Our Family Photos

Fall happened a long time ago. My great and talented friend, Lauren, took some sweet photos of our family way back when, and I want to share them, because they make me smile, and I want to hoard memories that were happy during the fall from heck. Enjoy the scarce post in this season of my life that seems relentless, but I know will soon be over. Jesus sustain me until then!

My Amazing Grandma

Grandmas are so special. And my grandma was the epitome of a good grandma! I truly am having a difficult time putting words down on paper what I’m feeling right now as I have to face the fact that my grandma is gone. Instead of attempting that feat, let me just share how special my grandma was to me.

i may not meet a more kind and loving lady than she was. Her words dripped with “honeys” and “sweeties” and “I love yous” to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a hugger. Her love languages, in my opinion, were words of affirmation and gifts. Isn’t that the perfect grandma combination? She always picked out the best gifts. When we were kids, it was Disney VHS tapes and unique games. As adults, it was the latest kitchen gadgets on HSN and giant bags of candy. It was always something with nuts in it, until she discovered we didn’t really like nuts in our candy. Ha ha.
I have very faint memories of grandma playing the guitar and singing to us as small children. She was super spunky and would make us laugh and laugh. Her laugh was the best. And she made us feel like we were so funny with that laugh of hers.
I remember as kids, we would visit grandma at the high school in Hesston, where she was a cook. The highlights for me were getting to use the giant sprayer in the dish room and the strawberry milk they had for lunch. Grandma made that kitchen feel magical as a young child!
She passed down to our family the meatball recipe that I’ve loved since I was a kid. Her famous strawberry “whoop” is legendary in our family. Every time we visited, she gave a big box of chocolate Teddy Grahams to each Evie and Olan and Silas. She introduced to me Dot’s Pretzels, and if you haven’t experienced Dot’s Pretzels, you’re missing out on a little bit of life. I don’t know how many black olives we’ve downed together. German chocolate cake was her specialty. The lady could cook up a storm.
Grandma and Woody lived in several towns, but when they lived in Salina many years ago, I remember regularly going there and eating fresh from the oven bread with butter from the biggest butter tub on the market. Her tea maker was always brewing. They had these orange upholstered office chairs sitting around their table and they were so fun to spin around in as a child.
When they lived on Marion Lake Reservoir, whenever we were leaving her house, without fail, she and Woody were on their front porch, waving their “I love you” wave. The funny thing was, when we drove away, we could see them from a pretty good distance before they were out of sight as we drove around the lake, and they would be waving the entire time until our car finally slipped out of sight. It was probably a good five minutes of waving they were committed to, every single time. She loved us well!
She was a biker chick: she and Woody put 7,000 miles on their motorcycle in two years, traveling to California and Florida from Kansas, strictly on a bike. Wish there were photos of them on that bike! They were travelers!
She was totally into technology. I will always remember her giant Sony Digital Mavica camera that took a floppy disk draped around her neck in years past. She later had a little green pouch that held her cell phone like a lanyard. She was connected! She was a gamer and introduced games to me like Peggle and Dr. Mario and I think Candy Crush, or a game kind of like that. She was an avid emoji user, even before emojis were cool. I remember teaching her how to T9 text. Not afraid of anything!
Grandma came to everything she could. Before she was home bound, she was at every holiday and birthday celebration and came to many of my sports games growing up.
Grandma was always an encourager. Even as she was fighting COPD and cancer, you’d never guess it by her attitude. The suffering she did was brutal, but it didn’t affect her spirit. That’s what true joy is I think. She had the love of Christ in her and it was evident in how she processed her suffering and how she treated those around her. I never heard grandma complain. Her nurses and caretakers had the sweetest patient who truly brightened their days.
It is safe to say that I have lost someone incredibly dear this week. I am so grateful to have such sweet memories of an intensely lovely human. See you on the other side, Grandma, I love you! This emoji string’s for you.

