Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grandma Beeson

We spent the last couple of days celebrating my Grandma Beeson's life. She was an amazing woman and her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are proof of her faithfulness to God and family throughout her life. I've always been thankful for my family, but the older I get the more I realize the treasure that God intended family relationships to be.

I had the privilege of saying a few words at my Grandma's funeral yesterday. My friends have heard me tell many tales of Grandma Beeson and how hilarious she was. She had more personality in her little finger than most of us can shake a stick at.

Here are a few memories I mentioned to her friends and family who gathered with us yesterday.

  • Sweatshirt Dresses, her favorite attire. She had a friend who would take an ordinary ol' sweatshirt and sew a nice skirt on the waist of it. Grandma was all about comfort.
  • Milk, and my need to drink it. She would tell gruesome tales of hunchbacks and how the only reason they were that way was because they didn't drink their milk.
  • The way her toilet paper roll played the Notre Dame fight song (tinny and out of tune when the batteries were running low)
  • $2 bills. She sent one in birthday cards and would give one to us when she came for a visit. In elementary school I remember sitting on my bed with $26 in $2 bills and thinking about how rich I was.
  • Grandma always wrapped presents in the comics section of the newspaper
  • Her purse was a treasure trove of lemon drops, cinnamon disks and peppermints.
  • She could flutter her eyelashes, wiggle her ears, and had the astounding ability to wiggle just the end of her nose, just like a rabbit. I have no idea how she did that... but she did.
  • She punished the furniture that hurt us. If we bumped into a table, that table got a good spanking. If we fell off the slide at the playground, that slide was in big trouble.
  • The real star-fish she used as a tree-topper at Christmas
  • Her watch was a ring on her index finger
  • She made gingerbread cookies shaped like feet and painted the toe-nails with icing
  • As a 4th grade science teacher she would bring the best experiments home over break for her grandchildren to do. I remember dissecting a cow eye at her kitchen table and caring for white rats... feeding one pop and candy and the other veggies and fruits. The pop and candy ones tail was turning black.
  • She said hilarious things and made a lot of hilarious sound-effects:
    • "ho-hum, hum-ho" and "ah-so, ah-so" made sense in most conversational situations
    • she called everyone either "Agnes" or "Rosemary" (which is how I came up with the characters my friend Holly and I played for the Women's Retreat at Hope College)
    • "Ker-Plunk" on her way down the stairs. She would say "Ker" as her foot hung over the step and "plunk" as it made contact.
    • "Ch-chika, ch-chicka, ch-chicka" was the sound she would make whenever she was walking or moving in a forward motion.
    • Singing (a soprano with lots of vibrato) the hymnal-style "a-ah-ah-men" at the end of everything, including the "Happy Birthday" song and prayers before lunch and dinner.
    • She often said, "See you in the funny papers" instead of "goodbye".
  • Grandma always had a joke to tell. One I remember well was,"Why did the elephant paint her toenails red? ANSWER: "So she could hide in the apple tree of course!"
  • She had white hair long before she was "old" so she could get away with asking for the senior citizen discount everywhere we went.
Agnes and Rosemary
My memories of Grandma Beeson are sweet and make me smile and laugh every time I think of her. She was lovely and funny and tough and thoughtful and smart, but mostly I will remember that she was a character. I loved her and I am so thankful to have been her granddaughter. She is totally in Heaven right now cracking everyone up with her silliness. I can't wait to see her there someday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

that one time when I thought I was on The Biggest Loser

I started doing this Jane Fonda workout tape when I was in middle school because I discovered I weighed more than most of my friends. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I remember who I was sitting with and where in the lunch room at Schmucker Middle School our table was. All the girls started going around telling how much they weighed. I was the only one who was over 100 pounds. It was horrifying, but I didn't know what to do about it, so I turned to Jane Fonda. Lot's of shoulder shrugs and box-step moves. Look at Jane! This workout is obviously very effective.

So, this morning my friend Lindsey invited me to be her guest at the YMCA. She was doing an exercise class and thought I would like to come along for the hour. I printed off my "free pass" to visit the Y, checked the girls into the "child watch" play area and joined Lindsey in the studio.

It was "The 12 Days of Christmas" workout. Doesn't that sound nice?

Day 1  - 200 meter dash
Day 2  - TKU
Day 3  - G squats
Day 4  - moneymakers
Day 5  - throw downs
Day 6  - step ups
Day 7  - sit ups
Day 8  - push ups
Day 9  - thrusts
Day 10 - wall throws
Day 11 - kettle ball swings
Day 12 - die.

Day 12 was actually something other than "die" but I didn't make it that far in the time alloted. Basically, you sprint 2 laps around the track, then you do 2 of these Turkish Kick your leg out things while holding a weight above your head and sprint 2 laps, then you do 3 squats while holding a weight, then 2 Turkish Kick Up twist things, then sprint again, then 4 moneymaker push ups where your in a plank position on top of dumbbells and you pick up one hand at a time, then do a push up, then jump both of your feet up to meet your hands... 4 times, continue repeating day 3, 2 and 1 again adding a new day each time you're done sprinting around again, and again, and again until you die. I made it to day 11, which means I completed 11 200-meter sprints around the track in addition to the requirements of every other day.

So that's what I did this morning. I could tell the instructor was keeping an eye on me in case I did, in fact, keel over during her class.

It was awesome. Especially the part when my red-faced, drenched-in-sweat self literally could not do another sit-up. I had to roll over and use my hands and legs to get up off the floor.

I hope I can walk tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Clara | 8-months

I thought Clara was 6 months old, but then I overheard my friend Lindsey telling someone about how her son Royce is 8 months old and I was confused because Royce and Clara were both born in May. So that's how I recently discovered that Clara is 8 months old. Mom of the Year award.

I love getting to know my little Clara girl more with each passing week. It's a blast figuring out who she is as she becomes more and more interactive and reveals more of her personality. Sometimes we call her "The Silent Observer" because of the way she quietly sits in her chair, just watching and listening to all the commotion going on around her. She's peace in the midst of a storm, but when she wants to be heard she has no trouble making herself known! WHEW! She has got some serious decibel power in that little body!
  • She laughs more at Ryan than anyone else. I try so hard to get her to giggle, but it takes A LOT of work on my part. Ryan just has to look in her direction and she gets all giggly and smiley.
  • She started hugging me back, just enough that I can tell she's holding on to me while I'm holding onto her. Its such a fun feeling when babies are old enough to hug.
  • She loves her feet. If they're anywhere in sight she is going for them. The toes of her shoes are worn and her socks are always slobbery where she gets them in her mouth.
  • She's a champion sleeper, napping from 10-12 and 2-4 every day then in bed by 8pm.
  • If Ruby is within ear-shot, Clara is on the lookout for her. She loves her sister and gets a kick out of watching Ruby running around like a crazy person. Ruby loves to entertain Clara, so this works out well.
  • Clara is a chubby bunny. She loves to eat peas, bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, and especially sweet potatoes. I feed her at 8am, 12, 4 and 8.
  • She's been making funny faces, sucking her top lip in and sticking out her tongue at the same time. (try it yourself, it's pretty funny.)
  • Splashing in the bath is her favorite thing and she and LOVES if Ruby is in the tub with her. 

Time is FLYING. Clara is growing faster than I can switch out the clothes in her drawer for the ones in the bin in her closet. If she continues at this rate I might have to buy clothes for her this summer instead of passing along the 6-9 month clothes that Ruby was in when she was 1. Needless to say, she's precious and I love her little face so much. My heart can't handle how much love I have for Ryan and Ruby and Clara. I am blessed.

Ruby | 30-months

Ruby is 2 and a half. It's still weird for me to see Clara wearing Ruby's clothes... because I'm pretty sure Ruby was just 8 months old a couple of days ago. Anyway, she is 30 months old, is almost 3 feet tall and is really doing great.

I took her to the pediatrician for her 30-month check-up and when Dr. Rogers walked in Ruby looked at her and said, "You have a pretty bow in your hair!" then proceeded to tell Dr. Rogers that "we already got our flu shot, so we don't need any shots today, but we put a band aid on it and then it was all better." Basically repeating what I told her earlier in the day after she was concerned about going to the doctor. So funny.

