Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer so far


We have been doing all kinds of fun stuff this summer. It has been going super fast! Swim team has been the bulk of our mornings of course and all of our Saturdays (except for one 4th of July weekend when we stayed home and really did nothing except play games and hang out. Camille joined us on Sunday).
   Gary and Jerri even stopped in for a quick visit and we met up with them for Dim Sum.
   Almost every Thursday we have gone to the beach (Twin Lakes) with the Lim family. We always enjoy our time with them. Even Oliven has really started enjoying the water. (3 times so far, and once with Colby and Alex - New Brighton Beach). We all really love the beach, and with Carrie it is very simple - the adults get adult chatting time and the kids get lots of kid time, which is great. We also followed tradition and went to the fireworks in Morgan Hill.
  We have been on two camping trips this summer. We started the summer with a trip to Mt. Madonna with Deb and Heather. Deb brought her cute little camper to sleep in. (I ended up feeling miserable with a UTI - Heather was very kind and took me to get some AZO at midnight). In the morning I came back to San Jose for some antibiotics. The first day while I was gone the boys went on a scavenger hunt hike with Deb and had a great time. (Oliven's favorite activity) We played lots of games and really enjoyed our time. Deb had a mystery ingredient dessert challenge for the boys with all kinds of different sweet treats. The adults got to vote on the best creation. It was Oliven, because Vander's was like the kitchen sink of desserts.
Larry, Theresa, Jeff and Marie joined us the second day to hang out, have dinner, and eat s'mores with us. That night I went home to sleep cause I still wasn't feeling great and I drove back in the morning to pick the kids up to get home for swim practice. We had pancakes for breakfast (Vander's favorite part) They had a great time and it really was a treat to get to spend that time with Deb and Heather. I hope we can make this a tradition in the future.
   I attended Alex's bachelorette party in Solvang. I flew to Anaheim to see the Grand's. I was going to ride up with Annie to the party, but she felt very anxious about leaving Hattie for two nights, so I met up with Lindsay and took the train up. It was nice getting to know here better. That night it was mostly lounging in the pool, drinking ( I chose to wait for the next night, cause I don't like to drink two nights in a row), playing the Newlywed game, and chatting. Annie came the next morning and we headed to the wineries, which was very fun. I love hanging out with Annie. We saw Justin Hartley and got a picture of him. So cool. The rest of the day was drinking and hanging out. I couldn't sleep that night for some reason - probably all the alcohols mixed together. It was so much fun. What a great group of women! I did feel like the 10 year younger crowd had a very different vocabulary. I really needed a translator for some of it. We headed back to Anaheim and I got to spend the day at the Grand's house. What a fun weekend!
   Golfland was a treat this summer. I planned it for the swim team little kids. They had a choice of golfing or going on waterslides. My kids chose golfing and did all 18 holes. They really had a great time with each other. I walked through the course with them, but really just as a supervisor. It was a super hot day and the boys really enjoyed themselves.
   We went to Kyoto palace for my birthday meal as a family. It was Vander and Oliven's first time and I think they really enjoyed their selves.
   We took a trip to San Francisco with Gina, Daniel and Ruth for the day. We went to Golden Gate park to play at a park with a cement side. Oliven was very brave and went down the slide several times, we all rode the carousel and saw a lion that reminded us of Aslan (we are reading the Chronicles of Narnia right now as a family). Then we headed over to the Presidio and went to this really cool artsy path and walked down it at a leisurely pace. After that we decided to walk across the Golden Gate bridge. We made it 1/4 of the way, enjoyed the beautiful view (it was super windy and chilly) and headed back as it was a far walk for Ruth. We got in the car and accidentally crossed the Golden Gate bridge due to confusing signage. We decided since we were already in Sausalito to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant there, and it was really delicious (almost like Italy Italian pizza). We re-crossed the bridge and went to Ghiradelli (sp?) for a really yummy dessert. It was super good - not surprisingly. Then it was time to go home after a fun-filled day, with a good friend.
   The boat races and over nighter with swim team was really fun for Vander. Oliven didn't love it as much because he really wanted to play dodge ball and didn't really get a chance.
  That evening I went to a thank you dinner (for helping at Hannah's wedding on the 4th of July, which was an amazing wedding. It was casual around her pool and so unique). Colby and Alex came
to town for a visit. The next day we headed out to Henry Cowell State park for some camping. We played games, had s'mores (of course), enjoyed each others company. We also went to the beach and all three of the boys played in the water despite it being very chilly. Oliven forgot his sandals, which created a big debauchal, with LOTS of wining and annoyance by everyone else. Ollie soaked his tennis shoes, and neither boy brought a sweatshirt. I doubt they will forget that again. Only time will tell. We went on an awesome hike and got a chance to see downtown Santa Cruz through the trees and enjoy the redwoods while Alex worked at Starbucks.
    Karen flew in to visit. I took her over to see Hannah's house, which was her house growing up. She loved it. It brought back all kinds of memories, good and bad. She also got to see a neighbor that was there when she was growing up and they caught up with each other. So cool. We also took her down to see the cabana club.
  Karen was excited to have an overlap trip with Colb and Alex. Alex had to work during the rest of her visit. :( We took a trip to the pool for the swim team's rootbeer float pool party. It was a bit frustrating because Oliven didn't want to come, but then he did, but he didn't get in the pool.
  We took Karen to the Winchester Mystery house, which she loved. In the mean time Vander, Ollie, and I got them haircuts, went to Big Five and Marshalls. It was very leisurely, and we got lots of steps in.
   On Friday I went in for Lasik surgery. I didn't really want to do it while Karen was here, but that was the appointment that they had, so I did it. It was a bit creepy to have a machine holding my eye open, but it was a pretty quick procedure. That night was pretty rough, but the next morning I felt pretty good. It's crazy that the eye is so resilient! Karen hung out with the boys during the surgery so Justin could take me. It's really amazing to wake up seeing and not need glasses or contacts. I still keep thinking that I need to take my contacts out at night. I am in the healing stages now, but it's so cool.
  Saturday morning Karen took me to the follow-up appointment and then we headed over to the swim meet. Karen was impressed and overwhelmed. There were a lot more people there than she had anticipated. That night was Family Fun night with pizza, cookies, and soda at the pool. It was of course delightful.
Sunday was Cookbook Club (theme of "Stuffed") at our house. Karen made cheesecake strawberries and I made canneloni. There were only 6 of us total, so I used the China that Grandma Gretchen gave me when we got married. It was a nice afternoon and Karen got along great with my Cookbook club ladies.
  The highlight of Monday was playing the game Sushi Go and then Karen taking us out for all you can eat sushi for dinner at Mr. Sushi. Who knew 18 years after meeting Justin that I would really enjoy all you can eat sushi.
 Having Karen here to visit was really nice! We all really enjoyed her company and were happy to have her. Vander even let her use his bed while she was here and he slept on Oliven's floor. I think Karen was most shocked by how healthy we eat and I think she loved the fresh peaches on the tree. I hope she comes back again soon, and maybe Uncle Ken will join her. :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last Day of school

