The life and times of the Godfrey ten.

Latest

Christmas Letter 2016 – Parent Zombies

It’s funny to me that my first Christmas letter on this blog was in 2008. As cliche as it sounds, I just have no idea how that is even possible. In 2008 our oldest children were 15  while 50 years old seemed like a foot in the grave. Today, our oldest have graduated college, attended college, joined the Marine Corps and much more, and 50 years old is smacking us across the face like the freezing dry air of January in Alaska. Although the frequency of blogs has greatly diminished, it is fun to look back at our history, at least through my eyes.

I have determined that my blogging has deceased for several reasons: 1. Social Media. We are constantly updating every moment in our live’s on social media and so everyone knows what is going on. So reading a blog seems like way to much work, and writing one takes way more time. Not so much the actual writing, but the thinking and posting. I personally post on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. FB is for family events, Instagram is for tidbits of the day and cool pics, and Snapchat, my new favorite, is where I can try to be as funny as Kassie thinks I am! I think I must be a teenager at heart, disturbing but fun.

2. Time. The last three years I have been working to finish my degree that I started in 1986. No it’s not a doctorate degree, nor the supreme being on the earth as it should be for a 30 year degree, but simply my bachelor’s degree. It’s always been a goal of mine to finish, and my current employer is paying for the classes and the blog is paying for my time.

3. Redundancy. When I first started writing, it was exciting. There was so much information and things to put out there. Now, it seems that we have done it all and said it all before. After returning from Costa Rica, things seem to be in a bit of a redundant mode. I could make things up, which I enjoy doing, and write about them, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about our family, and what it is like to have a giant family and live in Alaska, a giant state. So here it is.

Life seems to get a little harder as our kids grow. The consequences from their actions are much greater as they age. And when I try to swath them, cuddle them and rock them, they kick and scream and call me a creeper and run away. They have cars, jobs and do adult things. My jokes are slowly becoming corny, which I promise you was NEVER the case in 2008! They don’t always do what we want them to do when we want them to do it, and when we confront them they sometimes answer with logic, this disturbs me greatly. We find our greatest joy in looking at old videos and pictures, remembering the days past, when they couldn’t tie shoes, wipe their butts, or even blow their own noses. Their voices were squeaky, their attention span short, and their needs great, but those days are so nostalgic, and they were the awesomenest of times.

Recently a friend of mine was frustratedly dealing with her 2 year old. He wasn’t obeying, he was acting up, laughing and playing and being a 2-year-old. I could see her frustration in her face, holding her newborn and trying to reign the toddler in at the same time. I remember feeling that age would solve all those problems. If only they would grow up. I regret those thoughts. I approached her and I told her, Please, please enjoy this time. I know it’s hard, I know it’s frustrating and exhausting, but the innocence of their youth is so amazing. I believe it keeps us young. We are zombie parents, we suck the youth from our kids, and they slowly begin to grow up. They strive to be “adult” as fast as possible, assuming it is a better fate than attending school eight months a year. As they age, there is less youth for us to steal, thus we age with them. Our zombie desires left unquenched, until grandchildren, then we can feast again.

As for the kids, well here it goes: Dorian, the boomerang has left home twice and returned twice. The kid has spirit and he keeps trying new adventures, and one day he will succeed. If only we could convince him that marriage and kids is the real adventure. Alli, armed with her college degree, has landed a job in her field in Sitka Alaska. She has a cat. I think that means no marriage no kids, just more cats. Maybe she’ll get married once she pays off her student loans in 2055.

Jeremy has started traveling the world with the Marines. He has passed out once from heat stroke and watched all his worldly possessions fly out of the door of an open helicopter, the copter he was being rescued in. If this is not adventure I don’t know what is. Also, did you know the Marines are the strongest, fastest and bestest branch of the military? If not, Jeremy will tell you.

Olivia is working hard towards her Associate’s degree. She works and goes to school, managing to maintain a near 4.0 gpa, just like her dad. The best part is she is paying for most of her school while she is going to school. She is smart beyond her years and her love of the dogs and thick sarcasm always add action to the house.

