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Man of the House

So, we got several inches of snow the other day and since Rick wasn’t home and I’m not a fan of shoveling, I asked Vaughan if he’d do it. He was so excited to help out and he eagerly got his snow pants and coat and ran outside to shovel the sidewalk in the backyard. He did a pretty good job considering the shovel is way too big for him. I was very proud of my little man taking on such a grown-up job. He was all smiles, too!

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Good-bye to an amazing man

This blog post has been difficult for me to write. I’m finding it hard to come up with the words that accurately describe a man like my step-father, Dan. He passed away on September 27th after a five-month long fight with ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). He was far too young to go and no one was ready…even after his five-month struggle. We all just thought he was going to get better. Maybe he wouldn’t be as mobile or as healthy as before, but we thought he would at least get to come home at some point. It was sudden at the end.

My mom was introduced to Dan in 1986 by some neighbors. Dan was about to be divorced and was living in an apartment across the street from us. That first introduction led to a date and that date led to true love. I was 12 when they met, and I regret that I didn’t really take to Dan for a number of years. It had been just me and my mom for so long, that it was very strange to have someone else around. I was a snotty teenager who didn’t know any better and didn’t care about anyone but myself, so I made their lives kind of miserable when I was around. In later years, I hope that I made up for my early behavior towards Dan. He became a friend, an advice giver, and a support system. More importantly, however, he was an amazing partner and husband to my mom. They were married in 1993 and enjoyed 18 wonderful years as husband and wife (25 years together).

Dan was so loved by everyone he knew. He was kind, generous, smart, and as loyal as they come. I’m so sad that we didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to him. Vaughan and Rheya last saw him in April right before he got sick, so it was difficult to explain to them why he wasn’t around and why they couldn’t see him. After he died, Rheya kept telling us that Grandpa was in the hospital and he was sick. She’s too young to really understand death. After several days, Vaughan finally seemed to understand.

I hurt for my mom who has lost her best friend. I hope that in time her heart will begin to heal, but I know a hurt like this never truly heals. One just becomes accustomed to the empty feeling and learns to adapt.

Here are a couple of pictures of Dan. One from my mom’s birthday on February 2, 2011 and the other from Thanksgiving of 2010.

His funeral service was amazing and full of tears and kind words from friends and loved ones. There was a reception after the service and then a gathering at a the home of some dear friends. That’s where the rest of these pictures were taken.

We celebrated Dan’s amazing life with stories and some music. There were more tears and hugs, but lots of smiles too. We’ll miss him every day. We love you, Dan.

 

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I believe I can ride…

Several of Vaughan’s friends have already mastered Bike Riding 101 (no training wheels), so Vaughan is very eager to figure it out as well. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to get out and practice with him since we don’t have a great, safe place to practice and because Rheya is always with us. So, Rick and Vaughan spent some time out in the alley behind our house today working on balance. He’s getting there, but still needs a little more practice. Go, Vaughan!

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Go Pack Go!

I came into this marriage very aware that Rick isn’t too into sports, but he does really like the Green Bay Packers. Rick came into this marriage knowing that I loathe all things sports related. So, while I’m still not a fan of football (or any sport), I do love a good photo opp, so here we are in our custom Packers jerseys brought over from Korea by Rick’s brother, Justin. We didn’t get a very good picture of the backs, but each jersey has our name on it…and Rick’s says Woodard. They are really cool and don’t we look great?! :)

Also, I had this really neat picture of Jinx and I wanted to include it in the blog. I didn’t think this picture needed its own post, so I am just throwing it in here.

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A Visit from Pop Pop and Uncle Justin

It’s funny how you no longer are referred to by your actual name once children come into your life. Rick’s dad becomes Pop Pop and Rick’s brother becomes Uncle Justin! They both came through Cheyenne for a quick visit and we had a great time hanging out with them. I took the opportunity to get a few cute shots of them with the kids in the backyard. We also got to go for a ride in Uncle Justin’s Mustang. Vaughan thought it was about the coolest thing he’s ever seen! :)

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Fun with Lighting

Since I love to practice new photo techniques, and the kids are always cute, I tried messing around with my off-camera flash…held at different angles and locations. It was kind of fun and I got some interesting results! :)

I told Vaughan to do a scary face…

 

I love the way this one came out! Rheya was pretending to talk on a cell phone. She was using a little wooden block that holds up a magnetic doll so you can change her outfits. At first glance, it really does look like a phone though…I have a pink cell phone case that is exactly that color.

 

A little back lighting…kind of neat!

 

I have no idea what she’s doing here. She looks pretty mad, but she really wasn’t. Just weird timing, I guess!

 

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New furniture in da house!

We have anxiously been awaiting the arrival of our new couch and the kids new bunk beds. We ordered them from Ashley Furniture, but they don’t keep anything in stock, so we had to wait for them to arrive by truck. Everything came today! Our friend, Joe, helped Rick pick everything up and bring it in, then Rick got to work assembling the bunk beds. By the time we got back from Vaughan’s karate class it was almost ready. The kids are really excited…almost too excited. We had a hard time getting them to go to bed. Weird. Anyway, here are the pictures!

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First Day of Preschool (Year Two)

Here we are again! We’ll be here two more times with Rheya as well. This is Vaughan’s second year of preschool at DU. He absolutely loves it and loves his teacher. I’m so glad we found this school through some friends because it is THE BEST! Vaughan was very excited to see Miss Barbara and some of his friends from last year and he’ll get to make some new friends as well. I’m looking forward to the art projects and stories that Vaughan brings home each day…and I can tell you, without a doubt, that Rheya is very much looking forward to going to school at DU next year. Sometimes I can hardly get her out of there when we drop off Vaughan!

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