Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Johanna Graduated!

This is the first post from me(Aaron) on the blog. I'm finally getting caught up with things ;-)

Jo graduated with a BS in Sociology and a Minor in Business Management. I'm so proud of her and was happy to have some time with Mom and Dad. Plus it got me out of work an hour early 2 days in a row. Haha. I can't wait until I find something that will utilize my talents.

Graduation was 2 days here in Provo because there were over 6,ooo graduates. The first day was Thursday's commencement ceremony where they had a few speakers. The main speaker was Elder D. Todd Christofferson. The commencement ceremony only lasted about an hour or so and we snapped some photos afterward. The second day was on Friday and had all the graduates split up into their respective colleges and walk at different times. Johanna belonged to the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. It was the largest college. I have a panoramic photo of the Arena where it was all held.

For those of you that know me you know that I don't really talk all that much so I'll let the photos do the talking.

Good Job JO! We all love you! Thanks for coming out Mom and Dad! It was nice to eat out 3 nights in a row. Italian, Brazilian, and Indian.

Mahalo(Thankyou) and Aloha

By the way... the Red, white, and Green sash she is wearing means she went on a study abroad to Italy. She also has some cords that showed that she belongs to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We Love You Grandpa

I've had quite an eventful week. My Mom flew into town on April 19th and my Dad flew in on April 21st for my graduation from BYU. (There will be another post about graduation). On April 22nd, the first day of Graduation, we got a call from my uncles that my Grandfather-- my Mother's Father-- had passed away.

My grandpa was a brave and mighty man. He fought in the south pacific during World War II as a Ranger in the Army-- which is a pretty big deal. Grandpa was in the front line, and would lay on barbed wire for the rest of the soldiers to run over him safely. He had scares on his chest from the barbed wire. To top it off-- he was also a purple heart veteran. A land mine blew up close to grandpa, he was thrown up high into the air and was knocked out when he landed. He said that his first sense to come back was his hearing, and he couldn't see or move. He was scared that an enemy might stab him with a bayonet. He finally recovered all of his senses and made it safely back to camp. He proceeded to go back out and fight.

After he returned from war Grandpa continued to excel in a very dangerous occupation-- a fire fighter. He became the chief firefighter and saved many people's lives and possessions. What an amazing man.

After my Grandfather's 80th birthday bash he had a stroke. It was devastating to him. He had become an avid golfer since he retired, and his stroke left him partially disabled with regards to speech and walking. He could no longer play golf. Somehow he got on with his life. About a year ago my grandfather's condition worsened, and he longed to move in with a family member-- he needed help, and didn't want to live in assisted living or a nursing home. My Mother and Father graciously offered him a place to stay in our home. After some renovations to our small home my grandpa moved from North Carolina to Maryland. My dedicated mother took care of him every day. She prepared his meals, cleaned his rooms, took him to the doctor, and did anything else he requested. My father also became closer to grandpa. Less than two months ago my grandpa suffered from a mini-stroke that completely took away his ability to speak. His conditioned continually worsened until he couldn't do anything for himself. My parents have always done whatever they could for grandpa, and I know he was grateful.

My parents had been planning to fly out to Utah for my graduation for many months, and did not want to miss it, even though Grandpa's condition was very poor. My dad changed his flight so he would only be away from grandpa for a couple days instead of a week-- he is so caring. I felt bad that neither of my parents were with grandpa when he died. But two of my uncles were. Since my parents were out of town my grandpa stayed in a nursing home for less than 2 days before he passed- due to natural causes. Most of his 9 living children were able to visit him recently. Both of my parents were very grateful that my aunt and uncles were able to spend time with grandpa while they were away in Utah. It was most important to them that Grandpa had family around him when he passed-- and that wish came true.