Benjamin is a senior with a job. He bough his own car this year. It is a sweet ride, for a 85 year old man. But it has heated seats, and my car does not. Point for Ben! We do not know what is next for him, but the Marines are sure interested, and if you haven’t heard, they are strongest, fastest and bestest branch of the military.

Kassandra still has a year of school left. She is tall, plays soccer, dances and plays piano. She said like 8 words to me this year, but her smile, her smile is worth about 20,000 words. Plus she still laughs at most of my awesome jokes, so I love her conditionally, as long as she keeps laughing.

J&J, Jake and Jo are still homeschooling, and they are the most popular kids in their school. Jake is dipping his toe into teenage-hood, and I don’t like it, but I can’t stop it. Jo is no longer the baby of the family. She is uber creative and does creative things all the time. They fight, they argue, and they tease, but when nobody is looking, they are the best of friends.

Tracy has a full time job keeping me on schedule and in check. She feeds me, but not with baby food and a bib, not yet at least. She keeps me on track, listens to my woes and is the best part of this family. I get up early, go to work, go to Crossfit Kainos, pay to be extremely uncomfortable, come home, eat, rinse, repeat. In between we try to fish, take road-trips, explore, pick berries, remodel the house (thanks Chip & Joanna!!) and do what Alaskans are called to do.

As I write this, I always enjoy looking back and seeing all that we did over the past year. I know I long for the young years, but the recent years have their highlights for sure, many of them more exciting and better than the younger years, and if I have learned anything, it is to not take this time for granted.

This year we watched Alli graduate college, traveled to see family in Missouri and most importantly we added new members to our family. I am not talking about Trinity, Ben’s best “friend” and welcomed near full time Godfrey member, but even more importantly and impactful, our Avatars. If you have not had the privilege of meeting them, just text us or check out or FB, Instagram (costaglenn) or my Snapchat (Costaglenn) and we will make sure it happens!! Here is a little preview for those of you knew to the game.

 

 

I want to finish with the most important thing. We are very thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ for all that he has blessed us with. He continues to bless this family and we give Him the glory, and trust that although, much like my parents, our kids are not always taking the path we think they should, as long as they keep Jesus the Lord of their life, it will be the right path. May God Bless you and may you thrive in 2017.

img_3467

We love selfies

img_3763

We love selfies, not good at them, but we love them

fullsizerender

The Other Side of Goodbye

Five years ago I wrote a post titled Goodbyes are great! This was our goodbye to the Kenai Peninsula as we started the new chapter of our life in Costa Rica. As I reread that post, I realize there is a huge difference between saying goodbye as the ones leaving, versus saying goodbye as the ones staying.

The leaving signals a new adventure, a new journey, stress, excitement, planning and motion. You are always moving, moving to the goal of getting gone. The time to reflect and to sulk in your sorrow is shoved in between fits of stress filled phone calls, reservations, packing, signing, double checking and the general event that is moving a young family.

When I wrote that post I failed to realize my excitement and the franticness with which I filled my life, tempered the actual sadness. Today, we are on the other the other side of the goodbye. Today some of our very closest friends are starting the new chapter in their life. They are mired in the midst of a move, while we sit in the rain and think of all that we will miss; the fun times, late nights, adventures and the general closeness with trusting loving confidants. It is much harder on this side of goodbye. We can actually take time to sip our coffee and reminisce and contemplate all that could’ve been, and all that will not be. I don’t like it.

One thing sticks solidly in my head about the post I wrote back June 2011. I don’t know that it was  the most read, or even that great of post, but it showed how I was feeling at the time. But it is definitely poignant because of the only comment on that post, which was written by my good friend Ryan Davis, the one who today leaves. On the  post he wrote “Dislike! You are wrong goodbyes stink.”  Today, I stand in Ryan’s shoes as he takes his truly amazing God-fearing loving family  to their new life. I find myself jealous of those that will be blessed by their presence. Today I am on the other side of goodbye, and it does stink.

