The most important reason I decided to go home was my grandfather's health. As many of you knew, he was diagnosed with liver cancer in March. I was fortunate enough to see him before he turned for the worse. He passed away on May 30 at the Harvard Nursing Home. He was a wonderful grandfather whom I have several memories of golfing, playing games, watching sports, farming and all the fun holiday family gatherings at his house. He was a very generous and kind-hearted man who I dearly miss, but I know that the Lord is taking care of him now.
On a happier note, my cousin, Ashley, got married over Memorial weekend in Des Moines and I was lucky enough to attend her and Brian's special day. Everything looked so beautiful and I was happy to be around family that I hadn't seen in a long time. My nephew, Garrett, was the Ringbear and he was as cute as ever...he even managed to bow with the flower girl at the altar like all the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I think Shannon and my wedding paid off as practice!
Also while I was home, one of my good friends, Missy, had a BBQ which a lot of my friends attended. She called it a Tea Party Nebraska style with beer replacing the tea and hamburgers the crumpets...basically making fun of my occasional tea parties over here! The food and company were great and we even were able to play some yard games, bean bag throw and yard golf. It was nice catching up with everyone and made me realize how fortunate I am to have such good friends!
I also made a stop at Nelnet to visit my former coworkers and drop off a box of Belgium Neuhaus Chocolates, which I heard were a hit! It was fun to see everyone since I truly do miss the people. It also made me miss my old job, but then I remembered it's not too bad having my life at the moment! I'm applying for jobs occasionally, but still no luck. Recently Shannon's partner at Deloitte sent an email about a business that helps spouses of expats try to find employment, so I will be looking into it.
I traveled out west to Shannon's parents in Bertrand to say hello one day and by the end of the night ended up taking cover in his parents' basement because of all the tornado warnings (I don't miss having those around!) Shannon's grandma, Mildred, had a girls get together, so besides Shannon's mom, Lynda, I was able to see his Aunt Trudy and cousin Jill and her new baby, Shali. It was fun sharing some European experiences along with catching up with all of them. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see much of Lonnie, Amy and the kids since they were all sick. They stopped by Terry and Lynda's while I was there for a quick hello.
Since I haven't played much golf here, I made sure to get my fill of it while I was back home. I think I played around 5 times. Garrett even came out with my dad and me once! Thankfully, I haven't lost my touch yet! I played mostly bogey golf which I was happy with considering I wasn't even using my own clubs. Though, I really did like Kathy's clubs; mom's, not so much (please someone buy her some new clubs!) I played mostly at Crooked Creek in Clay Center, but made it up to Lincoln one time to play at Wilderness Ridge with Evan since he's working there for the Summer. On a side note, I got a stinking speeding ticket with my parent's car on the way to the golf course! However, ask Evan about his which happened the same day!
I also supervised some fishing back at the Fisher Pond! One evening, my cousins, Jake and Jacey along with Evan, Garrett and I did a little fishing while the rest of the family hung out around a fire pit up by the house. Not sure how many we ended up catching. Not this evening, but another time while I was back, I actually caught one which I called a whale since it took me forever to reel in!
Cousins: Courtney, Ashley and me at Ash & Brian's Rehearsal in Des Moines
Ashley & Brian exiting the church
My stunning nephew, the Ringbear!
My stunning nephew, the Ringbear!
Clay, Kathy, Emma and Garrett
Cousins: Christina, Jake, me, Evan & Jacey at Ash's wedding
Missy's BBQ with cute little Camryn
The gang at the BBQ: Missy, Tarah, me, Gina, Emily, Charity and Elizabeth