Thursday, August 06, 2015

You Meet Him, You Like Him, You Never Forget Him

It's been crazy over the last few months. Unfortunately, my father passed away late Saturday night. I'm still trying to unpack my experiences over the past few days, but thought that I would share the obituary that I wrote from my father. You can also view it here.

The world lost a wonderful man when Harry Cummings took his last breath late August 1, 2015. He was surrounded by family and more in spirit and in person as he lost his 15 year battle with cancer. His signature laugh and joyful approach to life will long live on in our hearts and in our memories.

A quote in Harry's high school yearbook sums it up well: "You meet him, you like him, you never forget him!"

Born May 7, 1941, Harry was raised in the Minneapolis area by his strong single mother along side his younger brother, Jack. Harry spoke of his childhood with a smile and ultimately graduated from Richfield High School in 1959 and went on to study at University of Minnesota.

From his first marriage, Harry had four wonderful children: Tara, Boyd, Eric, and Adam, who all reside in Anchorage, AK. Each had a special place in Harry's heart, and they were not far from his daily thoughts.

Harry married his long-time wife, Beth, in December 1975. The two fostered their love through travel, tennis, golf, and other activities together. Much of their married life was spent in the Seattle area before retiring to Sun Lakes, AZ. Beth and Harry had one daughter, Jill, who has also relocated to the Chandler area from Seattle.

Thoughout his career, Harry found joy in helping others excel. For the last 20+ years, Harry worked as a real estate broker, helping agents launch their careers and sharpen their negotiating skills. In addition, Harry worked for K2 and JanSport in sales and marketing, refining his business acumen while feeding his love for adventure.

Harry will always be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, mentor, and friend. He approached every day with a smile and a laugh, even on the worst of days. Harry is preceeded in death by his mother and father and is survived by his wife Beth, brother Jack, daughters Tara and Jill, sons Boyd, Eric, and Adam, and 10 grandkids.

A celebration of life will take place at 1 p.m. on August 13th at the Sun Lakes Chapel (9240 E. Sun Lakes Blvd. N, Sun Lakes AZ 85248) with a reception to follow at Sun Lakes Country Club.

Donations in Harry's memory can be made to the Virginia Piper Cancer Research Center in Scottsdale, AZ or to the cancer research foundation of your choosing. In addition, the family asks that you continue to spread the joy that Harry was so well known for -- whether through a random act of kindness or whether it's giving an extra large tip to a waiter/waitress. Please help us to continue to spread joy and laughter in memory of Harry.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Seven Years!

Happy anniversary to my wonderful, loving, kind-hearted husband. It's hard to believe that it's been 7 years since we walked down the aisle and pledged our lives to one another. As we watched our wedding video tonight (a tradition since our first anniversary), it reminded me of the friends and family that support us, the love that we have for one another, and the commitment that we made. The camera panned across the audience, showing friends and family who have since passed, as well as all of the kind hearts that have supported us through the years. To everyone who has surrounded us in our marriage: thank you.

And to my husband: I love you more than ever, and I can't wait to see what the next 7, 27, and 77 years have in store for us! Happy anniversary, babe!



Monday, February 10, 2014

Snowy Sourdough-y Sunday

We had a snow day on Sunday, so we took the opportunity to play in the snow with Matthew. He was hesitant at first -- excited but unsure about the mysterious white substance that had blanketed our neighborhood. Since the Seattle area is not quite known for snow, we weren't exactly prepared with snow gear; so we improvised!

Laundry baskets: also useful as a toddler sled!

Faster Daddy, faster!

This is fun!

Stop taking pictures Mom! I want to play in the snow!

After spending some time "sledding" in the neighborhood and socializing with some of our neighbors, we came inside for nap time. While Matthew was down for his nap, I intended to make us a fresh loaf of sourdough bread to accompany our dinner. What seemed like a simple task quickly turned into a royal mess!

It seems that the sourdough starter container was sealed too tightly, which made opening the container an explosive experience. Fortunately, I opened the starter in the kitchen sink; the last thing that I remember was the hissing noise that the container made as I peeled back the top. The next thing that I remember is Lennie coming around the corner asking me if I was okay. I was okay, but I was covered from head to toe in sourdough starter! It was everywhere -- dripping off of the ceiling onto my head, covering the cupboards, and it had even splattered into our dining room 10 feet away! I felt like I was in an "I Love Lucy" episode or something!

We're still finding sourdough starter around the kitchen. We worked the rest of the day to clean every surface in the kitchen; all the while laughing at the situation. If you have any ideas on how to get sourdough starter off of the ceiling, we're definitely open to suggestions!

Lennie attempting to remove the sourdough starter from the ceiling...

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Ready for the Big Game!!

Who's excited for the "Big Game" today? This household is certainly excited about the Seahawks vs. Broncos match-up! All three of us have been rocking our Seahawks gear all day, and are excited to cheer on the home team.

Showing off our Seahawks gear.

Taking advantage of the sunny winter day to get some energy out at the park before the game.

Headband art project from daycare earlier in the week.

Seahawks logo, as colored by Matthew.

Go Seahawks!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


One of Matthew's new words is "choo-choo," especially since he got his train set for Christmas. Since we were headed out to run errands and explore the Snoqualmie/North Bend area, we decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and walk through the trains outside of the train museum. Overall, I'm not sure that Matthew made the connection between the cartoon trains that we watch on YouTube or the toy trains that he has at home. Nonetheless, we had a great time exploring the outside of a few trains before going shopping.