The Blur of Fall

The way my fall went this year was manic. To be completely honest, it was the most stress I have ever put myself under in my life and I’m super thankful it is over. With an insanely time-consuming final project for a course I took alongside another course, a library advocacy spiel I researched hours for and presented on and waited for weeks for results, school somehow being incredibly unproductive because of this meeting or that situation, homecoming ceremony involvement, my kids not sleeping well, potty training and big boy bed transitioning, processing through some concerns we have for one of our children, attending a gorgeous Colorado wedding, celebrating 100 birthdays in September/October including [both kids and] my sister and I’s with a weekend trip to Wichita, as well as my dad’s 60th birthday fiesta, worrying about my sweet grandma’s health along with all the other “normal” stuff, I’m pretty sure I had involuntary heart palpitations by the end.

This weekend marked the official conclusion of insanity. I know the holidays are around the corner, but they pale in comparison to the disgusting busyness that was the fall for me. And you know what I did this weekend? I did what I wanted. I didn’t do laundry or a single dish. My parents lovingly volunteered to host my children on Saturday day and night (saints), and Logan had planned to work on his garage project all day. So I took out our lawn blanket, some pillows, and a few books and I sat and read for four hours, soaking in the last of the warmth of the season. Then I took a long walk by myself. I went on a date with my husband and watched a nerdy WWII movie. And I woke up at 8:30am the next morning.

It was glorious.

Grateful for some R&R this weekend, and I’m feeling full.

Even though it has been crazy lately, we still have had some really lovely times. Thought I’d share some of them through my annual fall photo explosion.

Evie lost her first tooth eating a peach at Carol Lee on her birthday!

Evie celebrating her birthday with monster cookies at school!

Week 1 of school complete! These kids are da bomb.

The big Martin family reunion! Glad Holly and Revery got to come back!

You don’t even know how much crap we brought home from the white elephant auction. Sheesh.

The whole Martin crew

A late birthday trip to Wichita with these lovely ladies. Memories at Botanica and Little Lion!

Family trip to Jade’s wedding in Colorado. Snowy, cold, but fun!

The Salina crew at Camp Robben! 🙂 photo cred: Robyn Bunch

I made a lot of apple cider donuts for the wedding reception… so many good treats on that table, wow! photo cred: Robyn Bunch

Our splurge night on vacation. At the Embassy Suites eating our room service meal watching Moana!

The kids’ first memorable trip to the mountains!

One of our stops on vacation was the Denver Children’s Museum. Evie enjoyed the workshop station. She built a recycled race car, pretty much all by herself!

Olan loved the bubble station and spent a LOT of time at the fire station too!

Evie was also super pumped that she made it to the top of the altitude climber!

Evie took this one. Fun in Denver!

Our 6th grade Halloween party… Extreme Twister!

Gotta have a pumpkin patch experience!

Evie holding a chicken at Britt’s. She loves animals! She chased this one around forever until the worker dude helped catch it for her.

Britt’s with Uncle Cole!

The first days of daycare at Emily’s! We love her so!

Olan sure loves cake!

Our family babies on Halloween!

The Domino Duo on Halloween!

Olie got bucked off of Great Grandma P’s horse!

Pretty darn adorable.

Halloween loot

This is my super awesome team at school. We made tie-dye t-shirts and it was a blast! Don’t these friends look like so much fun!?

My dad celebrated 60 years of life and we partied with a fun fiesta full of food!

Visiting my dear Grandma C!

So good to see Aunt Lindi. She looks like my mom’s twin!

Olan in heaven.

Evie’s first kindergarten birthday party! Happy birthday, Lillian!

Homecoming ceremony with my sweeties.

The end of the millions of tomatoes. Whew.

Olan enjoying some outside fun at Emily’s!

Fall Conference was in September… our annual Russell’s run after clean up was a success!

We saw and toured a really old WWII plane. Ask Logan about what kind. I have no idea. It was neat, but flippin’ hot! And our Elliott friends were with us, but not pictured.

Our annual Wichita birthday shopping weekend, one of my favorite family traditions.

And while I was shopping, Evie woke up and made Olan and her breakfast all by herself for the first time. Good job!

Evie lost 3 teeth in TWO WEEKS! She’s up to 4 teeth gone now! That last top tooth was a doozie.

Another visit with my Grandma C for all our birthdays! 🙂 Homemade German Chocolate Cake made by my mommy!

Evie enjoying nature!

That snaggletooth. Stayed in waaaay too long, including family pictures.

Evie won the cake walk at SES Fun Night!

Part of our Grow Group playing Pit at Thommas’ place one Friday night. These are my peeps!


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