Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013


How do you know when it will be the last time?

The last time to hug someone?

The last time to look into their eyes?

The last time to hear their voice?

The last of anything is usually a defining moment, but what if you don't know it's the last until after the fact?  What do you remember if you don't know to remember?

We had an inkling on Saturday, but no one knew it would go so fast.  Now here we are less than a week later to say our final goodbye.  To remember a Grandpa who loved well.

He loved with the kind of love that will last.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in? If you don't have a blog or don't want to write there I'd love to have you write with me, even in the comments!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book: Into the Whirlwind

Into the Whirlwind

After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?


I'm about halfway through this book right now.  I intended to finish it on our drive home this week, but well, we're still here.   Anyway, the book opens with a brief scene from the fire then backtracks about a week to give you time to get to know the characters in their "former lives".  Because after the fire everything changes.

I appreciate books that give you a glimpse into history as well as just being a good story.  I can't even imagine a 4 mile long by mile wide section of Chicago all burned.  That would be like the entire city where we live just gone.  And all the people then homeless and businesses gone... 

Camden makes the history come alive through her characters.  This is the second of her novels I've read and the storytelling is fabulous.  Enough details to make you feel like you are there, but not so many that you get bored.  And believable characters you have a chance to know.  In this particular story I can see what Mollie should do, but because I'm privy to Zach's thoughts and history I know that.  She has to figure it out for herself!  It's an interesting take on life!


If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Whirlwind, go HERE.

A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.

I received this book from CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I hugged his neck on Saturday and now he's gone.  It's always so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I can't talk to a person again.  Can't go visit them and share stories and meals.  Since we live far away it's hard to remember that they aren't there just waiting for us to come visit again.

This is the last picture I have of Grandpa, taken last October when we were evacuating from our fires.  He got to hang out with my girls and they were old enough to interact with him.

This is one of the first that I have access to here in Oregon.  Grandpa with Cory, his first Great Grandchild.  He now has 8! (two unborn as of the taking of the photo below)

This is Brian's grandpa, but I've always called him mine.  So I've only really known him for just over 8 years.  I can't begin to share those 8 years, let alone his 92 years of life.

I'm pretty sure I met him and Grandma even before I met Brian's parents.  Since they lived in the same town where we were going to grad school.  Even if it was later than that I still remember that first meal at their old place.  Boisterous talking, good food, singing grace, and just comfy people.  I knew I was "on display", but it was okay.

singing, always
My other early memory is after we were married, but before we had kids.  I got tickets from my aunt to a Blazers game on a long weekend so we came down and took them.  The Blazers were their team and even though I don't remember watching much TV with them, I knew this was their history.  Brian told me about coming over to watch games at their house while he as in college.  It was so fun to be their chauffeurs to that game.

That and his garden.  He didn't have much left by the time I knew him, but he always wanted to show us his flowers, and they were gorgeous!

He was the last one.  Since Noah was born, in the last 3 1/2 years we've lost all our grandparents that were at our wedding.  It's a strange feeling.  He may be the only one that Cory remembers and for sure the only one that Noah will remember.  I hope they remember, but I also hope we can talk about them.  I don't want to forget all the love they had for us.

After a walk to the gardens

Family was so important to them and I loved how they made a point to let us know they were praying for us, all of us.  We knew there was nothing more important than people in their lives.  Grandpa spent his life caring, as a doctor, and as a human, for those around him.  It will show in the memories we bring up in the next days and weeks.

I always felt like I was included as one of the grandkids when I married into the family.  Even though he sometimes got my name wrong, I knew that he still loved me too.  For that I am thankful.  

Baby Hope

Baby Noah - Grandpa's watch was always a hit

Baby Cory
These are all the photos I have access to since I'm not at home.  But I have a few more I wish I could post and maybe I will next week.  These have all been previously published on this blog, but are now collected in one place.

We'll miss you Grandpa!

Friday, August 16, 2013


So small, yet big enough to high five everyone at the table last night, including the waitress (Hope).

Small, yet have opinions about everything even if they can't express them yet. (shoes!)

Small, yet starting to say words; shoes, Grandpa, Grandma, night night, baby.

Small, yet capable of infinite mischief if left alone too long.

Small, yet so full of personality and joie de vivre.

Small now, yet will grow too fast for me to keep up.

My baby girls are 17 months old and so precious!

No photos for this post because I can't convert them while on vacation... come back next week for lots of cuteness!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in? If you don't have a blog or don't want to write there I'd love to have you write with me, even in the comments!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book: Winter in Full Bloom

Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when the empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her---a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades---Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily---with her fear of flying---boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by an imprudent Aussie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.


I never quite feel like the book blurb does a book justice.  In this case, while there is a romance central to the story it's not the story, if you know what I mean.  I feel like Lily's dream is really to find her family, a real family, that has been missing for her entire life due to her mother's treatment of her.  Lily loves her daughter, but since the story is told just after she leaves for college and opens with Lily on the plane to Australia I didn't see the "I don't know what to do with my life" angle was very strong.

But most of this is my critique of the book blurb.  I actually really enjoyed the book.  A little mystery (why was her sister given up for adoption), a little romance (of course!), and a lot of story about a woman and how she chooses to live her life.  These are the kinds of books I thoroughly enjoy, I feel like they should be called Real Life fiction.

I also enjoyed to aspects of the story that were personal to me, that the main character had an identical twin (as my girls are) and that it was set in Melbourne, Australia since I have never been there, but have had a penpal from there since I was 7 years old.  I loved the flavor of the city I got, trying to imagine my friend living there!

Find your own copy of Winter in Full Bloom or read other bloggers' reviews.

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

I received this book from LitFuse in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Winter in Full Bloom Anita Higman
Enter Today - 8/12 - 8/29!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun at Grandma and Grandpa's House

It's summer and time to visit the grandparents and family in Oregon!

Some of us are sick, but of course the kids aren't... so they conned Grandpa into helping them reach the rope in the pool.  He didn't know he was going to get a workout just watching them swim!

Cory's Swing from Krista on Vimeo.

Noah's swing from Krista on Vimeo.

Cory's Jump from Krista on Vimeo.

The girls haven't been swimming yet, but they are loving it here too.  Being with Grandma and Grandpa and learning to say their names (even before they consistently call me Mama).  And since we are kinda scrunched for space their beds are next to each other.  As I sit here typing I hear them laughing and giggling through the baby monitor.  What I know they are doing is throwing their dollies and blankets back and forth between the beds and being silly together.  I love it!

Here's hoping the rest of our time is better!

Monday, August 05, 2013

A Lake Adventure

This past weekend some friends invited us to spend the day with them at the lake they were camping at just a couple hours north of us. We didn't manage to get there until after lunch time, but even with the late start it was a lovely day!

Yes, it really is that beautiful there, we are blessed to live where we do!

They have a boat and this awesome tube thing to ride on... the boys hair was hilarious from the combination of wind, lake water, and sunscreen!

We had so much fun we decided what the heck, we'll try out camping with four small children so we reserved a spot with them next year for two nights.  Shhh, I'm not sure they know what they've agreed to!

And now, I will go finish all the laundry that my small children manage to create... from playing in the yard/mud while we attempt to have our plumbing repaired (don't ask).