We love you guys so much and although our hearts are heavy, our hope is in God and we know that our families will forever be entwined. In honor of you and as a permanent reminder, a small reminder of our times together I submit this video, with some great memories and inside jokes. I hope that it will always make you smile and remember.

We truly love you.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/183042906″>2CEDF48F-5224-4C45-BFD5-AC5989105488_HQ</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user56763861″>Glenn Godfrey</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

That Sinking Feeling

You may have heard a rumor milling about that Dorian and I were involved in the sinking of a boat in the Kenai River this summer. I am embarrassed to to tell you that the rumor is true. We are both unhurt, and besides the death of a few salmon, a boat and two expensive iPhones, we came out of the whole incident relatively unscathed. So in honor of that, and in order to share the story exactly how it occurred, I thought I would take the opportunity to write about that fateful afternoon.

It was not a warm or cool day on the Kenai River, it was just a mild afternoon, good for a light jacket or sweater. The fish had yet to arrive and there was a frenzy of activity in search of the prized red meat half way through the season. As I kissed my wife goodbye she said “Don’t come home without fish.” In her loving and joking way. “I’ll do my best.”

The prize of the Kenai peninsula is the Kenai River, a river that runs from Kenai Lake near Seward into the Cook Inlet in Kenai Alaska. The river runs about 80 miles and holds one of the biggest salmon runs in the world. Every July the sockeye or red salmon make their return to the river by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. And every year, as they strive to make it to the mating grounds, they meet a myriad of obstacles, killer whales, salmon sharks, sea lions, seals, commercial fisherman, sport fisherman, guides and snaggers. If, by the grace of God, they dodge each one of the obstacles, then they have the pleasure of entering the Kenai river to swim hard against the current and grow old quickly. However, from July 10th to the end of July, there is one more major obstacle wading in their way, the dipnetters.

The Kenai River, a 180 minute drive south of Anchorage, is home to the personal use fishery. It is an Alaska Resident fishery. Alaskans deploy nets up to five feet wide, filled with monofilament netting. With long poles, the nets are held in the water off shore or from boats, hoping to scoop up the sockeye that survived the gauntlet. We look at it as saving them from dying at the hands of the bears and snaggers, so basically we are doing them a solid by moving them from certain death into our freezers and smokers.

So there we were, participating in our Alaskan given right to drag nets of death in the Kenai River in hopes of filling our quota of 90 salmon. It was a very slow day of fishing. There have been days when we filled our boat in a matter of an hour or two, and other days, like this one, where hours resulted in just a couple of fish. After four hours of dragging, we decided it was getting just a little too frantic out there. Hundreds of boats of all sizes and horsepower were stirring the waters in such a manner that the swells were tough to manage in a silver 14 foot narrow skiff. The motor was strong, and the boat was sea worthy, but the low sides, an narrowness made the ride wet, with waves consistently washing over the sides and bow.The bilge pump was on often returning the Kenai water back to its rightful place.

As we attempted to leave the fishery, we were turned away. The mouth of the Kenai is affected by tides, and on this day it was a small negative tide, and because of that the boat launch was closed until there was enough water to pull boats out safely. I told the dock attendant that we were having boat troubles, which we were as one of those waved rocked George and I into the console and broke it loose. But to no avail. We would have to wait for another couple of hours. So me, in my infinite wisdom suggested that we head back to the fishing grounds. No use sitting around and twiddling our thumbs. We would take our six fish and see if we could nab a couple more, gently and slowly amongst the wasp swarm of fisherman.

We started fishing the main drift, along with about 80 other boats. Each drift took about 8 minutes, two nets in tow. Fishing was picking up. Every drift yielded at least one red, and sometimes two. I knew if I kept my head on swivel, kept dodging boats and nets, only feet away, we would be okay. I just had to go slow, watch 360 degrees and soon we could get out of the water, and I would get home with fish, as ordered by the boss.

