Random thoughts, stories from home...


Old Friends...

During the 8 days we spent in Colorado, some of the highlights for me were the stops we intentionally made to walk through the past. My dad went to school at the very prestigious Colorado School of Mines and he did his post graduate work at the University of Denver, where I played on the lawn as a toddler. We made sure to visit both campuses so the kids could "see" two of the schools that helped shape the metallurgical engineering career of their beloved Pop Pop. 

We also made two 90 minute trips to visit old friends of my parents. Kelly is 85 now and was a very, very dear friend to my father and my grandfather, long before I was ever born. I grew up around Kelly and my memories of him from my early childhood always make me smile. A rough and tough Marine, Kelly was always pushing my mom's buttons and stirring up trouble, which just made my dad roll with laughter. Kelly always had a drink in his hand, a cigar or chewing tobacco in his mouth and vocabulary that left my mom covering our ears while dragging us away, shaking an angry finger as she left. Kelly gave me my first cigar when I was about 3. He gave me my first piece of gum before I had teeth and he encouraged me to sip on his "soda" when my mom wasn't looking. He loved stirring up trouble and my mom was an easy target. He and Ginny never had any kids, so I imagine he enjoyed all the special time he spent with our family before we moved to Arizona. Even after we moved, he still made the long drive to Phoenix every year for the next decade or so, just to see us.

Since my dad's passing 5 years ago, I haven't seen Kelly and his age keeps him closer to home now. We called him from Denver on a day that Audra had a break in her softball schedule and we made the long drive up to see him. He's much older now and moves a lot slower, but he still has that same cutting personality, dry wit and rough exterior. The kids got a kick out of old Kelly and they quickly learned that his very loud bark was much bigger than his bite. The day before we flew home, we decided to go back for one last visit. Kelly had called the day after our first visit and almost begged us to come up for Sunday brunch. The kids had a laundry list of things they wanted to cram into our last day in Colorado, but Wade and I felt there was nothing more important than spending a little more time with Kelly.

We drove up and enjoyed a delicious brunch at his golf resort while the kids got to hear multiple stories of their Pop Pop and their great-grandfather, from someone who loved them both very much. It was terrific to see our kids so engrossed in stories they had never heard before and they appreciated the passion Kelly had in revisiting his fond memories from so long ago.

We spent several hours with Kelly and Ginny. Ginny and I sat on the front porch swing and she quietly pointed out the house next door, which was for sale. "It's big enough for all of you and it has a finished basement," she said, with a smile on her face.  As we drove away, waving out the windows to them both as they stood on their porch, I'm pretty sure there were tears in that tough, old Marine's eyes!


Colorado All-Star

Our big summer vacation this year was spent in Colorado and after 8 long days enjoying the Mile High City, we are finally back home. Audra's softball schedule took us there, but we filled our extra time enjoying some of the local flavor and visiting dear friends from my childhood. The weather was quite warm, but certainly not the blazing inferno that Phoenix has been. The softball went okay, but Audra was disappointed in how her team performed overall...especially after having traveled so very far to compete. Fortunately, softball is just a game and with our cups overflowing, we chose to embrace our circumstances and enjoy all that we could while we were there.  

Because Denver is my hometown and a place we haven't traveled yet as a family, the kids have been wanting to go there for years. We stayed in the beautiful Denver downtown Sheraton and could travel easily by foot or by bus along an outdoor mall of shopping and eateries along 16th St.  The boys, especially, were thrilled that we were able to attend two Colorado Rockies baseball games. The Rockies didn't win either game, but we were grateful to have been there and the July fireworks show was spectacular.

The highlight for Audra was being invited to play in a pre-touranment All-Star game, with girls from all over the country.  Audra was the only girl from AZ on her team and it was fun for her to play with top-notch players from across the United States. She played a solid 2nd base and batted 2nd for her team. The score in the bottom of the last inning was 2-6, with her team losing.  She came to the plate with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd base.  Two swings later, she hit a bomb off of the left field fence that almost went over and scored a run, which left her on 2nd with a stand-up double. Moments later, she ended up scoring as the tying run and they eventually won the game 7-6! It was a fantastic finish and will be a great memory for her always.

Here's the BIG hit.....the sounds make you feel like you're in the stands with us and people all around us were cheering her on.


Caught In The Act...

There are moments when we catch our children misbehaving or doing something they should not be doing. There are other moments when we catch our children doing something wonderful, entertaining or just plain funny.  Such is the case here, when Wade walked silently in the back door and heard Colton belting out a song while playing the piano. Gifted with a voice like his sister, Sierra, we are always encouraging Colton to sing. He does not flatter us, but rather gives a sharp, "No" and runs off.  So, as Wade walked in and caught this precious moment, he had to grab his phone to film it.  Colton had no idea Wade was in the house, so he is completely startled at the end. I wasn't home, so I'm grateful to have this little snippet, which always makes me chuckle.....

Colton...caught practicing :) from Sheila Pettit on Vimeo.

And here is a second clip of Colton performing this same song, without vocals, for his 4th grade classmates at school.  Colton is such a complex, wonderful child and I am always amazed by the pure joy he has for absolutely everything he undertakes. His passion for sports, PE and all things competitive is unquenchable, while he also has the kindest heart and the most caring soul, with a love of music that is truly a gift. It isn't easy to perform in front of your peers, so I was very proud of his courage and he did fantastic!



His alarm rang at 4:45 AM. Quietly, he krept into the library with a laptop and a camera, to make a priceless birthday gift for his sister Audra, who would be waking at 6:00 AM to welcome in her 16th year.  Watching the video brought tears to my eyes....both for our sweet daughter and the 16 years that have sprinted past and for the tender heart of her loving brother.

Audra 16 birthday from Sheila Pettit on Vimeo.



In Florida...

Almost as quickly as Christmas came, it was gone. The taking down of Christmas, unlike the putting up, always comes with little fanfare and even less help. As Wade and I quietly took the tree down while the kids were back in school, we discussed a post-Christmas fall that my sweet grandmother took and whether I should fly out to Florida, to aide in her recovery. In her 90's, this is her second hip fracture in three years and I flew immediatey back the last time she fell to assist with her long, painful recovery.

After talking through all of it with Wade and the kids, I made the prayerful decision to fly to Florida with my mom to help with my grandma's painful journey.  With underlying cardiac issues, there was initial concern that my grandma would not actually make it through the grueling recovery process. My mom needed to be with her mom and with my dad no longer here to travel with her, I felt it was best for me to step up and assist both my mom and her mom.

We flew into Tampa a week ago today. We have a hotel on the beach in Clearwater...just 10 minutes from the hospital. We wake up each morning to the splashing waves, looking out at the beautiful water in the gulf before heading into the hospital for very long days, spent encouraging my grandma. She has made huge strides in her recovery thus far and I am so proud of her courage as she pushes herself through the painful, twice-daily physical therapy. 

Here's a photo of my mom with her mom, my sweet grandma Love.

And one with me and my precious grandma, whom I love so very much...

Although I miss my family terribly, am missing Colton's 10th birthday TODAY and am missing Audra's softball team playing in CA this weekend, I know that I am right where God wants me to be. I am blessed to be here! I'm praying that my grandma continues to improve and that my final four days here will be a blessing to her.