Sunday, August 23, 2009


The Barnett 3 with Grandma Josie and Grandpa Jerry

I haven't blogged in a full four days now. I think it is like exercise, once you stop it is hard to start back up. Not to mention that I may lose my job anyway because of the amazing posts made by my husband. He is a tough act to follow and took such good care of Ally while we were gone. I want my turn with Ally. I told Jerad that he better head out to Junction City here soon and leave me here with her. It is weird how our family dynamic has changed over the summer. Jerad seems to take care of Ally (when he is here, of course) and Evan and Carly are more mine.

So back to my last few days spent in Erie Pennsylvania with my family on my Mom's side....We had a nice trip. Memories that I will forever hold in my heart. After our drive there, 5 hours of which I drove most of them, we arrived at my grandparent's house. This is the house where my mom grew up. Quite honestly, it is the only link I have to my childhood. Every other house we have lived in, or my other Grandma, Aunt, etc...they are all gone. This is the only place I have where I can say, yea I remember sitting right under this apple tree.

I remember going down the cellar stairs. When I walked in to their house, there is a distinct smell, a good smell, that can bring me right back to being five years old again. The door still creaks the same exact way. Everything is exactly the same, down to the same little chicken gravy boat sitting on the shelf in the kitchen. I love it. I NEED to feel my childhood again..I can almost hear my Mom's voice while walking through there. Of course all of these memories brought a wave of emotion over me that I cannot begin to explain.

This is my special tree there. Probably 100 years old. Every year my grandfather sends me a leaf from this tree in my birthday card. He always tells me it was the last leaf to fall...on my birthday.

The welcoming front porch....

My grandparents are 89 and 92. My grandmother was too frail to make it down for my Mom's funeral services. I had not seen her since Mom had died. I hadn't even much talked to her since she is hard of hearing and difficult to have a phone conversation with. Well she is about half my size now too, and she just held me and held me. We cried. We sat on their back patio and had a heart to heart about everything that has happened in the last five months. Crying big huge tears over the woman that we both have lost, my mother and so painful for her...her child. And the unfairness of it I am also feeling the pain of having a child going through cancer. She couldn't understand how the world could be so unfair, she kept asking, what did we do to deserve this? Of course, I don't have an answer for her and I often wonder the same thing. My dear sweet grandmother. She doesn't deserve the suffering. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world. I felt so lucky to have this time with her.

She told me that she looks at this bird globe in her garden every day that my Mom gave her. And she just thinks of her. I bought my Mom the same bird globe once. And I am going to get it out of my Mom's garden soon!

We loved spending time with my Aunt Gail, Mom's sister, and Uncle Bill. Uncle Doug (mom's brother) and Aunt Barb. My Aunt Gail has stepped in and helped me throughout this ordeal with Ally. She is pretty much the closest thing that I have to my mother now. I am lucky to have her. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and/or Pennsylvania some of the time. We took the kids to the Erie Zoo together, just like old times when I was a little girl. No one loves the zoo more than her. But I am next in line. We had a great day.

The kids also enjoyed staying two nights in a hotel, with Carly sleeping in a "big girl bed" with brother "Nonni" as she calls him. We would fall asleep all three of us together watching Animal Planet every night. One child in one arm, one in the other. It was definitely hard to travel by myself with two little ones, but I would do it all again. Here they are enjoying the ghost stories that Pa told them each night.
It was good that my Dad got to get back to his hometown. Talk to Grandpa Jerry a lot and remember old times. Today would have been my parents 40th (40!!!) wedding anniversary. So a bit sad today for my whole family.

Well if you are still with me then you have made it through my onslaught of the Erie trip photos. I did spare you the slideshow. I have many more stories and things to remember, but I will leave it from here. Most of you just want to check in on our girl Ally. She is doing well, going to a birthday party for the Sidwells and a back to school ice cream party at the Hess's today. Yep, back to school. It's gonna be okay. More on that later. For now, I will go to sleep to wake tomorrow to the last day of the summer of 2009. A summer that I would rather not remember. I am glad it is over. Good riddance. We start with a clean slate on 8/25.....


  1. Janel, So glad you had a great Erie trip. Glad to see the old train at the zoo is still running! It is always good to go "home". It is just comforting to be in a place with good memories. Hopefully, we will see Ally tonight at "meet the teacher", if not, see you around school for sure. Kolbe didn't get Ally's teacher but he is looking forward to seeing her.

  2. I am sure Josie and Jerry loved the visit. I can tell by Josie's expression. She is the sweetest little thing there is on this earth. God love them both, I know how hard this is for both of them, especially being in Erie with you in Centerville. I think it was a most unselfish act to share your last weekend of summer with them. I hope you have good memories, I can only imagine how emotional it was for you, your dad and your grandparents. And I am so glad that Ally did ok and you were able to relax knowing she was in good hands.
    Lynn McEnery Clapp

  3. It sounds like a great time was had by all both on the trip and at home. I think you needed this. Good for you for going.


  4. What wonderful memories you have shared - thank you so much for letting us read about them. Sounds like a great trip - lots of good memories and the opportunity to share grief with someone who feels it as much as you do.
    This will be a better year - by next summer, Ally will be in full remission...and we'll all be celebrating.

  5. Janel, glad you had a safe and pleasant trip to Erie. It was great thing for all of you but especially your grandmother. I love to hear about Ally and how well she is doing but I also truly enjoy the other family stories. Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck with school, it is a new day and a new beginning!!!!!

  6. Janel,
    I should take your Aunt Gail out for dinner or lunch next time she's back in Brooklyn...I'll bet we are neighbors and didn't even know it. Thanks for the update on Erie. It is great to read that you were able to celebrate your mom and family. Here's to a good school year!

  7. Seeing your pictures of Erie really made me homesick for it. I haven't been there for several years. It's very hard for me to go back there also. I'm glad you had a good trip there even if it was bittersweet. It was good to see smiling children on the train at the zoo.