We finished another drift, going right to the edge of the marker that designated where boats had to stop fishing. We drifted past the markers as we pulled our nets in turning upstream in the light chocolate muddy water. Two, maybe three more drifts I thought to myself, and we would salvage an okay day. At least enough to smoke a batch of 15-20 reds.

Slowly I started back up stream. “Do you want me to come back to the stern” asked George, which is our practice to keep the weight of the bow. “Nah, don’t worry about it” I said. “We’ll just putter up slowly and slide in a drift”.

Behind me I could hear the roar of jet engines, large river jets meant for shallow waters. These Thunder Jets, as they are called, put off a big wake and sound like small jet planes. One jetted by us on our port, and I got caught surfing his wake. ” Hang on we’re surfing “, I warned George and Dorian, and skillfully I eased out of the tractor beam of the surf enjoying the ride. To surf a wave on a boat, at times you give up full control, and the wave controls your ride, just like on a surf board.

Right then, another Jet boat blew by us and we got caught again. “We’re surfing agai………”

Before I could finish my sentence the flat silver bow of our boat buried itself under the water, lurching forward and toward the port. And, like a giant soup ladle, it scooped every gallon of water it could fit into the boat. In less than a second we were near swamped, we were wet and we we in shock. For a second we just gazed at each other in disbelief.

Quickly, I turned on the bilge pump and it began pouring water out taking great pleasure in doing its job. “Do we have a bucket or anything George?” Knowing the answer before I asked the question. George began scooping water out as fast as he could with a small container, and Dorian followed suit with my blue coffee mug. We were still afloat, barely, but floating.

Should I head for shore or try to motor outside the boats? I didn’t see how we could frogger our way through the boats to make it to the beach, so I turned the boat into the seas, hoping to hold it steady while George, Dorian and the bilge worked to get the water out.I just didn’t want to get hit or run over, but most of all I didn’t want to sink.

The boat felt wrong. It was not moving with the wakes, it was not moving hardly at all. I felt as if we were on a water logged log, neutrally buoyant. I did not like the feeling, and I cannot recall ever feeling before in my 40 + years of being on the water.

Dorian was waving his arms and screaming “hey” trying to get someone to help us. George had his head down and was bailing faster than a 60 year old man should’ve been able to. I joined Dorian in the waving and screaming, trying to get everyone to slow down as they passed us by.

I decided to turn the bow into the wakes, as I have done all my life, to gain control and stability. As soon as the boat was facing into the wakes downstream, I saw the most miserable sight of my life, a bevy of high bows coming at us at mach 3. Waving our arms and screaming at the top of our lungs, we begged them to stop, to slow down, to help us, to do anything but go by as fast as they could, which they did, unable to see us over the lifted bow, especially since we were sitting very low in the water.

One more small wave is all it took, and the boat yielded itself to the river. In a second, our boat was gone. It just disappeared from beneath our feet, literally gone, and literally, in a second. The water won, the boat lost. It was then the boaters passing us thought that perhaps we could use hand. There was something odd about three grown men standing in the middle of the chocolatey Kenai River up to their waste with no boat in sight.

Unknown to me, an ex trooper friend of mine had pulled up behind us. Prior to that, I recall looking at George and feeling relieved that he had his army green trusty float coat on and fully zipped. Then I glanced at Dorian, his bright red life jacket fully secured on top of his blue and white stripped hoody, again I was happy. However, I knew that my life jacket was not on me. I also knew that I had several jackets on, jeans, and shoes, and the silty Kenai River would weigh those down in seconds.

I remember recalling I had been sitting on my life jacket, to keep my bum of the wet seat, a logical place for the jacket. I glanced down at the jacket, and made a decision, the decision was that if I did not get to another boat right now, that I was likely going to become part of the Kenai River, and not in a good way.

I glanced up and saw a dark brown flat bottom camo skiff had slowed down a few feet away, ironically powered by a converted jet outboard. “Do you need a hand?” I didn’t answer, I just jumped toward that beautiful brown skiff as hard as I could. However, jumping when you have no earth beneath your feet is not jumping, it is flopping, so I flopped. I flopped into the river. In my head I remember thinking three strokes, you have a good three strokes and you better be holding on to another boat. After that, I did not think I would stay afloat.