While in Snoqualmie, we also enjoyed a great lunch at the Snoqualmie Brewery. We're not quite sure what they put in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but this is the first time ever that Matthew ate a whole sandwich in a single sitting! It was quite the sight! (Note that we had to make a wardrobe change after lunch due to the messy nature of the delicious sandwich...)

After our shopping excursion, we pushed the limits and stopped by the North Bend Bar & Grill for dinner. Not one of our finest moments as diners, to say the least! Just after being seated in the restaurant, Matthew began playing with one of the menus -- launching it into the only glass on the table with a lid, tipping it over, and sending a river of water onto our table. (The other two water glasses, sans lids, stayed upright -- that takes some talent!) There was so much water that the staff had to bring over rags and a mop to soak it up! Not the worst thing to happen, but it was one of the first times that we felt like "that" family with the noisy kid who threw his toys in the walkway and was generally not happy to be there. I'm sure that we've got many more dining experiences like this ahead of us.... sigh.

Overall, we had a great time together exploring, shopping, and generally enjoying ourselves. So glad that we get to make these memories -- both fun and not so fun.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Clean Slate: Pondering the New Year

As we've rounded the corner into 2014, I've been thinking about what I want to do with the New Year. What changes do I want to make? What things to I want to keep the same? How to I want to approach the blank canvas of the next 365 days? How will I make the most of this 'clean slate' that we've come upon?

While we were driving to meet with friends on New Year's Day, I joked with Lennie that Matthew's goals were pretty clear:

  1. Widen his vocabulary -- soaking in all of the new words, sounds, and communication skills that lay before him -- and help us to better get to know his personality, wants, and needs.
  2. Widen his food palette -- experience new foods and tastes, and broaden the list of 'acceptable' foods that we can put on the menu in a regular rotation. (This mom can only make so many chicken nugget dinners without feeling guilty!) 
My goals don't seem as cut-and-dried. I'm still pondering what I want to do with this clean slate, but the old standards are echoing in my brain: 
  1. Move more; get more active, get out and about, see more of the beautiful area that we live in!
  2. Drink more water. Water's good for you, so why not be mindful of what I take in and how hydrated I am? Added bonus: this is the first step to making better nutritional choices, etc.
We'll see what comes of this "clean slate" that's before us in 2014. So far, I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year, full of potential and exciting opportunities. 

What are your plans for your "clean slate" in 2014?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Go Huskies!

The Huskies are playing tonight in the "2013 Fight Hunger Bowl" against BYU. We're excited to root our team on, and the whole family is decked out in our Husky gear:

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from our household to yours! We've had a busy holiday season, enjoying time with family and some quiet time as "just" the three of us. The holidays have taken on a new energy as we experience the wonder and delight of Christmas with a young child.

It strikes me how confusing it must be to see the world transformed with Christmas lights and decorations virtually over night. For example, we put up our Christmas decor -- including our tree -- while Matthew was down for his nap. As he walked out groggily from his nap, he got a look on his face like "why is there a tree where my toys should be?" But then the confusion turned into wonder as he pondered what was under the tree:

If I get on my tippy-toes, will I be able to reach that package?

This is so pretty and colorful, I wonder why it's here!?

To celebrate Christmas, the family got dressed up and went to Christmas Eve services together. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, taking the time to sing carols and praise God. There is just something about slowing down and remembering why we celebrate.

Looking dapper for church! 

"Why yes, I AM pretty cute!"

"C'mon Grammy & Papa, let's go to the church service!"

Christmas Day was relaxed at our house. At first Matthew wasn't sure about the cheerily wrapped boxes. But once he understood how to open a present, he had a great time!
"Here Dad, a gift for you!"

"Do you need some help with that, Papa?"

"Yeah, but Papa, what about THIS package?"

"Here Grammy, this is how you do it!"

New toys are FUN!

My hope for you this holiday season is that you experienced joy and wonder, and that you are richly blessed in 2014!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Santa Photo 2013

We took Matthew today for his second visit with Santa. Last year's visit went pretty well, with Matthew tugging at Santa's beard and then smiling for the camera.

This year was a little bit of a different story. What you don't see in our Santa photo is the back story -- the skilled photographer caught Matthew just before he started crying because he wanted to be with Daddy (and not this jolly stranger):

Santa recovered (unfortunately after the crying stint and the photo was taken), offering Matthew a candy cane before we left. Matthew got a huge smile on his face and was excited to carry his gift around proudly. He cried again as we tried to put his mittens on, to Lennie smartly tucked the candy cane into his mitten, and he was a happy camper for the rest of the day (despite not knowing what a candy cane is, mind you!).

I'm working on getting Matthew to say "Ho! Ho! Ho!" but we'll see if that comes to fruition this Christmas season. In the meantime, the Christmas spirit is in the air at our house:

Monday, November 25, 2013

2013 Family Photo Session

One of the things that we're not very good at is taking photos to mark our family's time together and our growth and changes over time. I think that this is a trait that has been passed down from my family, as we didn't take the time to get professional family photos taken very often, and we'd go on vacation and take maybe one or two photos over the week. We were busy experiencing life and forgot to document our experiences.

I'm trying to get better at documenting our time, and the advent of cell phone cameras has certainly assisted my efforts. Alas, we recently went and had family photos taken. Twice in ~20 months is not bad, right? :) Here are a few favorites from our quick family photo session: