Sunday, December 31, 2017

An Ode to Janice Hill

I want to talk a minute about my mother-in-law Janice.
Janice passed away unexpectedly on Saturday December 9, 2017.

You always hear stories of people who do not like their mother in law.  I have friends who don't really like their mother in law so I know it is a reality for some.  But I not only like my mother in law, I truly love her.

I have referred to her as a second mother and I mean it.

She supported me over the years in whatever I was doing.  She watched my kids regularly when I decided to go back to school to get my nursing degree. 
When we lived in Oregon she spent lots of time with the kids and we would go to parks and zoos and outings.  She would have them over and take videos of them doing cute things.

 She would call us on Thursday night on a regular basis just to see if the kids could spend the night on Friday night.  She always offered to take the kids for the weekend on our Anniversary. Who gets that?  Not many people, I can tell you.

Once we moved away, she made a point to visit on a regular basis.  She and Frank were there for birthdays and Christmases and special events like baptisms, scouting milestones and ordinations. She wast truly a part of my kids' lives.

 She sent the kids cards and gifts for even the most uncelebrated holidays...what kid doesn't love getting a card in the mail for St. Patricks day?  Mail is the best.  She and her husband Frank supported us and our kids as much as they could.

They made a trip out to see us at least once a year for many years.  My kids grew up knowing them, even though we lived far away for most of that time.

She was a fun loving person and was always up for an adventure or outing or game.

She was funny and laughed and smiled a lot!

We had many fun trips to the beach (she loved the Oregon coast especially).

We also went on some really fun family vacations with Janice and Frank.

For years, this was just iconic Janice...taking a video of whatever her family was doing!

She was a very giving and loving person.  She was a wonderful daughter as well and took care of her mother for many years in her home.

Her family was the most important thing to her.

She was married for 58 years to her husband Frank.

This was taken on their 50th anniversary!

She spent hours upon hours sewing Christmas pajamas and skirts for her daughter and granddaughters.  She made the blessing outfits for my kids and my granddaughters as well.

She cooked unnumbered Sunday dinners (and regular dinners for that matter).

Of course, she wasn't perfect.  She did some things that drove me crazy.
I used to feel like she gave me too much advice sometimes.  She could remove any stain or fix any type of food, so she had good advise to give though. And I often called her to get her opinion.
 And I know that her advice came from a place of love.  She was never pushy and didn't make me feel like I wasn't good enough.

She used to say things like "make sure Frank is eating well" or "make sure Frank is taking care of himself".  This would drive me nuts.  I would think to myself "Frank is a grown man, I'm sure he can make sure he eats healthy if he wants to! I am not his mother!"  I wouldn't say that her her of course.

But, I'm gonna be honest, I do this to Amber now.  It isn't because I don't think my son is capable of taking care of himself or that I think it is Amber's responsibility... it's that I realize I have less influence with him now and I want to give my sage advice to the person who has the most influence and that is the wife!.  So now I guess I understand it better at least and I guess there is no escaping some things...even when you intend to do better.

She watched her son go through cancer and supported me during that time as well. I think now about how hard that must have been for her.  At the time I only thought about how it was for me and for Frank.
She used to send uplifting emails and she would gently ask for she must have ached to know exactly what was going on with her son!  Through it all, both Frank and I felt supported by her and Frank's dad as well.

I will miss Janice.  We would text on a regular basis and send each other pictures of what was going on in life.  She has been cheering me on lately as I went back to work full time.  She did the same at one time in her life and she related to my struggles.

I really don't know if I can do her justice with my writing.  I am not as eloquent as I want to be and I often can't get my point across the way I want to.  But I just have to make sure to do my best here to say how much Janice meant to me.  I was blessed to have her in my life.

My children were definitely blessed to have her as a wonderful, thoughtful and loving grandma.

I believe in life after death and in Jesus Christ as my savior. Janice believed the same.  She is somewhere, better than here, feeling healthy and well with no more pain of an aging body.  She is probably busy doing something because she was never one to sit still.  She is probably worried about her husband as he figures out how to live without her, she is probably watching over all of us because that is what she always did.

I will miss you Janice but I know I will see you again!  I was blessed to know you, to love you, and to be loved by you!

Monday, December 4, 2017

FLORIDA- post #4

Monday we decided to start the day with a trip to Waffle House which Austin said was a must do.  I had never been there and neither had Nick so we were immediately pointed out as virgins and given our special hats which we will cherish forever of course.

Next we went on an air boat ride.
Yep, more alligators!

The airboats left from this cute little store that had a bunch of animals to see.

 We enjoyed the friendly birds as well as quite a few snakes and other types of reptiles

The bird would walk from one person's arm to another's.  It was fun.

There was a also a ginormous pig sleeping in the middle of the store.
He was literally snoring and drooling on the carpet.

The airboat ride was really really fun!
The entire area was still flooded from the hurricanes so the guy told us we were going in places that were normally dry land.  It was crazy how much water there was!
He even proved it to us by taking us to a parking lot where you could see the parking signs sticking up out of the water.

There were cows grazing in water that was sometimes up to their necks.  They do it voluntarily I guess...and then mozy on over to the higher ground at the end of the day.

It was really beautiful and we saw a bunch of alligators.  
We even accidentally ran over one with out boat 
(he wasn't hurt...but it scared the crap out of him and us! ha!)

Crazy cows.

Afterwards they took us to a little pen where they had some baby alligators that we could hold.

As with all reptiles it seems, they feel a lot different than you expect.  Not slimy at all.
Also, I'm incapable of being normal for a picture, as usual.

Later that day Austin tried out Mike's banjo, which we all enjoyed, even Chloe!