I promise that Michael Phelps never swam as hard as I did, and he probably didn’t look near as good as I did with my camo Jacket and New Orleans Saint Football ball cap. I don’t know if it was three strokes, but it was hard and as fast I could swim. I could feel my clothes getting heavy, very heavy very fast, and in a flash my hands were grabbing the stern of the beautiful brown skiff.

I held on and I held on tight. I was not cold, I was breathing hard from mass exertion and from adrenaline, as if I had just swam 800 meters, not 8 feet. I looked over at where our skiff used to be, and I saw Dorian in another boat, and George being pulled into the same skiff. I also saw that someone had the presence of mind to grab a line from our skiff and tie it to their boat.

I felt several arms tugging on my arms, and I remember telling them to give me a minute. I slid up to the middle of the boat, and told them here I come. For the first time I saw the practical use of the bar muscle up that I had learned in Crossfit, and it helped plop me onto the deck of the beautiful brown skiff. It was then that I noticed that my life jacket was draped on my left arm through the left armhole. At some point I had tried to don my jacket, but instead just took it for a ride.

“We need to get you out of those wet clothes. Why don’t you start taking your clothes off.” I noticed I wasn’t cold at all, not a chill. I was in shock, I was embarrassed, and I was ashamed that I had let this happen, but I was not cold. I told him I did not need to disrobe, especially considering that there were now about 70 boats, bows facing in watching us as if at a drive in movie, all suddenly wanting to help. The river was instantly eerily calm, as if the water had stopped moving at all.

My first thought, was of the fish. Did we lose the fish, the fish we had worked so hard, and sacrificed so much for. Yes, they were gone. The trash can we kept them in was floating empty down the river. Then my phone, where was my phone? I had left it on the console of the boat, only learning later that Dorian had tried to save it for me throwing it to the kid on the boat that saved him. The kid missed.

The next hour was a blur, picking up pieces, transferring from skiff to skiff, watching the unsung heroes save our boat, talking to the police, coast guard, and fireman. About an hour after I began to get cold, and I just wanted to go, I wanted to leave that place. At some point I noticed I still had my ball cap on. Odd, how did I not lose the hat? My head never went under water, I told you I was swimming fast!

There are so many things to be thankful for. Minutes before we sunk, I took of my chest waders. If I had worn my chest waders, and no life jacket, my odds of swimming at all would’ve been greatly diminished. My friend in the other boat was awesome,not only swooping in to save George and Dorian, but working hard to save our boat as well. No one was hurt at all, and George’s flip phone still works!

As I walked into our home, still in shock, a little cold, and feeling awful for what had happened to George’s boat, I was greeted with, “did you get my text? Did you pick up the kids? ” ” I did not get your text, and I came home without any fish.” Then I began to share the story, at first to strong disbelief, until my dripping clothes provided the evidence that this time I was not teasing. I have shared the story many times since then, hence the blog.

I wrote this from my perspective. Being a trooper for many years I know that my perspective is likely different than Dorian’s and George’s, and if you see them you can ask them to tell their story.

I have learned a lot from this small incident. I have been humbled and I have renewed respect for the water. Since this has occurred I have been dipping on the river twice with my kids, and fishing for King salmon twice with friends. I will not stop fishing or dipping, but I will definitely be more careful and respectful. I can’t stop fishing, because I want to keep doing those red salmon a solid! And I certainly do not want to come home again without any fish.

I wish I could share the pictures of that day, but alas the pictures that I took were on my phone, and my phone, undoubtedly sits buried beneath the silty bottom of the Kenai River, encased in its waterproof container. Instead I share with you pictures after that day, pictures that would not be possible if not for those who helped us when we most needed it. I am very thankful that we will continue to make memories, in life jackets on the Kenai River and I hope to share again a successful fishing season in the near future.