Today was the last day of 1st and 3rd grade, so we celebrated by going out to lunch with the Lim family. It's tradition, and who are we to break tradition??? We decided to go to Golden House Chinese Food Restaurant because we all love it. We went to Baskin Robins for a scoop of ice cream afterwards and ended our afternoon together with a trip to the pool to play. It was nice to catch up with Carrie. Neither of us have had much time recently. The kids always enjoy their time together. It was a great way to end the school year.

End of the school year

  We have so many plans for the summer...I hope not too many!!! The end of the school year went swimmingly (literally because of swim team, but figuratively as well). The end of the year is always a bit tough because swim team starts before baseball ends, so we were on two different schedules in the evening and some dinners had to be eaten at 3:30 and 4pm. Not ideal.
Vander got to be on the Memorial Day tournament team this year. I think he really enjoyed it, but when it came time to do All Stars he decided that he wanted to pass and get into swimming for the summer.
  Oliven (and I) had a piano recital. This was the second one so far. He was of course adorable and did a great job. He comes into my bedroom almost every morning to say good morning and give me a double hug. He says, "this is the best part of my day so far." It's definitely my favorite part of every day. It is special and for me at least, sort of magical.
  As for me, recently were for me a performance for the 2nd and 6th graders (skits and a musical), which were great. I feel like I had a good first year as the music teacher and really brought the program to life. I look forward to learning from this year and doing even better next year.
  Last weekend Gary and Jerrie came for a quick visit as they were passing through and we met up with them at Dim Sum for a brunch.

Vander's 9th birthday

My big boy is 9 years old. He had a family party which included a chocolate peanut butter cake. Apparently the frosting is too sweet. Who knew that could happen for Vander??? 
  For Vander's 9th birthday he decided to have a sleepover with his best friend, Bella. He also invited Oliven's best friend, Jeremiah, to come sleep over at our house. The kids had a great time. They played outside, ate dinner, watched a movie called Justice League: City Breakout (Vander asked for popcorn and pretzels instead of a cake) and played Wii. In the morning they had blueberry pancakes. The sleeping arrangements were originally all four of them in a room, but that didn't work out so after an hour of "trying" to be quiet Oliven and Jeremiah went to Oliven's room for the night. They all had a great time and I would say without a doubt that the first attempt at a friend sleep over was a success.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hattie's first birthday

  Hattie had a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday party this year. It was super cute. Annie really knows how to throw a party! It was really cool decorations and tons of fun. Hattie ended up very very red with frosting, which totally made the day. Lots of family and friends showed up to celebrate this cute little lady. This even included a surprise visit from Colby and Alex. They were in L.A. for Alex's little brother's graduation from college and happened to text Freddy to ask if he was around. Their flight had been cancelled by Spirit airlines, so they had the afternoon free.
 Oliven and I had flown down on Thursday for the birthday party and stayed until Monday afternoon so we could spend time with our favorite girls. You can't beat cousin time. We had a really nice trip to Anaheim. We went to a park and the library and enjoyed our time together. On Saturday all the kids were a mess. Oliven coughed all night on the Friday night and so he didn't sleep at all and he was crankier than I have ever seen him in his life. It was not pleasant. Molly wasn't feeling great because she needed medicine. Hattie was having teething issues as well as a double ear infection.
Sunday, they were all feeling better and everyone enjoyed celebrating with Hattie Bear.


Oliven's 7th birthday

 
For Oliven's 7th birthday he decided to have an Earthday theme. They started the party by picking up trash. He made it into a game. They had to see who could pick up the most trash in about 20 minutes at the park. They did a great job. Oliven gets credit for all of the trash collected because he was so philanthropic in his choice of birthday activity. :)They were all surprised that there were so many cigarette butts on the ground because they never see people smoking. Oliven couldn't believe how many litter bugs there are out there. There were still lots of pieces of trash on the ground from Easter celebrations.
They had hotdogs and sausages for lunch. Afterwards they played an hour of Super Smash Brothers on the Wii. Then they decorated cookies the size of their faces like the Earth. We finally found a dessert that Vander couldn't finish. Who knew that was possible? He is my sugar boy. Right after they were on their sugar highs they went into the computer room to build a Lego set. Ollie got one for each boy. He invited only his best buddies: Jeremiah, Evan, Cooper, and Vander. He gave his party a 9 out of 10 rating.
  He had his family get together on his actual birthday. I was at a conference all day for EQ (a really great conference about building community and improv.) Because of that dinner was a little late, but of course delicious. Everyone enjoyed the pork ribs, rosemary potatoes and broccoli. For his dinner out he chose the Cheesecake Factory this year. Yum.

