Friday, January 3, 2014

And to Forever

I began my new year with the death of my grandfather- my Poppy.  He was an honorable Italian man who loved his wife, worked hard for his family, loved his Yankees and quietly lived a good life.  I want to be there to bury him- to give the earth back a man who made it a better place by being in it.  Only at certain moments do I truly get frustrated with my illness- this is one of those times.  I may not be well enough to make the trip down to honor his life and support my family.  And I would so like to see My grandmother- my Nanny.  Nanny was strong for him until his end- with a loneliness about to begin that I can only imagine.

It is a sad contrast.  Because today is my ten year anniversary.  Some of you have already said to things to me along the lines of how much can one person take...yes, I have been dealt quite a hand in my short life.  I have buried too many, suffered too much, and seen so little of the sun.  But if you know me then you also know this: none of that matters.  I take the bad and I take it with open arms because I know the One who gives it to me and I trust that He who sees fit to give me good also sees fit to give me bad.  And there are reasons for both- and I trust them.  And I will live and learn and love in and through it all.    I do not mourn Poppy's death- I celebrate his life.
With Poppy, there is quite a bit worth celebrating.
To all my DeLeos I say this: laugh.  Laugh well this weekend and in the days to come.  Talk loudly and hug fiercely.  Stand close to one another and give each other your love and my love.  I love you Nanny- please give Poppy my love as well.  And for goodness sake you're Italians, act like it- EAT.

But of all the days in the year, January 3rd is my favorite.  It marks the beginning of...well, of everything.  I served Jesus before I met Jeff, yes of course I did.  But His plan for me came alive when we got married.  The trials, the sharpening of my character, the learning of lessons so deep it takes another person to really teach them to you- that all began ten years ago.  Yes I could talk about all the lovey-dovey stuff- and believe me, I could go on and on.  I married a great man.  From day one he was always a man of integrity whose sole priority was to serve and honor Jesus with his life.  And I think he is incredibly handsome, and quite simply put we are best friends.  We laugh every single day, have more inside jokes then anyone I know, and every single day you can catch us whispering to one other about how we can't wait until 7:30 when we can put the last of the kids to bed so we can curl up in our own bed and just hang out with each other.

We grew a lot together though- things did not start off as a fairy have to work for your happy ending.  Over and over and over.  Marriage is not give and take- it's always give.  There is never a moment when I think of it as my turn to take.  It is the principle of always giving to the other person and trusting in the Lord to be working in their heart- believing that your needs will be met but seeing the beauty there is in meeting the needs of another ahead of your own.  If everyone fights to hold on to what they believe they deserve then you create resentment and walls...walls.  No window.  No door.  No way in.  A marriage is supposed to be the most open relationship known to two people.  It takes everything you have in you and then some.

I do not recognize my marriage today from the young immature version it was in the beginning.  Two kids who thought loving each other was enough- then they realized it would take a lifetime of sacrifice, prayer, forgiving...and doing it over and over and over again in order to have what so many are searching for.

This year we were blessed by friends of ours with a one night stay in an incredible, historic mansion in Saratoga, NY.  So our wonderful family friend Jenn spent the night with the kids (and they were beyond excited to have her staying with them which as a mom was the only way I was able to leave them!) and off we went!  We stopped at the store, got a bunch of snack food and just enjoyed the evening relaxing while the outside world got slammed with a snowstorm.  It was nice because lets face it, when you have six kids laying in bed doing nothing NEVER happens!!

So here are some pictures- this place is so beautiful and has so much history I could not contain my excitement.  I don't know what I expected, but I certainly did not expect to walk into the movie Pride and Prejudice!  This mansion was the home of the Batcheller family and was built in the 1800's and was frequently visited by several presidents of old, including President Roosevelt.  It holds many artifacts from several museums and all-in-all was just a beautiful place to stay.

Nanny and Poppy

My Poppy- still handsome as ever.  May you rest in peace. 

Driving to the hotel! 

Beautiful staircase


The sitting room

Jeff being scandalous with Marie Antoinette! 

This is actually where breakfast is served!

This is ONE if the kitchens- there is another in the basement that the servants would use, then they would use the dumbwaiter to lift food up to this kitchen.

Amazing two story windows

Artifacts from a museum (I missed when he said which museum)

The library

Brochures of the Batcheller Mansion Inn

Jeffy and me- Ten years baby!!!

I wasn't sure if this was like a museum or not, but I decided it was ok for me to kick my shoes off and lay down to take a picture!  For all you ladies who love Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, you can appreciate just how excited I was to be here and lay all over the furniture!

Yeuh boys!

This is our room- we stayed in the "Kate" room!

The bathroom!!!!!

Yes, the next few pics are totally me acting like a dork and pretending I am Jane Bennet.
So sue me  ;)

This is her.  Kate Batcheller- only surviving child of the Batcheller's.  And this was her  room we stayed in.  So interesting!  And we had a wonderful time.

Here's to the rest of our lives.  I love you Jeff.

*Dedicated to and in loving memory of my grandfather who I will always and forever remember as my "Poppy"

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