 

 

IMG_2753

 

The Race

The race was on, and this time the better man lost. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the race started in the fall of 1986, and apparently I was the tortoise, but unlike the fable, I was the tortoise that lost. Shoot, I didn’t even realize it was a race until about four years ago when Alexandra enrolled in Evangel University. Then I knew that I must finish the degree that I started in 1986, and I must finish before she did. However, I underestimated her drive and determination. Despite losing a semester to UAA, despite having to dissect a pig on the back deck in the middle of summer, and despite working several jobs, acting, dancing, traveling to Africa, around the states and more, despite all of it she still finished and she finished way ahead of me. Alas, I will finish, and I will finish strong, but I will not finish before my daughter and I could not be prouder to lose this race. If I had half the drive and determination of my daughter, I would’ve finished my four-year degree in two years circa 1988, with a 3.8 GPA. Instead, exactly like my actual physical running, I am a plodder, one foot painfully and slowly in front of the other, sweat pouring down my face, pain shooting through my well used knee joints and degenerative lower back. It is not pleasurable, but it is doable, unless calculus is involved.

We had the privilege of witnessing her cross the finish line, the first grandchild to do so. The trip was a collage of memories as Alli attended the same university that Tracy and I met at, Evangel. Except when we attended it was a sprawling college, with classrooms scattered throughout old military barracks. The last one in class had to sit by the 1950 steel radiator heater, boiling as Mrs. Fletcher explained the difference between a debit and credit and espoused the beauty of accounting. It is much different now. There are no barracks, there are only beautiful new buildings, all climate controlled. I hear there is even a state-of-the-art library. Rumor was there was a library when I attended, but I am unable to verify such details, perhaps an indicator as to why I am still racing. The dorms remain the same. In fact I think they have the same carpet from when we attended, unless someone else spilled some RC Cola between the fake plant and glass panel of the main entry just outside the Mrs. Pac Man game table.

FullSizeRender

Is grandma praying?????

IMG_0786

She finally made it to the big screen.

IMG_0803

Uncle Shane and Grandma Linda.

_MG_0807

I never thought I would say these four words about Alli, but “she is taller than….” Nana I think.

IMG_0704

Our little college grew up.

_MG_0815

If only I still had my mullet, then the trip down memory lane would be complete!

IMG_0705 IMG_0767 IMG_0776

While back at the inception of the Godfrey 10, we took time to visit our very first home, the one we purchased for $43,500 soon after we married, while Tracy finished her race, long ahead of me. The house looked older, smaller, and perhaps it was now part of the “hood”. I don’t remember it that way. I wished we could’ve peeked inside to see if the marble tiles and white Berber carpet still styled the living room.

IMG_6320

Where it all began! Our first home. It looked much smaller than I remember.

IMG_2779

I think we could all fit! More importantly, is Ben just as tall as me???

IMG_6237

Father daughter face swap. We are some beauts.

IMG_6306

We spent many hours at this lake…., studying, strictly studying!

IMG_2565

Don’t know what was going on here, not sure I want to know.

IMG_2612

Mom’s old dorm, right across the sidewalk from mine.

IMG_2654

Grandpa Bowman and Grandma Karen

IMG_2787

No grandma, I don’t think that is a silver salmon.

IMG_2616

There’s my room, right there.

IMG_2765

This is Alli’s room “clean” and “ready”. Some things never change.

IMG_2711  IMG_2742   IMG_2802

Throughout the trip, the memories kept smacking us across the face; the Old CD store where you could buy and sell CDs, and not the financial kind. The very first Subway sandwich shop I ever ate at, the lake, Steak and Shake, Sonic, my old employer Bass Pro Shops and the ever-growing Battlefield Mall. It was all so old, and there was so much more than I remember. It was impossible to not flash back to those late night Taco Bell runs, and $1 movie nights with my then girlfriend. We were young, carefree and ready to take on the world. We just did not know what that meant. I am glad that the Lord guided our paths, even when we thought we were driving. I guarantee this, in the late 1980s I never imagined our journey would involve eight kids, but I also guarantee that I would not want to have it any other way.

