Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Vinny

It's Vinny's first birthday in heaven ~ happy birthday.

My post could be long, but I've been very sick for days. Praying it will go away soon....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vinny the Night Terror

Vinny the night terror because Vinny had night terrors.

If you spent a lot of time with Vinny as a child and probably as an adult, you became one of the unlucky ones to experience a night terror (especially if you were in a confined space like a tent).

This may not be funny to some, but as a sister spending so much time with him through his entire life, I feel I have earned the right to laugh at his issues just as he did mine. Some of these stories were and are the subject of many retold tales at Pease family gatherings.

My mother went away when Vinny, Zac and I were 8,3 and 7. Molly and Stacey were in charge of watching us. Stacey had started dating David Botley, the father of her children, and decided we should all go camping at his family's lot on Pitcher Pond. David worked at Moss tents at the time and had this beautiful state of the art tent that he, Stacey and I stayed in. The other tent is something you would envision in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Very small, triangular shaped and kind of sloping in so it was difficult not to touch the sides when you were on the inside. Well, Molly, Vinny, Zac and Aaron were in that tent (not the ideal set up for them but typical Stacey fashion). Did I mention that David and Stacey had recently taken Vinny and me to see Gremlins? That might have been the start of his night terrors. Sometime in the middle of the night Vinny sat up suddenly in some type of panic. Molly quickly sat up to see what was wrong. Vinny looked at her and said, "GREMLIN" and punched her square in the nose and took off into the pitch black woods through the front of the tent. Molly was left on the brink of passing out, while David ran through the woods chasing Vinny. Vinny, of course, was sound asleep and doesn't remember a thing.

Part of the Pease family happily headed down to NH for our first family camping trip. I remember Vinny and I riding in with my grandparents in my great grandfather Hunt's camper. I remember that because my grandfather wouldn't stop to let us go the bathroom. We finally got to the campground and got set up. My grandparents were staying in my grandmother's father's camper they borrowed. Stacey, David and their kid (Rye was the only one born then) were staying in their state of the art Moss tent. My mom, Larry and Zac were staying in a decent tent they borrowed from Stacey and David. Vinny and I were staying in our chocolate brown tent that one of us probably got as a gift. I was probably 9 and Vinny 10. We all snuggled in that night in this family campground in NH. A few hours later our site was woken up by Vinny's screams. Like I said, Vinny and tents don't really mix. I woke up to Vinny punching wildly around me saying, "Momma, help! They're going to kill me!" I managed to dodge his punches until someone was kind enough to help Vinny wake up. David thought it was a great idea to take the fly off the tent so Vinny could get more ventilation. That worked for maybe an hour and the same thing happened. "Momma, they're going to kill me!" This was not a faint or quiet scene. Finally, Vinny was moved to the large tent my mother and Larry were in and he seemed to be okay. No one wanted me to be alone, so my grandmother decided to sleep with me in the little brown tent. I guess David and Stacey had a few good laughs that night because they heard the distant thunder and decided not remind anyone that the fly wasn't on our tent. I slept through the first few minutes of the torrential down pour. My grandmother didn't want to wake me up??!! I did wake up to mouthfuls of water because our tent had managed to hold a few inches of the rain. They dried me off and I also slept in my mother and Larry's tent. We went to bed with lots of lovely neighbors in this very friendly family campground and woke up to none. That's right. I guess the "Momma, they're going to kill me" screams were enough to clear out an entire NH campground.

Vinny did this to our uncle Vick and David on their hunting and fishing trips up north, but I guess they developed a method of slapping him across the face really hard to wake him up.

He did it in his teen years when we went camping with our grandparents and David and Stacey up in northern Maine. We all stayed in my grandparents' camper. He got up and started screaming and someone told my grandmother (the closest person to him) to slap him across the face. That would have never happened for two reasons. One because Vinny was always her favorite and two because Vinny was practically a grown man and could have killed her with one punch.

When he did his field tests in the army, they had to put him in a special place in the tents.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vinny the Tenderhearted Helper

Vinny was a very generous person and a great helper to many people.