Take your kid to work day



The kids finally were old enough this year to go to the take your kid to work day at Lockheed Martin. They had a really good time with their dad at work and got to do lots of fun activities.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Oliven's birthday and celebrations

Oliven turned 7 and it was of course a blast. He has been so excited to be 7! His birthday was on Saturday this year, which would have been super amazing except I had to go to a full weekend teacher conference from 8-5:30 Saturday and Sunday. It was a great conference and well worth my time, but the timing wasn't great. Grammy, Pops, and Cousin Heather joined us for dinner to celebrate Oliven's birthday with Arti (Indian) pizzas, garbanzo beans and broccoli with a blueberry pie complete with lattice for dessert. Oliven is really into blueberries and how healthy they are. Then, birthday week continued. On Tuesday night we went to the Cheesecake Factory where Ollie got a burrito and we all shared cookie dough cheesecake and a little ice cream sundae with happy birthday written on the plate and sung by the staff. He enjoyed it very much. Wednesday at noon (right after school on a mini day is his birthday party with friends. He invited Jeremiah, Evan, and Cooper.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter



We had a nice Easter at Larry and Theresa's house. We went down around 10:30 and hung out for a little while. I helped Oliven with the new puzzle that Mitch and Katie got Oliven for his birthday. The boys did an Easter egg hunt (Evan had 4 eggs to himself and he very much enjoyed that). Since Larry's birthday was the next day he choose burgers for the lunch meal - yum! He also had a pecan and an apple pie. It was a nice time with family.

Trudy Day

This year we included Grandma Gretchen, my dad, and my mom in Trudy day (at the request of the boys). We spent the day eating, talking, playing, gardening, and looking at pictures. We planted all of our vegetables, bought and planted a blueberry bush, a blackberry bush, and a pomegranate tree named Gretchen and dedicated to her. We started the day with a mom and David favorite - english muffin sandwiches and frozen grapes, then we planted all our new veggies for the summer garden. We went to the Almaden nursery to buy more plants, fertilizers, and mulch. Then we went to Arby's for lunch with curly fries for Grandma. The boys watched a Disney movie with popcorn when we got home, while I planted the trees. After we had piano lessons and baseball practice. We followed that up with ribs, corn on the cob, and salad. Then grandma's lime cake for dessert. For a bed time story we looked at a photo album from my childhood. I sang them No Dogs Aloud, Whoo, whoo, whoo, I Made you Love me, and Crimson and Clover. It was a really nice day, included lots of loved ones, yummy food, and lots of tributes and memories. I love how much my kids enjoy Trudy Day. I do too.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Talent Show

Talent Show: Charter’s Got Talent
I have been working very very hard this year as my first year as the music and drama teacher and each time a performance is successful it is due to lots of “blood, sweat and tears.” The first year of anything is always the hardest with the largest learning curve. I made a very lofty goal for myself of having every child in the school perform and I am doing my very best to live up to that goal.
The talent show was a huge success…mostly. While I was down in San Diego after Grandma Gretchen died (this happened the day of the talent show auditions), it was decided that instead of Wednesday the talent show was going to be moved to Monday. This in turn meant that the dress rehearsal would no longer be Monday after school because you can’t perform before you have a dress rehearsal. Not ideal, but when things are out of your control you just have to figure out a way around it. So, Monday morning we had our dress rehearsal during class time (not my favorite idea, but the only one that worked). Dress rehearsal ran pretty smoothly for 90% of the time, until… BAM! The piano fell flat on it’s back on the cement stage. How in the world did this happen??? I did it! I did not even know you could knock a piano over!!! This particular piano had wheels on it that it shouldn’t have had. They made the center of balance higher than it should have been making it much easier to tip over. I was trying to move the piano on my own because the custodian was not going to be working during the actual talent show. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just need help. Lesson learned. So, for the talent show at school the piano wasn’t working quite right, which was a HUGE bummer as it was freshly tuned. Julia King, one of the parents, had donated the tuning just a couple of days prior. She immediately went to work trying to find a replacement piano and by Wednesday evening we had a brand new, tuned, piano for the evening talent show. Do not get me wrong, moving the piano scared the heck out of me. Overall though the talent show was seamless. There were of course transitions, like moving matts, adjusting microphones, moving the piano and keyboard, but it was a great talent show. There were some very talented performers and a variety of performances.
Oliven played “The Coconut Shuffle” for the Talent show and did a great job. During the school performance he had a smile from ear to ear. It was delightful. During the evening performance he was much more serious. Both of the performances he did a great job and looked absolutely adorable in his tuxedo. He has a natural talent for playing the piano and has told me several times that playing the piano is his passion. I am so thankful for that. He also mentioned that he can’t wait until it is November again so that he can put piano on one of the leaves of our Thankful tree. I love it!
I ended the talent show with a teacher dance. I spent a lot of time with Alissa getting a teacher dance together that would be really fun for the audience. Considering what was going on in my life during this time I am still amazed I was able to pull it off. I have spent a lot of time crying in the last month and a lot of time trying to focus on other things so that I don’t become depressed like I did when my dad died. Death hits me really hard. It hasn’t seemed to get any easier. That’s a different story. Anyway, I worked really hard to choreograph, teach, practice, get costuming for, and perform a teacher dance for the school. I think it went really well. The kids really enjoyed it and so did the audience and the teachers really seemed to be grateful for the opportunity and the effort I put into it. Several of them did it specifically because performing on stage scared them and they always tell the kids to do things that scares them.