IMG_2832

I think this was some type of interpretive dance. Or Jake was choking and Kassie was trying to show Livy a new hemlich method.

IMG_2831

IMG_6330

My old employer, Bass Pro Shops

IMG_2821

IMG_2803

IMG_6336

Alli eating our bread right as the lights went out at the Cheesecake Factory. At least we got bread.

IMG_6250

table side s’mores

FullSizeRender_1

Don’t have to worry about leeches, thank goodness. Just watch out for the water moccasins.

IMG_6331

got to love a musket staircase

FullSizeRender IMG_6247 IMG_6282 IMG_6285 IMG_6307 IMG_6312 IMG_6326 IMG_6327

 

It is fitting that Alli finished her first race, where Tracy and I began ours together. One cannot ever imagine where they will be thirty years later.  I can only pray that her next race is as exciting and awesome as ours has been. And with her drive, ambition, smarts and thirst for life, I have a feeling she will not lack for excitement. I will always pray that no matter what she does, she does it in God’s will, and with God’s wisdom, help and guidance, for outside of that the race gets very difficult, and it’s already difficult enough. Although I did not finish that part of my race in 1990 like I was supposed to,  I will promise you this, I WILL finish my degree before my first grandchild finishes their degree, if we ever get one. If I don’t, meet me at Steak n Shake in Springfield Missouri, on their graduation day, and dinner is on me!

IMG_2737

 

IMG_2840

Two generation of Chapel attenders, errr at least 1 and 1/2 attenders. Someone missed a few chapels.

2015 In Review

Our end of the year letter is up on top of the blog with a whole new page! Shoot, I still had 30 hours to spare. Click on the 2015 In Review link at the top, or just click this here link   2015 In Review

There are a lot of words and a lot of pictures, something for all of us! What can I say, I am a people pleaser. 

Happy New Year and may our God bless you in 2016.

fam pic

All Expenses Paid

Thirteen fast weeks after Jeremy left, we went to find him at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Word was that he had finished his thirteen weeks of vacation and we would get to meet up with him, intending to make this a little mini vacation of our own. After all Jeremy got to enjoy thirteen weeks of all expenses paid vacation, with free workouts, free guided hikes, free obstacle courses, free ammunition to shoot, new outfits, unlimited food and water, and no charge wake-ups all hours of the night. Knowing all the fun he was having, we decided it was only fair for us to join in the fun before we picked him up.

IMG_4704

She came in a little hot!

SDedited3

Gramma was drawn to Bob Hope.

SDedited2

I bet no one has ever thought to mimic the statue! We are so creative.

SDedited19

Ben doing????

SDedited20

Livy dancing with some bull kelp.

SDedited25

somebody help him please.

 

SDedited1

The famous Randy’s donuts.

IMG_4379  SDedited22    IMG_4778  IMG_4763 IMG_4408    IMG_4777    IMG_5042  SDedited4          SDedited24

 

Eventually we had to make our way to MCRD, or the weekend spa as we understood it to be, to retrieve Jerms from his vacation. Surprisingly, he was very excited to see us. Further, he was very very hungry for “real food”, or pizza as it is known.

SDedited10

Warrior Godfrey could not wait to use his phone. It took a while for him to not scream and stand at attention, but eventually we got him to sit down.

 

SDedited26

Warrior Godfrey could not wait to use his phone. It took a while for him to not scream and stand at attention, but eventually we got him to sit down. Notice the left hand.

IMG_4838

This was a looooonnnnnnggg hug with lots of tears, mostly from me.

 

 

The ceremony was pretty impressive, but a little long for a family from Alaska waiting to get their Marine. Jeremy did great, but I can’t lie, it was a little difficult to pick him out of the battalion. After all, it was filled with tanned, short haired thin guys in blue and brown uniforms. I think I saw him marching a couple times though.

