Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gramsy and Pops

So we've blogged quite a bit about the Johnsons. I haven't blogged as much about them since they've moved here, but that may be because we're spending more time together than we are blogging, now that they live 4-6 minutes (depending on the story) up the street. :)

I've posted the following picture once before - it's a picture of the first day we met Dave's parents in person on July 14, 2011:

They were excited to meet us and we were so happy to meet them, too. They expressed gratitude for our friendship with the Johnsons and for helping them feel welcome on their first travel assignment.

At this point, we had known the Johnsons for less than 5 months and they had done their first 3-month assignment near us and had then taken a second assignment about an hour and a half north of us, coming down to see us and stay with us most weekends. We excel at squeezing all we can into whatever time we can whenever we can.

Well, fast forward to a couple of months ago - September 2013. The Johnsons had now done 6 travel assignments, including a longer-than-usual one in Arkansas to see family, and had also lived "permanently" in Springfield, MA for about 8 months. They had gotten a one-year lease on a house and were trying to have a good attitude about having to settle down in that area, deep down sad to be far from us and this area (we were sad, too). We had visited their new home up there, which had helped a little, but they were having a hard time feeling like that area was really "home" and we were not loving them being that far away.

Then, in February, they found out they would have to move here. Remember that ecstatic, ecstatic, ecstatic post, complete with video and music? We were all ridiculously excited. And then in July, they officially moved here, closing on a house just 5 minutes up the road from us. It has been WONDERFUL.

So, in September, just a couple of months after the Johnsons had moved here, Dave's parents came to visit again. By now, it had been over two years since we'd met them (how does time fly by so fast?!?) and we'd now hosted the Johnsons at our house too many times to count, we'd visited the Johnsons in their various places often, we'd Skyped with them now and then, we'd done day trips together, we'd eaten out numerous times, we'd texted daily, and we'd missed each other non-stop. And we'd celebrated mightily when they found out they were moving here.

In other words, this amazing friendship had done nothing but blossom and strengthen even more in the 2+ years since we'd seen Dave's parents, Fran and John (or, as they are known to our kids, Gramsy and Pops).

When they came up to visit, we saw them every day they were here, except for the first day. Funny story there - we didn't want to intrude on their family time, so we drove right past their house and knew his parents were there, thought about stopping in, but again, didn't want to intrude on their time together. They all said we totally should've dropped in, and looking back, we really should have, because it is the ONLY day we didn't see them. And that's not because we suddenly started intruding on their time together. They invited us to hang out with them every. single. day. in whatever they were doing.

So, here's a sneak peek into that REALLY fun visit - we laughed and talked and joked and ate and went out and stayed in the entire week. We loved it. It's so easy and comfortable to hang out together!

We spent an entire afternoon on our back patio eating Brie cheese, 
fresh grapes from our grapevine, and homemade cookies!

Since our business is in our house, 
Mark was able to pop out as much as possible
 and hang out with us!

They brought us a very thoughtful Arkansas package with all kinds of treats for us,
including reindeer that John carved himself!

We visited a local dairy together and had homemade ice cream. Yum!
(We had also eaten at Friendly's on another night).

We ate at our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant together.

Since going out for ice cream three times in a week might be considered excessive,
we opted for frozen Yogurt this night.

On the morning they left, they all wanted to spend time at our house.
I kid you not.
So we made one of our famous, big farmhouse breakfasts.
We had dutch babies, fresh sausage, etc.

And Christie made her famous homemade crepes. Yum!

Mark and company

Stacy and company

The Folsons!
We use that name to describe the 8 of us.
It uses part of our name and part of theirs.
It's very handy, not only in conversation,
but also when we eat out and need to put our names on a list.
Rather than hemming and hawing about whose name to use,
we simply say, "Folsons! Party of 8!"

I wasn't sure how Fran and John would feel about the Folson name.
Turns out?
They love it!

(Our camera was on the fritz, so I'm sorry some of these are fuzzy).

