Saturday, May 30, 2009

Meet the Newest Bryan in our Family

Bryan Mejia
Birthday May 17, 2001
We have a tradition in our family that when our children are old enough to understand their commitment, we "adopt" a child through a relief agency to pray for, support financially, and send letters to. Reilly "got" Andrielle when she was 6. They are the same age and Andreielle is from Brazil. Kate "got" Jenifer from Ecuador when she was 7. They have the same birthday.
Today, I would like to introduce the newest "member" of our family: Bryan Gerardo Canales Mejia. He is the same age as our boys and we chose him (actually we feel like the Lord planned him for us!) because he has their favorite Uncle's name. Even spells it the same way (which is unusual!). We support him through Compassion International and the boys are already excited to become acquainted with their new "brother" through letters and packages. Even though Bryan is almost the exact same age as our sons, his life is very different from theirs. More importantly than our monthly support checks and care packages, we intend to pray for Bryan every week like we have "our girls".
Just another step towards keeping my word, to live BIG in my brother's honor! Now we have a sweet-faced, eight year-old Bryan in our lives to pray for and love. We miss you Uncle B.
PS--Disneyland was indeed bittersweet. Mostly sweet. I would post pictures but I have lost my download part thingie--you will have to wait. I am no good at making Disneyland magical. We almost missed the parade, we visited Toontown AFTER the slurpee place was closed and my mom called me General Kelly for the brisk pace I set. Bryan was greatly missed. But we shared a gumbo bowl in his honor and only cried a few times. We did skip Pirates of the Caribean and we only went on It's A Small World once. He would have been proud of how I utilized "fast pass"--he is the one who taught me the game! Over all, new memories were made and life is moving on. Slowly. My heart will go on. My mom and daddy were troopers and even though I know it was very difficult to have all the memories and emotions swell up inside of them on that first ride, they smiled and laughed and made it a RAD time for our children. I love that about them. They are so courageous. Bryan would be proud.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth

Uncle B, Samuel, Reilly, Kate, Aidan and our Mom
Christmas 2002
I could not find pictures of the other Christmases.
Our first family trip to Disneyland
Reilly's Birthday August 2000
Bryan is on the right.

My children have never been to Disneyland without their Uncle B--their "sugar daddy" of sorts. Bryan always made our trips to the Happiest Place on Earth even happier. Starting with Reilly on her 3rd birthday, Uncle B made a yearly trek with our family. The year the boys were born, he started the Christmas time traditions there. Slurpees in Toontown. Lunch at Goofy's Diner. Coco on the bench waiting for the Parade. Staying late until the snowflakes and fireworks. It's A Small World over and over again until he had a turn with each kid in his lap. Tigger santa hat. Minnie Mouse santa hat. Treats. All Uncle B-style. He never tired of the magic. He made it marvelous.

We stopped going because I am a kill-joy, a royal stick-in-the-mud; I did not want him wasting his money on frivolous stuff and extravagance for us. I wanted him to save for a house. Now he is gone. He never bought that house. And we are headed to Disneyland for the first time in almost five years. Without my brother. It is bittersweet. I am praying for more sweet tomorrow when the children's joy, peels of giggles, and twinkling eyes remind me of Bryan. But it won't be the same. Especially not gumbo in sourdough bowls in New Orleans or The Pirates of the Caribbean. I am not even sure I am going to attempt it. That lump is back in my throat. In my heart.

But it will be good. The boys, my mom, and my hubby are all celebrating their birthdays. And it is the Happiest Place on Earth after all. And Bryan is in the Happiest Place Ever. So I guess that may be as good as it gets for now.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Fitz Kidz at Memorial Statue of unknown soldier
Duck Pond Temecula 2009

Dedicated to John Klungreseter Sr.

John is Bryan's Uncle who served many tours in the Vietnam War

Bryan wrote this Tribute to his Uncle while in High School in 1988. He was 17 years old.

"Black Granite"

The brutally sleek face of the cold, unyielding black granite stared down at the camouflaged man in the wheelchair. As he stares back, the cold winter wind glancing off the glazed wall wisps through his hair. This crying shell of a man is one of our Nation's heroes. But our Nation doesn't care. Kindness and friendship, none can spare for these terrible men who fought and died over there. Yet we built them this monument. So the men come and cry in memory of the men they loved who went there to die. Most came today by themselves. Others need help. They paid their dues in that war, in the form of limbs. They have no more. They all come for the same reason. To remember. They walk along side the dark reflective wall. The names etched on the wall seem to say it all. They find the spot of their best friend. They keep whispering his name over and over again. They start to remember how his young life came to an end. They loved each other like brothers. One was always watching out for the other. Then one died. At the time, the other didn't even cry. He is crying freely now. "It doesn't matter anyhow. He is dead. He is gone. You are here. You must go on." They try to convince themselves. It does not work. Most have lost something. People who were there are the only ones they bother. They were there at Tet, at Da Nag, at Ke Sahn. Most of the time they felt they couldn't go on. They fourth Victor Charlie. They fought the NVA. The people they were fighting for wanted them to go away. The only think that kept them going is the that they knew there would come a day when they would be on a plane heading for the good ol' USA. And if they lived through twelve months of hell and they made it to that plane. Most of them didn't know that nothing would ever be the same. So through the sky and clouds they flew and homeward bound they came. Only to be greeted in their country as constant forms of shame. Not as heroes, as was their right. But as villains because they went off to fight. Most did what they were told. Some pushed it and became too bold. But they were all just trying to survive, to save their own lives, to save their buddies lives.

So we built these men a monument ten years after their war. Gave ourselves a pat on the back and said we have evened the score. But all year round you will find them, crying, staring at the black granite wall. Realize, we haven't come close to evening the score at all. The names etched in the cold black stone are the ones who took the fall. For all of us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Months and Counting

Bertha Pauline Klungreseter (Bryan's Grandma Birthday)
And one picture of Anders Klungreseter (Bryan's Grandpa)
Hjordis Anderson with one of her babies (Bryan's Great Grandma Lolly)
Her long hair is a lovely sight! She is holding Frank Sr.

Hjordis and Frank Anderson
Bryan's Great Grandparents on our father's side

The Klungreseter Family circa 1953?
Pre-Uncle Karl and Aunt Ingrid
Bryan's Dad is the baby

Our Daddy
David Clark Klungreseter

Klungreseter Family with four of the five kids!
Uncle John is missing.
Bryan's dad is standing in the back.

I have no idea how to get this second copy off. It is my favorite childhood pic of my daddy. My oldest son Samuel looks so much like his grandpa. And they both LOVE baseball! And they both have those same Klungreseter pre-orthodonture :)

Another of my favorite Norseman!
Our Dad in Solvang mid-90s

Our dad with his Weston and Anderson cousins. David Clark is the youngest boy.

Our Grandpa's brother holding Aunt Ingrid (I thought this was our Grandpa since brothers look so alike!(top left), Grandma Lolly (top right)
Uncle Karl, Uncle Eric and Bryan's Dad, David Clark

Our dad, David Klungreseter, on his way to his senior prom--
with our mom, Victoria Parker
Our Grandparents
Bertha and Anders
Feeling nostalgic today. Wanted to share these pictures of Bryan's family legacy. Many of these beautiful faces cannot be seen this side of Heaven.
Funny how those Norse genes keep cropping up. Case in point: Samuel David, Bryan's nephew--boy you can see all that Norweigan blood. Miss you Aunt Ingy! Thinking of the party in Heaven today!

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!