in Ohio/Lakewood/Sheffield Lake, drive to Indiana, and when I'd get home she'd be gone.  But that wasn't how it played out.


WELL, MAYBE THIS....A SELFIE FROM THE PLANE.  Looks like Marissa isn't crying.  I am certain the weather is going to be very good for her least I hope so.

And a week or so later, this one was posted to FB. The boys love playing in their backyard in sunny California.  They play all day and are tired by nap/bedtimes.

Is there anything more delicious that these blue eyes amid all the dirt/mud?  How did I ever let him go?

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