Thursday, August 25, 2011

Celebration of a Hero

Aaron's grandfather passed away on the 11th.  We remembered his life this past Friday.


Feb. 18, 1918 - Aug. 11, 2011
MISHAWAKA - Joseph S. Oklak, 93, of Brookville, Ohio, formerly of Mishawaka, passed away at 8:01 a.m. Thursday, August 11, 2011, in Brookhaven Retirement Community. Joseph was born on February 18, 1918, in Mayville, Wisconsin, to Steve and Janja (Vookson) Oklak. He was a World War II Army-Air Force veteran, who received the Purple Heart and was a P.O.W. in Germany from April 1944 to May 1945. He was a member of Sts. Peter & Paul Serbian Orthodox Church, D.A.V #6, V.F.W. #360 and American Legion #161. On April 25, 1943, in South Bend, he married the former Goldie Leiter. She died on April 20, 1989. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Lenore Peer, grandson, Todd Peer, and four brothers and sisters. Surviving are three sons, Steve Oklak of Dayton, OH, Mark (Donna) Oklak and Dennis (Donna) Oklak, both of Indianapolis; a son-in-law, Herb Peer of Dayton, OH; six grandchildren, Jennifer Oklak, Heather (Steve) Logsdon, Andy Oklak, Abbey Oklak, Kristen (Shawn) McDowell and Aaron (Shannon) Peer; and 10 great-grandchildren, Annalise Logsdon, Connor McDowell, Lauren McDowell, Jillian McDowell, Caleb Peer, Josiah Peer, Rachel Peer, Sarah Peer, Jada Peer and Alexander Peer.

Papa Joe was one of the most generous men I knew.  He gave to his country, gave to his friends, and gave to his family.  He was a quiet man  -  he would do anything for you.  He was faithful to his family.
He was filled with stories from his colorful past.  He was a lover of Notre Dame football.
He was kind and sacrificial  ... he saved his whole life to provide a better future for his kids and grandkids.






Saturday, August 20, 2011

Virginia Vacation - Day 3

Our third and final day in Virginia we visited the Luray Caverns.

The first two photos are of an area of shallow water in the caverns which produced a perfect reflection.



Aaron, Jada and Alex.   Alex was not happy to be in the earth ... he screamed and couldn't be calmed, so Aaron had to leave the caverns before the tour was finished.  As soon as they went above ground, he stopped crying.

Rachel and Papa Herbie.

Lauren and Caleb.

Caleb, Connor, Jada and Lauren about to smashed.

Jillian and Josiah joining in the fun.

Group pictures!!



Alex - 7 months old

A day late.

You hate baby food - you spit out as much as you eat.

You're creeping and scooting yourself all over the house.

You love to bounce.


You're only waking once or twice a night.

You take at least one good nap a day.

You're loud.


You are a very happy guy.

Except when you're not.

There is no in between.


You like to be in the midst of the action.

You still haven't gotten your first tooth, but you chew on everything.

You're sitting up well.

You're a delightful little guy!

7 months

Virginia Vacation - Day 2 (The Bear Story)

Our second day in Virginia, we decided to go hiking in the Shenandoah National Park.   We planned to hike to the top of a summit where we would have views of the whole valley.   Once in the park we stopped at an overlook and came to a realization.  It was windy and cold.  We weren't dressed for the cooler temps, so we decided to take another trail that went down the mountains ending in a view of a waterfall.


We started down the side of the mountain.   It was very steep and all I could think about was how horrible the hike back out was going to be.   Sarah was refusing to walk, so Aaron was carrying her part of the time with Alex also on his back.    I had the front carrier to carry Alex in, but I didn't want to use it unless it was absolutely necessary.


So,  Sarah was crying.  Then, Jada started getting blisters.  We were about halfway down the 1.4 mile trail.  We decided I should just head back to the top with Jada and Sarah, allowing Aaron and the other kids to hike the rest of the trail in peace.    We parted ways, agreeing to meet back at the top.