Grandma's Celebration of Life



Honestly, we couldn't have asked for a better day to Celebrate Grandma's life. People came from lots of places and times in her life. Friends of Freddy, Colby and I came that knew her when we were younger and she chaperoned (Nicole Whiteing, Jessica Moore, Lauren, Justin Davis' parents), neighbors, family friends (Gizella and Bill), and mall walkers all showed up to pay their respects. Lots of people gave speeches in her honor. It was really special. She was really special.
This is the speech I gave at Grandma' Celebration of Life:
What can I say about grandma Gretchen…so so so much. She was an incredible woman. She was feisty and sassy and tons of fun. She had a big personality that filled a room and everyone was glad to have her in that room. She always had lots to say. She was fiercely proud of her family and everyone knew it. She even gave my picture to the Dentist one time so that he could give it to his son so we could get together. It was so funny. I had the picture of some random guy for a long time. Why? Mostly because Grandma gave it to me. She always had some treasure around that you were meant to have. Her house holds every treasure that she has ever collected, unless of course it is now in the house of someone she loves. Each and every one of her treasures has a story, one that she has probably told a hundred times. That item has probably lived in several spots in her house over the years, and who knows it may very well be the perfect item for you. Grandma would know.
Grandma Gretchen was a special lady, she was a fighter, a lover, and an all-around great woman. To me she was a role-model, an advocate, a support system, a mother, and most of all my best friend. She was ALWAYS there for me. When I would get in trouble as a kid I would wait in my room and she would come down and meet me in my room and talk it through with me and give me a hug. If I felt sick, her showing up at my mom’s house made me feel better. As I got older I would call her and ask for advice. Some of her advice was pretty darn funny. One time when I was having a hard time with Vander eating rocks, she said, “well he must need rocks in his diet.” Then when Vander sat on Oliven’s head and I called Grandma, she said, “You should sit on his head so that he knows how it feels. That will teach him.” Gotta love Grandma. I didn’t sit on Vander’s head, but Freddy called me worried because Grandma told him that I did. When my mom died I had just moved to Indiana and I was sad. Grandma’s advice was to go knock on people’s doors and say, “Hi I’m Ashley and I need a friend.” I didn’t do it, but I loved that she suggested it.
Grandma was super supportive always. Every single grandkid will tell you that Grandma came to see their performances and sporting events. She was there, she was present, she was cheering us all on along with Grandpa David.
When a family member needed her she was there, always. Big or small. When Great Grandma went into the nursing home Grandma was there all the time. I spent many hours down at the nursing home with grandma and great grandma because being there for your family is just what she did. No questions asked. She was there for my mom – always. I can’t even imagine what we would have done growing up if Grandma and Grandpa hadn’t lived down the street.
Grandma inspired all of us to go far in life. Going to college was never a question it was always an inevitability and a matter of which college we were going to go to someday. The social capitol that Grandma, Grandpa and Mom instilled in Freddy, Colby and I could not have been more appreciated. She is so much a part of our successes in life.
She always made me feel welcome, loved, and wanted. When I didn’t see her, she would call me and I’d come down. Grandpa used to ask me, what do you guys talk about? We talked about everything and we talked about nothing. It really didn’t matter as long as we talked.
She wrote me a card once that said in it that she hoped that I would have someone in my life someday that was as special to me as I had always been to her. I return that sentiment. She was so special to me too.
She was passionate about traveling and fascinated by every new thing she saw, found, experienced. She brought souvenir’s back and they decorate the entire house. She really found a job that fit her passion and thrived in that position. She and Grandpa often took Freddy and me with her. When Colby was old enough to go, he was included in the trips. She knew that growing up we had a hard lot in life and traveling was a ray of sunshine. She instilled a love of traveling and exploring the world in us that I will forever be grateful for. She also loved the deals she got on the travel locations. She loved a good deal. Grandpa Ken said that she could pinch a penny tighter than anyone he ever met. He wasn’t wrong. She loved getting a good deal. She wasn’t afraid to go without something if it meant that she would be able to travel later, or provide something for her family. She wouldn’t run the air-conditioning in her car because that was clearly a waste of gas.
She had a love for life. She wanted to know what was going on and what else was going on. Did you hear what they said at that table over there? What, why are we listening to that? Grandma was interested. What is happening with the neighbors. She was up on the latest with what everyone around her was up to.
Those of us who have some grandma in our personalities are all very grateful. All of us have grandma in our hearts and in who we are. She will live on through us and she will of course be visiting. She always said that she would be back to visit and always be around. She will send birds so that we know she is around. So look around, she will be there. She also said that someday she will be reincarnated as an otter. Only Grandma!
There is no doubt in any of our minds that Grandma Gretchen and Grandpa David are the models of what a happy marriage should look like. Amongst the turmoil of life they were always there for each other as a united front in love and support for each other and for the rest of the family. She really chose Grandpa because he was her soul mate. The two of them have always been the heart of the family.
There is so much more that I could say about Grandma. But for now I will say Thank you Grandma for being you! I couldn’t love you anymore if I tried, and I couldn’t have felt more loved by you. Always.
  I will miss you every single day! I love you always!

This is the song I rewrote to sing at Grandma's Celebration of Life: Cups
You’ve got your ticket for the long way home.

Two Manhattan’s for the way.

And we all miss your sweet company,
But you already left before today.
Now you’re gone, Now you’re gone,
we sure miss you now you’re gone
We miss you for your flair
We miss you everywhere, oh
We miss you now you’re gone.
Now you’re gone, Now you’re gone,
We sure miss you now you’re gone
We miss you by your walk
We miss you by your talk
We miss you now you’re gone.
You’ve got your ticket for the long way home
The one with the prettiest of views.
It's got people that you love
way up above.
But it sure would be prettier here with you.
Now you’re gone, Now you’re gone,
we sure miss you now you’re gone
We miss you for the way
You spread sunshine everyday.
We miss you now you’re gone.
Now you’re gone, Now you’re gone,
we sure miss you now you’re gone
We miss you by your love
We miss you by your hugs
We miss you now you’re gone.
Now you’re gone, Now you’re gone,
We sure miss you now you’re gone
So please keep your word,
Don’t forget to send a bird
So we know you are here every day.

