Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1st Pumpkin Carving

My incredibly sweet grandparents stopped by our new house for a few days while on the way back to their home in Florida. They were a HUGE help around our home. We kept them busy hanging things, organizing, putting furniture together, etc. I had to remind myself that they are in their 80's and not to work them too hard-you wouldn't know it by watching them! They were great :)

They also brought some pumpkins along with them. My Grandpa and Micah carved one together. It was Micah's first time to see this (well, really first time to see anything "Fall" related) and he was amazed at Grandpa's skills with the knife. My Grandpa tried to get Micah to help pull all of the seeds and gunk out of the pumpkin. I thought he'd love getting all messy and feeling the slimy seeds, but boy was I wrong. Micah took one handful out and was DONE. His face was priceless and he backed away as if he was scared of it. Needless to say, he sat back and was quite a good spectator.
My sweet lil' pumpkins :)
Thanks Grandpa and Shirley for a wonderful few days together! LOVE YOU

Monday, September 20, 2010

Big Joe

God is so good. When I left to go overseas, I was blessed to still have had all FOUR of my Grandparents alive. Since they all were over 80 years old, I knew there was a good chance that one of them would pass away while we lived overseas. Therefore, leaving them in 2008 was extremely difficult for me. However, all four were still living when I returned back to the States and I was even able to spend some special time with each one of them!

I knew that my Mom's dad, Big Joe, had been really sick and had been rather confused at times. We were able to visit him and Nana when we went to my cousin's wedding in August. We had a wonderful time, he was actually really alert, and I loved seeing his tender face look at my little ones. About a month after this visit, he slipped into a coma and passed away several days later. Oh my goodness, I miss him more than words can say. I still can hear his sweet laugh and see his big smile.

Ironically, he was in the best physical shape of all my Grandparents. He played basketball for the University of Kentucky under Adolf Rupp, and won an NCAA Championship in 1948. He even went on to start an NBA team called the Indianapolis Olympians (which doesn't exist anymore). After his basketball days were over, he became an avid golfer. He had NINE hole-in-ones in his lifetime! Amazing.

Oh Big Joe, I miss you so much! I am most thankful that you loved Jesus Christ and can rest knowing I'll see you one day in heaven :)

Here are a few pictures from my visit with them in August...
It was hard to see him so skinny like this.
Our last picture together.

As soon as my Mom heard Big Joe was getting really sick, she drove to be with him. She had a few short moments with him before he slipped into a coma that he never woke from. My Mom is the best daughter he could have asked for as she stayed with her parents until her Dad finally passed away, about 9 days later. My Mom and Nana were sitting at his bedside when he died.
The Legacy he left behind.

There were many flowers sent in his honor, but my favorites were the Chevy sign (because he was a Chevrolet dealer) and the golf bag.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tying the Knot

I was soooo happy to be back in the States for my sweet friend's, Shalane's, wedding. We went to high school together and have stayed good friends throughout the years. Even though she's a year younger than me, I look up to her in so many ways. She married a guy that went to high school with us, so the wedding was like a high school reunion. I'm thankful I got to spend a day with her before the wedding since it's impossible to get anything but a quick picture with the bride at a wedding :)

Ps. I went completely solo-no kids or husband. I was thankful to not have kids for the night-my amazing brother and sister watched them for me. But I sure did miss my husband-Paul had already moved to Birmingham :(

Love my Zutt girls!
So fun to see Blake!
My best friend, Kristin, with her sweet baby girl, Ava!
Too funny.
The gorgeous BRIDE!!
Congrats Travis and Shalane!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Grandpa

My Grandpa is one of my favorite people. He is 87 years old but still acts like a kid, and I love that about him. He has always done a wonderful job of spending time with his grandchildren. I have so many memories of playing games, cards, etc with him that I will cherish forever. He is the best handyman I know (even at his age) and helps with a selfless attitude.

Throughout the years, Grandpa and Shirley have traveled all over the States and Canada for several months at a time in what we call "the Taj". Every year we wonder if it will be there last adventure, but they keep pushing on! I was so excited they got to come to Louisville for several days while we were there. It was great being able to skype while overseas, but there is NOTHING like seeing someone in person!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


...a dog cage is quite the entertainment for these little cousins ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Akin Crew

In late August, Paul's parents came to Louisville for a quick trip, and I mean quick! They only stayed one night, so we were sure to get all the Akin's together for some fun. Everyone came to my parents house for pool time and dinner. I think it may have been the first time I'd ever seen my father-in-law in the pool-I guess those grandchildren make you do crazy things ;) I know the kids sure loved having their Lottie AND Granddaddy in the pool playing with them. And I think the older boys enjoyed being kids again too...hence the basketball picture below :)

The next day, we all met at the mall and ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, which was followed by some shopping damage.
Definitely a short, but sweet time together! Loved it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mom Caldwell

Until recently, I had never lost a family member or really dealt with a death of anyone close to me. Well, that has all changed in the past two months and has made me realize that this life is truly fleeting and our only hope comes in Christ alone.

We arrived in Florida and the next morning we were planning on driving about an hour to visit my Grandma and my Great-Grandma (Mom Caldwell). I hadn't seen either of them since we had returned to the States and I couldn't wait for them to meet our newest addition. However, our plans quickly changed as my Grandma called us that morning telling us that Mom Caldwell had passed away. She was 105 years old, YES 105!! Can you believe it? She stayed relatively healthy until the end and still beat people in card games. I was so blessed to have known her for 25 years and will miss her dearly.

My heart really hurts more for my Grandma, who spent almost everyday with her Mom. She was so great with her and I'm sure in some ways she won't know what to do with the time she used to spend with her Mom. To get my Grandma's mind off of her loss, we invited her to spend a few days with us at my parent's condo in FL. We enjoyed getting some quality time with her and only wish it could happen more often.

Thankfully, we were able to introduce Micah to Mom Caldwell during the summer of 2008 (before we moved overseas) and got a 5-generation picture taken. Believe it or not, we didn't plan on matching, it just happened. She was 103 yrs old at this time and I forever will treasure this picture :)

Here are a few pics from this trip in Florida-We love you Grandma!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beach Family Pics

Here are a few family pictures we attempted to take while at the beach. We went at a really HOT and humid time-not ideal, but we did get a few good shots and hey, it's tough working with two little ones ;)
We love our Poppi...