Friday, February 13, 2015


I debated a bit about posting this on Natalie’s blog because it is not really about Natalie.   This is her blog, about her life.   Then I realized that her life is Bop’s legacy.  So it is about her.  It is also about all of the rest of us who are Bop’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.   Just imagine the crazy stories that would have been recorded if there had been a “Bop blog” over the past 88 years…
There are a million memories of Bop from my childhood and beyond.   Brown cows.  Crazy Park.  Cigar boxes.  The Bells.  Lamb Barbeques.  Roses are Red poems.  Hostess pies.  Kramers.  Hankies under our pillows.  This is Kitridge Road song.  Canned good Christmas gifts.  Top Secret.  Croatian songs and words.  LOVE. 

Of course I always knew that Bop loved me.  I am his oldest grandchild, his “Jenka”, the little girl he and grandma took out driving around for hours on weekend days.   However, a distinct memory of the day that I became truly conscious of that love is etched in my mind.   It was a warm spring afternoon when I was around 14 years old.  There was some sort of family gathering, likely a birthday party, at Donna and John’s rental house.   Chaos and noise were the norm and in the midst of the party I walked into the kitchen.   Being that I was in my early teen years and overly self-conscious of the way I looked/acted/dressed etc, I was initially suspicious that there was some negative reason for the way that Bop was looking directly at me from across the room.   However, upon noticing that he had a slight smile on his face, I resumed doing whatever it was I was doing (probably eating).  When I looked up again though, Bop was still watching me.  That face of his was so easy to read and as I looked back at him, it practically screamed love and pride.  Bop loved me.  Bop was proud of me.   After that day, over many years, at various times, I would see that same look come across his face again and again as he quietly watched his family, love shining brightly in his eyes.   Grandma, my mom, my cousins and siblings, and eventually his great grandchildren.   To be loved by Bop was a great feeling.   He gave his family so many special times, so many hilarious moments, and plenty of love to last us the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Fun

Christmas was so much fun for us this year.  Natalie really enjoyed the present opening and was more than willing to help others open their gifts - whether they wanted help or not!  She got some really nice gifts but she still loves her books the best of all.  Natalie gave me the best gift of all this month- she learned to consistently say MOM. It's her third word after NO and COOK.  Hope everyone had a great holiday! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Piano Star

Natalie has been taking piano lessons since this summer at The Piano Preparatory School in Beavercreek and she loves it!  She's still working on basic concepts right now (rhythm, high and low notes).  She enjoys singing along while she and her teacher play.  Howard had the idea and has arranged it all.  I think he expects Natalie to pay him back some day by becoming a piano star.  With Natalie, you never know! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cousins are great helpers!

After Natalie took her bath at Cook & Howard's house last Sunday, Ronan asked to help comb her hair.  He took this job very seriously..

And when it was time to dry, he also wanted to help! 

Then Nat wanted a turn..

Jack wanted to dry his flowing blonde locks too. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

7th Birthday Seven

Seven years ago today at 8:20 pm, Natalie Elizabeth was born.  She was impossibly tiny, blue, and not breathing.  Now she's a bright, healthy, and beautiful 7 year old!  For her birthday I wanted to share (and record for her and myself) seven things that make Natalie who she is today. 

1) HER GIGGLY LAUGH- You'll hear it if you tickle her in just the right place or if you say something funny (or in some cases not funny at all but something Natalie finds hysterical).  

2) HER LOVE OF BOOKS- She will choose books over toys any day and she literally screams with excitement when entering a library or bookstore.  Right now her favorites include Fancy Nancy and The Berenstain Bears.  Lately, she also likes to read my old copy of Danny and the Dinosaur before bed.    

3) HER LOVE FOR HER FAMILY (especially Cook)!

4)HER RECENT BIG GIRL ATTITUDE- Until very recently I always stayed in Natalie's bed with her until she fell asleep.  Now she has been pushing me out some nights and choosing to go to sleep by herself.  I'm going to miss that snuggle time with her but glad she's becoming more independent.  

5) HER LOVE OF MUSIC AND DANCING- She likes a huge variety of music from musicals to rap to rock and country.  The Grubbs got her a hello kitty CD player for her birthday and she's been dancing away to it today.  

6) HER WARINESS REGARDING CHANGE/NEW ROUTINES-  She may not look much like her mom but she definitely gets this from me.  Try to deviate from her normal routine and you're likely to get "the look"! 

7) HER STUBBORNNESS/PERSISTENCE- Luckily the above pic is an extreme example after a long day but Natalie is, in general, sure to let her feelings be known. Her persistence has helped her tackle tough physical obstacles and is probably a good part of why she is here today.  She possibly gets her "persistence" from me also.  

I know that I already have seven but I want to add that she also has a unique talent for ruining otherwise good pictures of us together by either moving, making a face, or not looking at the camera. Believe it or not, this pic was the best of about 10.  

I love seeing more and more of Natalie's personality come out as she grows up.  Happy 7th birthday to my girl.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Grade!

I really can't believe that my once tiny little baby started first grade this week.  We decided that a change in school for this year would be in her best interest and have high expectations for this school year.  

 Here she is trying out her new Hello Kitty headphones for school.  She's smiling here because she's listening to Jay-Z (she may be disappointed that he's not likely part of the elementary school music curriculum). 

All dressed and ready to go on the first day. 

She refused to smile for me but I'm sure that she was excited on the inside!

She had a great first week!  Two girls in her class gave her the bracelets she is wearing :)

This is one of the cards that my friend Andy kindly designed and printed for me to pass out to Natalie's first grade classmates.  I hope that these help the other kids understand more about Natalie. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013