I remember Grandpa visiting our family when I was a young child. It was during the time in his life when he was golfing all the time. Grandpa's skin has always been so tan that my older sister thought he was black!! Everyone in my family says I have grandpa's dark skin :) There is a precious video at home in Maryland where my older sister Melissa is recording, she walks into my room and grandpa and I are playing princess. I have a tiara and grandpa is having a ball. I used to be the "pretty princess queen." He came to our house for Christmas and I remember he got me a doll that I absolutely loved. He would call me Dolly all the time too :) I'll have to ask my parents to email me pictures/videos from my childhood with grandpa, they are so precious and are making me happy just thinking about it!

I was home last for Christmas and New Years for 2009. Aaron and I were able to spend time with grandpa. In his old age one of the only things he enjoyed in life was watching duke basketball. Because of him--even though I am from Maryland (one of Duke's rivals)--I will always be a Duke fan. We had the chance to watch a few games with him, and it was so fun to see him get excited about something. Below is the last picture I have with grandpa, on new years eve.

I know that grandpa is in a better place. Though his death is sad, I know he is happy now. He would tell us how he wanted to die so badly-- he couldn't enjoy many aspects of life that had made him happy before. I know that grandpa is now reunited with his deceased parents, siblings, and son. I'm sad that I won't be able to attend his funeral. But I am really excited that in a few weeks he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery. Ever since he returned from war he longed to be buried in Arlington, and his dream has come true. It is such an honor to be buried at this national monument. I am so proud of my grandpa, and can't wait to show my children the momentous place he is buried.

Writing this post, even though it's unusually long, has helped put me at peace with his passing. We all have to mourn in our own ways, and I thank you for reading through this :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bridal Shower Bliss

So, Liz, my younger sister and maid of honor, was in charge of organizing a bridal shower here in Utah. She is leaving the state in a couple weeks to go back home to Maryland before leaving on a delightful study abroad to London. Since BYU finals are starting this week, the latest my bridal shower could be--with her here--was last Saturday, April 10th! Which was SO close to the time I got engaged--meaning there was not much time to plan. Big thanks to two of my good friends DIANA WILLIAMS and EMILY YAGER for helping Liz with the shower. And although many of my friends weren't able to attend due to short notice, I really enjoyed seeing my friends that did come out for the shower. I don't get to see my friends as often as I'd like for some reason.

The food was fabulous: homemade pasta salad (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red peppers, olives, and seasonings), fruit salad, veggie tray, rolls, NUTELLA cupcakes (made by Emily), and HUGE chocolate covered strawberries! Not to mention some yummy crystal light :)

They bought me a nice tiara and boa to wear, and even made me a wedding dress out of toilet paper. We played some funny games and I ate a lot of double bubble gum when I got questions wrong from guessing the answers to an interview they filmed with Aaron. I got some nice gifts for the honeymoon too. It was such a happy and fun day.

And just to top it off, it was about 65-70 degrees outside! Aaron had washed my car (thanks!) and we went to the park and ate leftovers from the shower, went shopping for some new clothes for our engagement pictures, and had a delicious dinner at Diana's. Yes, Saturday was a great day. I miss it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A "YAY!" and a "Question?"

As most of Aaron's loyal facebook friends know-- Aaron got a job today! He starts working full time tomorrow. He is going to be helping a company with market research, right here in Provo. The job market is tough right now, and we are very thankful that Aaron found something so close by-- and something that won't interfere with his beloved band practice/shows on nights/weekends. SO, that is the "YAY!"


The "Question?" that has been on Jo's mind for the past week or so is: Is it rude to ask someone if I can borrow/rent/buy their used wedding dress?

Let me explain... I honestly do feel like we should all do our part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I admit that I am no where close to where I want to be in these three areas, but I figure-- if it's already been made, and it's just sitting there, shouldn't someone be using it? Of course there is always the added benefit of used things being a bit cheaper :) It's nice to have things of your own... but spending over a thousand dollars on a dress isn't exactly where I'd like to put my money. I much rather buy a flight to/from Hawaii. Wedding dresses in particular are somewhat a touchy subject, since they usually carry emotional ties for brides. Maybe I'm overestimating their importance... what do you think? Some of my friends had some gorgeous gowns, but I don't want to be rude or put them in an awkward situation by trying to ask them if I can try it on!

And no worries-- I'm not looking at something like this one!