When he was under 5 my family was spreading hay on the blueberry fields. My grandmother realized there were snakes in the bails of hay. After that, Vinny unloaded the truck by himself.

He spread hay over the entire blueberry fields by himself for many years. I used to wonder how he dared to do it alone on acres and acres of land with no one in sight at age 10.

Vinny was always the one who got roped in to some really bad project by my grandparents. Like cleaning out behind their barn ~ something no one in the family wanted to do.

When Vinny moved to Maryland a year after I did, he brought with him a very old pick up truck. I think he moved everyone in the church for as long as it ran. I almost think he got rid of it because he was sick of helping people move.

Vinny drove an hour and a half one way to pick me up at Dulles airport more than once. One time I had the most embarrassing experience and wanted to get out of there fast. I was so glad to see Vinny's face because I knew he would click in and help me out.

I can't count the times Vinny cheffed up some gourmet meal. When we were in Baltimore together, he did it wherever we were. He didn't care how much it cost him, he was happy to cook, eat and share it with others. He also got the half off deal when he was a server at Carrabba's. I also can't count the number of times he took me out to dinner there and at Outback Steakhouse (sister company).

When I was single and living in Baltimore, it was difficult to move and find people to help me move. I remember Zac helped me move from the Canino's to Roland Park in my little VW Golf. Vinny helped me move when I bought my first house. He risked getting eaten alive by Amy's pitbull.

We have this friend who is slightly challenged who we like to tease a lot. I have many, many Vinny and Rachael stories with this woman. Well, this woman really loved Vinny a lot. She is not the easiest person to deal with and can be very demanding. A few years ago she had a foot problem. She called Vinny to take her to the grocery store. Vinny had to lug her down a flight of stairs. Once they got to the grocery store, Vinny had to push the cart with one hand and her in a wheelchair with the other. I laughed so hard when I heard this story. There are very few men who have this kind of heart.

Some friends of ours were graduating from Bible College. Vinny offered to do the food. He stayed up all night prepping for kabobs. Over 400 people showed up for the party and Vinny worked his butt off to say the least. People finally left when the well went dry at our house.

Vinny had a heart for the families in the countries where he worked. He found ways to give money to children and was supporting 5 families when he went home to be with the Lord. He was very passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of these people.

A friend of our family supports and orphanage in Africa. She needed a large unspoken amount of money to finish her Christmas promise. She prayed God would touch someones heart. Without knowing the amount, Vinny sent a check for the exact amount that was needed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

28 Weeks/ 7 Months

Baby boy is due in less than 3 months! We are getting really excited. It was difficult not to buy him Christmas presents already.

We couldn't resist next year's winter coat when we saw what a great deal it was at the outlet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vinny the Excellent Driver (ha-ha)

If Vinny were reading this post, I know what he would say. "Rachael, yoooooou're the one who totalled your car in high school, so I am the better driver." Well, he is correct. I did total my car in high school but I'm STILL the better driver.

Vinny driving memories:

I remember sitting on the side of 131 in South Thomaston for what seemed like HOURS while Molly TRIED to teach Vinny how to dry a stick shift. It was not a successful venture.

When Vinny got his license he worked out some deal with our grandfather Pease. Vinny worked for him and my grandfather helped him buy this antique Mercedes Vinny really wanted as his first car. My mother drove us all over to my grandparents to pick up the car. It was the middle of the winter, because I remember lots of snow and ice everywhere. Well, Zac and I rode back to our house with Vinny. As we were approaching a sharp corner on Wottons Mill Road, I told Vinny not to hit the brakes in snow and ice. Older brothers don't take advice from younger sisters - especially those without their license. "Shut up, Rachael, you don't know what you're talking about." He did hit his brakes around the corner and we did start to head for the trees. Zac and I saw our lives flash before us. He managed to get the car corrected without too much trouble and we managed to keep our mouths shut in fear of an older brother's wrath.

