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Goodbyes to Family and the Places That Made Us

After lots of cancelled dates to scatter Scott's dads ashes we finally picked a weekend that worked for everyone. 

We were planning on heading straight to Cudahy, but then G.G. called Brooke for a favor.

My time to go back to work was coming up and my mom also wanted me to stop by grandma's again. We left a few days earlier than planned and drove to my parents. 

In the morning we drove straight to Great Grandma's place.

Scott just about had a heart attack when he saw my Grandma's house.

I knew we were going to be doing a lot of cleaning and sorting, but I figured they were further along. This room was the only one nearly complete and it never really had much in it.

To keep myself from going crazy I went and played out in the big backyard with Meadow.

I talked my sister into joining us. This way Meadow could have a playmate too.

Don't get into too much trouble Meadow and Marina.

We still had lots of things to go through. 

When we arrived a bunch of stuff was strewn about the living room. I decided to box all of that stuff. I'm sure everyone had a chance to pick through the pile. It was mostly going to to go a thrift store.

This is how Theo spent most of the day.

My Grandma saved a lot of things. We found stuff from when my mom and aunt were in high school.

Things were looking pretty good on the first floor and one of the upstairs bedroom when we were done.

While Scott cleaned up the downstairs I worked on the upstairs bedroom. This room was full of stuff. The bed had lots of things, my grandma had a lot of swimsuits. The floor had piles of stuff.

Scott sat down in the screen porch and mentioned that looking out onto this view makes him want to buy my Grandma's house. 

I'm not sure if I could do my job from the middle of nowhere Wisconsin, but I could used to that view.

We hadn't eaten since breakfast and were starving after a long day of cleaning.

Brooke mentioned that we were going to Christiano's. For some reason I thought we were still going to a Mexican joint for dinner. I even called it El Christiano's. Cut the el. It was a  pizza place and that was OK.

While eating dinner and I said, "Let's go to Leons!"

So we drove over there with the Farber's and ordered some frozen custard.

A couple more years and you can have some too Theo.

The next morning I had already started making oatmeal for breakfast when Meadow said she wanted pancakes. I was holding Theo and eating my own breakfast so I couldn't make them for her.

I told Meadow to get out a bowl, whisk and told her what to measure to make pancakes. She did it 90% by herself (even down to flipping the pancakes).

Brooke was clearly too busy to help with the pancakes. Ha.

Hey I'm teaching her life skills.

Meadow found a bunch of toys to play with while we slowly decided what to do the rest of the day.

There was a city wide rummage sale going on in my hometown. We decided to take a walk around to check them out. We made it a short distance before Meadow spotted a playground.

Theo's first time laying in grass.

Theo had an accident before we could get to any garage sales, so Meadow and I waited at the playground until they got some supplies.

After the false start we were halfway across the city and we hadn't seen a garage sale.

I had a map showing all the locations with rummage sales, but most people weren't open today.

Once we crossed over Main Street there were quite a few, but Brooke's way pickier than I remember.

After coming home with a trunk full of stuff from my Grandma's I realized we didn't really need any more things. 

No great finds, but we did catch a glimpse of the windmill.

Don't forget about the sweet Batman puzzle.

Before leaving we checked out the new El Jaripeo. G.G. had said her first stop was horrible and they never got a seat. We didn't get much better service. I think we'll stick to the old Hardee's location.

We had driven down to Cudahy right after El Jaripeo. We didn't do much more than pick up some Culver's for my mom. In the morning we were hungry, so we went to dowtown.

While looking for instructions to set up Meadow's doll bike seat for her bike I found a gift certificate to South Shore Cyclery. 

We ended up getting a rear rack for the Yepp bike seat we recently bought.

The other reason we came downtown was to eat Cudahy Pancake House. This place is so good.

As little as I want Theo to stay, I can't wait until he can eat with us.

He a had brief meltdown while we ate, but that's the 3-month-old parent's life.

One reason we arrived early for my dad's wake was to take my mom for a cut and color. She's been getting her haircut's from this lady for 20+ years. I know my mom will miss Milwaukee and familiar people and places like her stylist.