I am not in good shape.   I would have struggled by myself to hike up the side of a mountain.   Carrying a 2 year old on my hip was pure torture.   (Aaron even said he wasn't sure he could've made it back up with Sarah on his back instead of Alex.  It was a very difficult hike).     We would hike about 50 feet, then I would have to stop to take a breather and set Sarah down.  Every time I set her down, she would scream her head off.  


Jada was hiking ahead of us and would have to stop and come back towards us when we would rest.  On about the third rest, Jada turned around to talk to us.  Suddenly, her face turned white and her eyes were huge.  She turned around and started running at top speed, yelling something incoherently.  I glanced behind me and saw a small, black bear crossing the path about 30-50 feet below us.  I watched him cross the path and not even give us a glance.  Jada was still running like a crazy person.  I could now understand what she was saying, "BEARS ...  BEARS  ...  BEARS."


I yelled for her to stop and quickly caught up with her.  Her face was pale and green.   I think she was almost scared to death!  I was able to calm her down and we both tried to get ourselves up and out of there as quickly as possible.   I still needed to stop several more times, which upset Jada.  She just wanted to get out of there and was scared to death that we were being tracked by the bear.  I assured her that a bear would try to avoid us as much as we would try to avoid him and that I had seen him go on his way.   I told her that bears usually only attacked people if they thought their babies were in danger.  When we finally reached the end of the trail  we both felt relieved.

 I started asking Jada about the bear ... whether it was big or small, etc.  Thats when she informed me there were 2 bears.  The first one was big.  The second one was little.  A mother and her cub.  By the time I turned around to look, only the small bear was still there.  I am so thankful that we weren't still on that part of the trail when they stepped out into the trail.  We missed them by just seconds.  God was definitely watching out for us.

DSC_0050The rest of the group made it down to the waterfall and back up without nearly as much excitement as we had.  They said the waterfall wasn't even that neat.  Everyone but Josiah struggled to make it back up the trail (so I don't feel quite as bad).

And Jada will have a story to tell her grandkids.   I'm not sure we'll ever get her to hike again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Virginia Vacation - Day 1

We arrived in Viriginia a little before 3 in the morning on Monday.   We caught a few hours of sleep, then  started an exciting day!


The kids were reunited with their cousins!

We went to Michie's Tavern, a tavern built around 1784.   
Five of the kids with Aunt Kristen and cousins Jillian and Lauren.

Lauren and Jada.

All six kids on the porch of the tavern.

They had period hats available for everyone to wear.

Doing a period dance.

Then, we traveled up the road to Monroe's house.  We were about to tour it when we realized we didn't have enough time to do both it and Monticello.  We decided that we would rather see Monticello.  So, we saw a bit of the gardens and the foyer of Monroe's house.

Then we went to Monticello.  

All of us.

The kids posing on the steps.

Aaron and I.

All nine of the cousins.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschooling Week in Review - Week 4

This week we finally got some perfect weather.  It's been so nice to be able to have the windows open and be outside without roasting.   The kids did their reading outside several days this week and spent lots of time outside playing.   We also had a sad week, losing Aaron's Grandpa and also a man from our church within hours of each other.  They were both born in the year 1918, so had lived full lives.  They were both such wonderful men and will be greatly missed.

Our week was pretty low key.  We didn't do anything very exciting.  We took off on Tuesday to do a little shopping in preparation for our upcoming vacation.    We finished a book on William Wilberforce and will watch Amazing Grace tomorrow.  We also finished up Moccasin Trail.    Caleb and Joe both read the first half of Freedom Train, a book about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.  Rachel read Riding the Pony Express.   Jada continued reading I Can Read It, at double the pace Sonlight schedules it.  In science we learned about fish.

Some pictures from our week:
Sarah playing with her "pwuhzzle"

Jada getting ready to work on some math problems at the chalkboard.

Rachel using crayons for counters as she works on her math problems.

Rachel with one of her dress drawings.   She has a notebook full of her various designs.

The girls playing on the front porch.

Josiah riding his bike.

Rachel reading outside.

Sarah and Alex looking cute, as always.

A picnic on the front yard.


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