Next car (which was probably the next month because Vinny went through cars like most people go through I don't know what). Vinny and I were headed to Rockland in Larry's (stepfather) old Toyota Corolla (Vinny's new car). It was still winter and Vinny still was hitting his brakes. We slid off the road. We tried and tried to push the car out of the ditch. It wasn't very promising because I didn't have my license, therefore, I was the one pushing. We kept looking for things that would help us get traction. There wasn't much around. Finally Vinny looked at me and said, "give me your coat." What??!! He wanted to use it for traction. Of course, Vinny wasn't wearing a coat. Fortunately a state trooper stopped and helped us.

Fast forward a few years. Vinny was living in Germany. I was home for the summer after my Sophomore year in college. I was working three jobs - one of them a 4pm - 3am shift at MBNA. Vinny was supposed to be taking a lovely vacation in Europe with his girlfriend. Well, she broke his heart in the middle of the trip. I guess he decided to come home then. I got a phone call from him. "Rachael, come pick me up."
I felt bad for him. "Where are you going to be?" "Maryland." "Vinny, I love how you're asking me to pick you up like you're in Rockland or something." At that time I had only been to Maryland twice and only driven there once. Zac, Adam (my boyfriend at the time) and I loaded up my mom's car and drove to Maryland after I got out of all of my jobs for the day. We arrived at Stacey's house sometime in the early morning - maybe 4 or 5. The deal was we were going to sleep and then drive back. We had been there for maybe 2 hours and hadn't gone to sleep yet when Vinny came to me and told me he was ready to go. What? I told him I was too tired to drive and he promised he was going drive home (my mom's stick shift). We loaded back into the car and started heading towards Maine. We stopped a few miles down the road at McDonalds to eat some breakfast. That's when Zac and Adam pulled me aside and said if Vinny kept driving we were all going to die. That I had to drive but they didn't dare to tell Vinny. I broke the news to Vinny and he was okay with it. I told him I hadn't slept in close to 48 hours and he promised to keep me company in the front seat. Within 5 minutes of hitting the highway, Vinny was snoring beside me. I managed to make it to CT without falling asleep and killing everyone. When I stopped at the rest area, I told everyone I wasn't driving. I didn't care if Vinny crashed the car, I couldn't cope anymore. Vinny took over and I fell asleep. 20- 30 minutes later Vinny was getting pulled over for driving to endanger. I had to drive again.

When we went to Vinny's memorial service in Virginia, we heard from his fellow employees how scary he was in foreign countries. I guess he would drive down the side walks and open his door while driving screaming at no one. I am sure he fit in.

If he had to go to a different part of the country while he was over there, he wouldn't ride in a convoy. He would get an old car and put on an old hat and drive alone. Very smart and very brave man.

I did ride with him a week before he died in his red pick up truck. Now, it's one of my favorite memories.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vinny the Entrepreneur

Vinny's Entrepreneur signs emerged at a very young age.

All of the Pease family summer birthday parties were held around my grandparents' in ground swimming pool. I remember Vinny mass producing pictures of dinosaurs and selling them for a dime each. And everyone bought them??!!

Molly used to pay us some change (coins probably from the floor of her car) to clean out her car (it was really a $100 job way back then). Vinny started saying "show me the green" early on before he would clean it.

In junior high Vinny had his own business. He bought gum and candy that had smaller pieces individually wrapped at the village store in Warren. When he got on the bus he sold the small pieces for the same price as the entire package. His business got shut down when he got busted for renting pencils in school. I don't think he would have got caught if my grandmother or mother didn't happen to walk into school that day and see him sitting in in-school suspension. He was great at intercepting parent notices as well.

Our uncle Vick taught him how to make Adirondack chairs. Vinny made several of his own and decided to make it a side business in high school. He took several orders, collected the cash but never made the chairs... until... our mother started receiving phone calls asking where the chairs were. Not a smooth move on Vinny's part ~ getting caught by Mom. Here's another one of those "I don't know how he pulled it off" things. These people waited a long time to get their chairs (and maybe some didn't ever get them and my mom had to pay them back) while Vinny enjoyed the benefits of his not earned cash BUT these people still thought he was the best thing ever. They probably just giggled about how clever he was. If I had done it, I would have been on the front page of the paper.

Vinny was the President of his class junior year of high school. He took full advantage of the title. He and his friends created an imaginary raffle and sold tickets to nothing and for nothing door to door in Warren. Yes, and they had a lovely time spending the money.

