Monthly Archives: December 2011

Gift Time

Lydia finished her crossword puzzle first, and her gift was supposed to be under Rachel’s bed, but it hadn’t been moved out of Karl’s shop yet.  So her and I ran down there and I pointed out her package…it was a pretty small box.  She then saw Rachel’s huge stack of presents…she said she was thinking “what the heck?”  The girls had their gifts out by the tree on the porch and they were each able to open one before dinner.  Well, Rachel felt so badly for her sister and her one measely gift she offered to let Lydia open some of hers.  I insisted that Lydia open the ONE gift from us rather than open one of Rachel’s.  I was afraid she would be upset the entire dinner if she didn’t.  I had again promised her that if she didn’t like it, we would return it and get her anything she wanted from Justice.

Lydia got an ipod touch!

P.S. She said right away that she didn’t want to return it!

Christmas 2011

We went to Sandy and Karl’s for Christmas Eve again this year.  Unlike last year (2010) when we had about 3 ft of snow already – this year we have NONE!  No complaints from me or Bruce though!!

We went to the 3:30 church service.  Both girls were in the choir and at the last minute, Lydia had to do a solo as Kira didn’t show up.  Lydia did excellent and didn’t seem the least bit nervous! 

Shopping Spree for Rachel

Because I knew we were getting Lydia an ipod touch for Christmas, we had to do something extra special for Rachel so she wouldn’t feel left out.

Bruce and I picked her up Saturday, 12/10 and we went to Maple Grove area to do some NEW CLOTHES shopping. Being the youngest girl (older sister and 2 older girl cousins) Rachel doesn’t get much new – mostly hand me downs and we wanted her get new clothes that she picked out.

We shopped first at Old Navy. As soon as we walked into the store, sweet little Rachel said “my mom would really love a vest!” I had to explain that we were shopping for HER. She was pretty reluctant to commit to any of the things we looked at until I said to her “you better start selecting things, or you will end up with NOTHING!” She said we could put everything in the cart that she likes and then she would go through it at the end and pick what she REALLY wanted. I left the store with Rachel, and Uncle Bruce purchased everything that was in our cart!

I looked at the GPS to see what other stores were in the area and I found a listing for TWEEN BRANDS. Never heard of it…but figured we should check it out. Turns out it was the Justice store! Rachel was delighted! As soon as we walked in the front door, a sales girl said “Hi, who are you shopping for today?” I said Rachel. She said “Rachel, what is your favorite color?” PINK… “should I find you a cute outfit with pink?” SURE… Rachel got so much attention in the dressing room – and the sales girl treated her like a VIP, which was awesome.

We had lunch at Arby’s and then back to Sandy’s. When Lydia got home from her hockey game and she asked Rachel…”where did you go shopping?” When Rachel said JUSTICE, Lydia was really bummed. I explained to her that we had already purchased her Christmas gift, but if she didn’t like it, I would return it and buy her ANYTHING SHE WANTS FROM JUSTICE! She was fine after that, until Christmas Eve when she say Rachel’s huge stack of presents from us.

Balloons Take Detour on their Way to Heaven


Above, Jodi Rajkowski looks up happily as she watches balloons rise to the sky during her late husband’s birthday party.

Inset: Attendees released 45 balloons in honor of Ron’s 45th birthday. Relatives, neighbors and friends express delight as 45 balloons are released into the air during a 45th birthday party for Ron Rajkowski, who was killed in an accident Oct. 16.

His St. Joseph family (wife Jodi and sons Chase and Blake) and all the celebrants were amazed when the released balloons floated back to hover over their home. Ron Rajkowski would have loved his 45th birthday celebration – with 45 signed balloons rushing halfway to heaven and back again, hovering over his home before drifting off as if waving goodbye. Rajkowski died Oct. 13 near the Twin Cities while he was on the job. He was working in a ditch when a car veered from the road and killed him, along with co-worker Craig Carlson. He left behind a wife, Jodi, two young children, Blake and Chase, and countless relatives, neighbors and friends who loved him very much.

Jodi decided to hold a 45th birthday for Ron because he absolutely loved celebrating birthdays and Christmases. So she bought 45 helium balloons. Shortly before noon on Friday, Nov. 25, about 50 people gathered at the Rajkowski home, about a mile north of St. Joseph. After socializing, those who gathered wrote messages to Ron on the balloons. And then, outside in the yard, they let them loose to hurry toward the sky. People cheered and sang “Happy Birthday” as the balloons flew south in a colorful cluster.

And then, the strangest thing happened. Suddenly, the balloons did an about-face and began to drift back south. The balloons then came to a virtual stop in the sky right above the Rajkowski home. There they stayed, bobbing in the air about 200 feet above the house, for at least two minutes. And then, the balloons drifted again, in a northwesterly direction until, one by one, they disappeared into the great beyond. When the balloons returned, mysteriously, to hover over the house, the birthday celebrants let out expressions of awe. “Look at those balloons,” many of them said with disbelief. “They are hovering right over the house!” Ron’s children, Blake and Chase, were also astounded. “We love you, Daddy!” they yelled, waving at the sky. “It was just the strangest thing,” Jodi said. “It’s as if Ron was telling us all that it’s OK, like he was smiling down on us and waving goodbye. We were all just stunned by it and don’t know how that could’ve happened. It was such a beautiful day. We had such a good turnout, and it was so happy.” Later, the people all went to El Paso Bar and Grill where they enjoyed birthday cake and a light lunch. Since Ron died, Jodi has had some days that are hard to bear. “Thanksgiving was tough,” she said. “I didn’t think I could get through it.” But Jodi has been buoyed up by the waves of support the family has been receiving ever since Ron died – even from people she has never met. The cards keep coming in, as well as offers of support. It helps ease her sorrow just to know so many people deeply cared about her husband. The company Ron worked for, Egan Co. in Brooklyn Park, Minn., has ordered a limited amount of hardhat bands to sell internally to commemorate Rajkowski and Carlson. The company is selling them for $5 each, and the proceeds will go for an account for the four children – Rajkowski’s two and Carlson’s two. The bracelets are inscribed with: “In memory of Ron. R. and Craig C.” The company will also accept donations toward the Rajkowski Carlson Memorial Fund. “The Egan Co. has been so wonderful,” Jodi said. “And the unions, too. We still get such kind support from Union Local 292 (Ron’s union) and other unions from all over. People have been so supportive, it’s just overwhelming.” Jodi takes Blake and Chase to the St. Joseph Cemetery to visit Ron’s mausoleum. The two boys insist they go visit him every day so they can kiss the monument. “We love you, Daddy,” they always say. When Christmas comes around, Jodi and the boys will reveal a big surprise present – one just for a special husband, a loving daddy. Attachment