The Land of 10,000 Lakes

We had been wanting to make another trip to MN to see family.  We were there last 6 years ago for Thanksgiving just before William turned one.  We were due.  Mom let us know they were planning a trip and we figured what better time to go then while they were there too!

God works his perfect timing.  I've seen it happen so many times in my life.  It just so happened that my Grandma (who has suffered from some debilitating dizziness and fairly recent vision issues) was to have a consultation with a doctor after running a multitude of tests to finally determine the reason behind her symptoms.  My mom was able to be there of which she was very grateful-living so far away and never normally getting to be a part of things like this.

They diagnosed Grandma with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimers that not only effects memory but also vision.  Although it is an extremely difficult diagnosis to get, there are finally answers to the ongoing question of "why" she was feeling like she was.  This Summer, my aunt Julie was involved (in great measure) in finding a different home for Grandma and Grandpa to move into.  This was prior to the diagnosis, but has already proven to be a great move.  Everything Grandma needs is on one level, not down in the basement or up multiple stairs.  As difficult as it must be for them to adjust to not only a new town but a different home (after being in the same one since my mom was in grade school), I know they see the importance of change.  I was glad we were able to be there during the transition.
Wish we saw each other more often.
Not sure how Grandpa is taking it.  It's a lot to hear that the woman who's done so much for you is changing.  I pray for them both.  Maybe the time they have left will be the best yet.

In the short five days we were there we managed to see lots of family (which is no small feat when it comes to a family with 8 siblings).
It was bailing season at Uncle Darrel and Aunt Julies house (where we stayed) and the boys round a bull frog that crawled under the bale (Darrel is retired but works his 100's of  Limousine cows and his 200 acres of property harder then ever..Aunt Julie is an ultrasound tech who works full time)

With 200 acres, you must have a mule to haul yourself around.  
Success.  Bull Frog found.
A little bigger than the frogs the  boy are used to finding here around our place.
"Grandma, you pick it up!"  Then it promptly peed in her hand.

First time ever seeing a bale wrapping machine (I'm sure there's some technical name for it, but that's what I've called it).  Fascinating.

My Uncle Jerry who was married to my Aunt Pam (pictured) died from Pancreatic Cancer the same month Calvin was born.  We were able to meet, for the first time, my Aunt Pam's new husband (married during the Summer).  His name?  Jerry (o;  His wife also died of cancer and was told by her that the only woman she could see him marrying was my Aunt Pam.  And so he did!
An entire evening was spent going through my Great Grandma Fagan's stuff.  She passed away in March and her sons/daughters (my Grandma one of them) auctioned off her stuff to each other.  My Grandma's collection was then gone through by my mom and all her siblings to see who wanted what as a keep sake.  

Great Grandma's infamous chicken collection.  This was only a small portion.  And they all got multiple to take home.  They even allowed me one since I was there.

Lots of fishing in the deep creek holes on my aunt and uncle's property

A little kayak trip on a lake!  We had probably close to ten kayaks out there-all our family!  It was fun seeing cousins I hadn't seen in such a long time.  

Our last farewell in front of Grandma and Grandpa's new place before heading to Minneapolis for our flight.
Us, My mom and Dad, My Grandma (Grandpa was out working on the farm), Aunt Julie (Mom's oldest sister), Aunt Carol  (who flew in from WA once Grandma got the diagnosis), and Uncle Dave (the only boy of my mom's family of 8 kids)

This trip reminded me of how short life is.  I live each day like I've got many more to live.  Reality is, I just don't know.  What's most important?  The sacrifice it was to make this trip, even just for the short time we were there, was beyond worth it.  Family is SO important and this trip reminded me of that.  


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