Category Archives: Chad

Baby Ufnal’s Babysitter


Chris and Kelly’s baby is due to arrive on Valentine’s Day and there is no doubt that this precious little baby will be loved like crazy.

As Chris and Kelly tie up loose ends before the baby comes one of the most important things they were able to secure is a great babysitter for when Kelly has to go back to work. Kelly has asked Linda Griffin, the babysitter she had as a kid, to watch their baby.

About a month ago Linda called and talked with Mark because she wanted to know if I had any special requests as to how I would want her to care for our new grandbaby. After thinking this over for a while, I came up with a few things.

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your sweet phone call asking for my wishes concerning Baby Ufnal. I’ve given this some serious thought and I want you to love and care for this baby just like you love and care for every baby you meet.

Mark and I want you to teach Baby Ufnal the same lessons you taught Chad, Kelly and Corey when they were in your care. Like the lesson you taught Chad and Jason Frazier when they made marks on the wood coffee table in your family room. Do you remember? You said Chad and Jason each had to bring a bottle of Old English to your house the next day so they could polish the table until the marks blended in with the rest of the table.

And the lesson you taught Danny Frazier when he would scratch Zack Fagan in the face with his fingernails. Do you remember? You put socks on Danny’s hands and secured them with Duct tape so he couldn’t scratch anyone. Our Kelly was a scratcher but I never did tape socks to her hands. Maybe if I would have Chad, Corey and Bryan wouldn’t have scars on their hands today.

I think the biggest lesson you taught Corey was how to swear. Even though he was only two, he already had a big vocabulary and he was able to use those swear words properly in his sentences. Even though you taught our two-year-old how to swear, you still were so worth it.

Linda, you have an amazing gift when it comes to dealing with kids, better than anyone I’ve ever met. We were so appreciative that you took all of the kids you babysat to Orchard View High School every summer for swimming lessons. It didn’t  matter if the kids wanted to go to lessons or not, you insisted they go because you had a pool and felt it was important for their safety to learn to swim and they all did learn to swim.

One of the best Christmas presents we ever received was a video of Chad, Kelly and Corey from you. This video was recorded the first year you babysat for our kids and at the time I didn’t know of anyone that had a video camera so it was extra special that you captured our babies on tape. The video shows five-year-old Chad playing with Matchbox cars and coloring. Even though Chad’s activities were passive, it is so awesome to have his sweet voice and gestures as he talked with you. And then you captured three-year-old Kelly getting a beauty makeover in your bathroom. You sat Kelly up on the bathroom counter and taped her while you put makeup on her and curled her hair. Our sweet Kelly loved the attention of getting all dolled up. And lastly you captured baby Corey drinking out of his bottle with his buddy Danny Frazier at his side.

Linda, you will be a perfect Gramma for our Baby Ufnal.

I love you.


Breaking Bread With New Friends


One of my favorite things to do with family and friends is to enjoy each other’s company during a meal, preferably with candles and soft music playing in the background.

While visiting Chad and Devin in Texas, Devin’s parents, Bob and Marianne, invited us over for dinner. We weren’t expecting such a wonderful greeting but they blew Mark and I away with so much love and kindness. From the minute we pulled into their driveway Bob greeted us outside and Marianne was waiting at the door with heartfelt hugs. We sat down to get to know one another and their biggest concern was our comfort.


Bob and Marianne prepared a delicious meal and we sat down to a beautiful family dinner with the lights dimmed and candles burning. Devin’s two kids, Skye and Blake, and our two grandsons, Cole and Peyton, were very much a part of our interesting dinner conversation. We all laughed together as we talked about our favorite Disney movies and past puking experiences. Luckily the puking conversation started after everyone had finished eating and may not have been the perfect subject to talk about at the dinner table but the kids were definitely engaged and happy to share their individual experiences.


After dinner we celebrated Blake’s 14th birthday with a cookie cake and ice cream. Mark and I truly enjoyed our time together with Chad and Cole and Peyton’s new family. We felt so comfortable and now Devin’s family feels like our family.

Happy Birthday, Chad

Scan 3

Chad Michael, our firstborn, came into this world 34 years ago today. On the day he was born Mark and I rushed from our home in the Beverley Hills Apartments complex to Hackley Hospital in downtown Muskegon at 5:00am. It was so early in the morning that there were barely any cars on the road so Mark felt the need to run red lights. I asked Mark why he was running red lights and he said, “Because I can.” Shortly after we made it safely to the hospital and Chad was born early that afternoon.



Today we celebrate you with pride. Always keep your kind heart.

We love you like crazy.

Mom and Dad

Dear Chad, Kelly, Corey and Bryan

Rosemary in Chicago

Dear Chad, Kelly, Corey and Bryan,

I am so proud of you and thank you for being our amazing children. Please promise me that you will continue to be amazing every day of your life.

Today I write this letter with a smile and not with tears. I want to make sure I have all of my bases covered before I can’t type with my fingers anymore so I’m asking our family and friends to help me. I am asking our family and friends to be your guardian angels after I’m gone just in case you need more than one.

When I’m gone you will go through periods of grieving but please don’t let it last too long. Life is way too short to let something like this give you an excuse to be sad. Cry as much as you want but don’t waste too much time because you all have amazing work to do. Please promise me you will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. You all have such huge hearts with which you can help people, even if it is with a simple smile or a tight hug.

Please use your intelligent minds to do good in our world. The good doesn’t have to be newsworthy, but it should feel good in your heart.

Please try to be generous with your time and money. Even if you don’t have an overabundance of either, at least do something. I guarantee it will make you feel good.

Some days you may not feel like smiling, so use every ounce of your inner strength to help you smile. Some days you may have to wear your Chad, Kelly, Corey and Bryan-colored glasses to see the sunshine or a beautiful flower, but if all else fails please feel free to borrow my Rosemary-colored glasses and hopefully you will see beauty in your world just like I do. And if Rosemary-colored glasses don’t work, take a nap or go on a run, I guarantee you will feel better.

I know you will continue to take care of Dad, but make sure he gets out often. He is so lucky to have you four to help him celebrate life every day.

I’m not sure if I will be able to help you from the place I am heading, but I can guarantee that my love will always be with you wherever you go, just like it is today.

Thank you for helping Dad and I live amazing lives. I love you all like crazy. You are my favorites.


Chad’s Visit


Chad’s visit home was another great one. Even though it had potential for disaster because of my fall, it turn out to be wonderful. Chad was able to see his best friend, visit a few family members and hike our beautiful trails.

On Chad’s last night home we talked for hours about many different things, including whether or not we would do things differently if we could go back and change them. This conversation turned out to be the highlight of Chad’s visit for me.

This morning, I woke up to message from Corey in my inbox. The message was a quote that I think  fits perfectly with the conversation we shared on Chad’s last night.

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

Benjamin Button

I feel like my time is so limited that I have to make sure every second counts.