I had a paper route for a year or two when I was in high school. It was a couple miles long and I made pretty good money. I wasn't very good at keeping track of my profits, apparently, because Vinny later told me he enjoyed reaping the cash benefits of my work as well.

Vinny Couldn't Dance

It's early in the morning and I've been up for hours ~ now my head is swarming with Vinny stories. I think I'll try to tell many this month as it is his birthday month.

I remember one of the first times I had the "I don't know how he pulls this off" revelation about Vinny. It was the beginning of my realization of his gift with people, I just didn't know that's what it was then. We were at our uncle Vick's wedding. I think Vinny just turned 6 and I was 4 almost 5. We were at the Elk's Lodge in Rockland. I don't remember much about it, just a few vivid memories. Vinny and I sat at the table and when we realized that tapping the glass with your silverware meant the bride and groom kiss, we were very entertained to say the least. I think Vinny had an off white suit on - not that it really matters - that's just my memory. We decided to go dance. Most people who knew me at that age, knew I was very shy around people I didn't know. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself. Well, Vinny felt the opposite about himself. It was the first thing he wanted. It must have been a fast song because Vinny began his dance. We were little so I didn't really care what he was doing until all eyes were on us. Vinny was stomping and kicking around the floor, kind of a stiff legged white person's very bad version of Michael Jackson's moves. I felt the world pressing in on me because I disliked being watched. I was very embarrassed. Then to my amazement, everyone was enthralled by Vinny's dancing. I remember having the thoughts "you have got to be kidding me". "He's not dancing". Vinny was a crowd pleaser and kept on moving. It was my first revelation (that I remember) of wondering how he pulled those things off.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Why is it that when you want background noise at 4:30 - 5 am there is only paid programming on TV? I guess not many people are watching this early on Saturday morning.

I remember this message a dear pastor preached a few years back (maybe 7 or 8). David wrote some of the Psalms from a cave when he was on the run. When he was in the cave he didn't pretend that being in the cave was great and put pictures up and really dress up the cave. The cave stinks. Sometimes we are in a cave in our life and the cave stinks. We cry out to God. A cave can be so many things in our lives. The past few weeks have been a cave for me. I think the reality of Vinny's death in the beginning was the most difficult thing I've ever been through and the idea of not seeing his face for a long time hurt deeply. Now comes the missing part. I don't know if I miss him so much more because it's Christmas and his birthday this month. I didn't think that would effect me. It might be a combination of this deep pain and my pregnancy but I also really want to stick close to my house. The benefits of that are a very clean house and more decked out for Christmas than ever before. It creates a very cheerful environment. My social event attendance has gone down the drain this month but I'm giving myself grace. Sorry I didn't get to eat your delicious cookies at Christmas By the Sea Annie. My saving grace during this difficult time, which does bring me many moments of joy in the midst of sadness, are the life of my son, my supportive husband, going to church and hearing the Word of God. Thank God, God knows our frame and what weak, frail beings we are. Thank God He is the Great Comforter.

Dr. Appointment Traditions

We had our December dr.'s appointment this past week. I told Dave he really didn't have to go because I feel bad he's the only guy there. Apparently, he really, really wants to go. I think he really likes hanging out with all the pregnant women... strange for a man. He also loves our tradition of stopping at Moody's Diner on the way home to eat dinner. They do have really good diner food! Baby Umstead is doing really well. In my current hermit-like state, it did cross my mind to skip the appointment (justified by everyone in the class has missed one) but I couldn't pass up hearing his heart beat and the peace of mind that brings. It is a long drive in the dark and rain, but the class was on breastfeeding and it was very informative. About half of the class has had other children and their previous experience brings a wealth of knowledge ~ not to mention the midwives have had a least two children each and delivered several. It was tough getting there, but I always have a great time once we get there. My blood pressure, weight and measurements were great. Everyone in the class is pushing for an early class on water birth because we are all dying to hear about it.

Three more months to go!