Gretchen Fredericka Ashbaugh Ordway
January 6, 1932 - March 7, 2017

Grandma’s sayings: Kee Kee, Gott in Himmel, Judas Priest
Grandma’s nicknames for Grandpa David: Day Vee (in a very high pitch
voice), Vid
Grandma’s signature look: long dresses, lots of jewelry - rings with big stones, long necklaces (especially pearl necklaces with a knot in them)

Grandma’s favorite activities: traveling, gardening, and shopping -
especially for collectables

Grandma lessons: Family ALWAYS comes first!
             It’s okay to bend the rules a bit.

Grandma-isms: Every morning she would wake up happy and singing.

If you were on her “shit list” everyone knew about it.

She was a living phone tree.

She was the Matriarch and the life line of the family.

She told her stories over and over again so that we will all remember them.

She always sacrificed the small stuff for the big picture, especially travel.
She loved to tell us about the people that really liked her.
Everyone did. She was a very likable lady.

Family memories : I got everyone to share a few of their memories of growing up that involved grandma and grandpa. Uncle Ken's were hand written so they are not in this blog post.





Hedy
Mom and Dave being chaperones on marching band trips...they were the best! They always did it with a smile and encouraging words. Walking in the parades right along with us in all kinds of weather; hot, freezing etc. Rose Parade three times, Long Beach, Mother Goose and many more.

Getting in trouble in the kitchen, when I was a freshman. I was literally cutting cheese on a cheese board. I said, "who cut the cheese?" With a smile on my face, I looked over at mom and Dave. He scolded me and said that wasn't funny. It's been funny ever since..

Dave teaching me how to drive...a stick and how very calm and patient he was. What a great teacher! He probably shouldn't have been calm?

I remember when we went to the Cuyamaca mountains (maybe sixth grade) and picked pine cones up off the ground on the side of the road. We just closed the trunk of the car and a police car pulled up...we  still had some in our hands. He said we couldn't take any of them and we dropped them back on the ground and got in the car. The trunk was still full, heheee.

We, mom, Dave, Mark and I went on a Caribbean cruise back in the 90s. We went on a party boat, Dave and I got toasted. Omg..it was so much fun! I had to help him back to the ship and he didn't show up for dinner. Yeah, it was that bad or good, depending on your perspective...

One of my favorites, sneaking fresh cut turkey at Thanksgiving, right from under Dave’s nose, off of the platter. Yummy

Heather
I was trying to figure out what to say. I don't have too many specific details in my memories. Just snippets here and there of things I just remember. A few things I remember...

1. Spending summer days at the pool.

2. Easter egg hunting, always trying to find the special egg with money in it.

3. The endless support in everything I did throughout my childhood whether it was soccer, softball, or the endless amount of performances ( grandpa always said I had a gift in song because I was on key unlike a lot of the other kids) .

4. Playing the slot machine to test my luck.

5. Playing pong downstairs.

6. Loving the family thanksgiving and Christmases at grandma and grandpas.

7. Mr. Massey, all I remember is he was a scary intense man with a bunch of stuff. Haha.

8. I don't remember any of the jokes, but I did catch on that grandpa had his share of dirty jokes, and my mom always tried to shelter Heidi and me.

9. Christmas and what felt like a million of those dolls with creepy faces. (I forgot the name)

10. Grandma and grandpa dancing at my wedding.
Heidi
-I loved seeing Grandma and Grandpa at ALL of my plays, sporting events, and graduations. I think some of my favorites were for my track meets in high school and in college. Grandma would bring a cowbell to my races and ring it proudly, even if I wasn't so sure about the cowbell. I always knew during my race where she was. You also couldn't ever miss her and Grandpa in their bright yellow mall-walkers jackets!

-On my birthday in 2016, most of the family in San Diego went to a brewery for my 24th birthday. At one point, Grandma just started clapping, and of course, no one knew why. Our whole table thought this was hilarious and sort of endearing, so all of us started clapping. Turns out, the rest of the whole brewery catches on, and before you know it, the whole brewery is clapping (and is unsure why). I look over and Grandma and she is just laughing and smiling, and it was so special how even if she wasn't sure what she was doing or communicating, she started something special and it made everyone around laugh and smile.

-One of my favorite things I will always carry with me from Grandma is when her and Grandpa came back from Turkey/Greece or somewhere in the Mediterranean. She gave me an evil eye key chain, something I had never seen before and thought was kind of weird at first. Then, she explained what it meant, and it has ALWAYS stuck with me to this day. She said "Evil eyes will always protect you from the bad, as long as you always have one around, you will be safe". It was from that point forward I really loved what it represents and that I got a special gift from Grandma. To this day, any time I see evil eyes, I am sure to buy them. From bracelets to wall tapestries and rear view mirror decorations, I always have an evil eye around, and it is because she showed them to me and what it represents.
-I remember always really looking forward to the holidays at Grandma and Grandpa's! I always knew it would be a fun time ahead with laughing, playing games in the bar area, banging pots and pans outside on New Years Eve, board games, but most of all the gifts Grandma would give. Sometimes they were something she found in the other room, would wrap it in newspaper, and I would still think it was the coolest thing ever, because lots of times it was something of hers and I treasured her experiences and life so much. Often times it was a souvenir from the latest country her and Grandpa had been. I always knew I would come home with something different, unique, and exciting after visiting at Grandma and Grandpas.