Some Rubyisms worth noting:
  • she says "I promise" at all the wrong times. I'll wake her up from her nap and she'll greet me with a sincere "I promise Mommy." I never know what to say. "Thanks?"
  • She loves asking everyone "Hey, what are YOU doing here?" This includes everyone from strangers at the store to Ryan when he gets home from work.
  • Max and Ruby is her favorite show. She would watch it all day every day. She laughs and thinks Max is so funny. She is learning a lot about gardening and how to be a bunny scout. Both good things I suppose.
  • Roosters say "Cock-a-little-doooo"
  • This morning she said to me, "Sorry mommy, I guess I need more practice." which is a line from Max and Ruby.
  • She has been correcting me. I asked her if she wanted me to read the "where is my mother" book and she said, "Actually, it's 'ARE you my mother, not WHERE is my mother'." She was right. I stand corrected.
  • The day I learned that Grandma Beeson passed away I cried a little and she kept asking me, "Mommy, did you fall down?" and saying, "It's okay mommy. I'm sorry you fell down and broke your crown." 
Baby Jesus has been Ruby's most treasured possession since we got our manger scene set up. She carries him around, holds him up to her cheek, and always checks to make sure Mary and Joseph are taking good care of him.
Some issues we're dealing with:
  • This girl could not take a longer time doing anything before noon. She takes at least 15 minutes to get down the stairs. She sits at the top for awhile, then talks to me about how she wants to do it by herself, then starts coming down on one side, then moves over to the other side and talks about how she can just hold on to the wall, then she goes backwards on her knees for a few steps. On the days we have plans to be anywhere at any certain time I am literally pulling my hair out within 6 minutes of Ruby being awake in the morning. If I wake her up earlier, she spends 25 minutes sitting at the table chatting before she takes her first bite of breakfast. 
  • She knows how to ask for things nicely, but now I am having to figure out how to teach her that just because she asked nicely doesn't mean she always gets what she wants. "Mommy, can I have another pack of fruit snacks please?" "Mommy, just one more Max and Ruby then I can take a nap" etc etc etc. Hard lessons to learn. 
  • Ruby is super-organized. I'm listing this in the "issues" category because sometimes I'm like "Woah there little lady!" when she freaks if all her books aren't on the shelf right. The other day I left a red pen on the top of her growth chart in her room and she literally would not take her nap until I put that pen it in it's proper location. Once I did, she was fine and went right to sleep. 
All in all she's wonderful in every way and I am so thankful to get to be her mommy. Best of all, Ruby could not be sweeter to her "Baby Clara Guuurl" and is so excited to see Clara in the mornings. She always offers to help me if I'm doing anything for Clara. Feeding her, holding her, burping her, even changing her diaper. If Clara is on the changing table, Ruby says, "Oh, let me help you mom." then runs in her room to get her stool, puts it by Clara's dresser, hops up and starts pulling wipes out and handing me diapers off the shelf. She's a good little helper. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tree Trouble

In retrospect, I'm thinking it may have been a bad idea to chop down the 2nd cheapest tree we could find.

You know you chopped down a bum Christmas tree when:

  • There are a thousand new pine needles on the carpet each morning
  • Your 2-year old has gathered bags full of needles for her "collection"
  • You can easily see most of the wall behind the tree (through the tree)
  • You're afraid to string lights on it for fear that too many needles will fall off
  • Your tree is completely crooked at the bottom in the stand, but looks straight from the 1/2 way point and higher
  • Your ornaments hanging on the back of the tree are in plain view from the front of the tree
Here's hoping our sad little tree makes it a couple more weeks. 

Ruby's pine needle "collection" has extended the life of my vacuum, which is nice.

Monday, December 12, 2011


My precious Grandma Beeson died this morning.

When my dad called me with the news my first inclination was joy - that she's with Jesus, that she is walking and telling jokes and singing songs again.

Then I wept.

... because I'll miss her even though I've missed her for 10 years since Alzheimer's took her away without physically taking her away.