Happy Birthday Jesus & December Babies

Happy Birthday to those December Babies ~

My husband, Aunt Rita, Zacch's father Larry, Vick, our nephew Colby, Molly, my Grandfather Galkowski, and most of all Vinny! I think it's neat that Vinny was born two days before our Grandfather Galkowski's birthday and I was born two days after our Pease Grandfather's birthday.

Well ~ most of all Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior (I know it might not be His actual birth month, but this is when we celebrate it).

Happy Birthday

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby Stuff

We got so many great gifts from the baby shower Myriah threw for me. My mother in-law and sister in-law were able to come. Thank you so much! We were able to get the pack and play (picture above) from the gift certificate from my mother in-law and she gave us so much more! I still need to get my thank you notes out! My cousin Rye threw the party, made the coolest diaper cake (I don't have any pictures yet - hint, hint), bought me dinner and gave us clothes. My friends Rachel (due a month before me & old roommate), her little girl, Rebecca, Jen (old roommate), her son, Sarah, U-la-la, Tamwad, Beth, Marian, Grace, Trace (all friends)and Aunt Stace were all able to come and gave me such great gifts. Thank you so much! We got lots of clothes, play gym, sleep protector, music player, music, bibs, bottle washers, hangers, receiving blankets, wash clothes, gift certificates and so many other things. Thank you so much!


Stealing a post from P. Matti ~

Many seemingly impressive success stories have
been found to be frauds. Borrowed money painted
a beautiful picture that kept hanging up there till
the bill arrived.
That’s what I used to say after the fall of the Soviet Union.
All the seventy years they kept arrogantly putting stuff
under the carpet. When you do that for a long time you
will sooner or later have to face the ceiling. The bill came.
Life’s success is not in how much you can get and achieve,
but in how much you can lay down and give.
The more you give, the more you’ll have.
“Give, and it will be given to you,” is the advice of the
giver of life in Luke 6:38.
This is one of the most fascinating principles in spiritual life.
Loose your life and you will find it!
Die and you shall live!
Forgive and you will win!
Serve and you will rule!
The world doesn’t need more heroes.
The world needs servants.
“Christ did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to GIVE His life a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28
Isn’t that what Christianity is on it’s best,
Christ likeness?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

5 months tomorrow

It will be 5 months tomorrow since God took Vinny home. I am so happy he'll have the best Christmas and birthday ever; I just miss him so much today. He would be turning 33 on December 27. He always hated his birthday because everyone was so put out by celebrating it. It came after Christmas Eve, Christmas and Molly's birthday, so everyone was always tired and slightly cranky. This year he'll be having a blast in heaven. Love you Vinny!

P.S. ~ Vinny was the cutest and most handsome baby and little boy. I hope my son looks like him!

26 weeks

He's a little over 26 weeks and just over 3 months to go. Time is flying by ~ before we know it, we'll have little baby boy here!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Dave!

Happy Birthday to my handsome husband. It's been a year of ups and downs but we always see God come through. I am excited to start this new adventure of parenthood with you. Love you!

My Ways

Isaiah 55:8-9 (King James Version)

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This morning I woke up thinking much about prayer - actually prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm reading a biography about D.L. Moody. So far his story has really convicted me to share the love of God with more people. When I was reading Hudson Taylor's book I felt the same way but even more so compelled to pray more in my life. Not just pray more but wait on God to see Him come through. If Hudson Taylor started praying about something, he would completely let go - I mean completely. He wouldn't mention it to other people (there's nothing wrong with having others pray for you), he kept on ministering even if his need was so great it hurt. He did it this way because he didn't want his own provision for the situation or any other man's ~ he wanted God's. This is building trust in God - something I am lacking in. It's so easy in our make-it-happen culture to make things happen. I have a tendency to have a burden or vision and try to carry the full weight - praying to God, almost becoming fixated on it but never really letting God take full control. So now I'm relying on God to work in me to help me trust Him more and let go. I truly want the perfect will of God in my life and not the permissive will. Read Hudson Taylor's book and you will get the level of letting go I'm talking about.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Pictures


Above pictures: Dave with Stacey's farm animals, Teagan playing tea at our house, my belly around 5.5 months, ultrasound pictures, & Maggie the Reindeer