My sis and family were arriving shortly from Michigan. We decided to get Mexican, but quickly realized all of our old mainstays had closed. La Casa De Alberto checked the cheap, well-reviewed and kid friendly boxes, so we went there.

Hey aunty!

Meadow ate her chicken taco today after having no interest in her food the night before.

At the end of the meal the kids received mini sombreros and maracas.

We might have to stop here when we drive through the MKE.

The next morning, just hours before the wake, we had a minor catastrophe. The basement waste drain had backed up. After getting a plumber out just in time it was time for the remembrance.

We had moved the memorial because of a snowstorm. Of course on the day we rescheduled it was 40 degrees and windy.

Despite the weather we had a beautiful, private memorial at one of his favorite places to take walks in his later years and the site of many Tuska-family bike rides in my childhood, South Shore Park. 

I had found a location along the Lake Michigan shore to pay tribute to my dad. First, my uncle shared why were all here on this date. We're a small family, but it was great to get everyone together for my pops. We each took turns sharing how dad impacted our lives. We all cared so deeply for poppyseed because he cared so much about us.

We invited two of his coworkers from his 40 plus years at Yamaha Motor Corp. When we went around to offer how dad impacted all of us, the two Bob's from Yamaha both shared how despite my dad stepping away from management, he was always the guy they went to for advice. He was such a hard worker and meticulous. I hope dad knew how much he was appreciated by his coworkers.

Jeff was always putting others first and helped out anyway he could. 

I was honored to spread my dad's ashes along the beach where waves picked him up; his resting place, the Great Lakes and outdoors that he loved so much. Whenever we look at Lake Michigan I know dad will be there with us.

My dad's favorite restaurant was unquestionably Three Brothers. 

I had been wanting to come back here again.

We all put in our orders and enjoyed spending time with our little family.

We started the dinner with my parent's favorite, Burek, which we shared family style. Think spinach pie, but more Eastern European.

Theo took a little snooze while we waited for our food.

My favorites. Meadow, too, of course.

I love my mom so much. It's been nice spending so much time with her over the past few months. I know she loved seeing Meadow and, especially, little Theo.

Fortunatley my maternity leave started when it did. We were lucky to get to spend so much time in Wisconsin and for Meadow and Theo to get to spend time with their Nana.

Katrina put together a nice slideshow of Jeff's life. There were pictures in there from when Scott and I first started dating that I don't think I ever saw.

 I sometimes feel like I didn't spend enough time with my dad since I moved to Minneapolis for college. The slideshow was a great reminder of all the great times we have had recently and going back all of my life.

Yummy beer and better food. I know dad would've loved that we remembered him by eating together as a family at Three Brothers. 

I love the old charm of this place.

Another place we'll always have to make an effort to come back to even though the Tuska's have all left home. 

My mom was set to move to her new apartment near the end of the week. We got to spend some time with the Wrobleski kiddos and Aunt Katrina. Dennis had to head back for work while we packed.

That night, I suddenly had a craving for frozen custard. Since we'd been to the MKE Leon's last time we were in town I went to Kopps and picked up to 3/4 a gallon of the good stuff.

We had to hit up all of our Milwaukee favorites one last time.

Late night ice cream party.

The next day was crunch time getting Scott's mom's things packed for her move in a few days.

I had already packed and got rid of things for more than a week.

Though we did eat frozen pizza on occasion, we mostly packed, sorted and threw out stuff for the next few days. It might have been worse than Grandma Lungwitz's place after all.

And Scott thinks I'm crazy because I don't want to live in the same place for more than 10 years. The longer you stay somewhere the more things you collect.

The kids split their time between being TV zombies and playing with all of our old toys.

Sometimes you need a Theo to get you through a good moving party.

The kiddos had a picnic in my childhood backyard just before we left. Meanwhile we packed up a few things we could fit in our little car and said our goodbye's. 

It's strange that I may not be coming back here, back home. Everything important was moved with my mom to Michigan or went with one of us, the rest is going to be donated and removed soon. Then the house is going up for sale.

I always imagined my parents growing old together at our house in Cudahy. Life is rarely predictable like that. Goodbye, home. Rest in peace, poppyseed.


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