-Another favorite memory is being able to have Grandma and Grandpa come talk to my history classes about the places they'd been. I specifically remember them coming to a World History class in middle school to talk about China and Egypt. It was so neat hearing where they've been. They brought so many trinkets and historical items and I felt so special knowing those are my grandparents and I got to learn about it all from them.

-The love Grandma and Grandpa shared set THE example of all I want to have in my life. I have never seen a more true love than theirs.

-I distinctly remember how good Grandma's quesadillas were! Any time Grandma watched us, I always looked forward to a good quesadilla.

-My favorite times with Grandma are the ones I heard about her childhood and travels. Whether it was her boarding school troublemaking days or her travel agent times, she has always been someone I really connected with and wanted to be like. She was the most hilarious, somewhat feisty, but always happy individual. I loved her sayings "Judas Priest, Kee-Kee" and I know there's so much of my personality stems from her-- and I am honored!

-I love how no matter what, Grandma would always smile and tell me to "be a good kid" That never changed. Her sweet silly songs and precious smile and laugh is something I will forever cherish.

Annie
I remember May 24 well, it was the day I married the love of my life. It was also the day grandma had one too many martinis! All lined up and ready to be announced into our reception and there's yelling from the other room. "Freddy, you grandma just fell." Freddy runs out to check on her, helps pick her up and says to grandpa, "no more martinis for grandma!" She certainly enjoyed the open bar! And about 10 minutes later she joined Freddy on the dance floor without her shoes. Now that's my kind of lady, who needs high heels?!?!

Although many years ago, I remember the first few times I met the family and spent time with everyone. There seemed to be a theme...grandma discussing Sylvia Brown and how based on my numbers and Colby's numbers we were really much better suited for each other then Freddy and I were. Colby and I used to laugh hard about that, but I'm still not sure Freddy thought it was so funny.

I think my fondest of memories at grandma and grandpa's house was joining Freddy for the afternoon and dinner and sitting down in the bar for hours drinking and talking. We learned so much about their travels, growing up, how they met, their cruises and the art they bought, AND I got lots of fun stories of Freddy as a little one. I'm quite sure there were some days I looked at Freddy and said, "you better drive home, I don't think I can!"

Wine tasting with the family in Solvang was a blast!!!! A few of us had one too many glasses of wine (grandma included) and when we stopped off at the grocery store to get a few things, grandma decides to start an ice fight! Who knew those little ice cubes in the produce section could be so fun?!?! Grandpa was shocked, but as usual laughed and then quickly tried to move grandma toward the exit before we were asked to leave. Freddy laughed so hard that day, I can still picture it!
I remember when Freddy and I were planning our wedding and were so excited to have chosen a location. We decided it would be nice to show grandma and grandpa where it would be so they could share in our excitement and have an idea of how the day would go. We drove up to the Nixon library and did a tour. I think they loved it as much as we did! And then my parents had us all back for dinner. It was special for Freddy and I that our families were coming together and sharing stories and preparing for our future together.

Justin
My favorite story about Grandma probably started about 10 years ago when I found myself a little bored at a family gathering.  I noticed Gretchen looking at me, but nobody else.  I decided to stick out my tongue until she noticed, but made sure nobody else saw.  It kind of became our thing for the next decade, with her trying to get everyone to see me sticking my tongue out at her.

Ashley
More than anything else grandma made me feel special. I never felt closer to anyone than I did to Grandma. She was my very favorite person to spend time with and we spent a lot of time together enjoying each others company. She wrote to me in a card once that she hoped that I have someone in my life some day that is as special to me as I have always been to her. I reciprocated her feelings of love and closeness. I couldn’t have asked for a better grandma! I really hit the grandparent jackpot on Grandma Gretchen and Grandpa David.

All the fun trips Grandma and Grandpa took us on - The Caribbean, Solvang, Mexico, Ireland, Hawaii, Sedona, our meet-up in Italy.

Grandma being the co-leader for my girl scout troup. She taught us how to make dump cake, that less is more with coloring and painting, and that everything should always be in 3’s or other odd numbers among other things.

Drinking moose pee in Ireland and Grandma being more religious than ever before.

Wine tasting in Solvang. We all laughed that entire day. It was soooo much fun. Grandma threw ice and grandpa and lost her hotdog.

Pushing grandpa’s bunk bed up on the American Family Adventure cruise with grandma’s encouragement.

Grandma sneezing her teeth out in Walmart and Mom, Grandma and I laughing our heads off.

Grandma never ever sitting down.

Grandma not wanting me to wear my hair funny in Hawaii. She made me take the stairs so that I wouldn’t be seen with her.

Sleeping at the Grandparents house with Grandma when Grandpa worked in El Centro. She would always let me fall asleep first so that her snoring didn't keep me awake.

Family slumber party at my house.

The whole family coming together to have a Murder Mystery party. Uncle Ken picked up the pizzas. They asked him what position he played and he told them tight end obviously.

When I told you grandma and grandpa I needed a lock on my door and the next morning there were grandma and grandpa at my house with a lock first thing the next morning.

Grandma sassing off to a policeman. Telling him that she was fine with lying to him about wearing her seatbelt in front of her grand daughter because I already knew who she was. She also tried to refuse giving him her licence and registration. She told him she was going to fight the ticket. She did, and she won - he never showed up.

Grandpa always wearing his Ba humbug shirt at Thanksgiving.

Sleeping on the top bunk in Hedy’s room at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with books on the edge so I felt safe.

Getting lost in Chula Vista and Grandma saying that we would get home eventually. Mom, grandma and I had a blast and an adventure.

Going through and picking pretty dresses to wear that were Mom’s and Hedy’s when they were younger, and getting a hoop skirt to go with them.

Grandma always picking out an outfit for me when we went clothes shopping and it being my favorite outfit one year later every time.