IMG_4880SDedited5SDedited28SDedited11   SDedited11_Fotor_Collage SDedited14  SDedited16

After some shopping, beach time, and lots and lots of pizza, we decided to hit the world famous San Diego zoo. We won’t bore you with the millions of animal pictures we took, but we will bore you with some of the animal pictures we took, and some of the family pictures we took.

SDedited36

Kassie and her very favorite animal, the zebra.

 

SDedited27

Gramma getting the “what for” from Jo.

IMG_5193

Jerms ran into his bunkmate at the zoo.

 

IMG_5023_Fotor_Collage

The real monkeys of the zoo.

SDedited32

The most chill animal in the zoo.

We packed a lot of stuff into the 5-day trip, and gained a lot of new experiences. But the most important thing we gained is a new Marine that got to come back to Alaska for a few weeks before he ships of to new and adventurous locations. However, for some reason he seems a little skeptical when they keep promising these all expense paid trips to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria………

If you have time, and if you remember, please keep Jeremy in your prayers as he begins a brand new phase of his life. We couldn’t be prouder, more excited, and even a little nervous.

 

SDedited30

I was forced into this selfie against my will.

IMG_5197       IMG_5023 SDedited29 SDedited33IMG_5055

Recruit Godfrey

Way back in the late nineties, in a small town with a big Trooper Academy, I was known as Recruit Godfrey for 14 of the toughest weeks of my life. Now there is a new recruit in the family, Jeremy. About 10 years ago Tracy and I came to the realization that Jeremy was likely going to join the service. About four years ago, after a week visit to Paris Island, Jeremy decided that he wanted to be a Marine. The pride, the misery and the majesty were simply too intriguing to resist. Three days ago, he started that journey swearing in and shipping off San Diego, and I couldn’t be prouder.

IMG_1136

If you know Jeremy this does not shock you. He has lived in camo gear since he was about five, buys knives and guns like my mom used to buy Tupperware, hikes and plays survival by spending winter nights in the woods with no equipment, and studies wars and military in his spare time. Jeremy’s last option was not joining the military, it was Jeremy’s plan A. This is who he is and this I believe is what he is supposed to do; And other than having to be put on double rations because he might be a little too skinny, he is ideally suited for the challenge. He has worked hard to make his dream happen.

IMG_3990IMG_3993IMG_4004IMG_3998

The reality of what he is doing didn’t set in until his swearing in. At that time, when the Captain said “Congratulations, you are now active duty” I realized there is no turning back. His life, our life, is about to change forever. I remember my dad sharing that his lifelong dream was to be a Marine, but he was unable to fulfill that dream, so he became and Alaska State Trooper instead. But I could see that look in his eyes, and I knew that there was something about it that still held his heart. I know that if he was alive today, there would be nothing in the world that could’ve stopped him from watching my son get sworn in, and I doubt that we could keep him from attending the graduation in San Diego to see Jeremy in his dress whites.

IMG_1152

There’s a creeper in the background

IMG_1137

Waiting to be sworn in.

IMG_1157

The last smile he is going to see from an officer in a while.

We know that Jeremy arrived safely at boot camp because he left us such a sweet heartfelt message. My phone rang at precisely 11:15 pm on Monday night, and in my stuper deep into a dream, I didn’t realize that the chanting “Glenn’s the man” ringtone was actually my phone and not the crowd cheering me on as I sang on stage in my dream. By the time I realized it was my phone, it had quit ringing and the red glow of the voicemail message caught my eye. Fearing the worst, I listened to the message that melted my heart. It was so sweet that I thought I would share it with all of you, I am sure Jeremy wouldn’t mind. He was obviously sharing from his heart. Just click on the little play button, but first you may want to get some Kleenex.

 

I realize this is a long process, and I also realize that until he graduates, he will only be a recruit. But none-the-less I am proud that he has taken the first step, which is almost always the hardest step. Hopefully, the next time I blog about him he will be in his dress whites with his patented Jeremy smile, weigh about 15 pounds more, and be ready to head to his first post. No matter what, one thing I know for sure, the next time I see him, he will own at least two more knives, and possibly another gun.

IMG_1158