Friday, August 31, 2012

Nina Roberta Louise Kellenbenz

I read this at my Grandma's funeral a week ago.  What a tremendous woman.

She was more than the quintessential grandma.  She had a pantry full of the worst kinds of junk food, a belly full of laughter, a house full of trinkets, a mind full of stories, but a heart that was never full. 

Her soul was quite a different story.  That was filled to the brim.  Jesus was her rock, her healer, her provider, her example,her friend.  But Grandma's heart?  In there was always room for one more.

If you had the excitable privilege of ever knowing my Grandma, if even for a short time, then you probably know these things about her.  She wore her heart on her sleeve.  She is the best example I know of someone who valued relationships the way that Jesus did.  Grandma’s heart was made for people, especially her grandkids.  She was good at being herself and just loving us as hard as she could.  It wasn't fancy or showy or about things. It was about the relationships and time spent together.  It was about second chances and unconditional love.  It was about support in any venture and heartfelt praise when we found success or adversity.

Anybody was welcome at her house, anytime.  So many of our friends visited 1081 Manning Drive, and were treated as adopted grandkids from the second they walked in the door.

We all have different memories of Grandma and Grandpa, and mine are some of the fondest memories of my life.  Remember making the drive from Maryland to South Carolina most summers, hitting the stone pavement as we made a left at the fork in the road? That meant we were almost there.  The big brown van usually erupted in singing or screaming or whatever tends to happen when five kids, a dog, and two parents have arrived at their destination.  No matter what time it was, we ran out to the pier or broke out a deck of cards around their kitchen table.  The next day Grandma would drag out the big yellow laundry tote full of kitchen implements and containers she had been saving for us. We had mud pies and slough-shakes to make!  In the early days, she was floating with usin her blue and white Styrofoam lake chair. In the latter days she was watching us from her throne up on the porch.

Most Christmas seasons didn’t begin until the fifth wheel bounded down the driveway.  As soon asGrandpa put it in park, we were running out the door to give hugs and fight over who would get to keep the popcorn tin, always repurposed as a trashcan for our rooms.   There were homegrown Christmas pageants,performed mostly as improv, met always with exuberant praise.

Golf cart rides, trips to Walmart, her homemade coleslaw,listening to records down in the basement, trying on her clip on earrings,  laughing at Grandpa, camping trips, trying wasabi for the first time, fill in the blank. We have the memories, we have the example, we have the wisdom.  We are blessed.

Grandma’s spirit of adventure could not be matched, except by maybe Grandpa.  She's been in Heaven for 48 hours now; I’m sure they've already found each other and gotten to know the place, maybe even met up with Aunt Kate for an afternoon of fishing in the Crystal Sea.  She has most likely picked up a jewel at each spot to prove they've been there, and if there are sharpies in heaven, she has undoubtedly written on the jewel the region in which it was found.  Just think, they could be making their way back now to their very own mansion in Glory, which Grandpa started custom tailoring as soon as he arrived.  I bet you didn't know there was brown paint in Heaven!  She will line the golden pathways around their mansion with the jewels they found, and may be elated that she won't have to resort to artificial flowers there in heaven.  And if in fact, all dogs (and cats) do go to heaven?  She is sitting in her easy chair with the kitten version of Ruth in her lap, singing in time with the angels during gospel hour.  And once that’s over, she’ll pick up her yarn and make afghans for her neighbors, which is easy for her now since her hands have been healed.   She’ll be ready for Dave to drop in at anytime, she can’t wait to give him a hug and tell him how much she loves him.

It is hard to say goodbye to the other half of such a legacy.  But easy, and almost joyous,when we consider the journey of faith here on earth that must occur if we want to be reunited with the two of them at their lakehouse in Heaven.   All they have ever wanted for their children,grandchildren, and great grandchildren was for us to really know the One for whom they lived.  Grant them this wish and anticipate the blessing and fulfillment that won’t come from anything but knowing God.  Their life was an adventure and can only be considered a legacy because they followed hard after Him.

Once she arrived back at the lake to finish her race here on earth, she looked out at the water and told me she felt like she was finally in heaven.   My soul was excited for her, knowing she was on the verge of finally meeting her Jesus. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Time Flies: Week 18

Baby's eighteenth week was bittersweet.  We attended the funeral of her great-grandma, who sadly, she will never remember.  We have so many stories that I cannot wait to pass on to her.  Grandma loved Olivia and enjoyed spending some of the last days of her life falling further for our sweet girl.  