Eating at Grandma and Grandpa’s house:
Oatmeal called mush with raisins for breakfast,  the milk always being expired, how slowly Grandma and Grandpa always ate ( hamburgers with no bun and salad with bean sprouts ) watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, Grandma making the most delicious food out of whatever she happened to find, Grandma making cinnamon toast, Grandma buying me Cadbury cream eggs to have on hand by the dozen, Grandma and Grandpa never eating dinner before 7pm.

Sneaking chocolate covered honeycomb with Grandma at Henry’s.

Grandma’s car rolling down the street because she forgot to put the parking brake on.

Grandma never turning on the air conditioning or getting a soda when we had fast food (but always sneaking sprite) because that was only something that Hedy did. It was a waste of money.

Grandma and Grandpa reusing paper plates like 30 times. Grandma calling me “Princess Mary” for wanting a clean paper plate.

Going down to Grandma’s house to help cook for Thanksgiving, but she just wanted company because she never actually taught me how to cook anything, except maybe sweet potatoes. Grandpa and her would be drinking champagne and enjoying the day with the rose parade and football on tv.

New years Eve was always epic fun. Grandma would let us all have champagne, I did a lot of spinning around,  and we would ring in the new year yelling and banging pots and pans in the front yard. The kids would spend much of the night spinning on Barstools down stairs listening to “Yakkity Yack” and “Danger Zone”, playing pong, and the slot machine with nickels from inside the machine.

Learning to do cartwheels by practicing hundreds of times in the living room of Grandma and Grandpa’s house while they watched t.v.

Grandma being the best hostess and always hosting everything at her house or at the park.

Grandma always leaving price tags on so you knew what the item was worth.

Grandma always making sure that I got a porcelin doll for Christmas because I loved them so much. She got me the little girl with the curl because she said I was kind of like that. Super sweet sometimes, but then not so pleasant at other times. Like, when I thought I knew everything.

Grandma and Grandpa stopping at Sea World on the way back from driving to UCSD because it was such a long drive. (I was the only one who “went away” for college according to Grandma). They would call Colby to see if he wanted to come with them a week ahead of time to pick me up and they would pack a lunch.

Making sure I was loud in calling so you guys could cross me across the street , then when I was older, being loud in letting you guys know I was at your house so as to let grandpa know in case he was sun bathing.

Always always always feeling welcome and wanted by Grandma.

Grandma sucking you into staying at her house (in the best way possible) with "one more thing" you had to see or hear about. She would move stuff around from room to room and pile to pile and take me downstairs to look in cupboards to see what was there.

Any time you tried to leave grandma had one more thing to show you.
Seeing Grandma every day for 18 years and then talking to her almost every day for 45 minutes to an hour. There were always treasure to be found.

Always being my biggest advocates and supporters.

Grandma being my best friend and Mom’s too. Also being very close to Karen and Hedy. She was the one to call.

Grandma always being there for Great Grandma. And, how much she loved her dad.

Both Grandma and Grandpa being there for mom always.

Grandpa always being there for Grandma in all her antics.

Grandma being baffled that her purse was stolen even though she left it in her shopping cart and walked away.

Grandma telling me that she didn’t think that I could ever be as pretty as my mom, but that I really was.

When Grandma decided I didn't exist because I got a tongue ring and what extremes she went to covering every picture of me in the house with paper. She was really afraid I was going down a dark path and she was determined to not let that happen.

Grandma telling me to sit on Vander's head because he did that to Oliven and that would teach him.

Art sprees on cruise ships starting with Salvador Dali (nobody said to buy every Dali!!! Paintings with giant butts were not necessary, but then it has been displayed in the bathroom ever since.)

Grandma loving birds, wind chimes, and clocks (especially ones that made sounds) . She had ribbons on the glass door so that the birds didn’t run into it.
Always drinking martinis or Manhattans, and taking a sip then making a yummy face and saying “mmm”. Then, when she felt she had enough she would put it in the freezer and say, “I’m putting it on ice for tomorrow” so she wouldn’t drink too much.

Grandma collecting and saving gifts for years until it was the right time to give them to someone specific.

She would always get the item worth the most money if it was included, even if it wasn’t her favorite. (Like at seminars and food on cruises, etc.)

Grandma and Grandpa always having cans in the cupboard that were super old - like 20 years old, ‘cause they never go bad.

Grandma always told me that she had a mind like an elephant even though she forgot all the time (just like I do).

When Grandma’s cats had a bunch of kittens and we got play with them all.

When Grandma found a stray cat and said she was going to find it’s owner, but in the meantime she named it Charlie after her dad and Grandpa’s dad. She was so not looking for the owner after that!

How much Grandma and Grandpa loved each other and how they were truly the couple that gave us all a model of a happy marriage.

Colby Christian
Sitting on the step stool in the kitchen just listening.

Investing in stuff for later: barbies, cars, beanie babies.

On the Ireland trip: driving on the wrong side of the road, taste testing mead, Grandma and her religious sayings -”Jesus, Joseph and Mary”, “Gottin Himmel” - Guiness and cider drinking, kissing the Blarney stone, and going to see lots of different castles.

Buying a gazing ball in Mexico (seriously an all day affair with 3 different stops several times).

Freddy
Grandma and Grandpa instilling a love of travel, a love of life, and a love of family in us.

Grandpa in the living room drinking beer, watching tv and cat napping. Sometimes with his finger in the beer bottle so it didn’t spill.

Grandma down at the bar having a drink with Grandpa or with us showing us all kinds of different stuff. Often times playing the marble game on the bar.

“Etiquette lessons” for dining on a cruise ship before we could go with them so we would know how to act and which silverware to use.

In a jewelry shop with Grandma and Grandpa with Grandma looking for a blue stone, very specific jewely, taking a very long time. The shop owner gave me a beer to stay longer and be more comfortable. Grandpa comes in to see why we are still there and the shop owner gives Grandpa and me a beer to stay longer. So we did. I was only about 15.