... because her life was never an easy one, but she chose to walk in Joy despite her circumstances. She was a light. She was a character, always bringing the fun, and the funny wherever she went.

... because the legacy she left in the lives of her 3 children, (Aunt Becky, Uncle Matt and my Dad) shows the impact of her faithfulness. She raised great kids. She loved on her 9 grand kids and even got to meet some of her great grand kids, including my Ruby. Her family loved her dearly. We will miss her.

I can't help but smile at the thought of Grandma strolling down the streets in Heaven, meeting Jesus face-to-face, and chatting it up with her great grand-daughter Ava.
Psalm 23
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. 4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure. 5 You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. 6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Choppity Chop Chop

Chopping down a Christmas Tree has become a bit of a tradition. Usually there is more snow... we moved to the South. This was last year, and the year before when Ruby was just a tiny lass no older than Clara is now.

This is our first Christmas in Ohio, so we have been on the hunt for a good place to chop down our tree. Ryan heard about Timbuk's Farm from one of the docs he works with, so that's what we went with. It was really nice.
The adventure began with a tractor/train car ride out to the farm. 

Little Chopper searching for the perfect tree.
My Clara Bear
Then we saw it! The 2nd cheapest tree we could find - only $29.99! All the other trees we saw were in the $55-75 range - which is a lot more than we were used to paying in MI! Needless to say, Ryan got to work sawing her down.

We'd never heard of the Canaan Fir brand before - but that's what we went with. It has "soft" needles... which seems like a good thing to have with toddlers who are eye-level with the branches.
In closing, here's Chris keeping an eye on the tree which had been tied with thin twine on the top of the van. A few minutes after this picture was taken we had to pull over on the side of the highway to tie her back on. WHEW! Talk about an exiting ride!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Chris Repelling down a Waterfall in the Underworld
We had a fantastic weekend with Ryan's brother Chris. He just got back from a semester in New Zealand (aka, making his way in the world) so this was the first time we've seen him since June!

Ruby had the time of her life with her Uncle Chris. They talked about all sorts of interesting things and he gave her a cute knit penguin that he bought her from the underworld. She named him "Maffey the Penguin". Last night she asked me to tuck Maffey in too... and to give Maffey a kiss too. She's never been like this with any other toys or dolls - I think she just loves it because it's from Uncle Chris.

Helping Uncle Chris make Coffee
Chris told stories of his travels and showed us a bunch of pictures. He shot everything with film, and will continue posting picture on his photography blog ( if you want to check it out.
Thanks for coming to visit us Chris! We loved having you here!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksmas Hunt

Michigan Squirrels are HUGE!

Tracy is such a good sport marrying into such ridiculousness...

I now present you with the most hilarious picture from Thanksmas... Ryan totally, for real, 100% power napping in the corner of a hunting blind. Amazingly, he did not see any deer. HA!

Beeson Family Thanksmas

Aaaahhhhhh, Thanksmas. It's a glorious tradition stemming back to my childhood when my parents decided we would spend Christmas at my Granny and Papaw's house and we would have Christmas at Thanksgiving with my Grandma Beeson. All my cousins and family on my Dad's side would gather together for "Thanksmas" and the tradition has lived on since then.
My Dad made it home from Kodiak Alaska just in time for Thanksmas! Here he is with Lydia.
My mom is incredible. She made it possible for us to celebrate Tracy's Birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas in their entirety in a mere 4 day span. She is astounding. Also, the food she made was amazing.

This year was absolutely wonderful in every way. We just relaxed, spent time in nature, shot some guns (as usual) and spent quality time as a family.
Grammy walking in the woods with Ruby and Lydia.
Ruby exploring Papa's meadow
We also built a lot of fires. Here's Uncle Aaron teaching his nieces how to arrange the ash to create the perfect air flow.

Aunt Gela painting Ruby's nails.
The guys grew "Novembeards" then posed Olan Mills style for this picture. haha.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Ryan got me a new phone for my birthday and I LOVE taking fun "daily life" pictures with it. Here are a few of my faves from the last couple of months.