On My Mind

Day 11: My Extended Family

*Sorry the pictures aren’t great… I don’t have many good pictures of my extended family…they are all on my parents computer!*

My maiden name, Hildebrandt, is German and the meaning actually does a pretty good job at describing my extended family.  “Hild” means fight or battle, and “brandt” means fire or sword…pretty macho, eh?  If you read my post about my immediate family you can relate the meaning of our last name to our personalities as a whole pretty well.  Well now just imagine a family composed of my grandparents (Jay & Loren), their 6 kids (My uncles and aunts…Scott, My Dad, Chris, Darcy, Jodi, & Roman) with 24 grand-kids (ages ranging from 26 to a couple months old…let’s see if I can do this in order….Rhett, Jordan, Nick, Alexis, Yours Truly, Andrei, Markus, Madison, Jessica, Jasmyn, Rebeka, Thaddeus, Alex, Natalia, Stephanie, Lukas, Shea, Addison, Darius, Aisha, Jake, McKenzie, Kira, & Zakariah) and 1 great-grandchild…my baby boy Ames Anthony. All of my Dad’s siblings were athletic…and almost all of the grandchildren participated in sports at one time or another.  And even outside of athletics, all of us have that ‘Hildebrandt’ fire & fight within us.  So you can imagine things got pretty crazy when we all got together.

My Grandpa Jay & Grandmother Loren are some of the best people I know.  My grandpa was in the Air Force & flew/taught how to fly fighter jets.  Being in the Air Force took them all over the world (my dad was born in Africa) until he became an Air Force instructor when they finally settled in Tucson, Arizona.  My grandpa was a buff & tough guy, but has a soft big heart.  And when he wasn’t flying fighter jets or playing sports you could find him reading and studying up on Shakespeare.  My Grandmother Loren is probably one of the most fashionable grandmas you’ll ever meet.  She is probably 5 feet nothing but I have never seen her below 5’3″…she ALWAYS, ALWAYS has high heels on.  I remember going over to their house early in the morning one time and she had high heels on in her pajamas! haha.  My grandma is a small little woman, opinionated, loves ice cream (which I loved cause she would always give us big bowls of ice cream), and is super smart.  I never thought of her as your typical soft, warm, grandmotherly type, but more of a strong and courageous woman.  During my junior high and high school years my grandparents lived about 5 miles (on a running trail) away from our house.  I always loved running the mountain trail to their house and staying there a long time chatting to them about everything while drinking a big cup of Ovaltine (my grandpa constantly has a gallon of Ovaltine made in his fridge).  I love my grandparents so much and are so grateful for their service to our family!

My Grandmother Loren…my Grandpa was really sick for our wedding 🙁

both of my awesome families!
Growing up our family was pretty faithful at doing family reunions.  I remember being so excited for them.  Family reunions meant a week of running wild with ‘the cousins’ and getting into all sorts of trouble/fun.  And if we weren’t running around it might have been because we got sucked into own of my grandpa’s Shakespeare rants.  Looking through past family reunion pictures there are very few pictures of all of us sitting still.  “Picture time” meant dog pile time…which resulted into one big wrestling match.  In fact, I think the whole week of family reunions was one big wrestling match, but ya know, I like it like that.  I am very fortunate to have cousins that all get along and have so much fun together.

As we’ve grown older and a couple of us have gotten married (I paved the way, I was married 3 years before anyone else did!  Now 2 of us are married and 2 more engaged…the rest of you need to get on that! 😉 ) I am still so lucky to have remained good friends with lots of my cousins.  They truly are a very talented, funny, great group and I’m blessed to call them family.

My Mom also came from German background.  Her maiden name is Dotter.  My Mom is the only girl and has 5 brothers.  My Grandpa (who is a big jokester) always use to tell people…I have 5 ‘Dotters’ but only one of the is a girl! haha, good one, Grandpa.

My Grandpa & Grandma Dotter are unique, but also very cute.  My they both have great senses of humor, something I have come to very much appreciate as I have grown older.  My most recent visit to my Grandparents was when I was 8.5 months pregnant and when I first walked into their house my Grandpa said, “Well, you look like a knocked up teenager!” …Thanks? I guess. haha.  My Grandma is more of your typical grandmotherly type.  Whenever she came to visit she always brought us Dove chocolates and gave us each a whole dollar!  A dollar when I was 3 was the coolest thing ever…when I was 17 it just became cute.  She is a very, very sweet woman  – she never complains and just tries her very best to be happy.  Which is saying a lot since she snapper her ankle in half before I was even born and since then has been in pain and never fully recovered.  She calls me from time to time just to check in and I love our chats 🙂  My Grandpa worked as a firefighter most of his life but he was very handy and ended up building a couple of their houses (in Lake Arrowhead, CA).  My grandpa likes to change things up a lot…so even though he had the same job for years and years, their family moved like 7 times just for a change of scenery.  He still likes to take long road trips and never likes to stay in one place too long.  My Grandpa & Grandma Dotter have grown very dear to me as they have gotten older and I wish we lived closer to them!

As stated above, my Mom has 5 brothers…4 older and 1 younger.  They all inherited my Grandpa’s sense of humor which makes family gatherings a hoot.  They also all were ‘blessed’ with big ol bellies…which you think would bother them.  But instead, they have had contests measuring whose stomach is the biggest! Haha.  I’m not quite as close with my cousins (Althea, Angela, Jake, Josh, Dallas, James, John, Derrik, McKayla, Trent) on my Mom’s side – mainly because they were all older than us & lived further away.  As we have gotten older though we have gotten to know them better and actually have quite a few first cousins once removed that are  fun to be with.  A couple years ago we had a big family reunion at the beach and it was really fun getting to know them all a lot better.  I might have not been super close to my cousins, but I have grown close to a couple of my uncles and love visiting with them.

Almost all of the Dotter side!

I really am so blessed to have amazing families.  I know that I always have someone there that I can talk to and rely on…which is something that I know not everyone has.  I have a strong testimony that families are central to God’s plan and I hope to do all I can in order to live with my families forever!