Friday, January 11, 2013

The Ladwig Family.

I come from a ginormous family.

My grandma carried, birthed and raised SIX children (with the help of my papa of course).  5 of them were boys.  WOW. 

Growing up, it was nothing new or crazy for us.  It was just our family.  Our very large, unique and quirky family.  :)

My mom carried, birthed and raised FIVE kids. 

And each of my aunts and uncles followed suit (although nobody was crazy enough to have 5!) 

The point of this story is, when there are 6 siblings, and each of them has a family, and then those families start families... well... that's a BIG OL' FAMILY!

This Christmas most of the Ladwig clan made their way to my parents home here in Saint Augustine.   It was awesome.  And was the first time since having children of my own that I was able to look around at my relatives, with an appreciation and pride, that successfully choked me up.

It was loud.  It was crowded and at times, completely insane, but mostly it was filled with warmth and camaraderie.  Fun, and laughter.   Memories being shouted back and forth, for all to hear.  And in the madness of it all, I was struck that we are all here, loving each other, enjoying and living this life because of my grandma and papa.

Both have passed away.  My papa passed a long time ago- I was 13, which means he's been gone for 15 years, I believe (CRAZY)?  My grandma passed away when I was 21.  It feels strange to see on paper (or the screen) the number of years they've been gone.  It feels like it was a lifetime ago, sitting on my papas lap, asking him to tell me stories of swamp monsters and pirates.  At the same time, I can still smell his aftershave.

As we gathered on December 29th, we made it a mission to capture the evening.  I think we all know, a little wiser, a bit older, that this life and its moments are far too fleeting.

We grouped siblings, families, cousins, sisters-in-laws, the girls, the boys, and the list goes on and on...

 I shuffled in and out of pictures,  and was able to stand back and watch.   (thanks Maddie for the photography!!!)  Flash bulbs lit the night, illuminating smiling, goofy faces and revealing that darn Ladwig nose... :) 

It was impossible to keep my thoughts from wandering to my grandma and papa.  Surely they were looking down at this beautiful madness they created.  Laughing, and proud of who we are, what we've become. 

This is (most of) our family.  We're missing cousins Josh & Charise, Adam & Sarah, Jenny, Eric, Tyler, Kiley, Frank, Uncle Joe, Aunt Robyn and Sean. (Sean was watching, I'm sure with my grandma and papa from heaven :) 

sister in laws

Keegs and Uncle Andy

Aunt Cindy the queen and a few of her nieces

The original 6, minus one (Uncle Joe)..hence the missing "place." ;)

Our Ladwig bash was seriously great. 

It gave me even more respect for my grandparents (I didn't think that was possible!), missing and loving them harder. 

As a mom of 3, I can and will tell you, parenting...WOOO baby... it is DIFFICULT, with a capitol "D".  I am fetching drinks, changing diapers, calming fits, bathing dirty feet and trying to catch a breath.

 But seeing what my grandparents have created; this family, has given me a new hope spring. 

Kids grow up.  Kids have kids, and then their kids have kids.  And this is what life is all about. 

As difficult as mommy/daddy-hood can be, it is absolutely necessary to do it right and well.  My grandparents are gone, but look at what they've created!  They've left a permenant mark on this world.  Their smiles, laughs, stories and joy live on in all of us.  

And to carry it further, I think of my three little ones.  The traits we've given them that will eventually wrinkle and turn into wise, old smiles, big, honky noses (sorry kids... blame the great grandparents:), a great sense of humor and a love that will never end.  A love that will continue to span the decades. 

It's mind blowing.

And has most definitely confirmed my feelings for wanting a large family. 

Growing up with 4 younger siblings, and being surrounded by 20 some cousins, was a priceless gift.  A gift my grandparents passed on to my parents, and my parents to us. 

And I can tell you, I surely won't waste this.  These kids, our love will become our legacies, our footprints in this world. 

Thank you Grandma Carol and Papa Frank.

Through your sacrifices, and love for each other, the head pounding hours spent raising 6 crazy kids, you've left your mark.   And its beautiful.

We feel embraced, accepted, and loved in this ginormous circle of Ladwig-ness.

{Love and miss you tons grandma, papa and Sean}

ALL photos are from my beautifully, SWEET, DISNEY EMPLOYED (yes, I said DISNEY EMPLOYED) cousin, Maddie.  Check out her photog stuff here!

AHHH!  One more announcement/thingy- Ryan and I are going on our big Margaritaville trip tomorrow.  I'm hoping to VLOG it.... but I need your help... if you would be so kind, could you/would you submit questions in the comment section below- questions can be anything (like....what's your fave. food?  Most embarrassing moment, etc.)  I'm trying to come up with a car game :) 


Foxy said...

What is the most insane outfit you saw on your trip?
What is the most interesting random conversation you had on your trip?
I guess these are more trip questions than car game questions....
What's your biggest dream in your dream jar?
What do you like most about yourself?
In one word, describe the first thought you had when you met your husband.
Top 5 favorite smells.

Have fun this weekend!

Ashley McKenney said...

Thanks for the questions sweets! :) xoxo

k and j said...

I love this ahhh! I come from a similar family (Mormons! Lol) and I love it. Kasons mom had twelve kids!!! Can you imagine??

JD BRI VanValin said...

One of my favorite families!!! Did you know that John-David's Grandparents' names are Frank and Carol too? Must be where awesome families come from :)