Grandma was always bringing some sort of random item over to Annie and my place and leaving it there with a story to go with it.

Grandma and Grandpa always letting the kids taste test all the different types of alcohol that they were having.

I was pacing the room and grandma asked what I was so nervous about. I said I was thinking about asking Annie to be my girlfriend. She asked, “why are you so nervous? Are you going to marry this girl?” . I said that I wasn’t sure, but that might be the case. Grandma said to not worry about it then. Just ask her and don’t worry about the outcome.

A few days later when I was talking to her about wanting to give her something special, so grandma taught me how to make flowers out of ribbons to give to her. We made them on her kitchen table. I was around 20 years old at that time.

Going to work with Grandma - it was so much fun! Swag, free food, and travel deals. Who could beat that? We had a blast.

Karen
I met Gretchen & Dave 40 years ago in 1977. Hedy & I were fellow flute players, becoming friends in Mt. Miguel's marching & concert bands. She was a year ahead of me. I started calling Gretchen 'Mom' in high school, not knowing 10 years later I would be heading towards actually being her daughter in law. I met Ken at a flute cleaning party at the house when he just randomly showed up. When he walked up the stairs I couldn't  believe how handsome he was. I had a huge crush on him all through high school. Gretchen and Dave let Hedy have the BEST parties! My 1st 'Hedy Party' was for Halloween when I was 15. All of the Banderettes chose to be 'sexy'...sexy nurse (Hedy), sexy kitty (Barbara), sexy bunny (Me-Ha Ha). It was my 1st introduction to 'Rum Slush Punch.' Gretchen said if I wanted some she had to call my Mom to see if it was o.k. with her. She called Phyllis, who told her she was fine with me having some punch because I was with Jim Rowland and she trusted him to watch out for me & get me home safely. I want to find that recipe! It's delicious! At one party Davey pulled out the movie projector and the films he took of us marching in various parades. I would like to find those films & get them transferred to DVD. Ken would often come to these parties to help 'chaperone' and we would talk to each other...

After high school Hedy and I were on the SDSU Tall Flag Team. Gretchen & Dave got season tickets to the football games I believe in 1980. I would go with Hedy to go say 'Hi' to them after our halftime show performances. In 1987 Hedy was going to marry Mark Swanson and asked me to be a bridesmaid. I believe Gretchen was instrumental at orchestrating Ken & I getting together. She started calling me to go to the Spiritualist church with her & Trudy would call to ask me to babysit. They invited me to Ken's house over Memorial Day for a BBQ. Hedy got married a week later and after the ceremony there was an extra seat in the limo which Gretchen pushed me into. So I rode to the reception with Hedy & Mark, Kenny & Ashley & Ken. Needless to say, Cheri was not pleased to see me, but in my defense, I was oblivious to what was happening at that time. Gretchen kept trying to push Ken & I together...church, airplane, etc. To make a long story short, Ken & I got together when he & Cheri separated and the rest is history.

Then there was Mr. Massey. Gretchen & Dave helped this horrible (but generous) little man sort through the donations he received for his Leatherneck Charities. She was like a kid in a candy store! He would usually let us take whatever we wanted within reason, but occasionally Mom got greedy (trying to sneak things to her car when she thought he wasn't looking). He would try to punish her by taking her bags away. She knew how to push his buttons too & would tell him to never call her again when he was mean to her. That also meant Ken & I weren't allowed to work for him either. He would be begging all of us to come the next time he got a shipment & we would all go. We got some fabulous toys, clothing & housewares from him! One of Mom's (and mine) favorite times working for him was during Christmas when we set-up the toys for the Marines to pick out for their children. She loved talking to them and they enjoyed her cheerful personality. It was a lot of work, but we had fun with each other. Mom & Massey had a love/hate relationship up until the day he died!

Kyle
I loved when grandma and grandpa would take me to the Aztec football games....  as far back as when Marshall faulk was on the team.  We would eat meatball subway sandwiches in the parking lot and watch Monte climb through the stands and eat peanuts..

Her necklaces were always so ectravagant.  They were probably 40 ft long. 5 loops down to her thighs..  always different colors. But mainly pearls..  

They would always be there for my soccer games.  There was a moment during the santee tournament.. i think it was the semi finals..  and I took a long shot and made it..  I remember looking at the sideline and seeing my parents and grandma and grandpa all standing there with their  arms up in the air.  It was a great moment in time for me.

As gay as it is...  I remember her Barbie selection in the wood chest by the kitchen.  I remember being really young and playing with them with my sister and cousins

I also know where my father gets his Santa prownes..  grandma was the original Santa.

Kelly
I was having a really hard time coming up with memories and then I sat down to write this email and so many popped into my head….I hope these are okay!!!!
When we would spend the evening over there or I would spend the night at your house on New Years and would go to grandmas and stay up all night or at least till midnight to bang pots and pans. Grandpa showed us he still has the lid we dented with our spoons!!
Tracking every holiday over there on the infamous yellow door!
Every time we were at Grandmas we would cover our face with gold sparkling dust…It was so fun every time!!
Getting the monkey puppets for Christmas and playing with them non -stop.
The smell of their house and how terrified I was to go into the dark rooms in her house cause of scary stories she would tell us about the spirits she would see (hedys room, the garage, the room behind the bar). NO BUENO
Spending hours upon hours downstairs in the bar area playing that color ball hitting game, playing the same songs over and over on the jukebox and spinning on the bar stools till we were sick.
Every present we received at Christmas had a detailed story with it and came specially wrapped in a travel bag from somewhere they visited.

Vander
We were out at Fuddruckers and grandma dipped her apple in my ketchup and ate it.