Cashed out at the viewing.  Ben took one for the team and went off in another room to get her to sleep!
On the way to Manning.
Pink porcelain cheeks.
Visiting daddy at work!
Spending Saturday with Aunt SeeBee & Tracie at the outlets!
Just when she was learning to keep her bink intact, she learned to take it out of her mouth and play.
Listening to Mr. Goodstache at Kudu on Sunday.  Happy as a clam!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Time Flies: Week 17

Olivia's seventeenth week felt like total chaos.  Ben worked super long hours all week, which meant she got to spend extra time with her grandparents.  We were blessed to be able to close the week with a weekend trip to Aunt Sally's condo in North Myrtle Beach.  We did a whole lot of lounging, seafood eating, and generally being thankful for the rest.

Heading to the pool.
Had this to celebrate on my 26th birthday!
Left her float and hat at home so we had to buy them all over again in Myrtle Beach...
Doesn't it look like a riding helmet?
"When can I have a Krispy Kreme ma?"
The sweetest girl.
Taking a temporary leave from Minnie.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time Flies : Week 16

Surprise!!  We made it through the sixteenth week.  Here are some highlights:
This is so rare anymore.
I'd do anything to go back to the days where she wanted to snooze all day long!

The best part about this week was:
  • Going to see Grandma at her lakehouse.  It was incredible to see the impact that Olivia had on her.  They both smiled and everything was right in the world.
Some things we've learned:
  • Disposable diapers are so much easier than cloth.  I wish I didn't care about living on a budget.
  • Already scouring clearance for cheap Christmas gifts.  Kids clothes for $1, yes please!
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • She demands 100%, 100% of the time.  We have to plan for free time.
Olivia loves:
  • Her Minnie Mouse from Aunt Nae Nae
  • Her play mat.  She is batting at things nonstop.
  • Her wonderful grandparents!

Olivia surprised us when:

  • She grabbed food off my plate!

Sunday best.
Come to Work With Mommy for the Last 10 Minutes Day!
Sit in Mr. Alex's Chair and Rule the Roost Day!
Getting freaked out by Mr. Alex's Biggie

The adult equivalent would be falling asleep in a hammock on Half Moon Cay.
All of life's important things.

We spent time with Grandma in the hospital last week,
and she has since been moved back to her lakehouse.
Please pray for her comfort and smooth journey Home.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Time Flies : Week 15

Surprise!! We made it through week fifteen. Here are some highlights:

After a short and not-so-sweet stroller ride.

The best part about this week was:
  • She started squealing when she's happy or trying to talk.  Ben cannot handle it.  I love it.  Loud=Love.
Some things we've learned:
  • At 10 pm she typically starts melting down.
  • I don't think I will ever feel rested again!  And I only have one kid!
  • Girl loves the olympics.  Her favorites are swimming and beach volleyball.  I think she will end up playing field hockey though.
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • Be home by 10 pm.
Olivia loves:
  • Her walker
  • Sophie the giraffe
  • Her new Playtex Nurser bottle
  • Thursday nights with Aunt PT

Looking out the window to the front porch and seeing this will never, ever get old.
During beach volleyball.
During swimming.
Wearing her fish bowl shirt in honor of Team USA swimming!  And our friend Callie!
Out for Mexican on her last day with Ella, holding hands and sitting with Grampy.
She has a few rare cuddles left for us.
My sweets.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Best Friend's Wedding

I met Aimee on my very first day of college.  She was my roommate, and we were inseparable.  I can't believe we're both married now.  I can't believe how fast life happens.

Below are some pictures of her wedding...I was in it so didn't have much time to make things fancy.


I love these hanger things.

Her decorator was absolutely INCREDIBLE.  She used to work for Disney...

Best favor ever...pralines!

Loved the cake.

Favor bags.

Such a hit!

My parents and two of my sisters came, we've all been impacted by Aimee in one way or another!

Just gorgeous.

The wedding and reception was at Old Santee Canal State Park, at the Old Stony Landing Plantation house.  They had a little cocktail reception immediately following the ceremony down on the dock, and then moved the party out to the lawn.

Me and O.  (Behind us are the doors she walked through for the ceremony.  Seriously breathtaking.)

Flowers and candles in jars, hanging all over!

Diaper changing on the go.  Thankful for such wonderful parents!

My sister caught in an awkward pose...

Aimee and Aaron, and her sister Christy.  Man I love those girls.

So glad Nae caught these on camera...classic Aimee!

Real Housewives sister and parents.

Look!  Someone is forcing me to eat!  
No, no.  That actually has never happened to me...ever.

The Scotts and the Zevenbergen's!  
I got rid of my funky name and she took on a funky name.

Head table.

I loved how they brought the inside out!

Yard games!


Katie, who Aimee and I met our first night at CSU.

Dad and Ben.

Family picture.  There were 30 other bad ones to go with this.


The gift table.

They walked out among sparklers and best friends.  
One of the most perfect weddings I have ever seen!