Monday, June 21, 2010

Oak Run Visit

While we were down in Knoxville, IL we ran down to Oak Run where the Sacco's used to live. We drove by the lake house that Tom built and then went to the beach....

Jim, Keith, Sara, Natalie, Scott, Tracy & Grace, Dan, Julie & Connor were all in attendance.

I am sure if Julie were writing this it would be much more elegantly said. Julie I am sure will edit this post to be a great literary master piece.

Here's my version... (Dano Stlye!)

Scott took Tracy out to the water and....
Need I say more...

Grace wasn't really digging the water but was still able to put on a smile for her daddy...

Then... There's Connor... He loved the water and would have stayed hovering for hours just splashing. We didn't take the time to put him in his swim trunks and swim diaper so you'll notice his Mickey and Mini's in the video at the bottom of this post.

Scott & Tracy paused for a minute to pose for a photo op.

Jim did a pose down with Keith!

And Keith and Connor ( I mean crazy hair) posed...

All the girls... Natalie, Julie, Tracy and Grace...

As Connor hangs 10 on my arm we did a quick shot before we cleaned Connor up for his last photo op on the beach...

NOW who couldn't love this little guy and his Levi print diapers. What a little stud muffin!

Here's a fun little video of our time over at the lake! ENJOY!

There are a lot more photos, from the week with Connor, Nolan, Jacob, Grace and the entire family so... much more to come! We've just been super busy. I can't wait to see what Julie says. Since she is the better writer.

Til' next time...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Ok - well today will be short - I'm in need of a bit of a recharge on the writing and blogging so you probably won't hear much from me this week. 

But a few things....1 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND SCOTT!  Yes, you read that right Mom and Scott (my brother in law) share a June 16th!  Love you both very much!  We were supposed to be relaxing on a lake sipping cocktails to celebrate this week but I promise we'll find some time to reschedule! 

2 - Connor had his 9 month doctor appointment and here are the stats: 29.5 inches long and 21 lbs. 10 oz

3 - Grace has started crawling!  Since they arrived in IL last week for Grandpa's services she has been really close and last night she full on started moving around!  Tracy posted a video on Facebook - I'll try to get a copy for on here!

4 - I think another tooth is coming in for Connor so it's also contributing to the lack of blogging.  I'm just downright exhausted. 

Until next time. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Final Tribute

You know - the difficult part of death is how hard it is to accept it for those that are left behind.  Our faith tells us there is absolutely nothing sad or scary about dying - in fact, most of us will work a lifetime in hopes of spending an eternity in heaven.  There is no doubt in my mind that my Grandpa is among the best and certainly he will be the angel watching over me until the day we meet again.

I guess if there is one positive out of how the last few weeks of my Grandpa's life occurred it is that we all had a chance to see him, talk to him and he was very open about wanting us to ask any final questions we had.  He knew he was dying - we knew he was dying.  There were no surprises.  While it doesn't take away the sadness it also meant that the days we all joined together to celebrate his life would be done exactly as he wanted.  He had a say and we all wanted nothing more than to respect those wishes.  Well, I had the honor of being asked to give a Eulogy of my Grandpa along with my Uncle Dan.  Just as Grandpa had asked for.  While grief had gotten the most of me for several days - yesterday, June 10, 2010 I was calm, I was cool and I was collected.  My guardian angel stood by me as I told a church full of people what a great man he was. 

Today - I share what I had typed for his Eulogy - while there were some slight variance in the actual speech I want to remember this day, the day I honored a truly special person in my life.  While all of the memories/jokes might not mean something to everyone I will cherious these always.

Grandpa Tom
September 1, 1927 - June 7, 2010
Funeral:  June 10, 2010
Corpus Christi Church
Galesburg, IL
Eulogy by Julie Coughlin

I feel truly honored to be speaking today on behalf of Tom’s Grandkids. There are 7 of us who have had the absolute distinct honor of knowing and loving a great man. Today we grieve and celebrate the closing of one step of his journey and the beginning of another. I am certain that he is looking down on all of us today in complete peace and contented with what he left behind in this world. Now I could talk for hours on end about countless stories and memories of my Grandpa and I will probably do just that in the coming days, weeks and months.

But today – I’m celebrating my Grandfather’s life and am in complete awe of the impact he had on so many lives. I can now fondly look back and say with great pride that my Grandfather was a teacher to his grandchildren. While he wasn’t always the loudest or most talkative – he led by example and has taught us to:

• Enjoy the simple things – is there anything greater than a tea party thrown by his granddaughter Natalie?