All the Johnsons

Fran and John and our family

Here we are again!

The 6 crazy adults - we laughed so much this trip!
(Not going to lie, we cried a bunch, too).
Fran and I are both pretty emotional.
I cried when they left. We miss them!

Fran and I text now and then, 
but of course that's not the same.
Good thing they're coming up to visit again soon!

Gramsy and Pops and their Folson grandkids

Before they left, they gave all 4 kids spending money for our trip to the beach. How awesome is that?!?

Oh, I'm not done yet! We're going to fast forward yet again to this past week when Dave had his first-of-many weekly hospitalizations. We had his boys here most of the nights he was in the hospital so that Christie could spend some nights up there with him. Everyone around here was so great, getting them meals, snack baskets for the kids, and gas cards to help defray their costs. Just amazing! 

It was a pretty crazy week, but also a good one. One of the highlights was getting this fun surprise in the mail:

Fran sent us a really beautiful "thank you" basket for snacks and fruits.
We broke into it that very day and shared with the boys.
One of the treats was penguin-shaped "goldfish" crackers.
Brennan loves penguins, so we were pretty excited to show him those.
By sheer luck, the basket contained many of our favorite treats!
It was SO thoughtful of her to do that!

Here's a picture from the kids' playing that week.

So, after Dave got out of the hospital, we Folsons had a celebratory dinner together (don't get Dave started on the hospital food) and the next night, they invited us over for games. We readily accepted the invite and went with our arms filled with with a bunch of games, food, stuff the boys had left behind, tupperware, and . . . a fun package that had come in the mail to our house. We were to open it all together. We Skyped with Fran and John, so they could see us open it. It was a GREAT package! They sent advent calendars for all the Folson grandkids:

Folson grandkids and advent calendars from Gramsy and Pops

And these gems - Fran and John/Gramsy and Pops 
had these ornaments personalized for our two families - 
do you see what they say?
I told you she loves the name!
We LOVE these!
Ours is hanging front and center on our tree.
Very thoughtful - we love, love, love it!

Just a few more months and they'll be here again - we're so excited to get to visit with them and do more fun stuff together. They show us such gratitude and such love. It means so much. We are so grateful for how they've welcomed us into their family as if we're their own. Fran tells me repeatedly that she truly feels that way and I have to say that she shows us, too. It means a lot to us.

Thank you, Fran and John/Gramsy and Pops!
We love you!


Gramsy said...

Well what can I say? You made me cry. There is no way for us to express how much your family means to us. We knew how special you all were just after spending just a few hours with you back in 2011. Now that we have spent days with you all we know you all are VERY SPECIAL. We are all Folson's now. Thank you for loving us and our Dave ,Christie, Rich & Brennan. We feel Blessed that God brought our families together.

Dave Johnson said...

What a great summation of everything. I should have posted about most of this long ago but you know my blogging habits lately...

You'd be amazed to know how comforting it is that my parents know the people who are supporting us here. I think it makes them feel not so far away sometimes. Thanks for all you do for us. We love you guys and we're having a blast living here. Even if I did possibly eat camel (or llama?) in the hospital.

Can't wait to them to visit again -that was a really fun week, wasn't it? I'm glad we have these memories. I know the trips can be hard on dad sometimes but we're always really glad to see them when we can. Here's to doing it again soon!

Dr. Mark said...

Now, Dave. I'm sure it was imitation camel/llama, complete with pressed rib bits and painted grill lines.

Great post about some great people. We feel pretty fortunate to have even more richness in our lives. It was great to see Fran and John in September and it will be great to see them when they come again.

Folsons forever! :)

Boquinha said...

Fran, you and I are a fine pair with our emotions! :P We're so grateful for you, too. Love being Folsons.

Dave, yes, I'm familiar. Habits or follow through? Hmmm. ;) Teasing. SO glad you're here, too. And yes, that was a fun week. Very much looking forward to their next visit. They're doing a great job keeping in touch in between visits, too! Wow.

Mark, lol! Agreed.