• Appreciate the arts, music and theater – even if its only socks on the hands of his grandkids giving a puppet show from the balcony

• Don’t take anything too serious/have a sense of humor– after all after 60 years of marriage he was still playing cards with Grandma and we all know what a fierce competitor she is and Grandma, I’m with you, he must have been cheating – no one has that much good luck

• Be giving – for all the gifts he was given – he returned the favor ten fold. Whether it was helping rebuild the deck of a neighbor, building wooden toys for the needy, sharing the vegetables from his garden or giving the gift of friendship

• Seek wisdom each and every day – and don’t let anyone tell you the National Inquirer isn’t a great place to get the news

• Be unique and don’t let anyone change you – it doesn’t matter how strange orange juice on cereal might look – you are who you are

• Be a trailblazer even when it’s a little bit scary – he did not regain his sight without taking the road less traveled

• Always share – the greatest things in life are too good to keep all to yourself including birthday celebrations with his grandson Gabe for 22 years

• Be a historian of your own life – be a storyteller, take pictures

• Use the gifts and talents God gave you – for him it was artistry, craftsmanship and compassion

• Never stop believing

• Love God

• Love Your Family

• Love life in whatever you do, wherever you are – John Deere Employee, Ice Cream Shop Owner, Woodworker, Construction Manager, Fisher, Grillmaster, Water Tubing Boat Driver Extradoinaire, Golf Coach, Great-Grandpa, Grandpa, Husband, Father, Brother, Son – I can tell you he loved it all

Perhaps some of you have heard this poem before, it was written by Henry Scott Holland, who was a professor of divinity at Oxford University – I find his outlook on death to be comforting.

He said:

Death is nothing at all-I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant...There is absolutely unbroken continuity.

What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Grandpa – we love you, you will live on through our memories and stories and may your presence be ever existing in our lives. Until we meet again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heavens Above

This morning my dearest Grandpa left this world and headed right toward the pearly gates where no doubt he is eating chocolate covered cherries and playing a game of Euchre.  Today will be short - we are making preparations now to get ourselves and family to Knoxville for the services on Wednesday.  Just in our immediate family that has meant people coming from New Hampshire, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California.  Please pray for the safe travels of our whole family.

Connor - your Great Grandpa was a wonderful man and I will be sure his legacy lives on.  He was oh so hoping you would be born on his birthday 9/1 but was just as thrilled to have you arrive just a few days later.  He was looking forward to adding you to the "Labor Day" birthday celebrations.  He loved you very much.

Here is the obituary on your Great-Grandpa Tom:

TOM SACCO, age 82, of Knoxville, Illinois died on Monday, June 7, 2010 at 7:58 A.M. at his residence in Knoxville, Illinois. Tom was born on September 1, 1927 in Clarkdale, Iowa, the son of Charley and Mary Valentine Sacco. He married Betty N. Willaert on September 17, 1949 in East Moline, Illinois. She survives of Knoxville, Illinois.

Also surviving are one daughter, Christine (Jim) Coughlin of Peru, Illinois; two sons, David (Marissa) Sacco of Phoenix, Arizona and Dan (Penny) Sacco of Dubuque, Iowa; grandchildren, Keith Coughlin of Astoria, New York, Kristin Sacco of San Diego, Caolifornia, Erin (Michael) Sacco Pineda of San Diego, California, Tracy (Scott) Leffler of Fridley, Minnesota, Julie (Dan Paulsrud) Coughlin of New Berlin, Wisconsin, Natalie Sacco of Dubuque, Iowa and Gabriel (Amanda Davidshofer) Sacco of Dubuque, Iowa; four great grandchildren, Grace Leffler, Connor Paulsrud, Nolan Sacco Pineda and Jacob Sacco Pineda; three brothers, Bob Sacco of Cincinnati, Iowa, Paul (Mary) Sacco of East Moline, Illinois and Gary (Donna) Sacco of Moravia, Iowa; three sisters, Joann (John) Lasley of Moline, Illinois, Mary Ann (Joe) Wetmore of Centerville, Iowa and Judy (Tony) Buban of Mystic, Iowa and many nieces and nephews in Illinois and Iowa. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother.

Tom was employed by John Deere in Moline, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa for 35 years, retiring in 1982. A skilled woodworker, he built four homes and many furnishings, toys and gifts for family and friends. He was a member of the Knox County Woodworkers Group building wooden toys for needy children. He and his wife lived at Oak Run for many years, where Tom served as a board member for the Property Owners Association and President of the Golf Committee. He served as president of the Holy Ghost Parish Council in Dubuque, Iowa. He was a member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Galesburg, Illinois and of the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Tom suffered from macular degeneration and underwent treatment at the University of Iowa Medical Center where he was able to regain his sight. He shared his experience and information about macular degeneration with various community groups and individuals. Tom enjoyed fishing, golf and card games, especially bridge and euchre, with family and friends.

Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 10:30 A.M. at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Galesburg, Illinois. Father William Miller officiating. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 from 5:00 until 7:00 P.M. at the Hurd Hendricks Funeral Home and Crematory in Knoxville, Illinois with Rosary at 7:00 P.M. Private Inurnment at a later date at the Rock Island Arsenal. Memorials may be made to Corpus Christi Catholic Church to establish a fund to assist the poor or for the intentions of the family. On-line condolences and sympathy cards may be sent through

I miss you already Grandpa.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Blogger friends - I can't figure out how to post videos anymore?  The button on my toolbar to upload is gone...can someone help me!?!

9 Months Old?

Where has the time gone?

Just a few pics today - blog more later!  Busy morning for the Paulsruds.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Weekend of Memories

Memorial Day Weekend 2010 was a bittersweet one for us.  I've mentioned it before, but my Grandpa is sick.  A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia which has developed out of myelodysplastic syndrome.  He has been a fighter and despite all he has been through he had the strength to make it through round one of chemo.

Last weekend my cousins Kristin and Erin flew in from San Diego with one of Erin's sons (Nolan) to make the journey down to visit Grandpa.  Kristin, Erin and Nolan flew into Milwaukee - we hung out at our apartment until the boys started to get tired and then made the trip to Knoxville, IL.

Our family has a lot of wonderful memories from the area in which our Grandparents now live.  For the majority of my years growing up my Grandparents had a wonderful house in the lake community of Oak Run.  ( Our summers were filled with fishing, tubing, playing on the beach Grandpa built, boating, swinging on the tire swing, learning to water ski, riding bikes, hanging in party cove, learning to golf - our winters were filled with holidays, ice skating, sledding and so much more.  We took a drive out to Oak Run - drove by the house our Grandparents built - talked about telling the people on the dock our Grandpa built it was ours not theirs and stopped at the community beach to give Nolan a feel for our past.

Grandpa had a pretty good day on Saturday and I feel completely fortunate that Kristin and Erin were able to spend some quality time with him.  Distance just hasn't afforded them the opportunities to spend as much time with him as I have been blessed with. 

He has been in isolation and despite the desire - he was unable to meet Nolan.  After church on Sunday we decided we were too close for him not to get to see him.  This photo breaks my heart a little but in all my life I will never forget the smile on my Grandpa's face when he saw Nolan for the first time.  You can see Grandpa through the window meeting another Great-Grandson!

On Sunday Kristin, Erin and I spent some time making a photo collage to try to spruce up Grandpa's room - we visited for a bit longer and then it was time for us to begin the journey back to Milwaukee and for them back to San Diego.  Here is Grandpa with two of five granddaughters:  Kristin and Erin

It is with a very heavy heart that I write today that despite a fighting spirit the Leukemia is winning the battle.  Tomorow Grandpa will be heading home where we will begin receiving Hospice care.  It is hard to fight the tears rolling down my face as we prepare to help transition Grandpa into the next phase of his journey.  While I am certain he is going to a place of peace and that his journey by no means is ending I selfishly will miss him in so many ways.  I've started a blog entry just for him - but I'm not ready to share it and maybe never will be.  But for today - Mr. Tom Sacco you have changed me forever - I love you - may God bring you peace and your suffering be eased.  I love you Grandpa.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pay it Forward

A friend sent me a link to a Facebook page titled "Postcards for Bryan" and when I went to the page I read the following:

There's a boy in Omaha who's fighting cancer right now, and he and his family won't be taking a summer vacation this year due to the treatment regimen. His dad has asked that everyone send postcards from their travels this summer or from any location outside of Omaha, and the family is plotting them together on a giant map. If you would like to brighten this little boy's day, here's the address:

Bryan Botkin
P.O. Box 492
Boystown, NE 68010

His family has given us permission to post a link to his CaringBridge website. Bryan just started treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma -

I often find myself wondering - why does cancer exist?  why does it take the ones we love?  Well I will hope and pray that this Bryan (who I do not know) is a survivor.  If you have an opportunity to send a postcard consider doing it - sometimes it's the smallest things in life that make the biggest difference.  Will you ever know the impact your $.99 card + $.28 postcard stamp had?  Probably not - but there is nothing wrong sending it on just the small chance it will brighten the face of this young little warrior. 

So I it forward - post it on your blog, Facebook page, send it to friends and know for the bargain price of $1.27 you've impacted a life. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Typeless Tuesday

Not feeling so hot in the Coughlin-Paulsrud household; so today you get only pictures - more blogging on the weekend later.