Category Archives: memories

Potato Salad and Memories

Caitlyn finished reading her book this morning.  With a lot of prodding.  It was due to the library today.  Our library allows two renewals and that’s it.  Times up.  Hubby says, “just remember where you left off and then check it back out in a week or so.”  That just doesn’t fly with me…read the book…you’ve had 6 weeks.  Get it done!!!  Caitlyn is a very capable reader, but it is not one of her true passions.  She has so many other things vying for her attention.  She has her arts and crafts, iPad games, and way more television options than I had growing up, even with us getting rid of cable.

Caitlyn is a very capable reader, but it is not one of her true passions.  She has so many other things vying for her attention.  She has her arts and crafts, iPad games, and way more television options than I had growing up, even with us getting rid of cable.  Reading just doesn’t always rank for her like it did for me growing up.

I am coming to grips with this reality.

In the meantime, a library trip was on the schedule today so we could return the book.  We got some schoolwork done and then headed to the library.  As I was parking the car, I said, “did we remember the library book bag??”

Um, no.  So back home we went–to get the books.  On the plus side, I hadn’t put money in the meter yet and we don’t live 45 minutes from the nearest library like I did growing up.

Growing up.  I lived “out in the country” where it is still actually “out in the country.”  We had a big garden.  We had farm animals.  We grew our own food.  The local butcher lived down the road from us.  Meal planning wasn’t trendy, it was necessary because grocery shopping happened once a week, if that.  My mom did a great job of canning produce so we had a lot of staples throughout the year and she kept the pantry well stocked.

One food I don’t remember us ever growing, though I think my aunt does now, was potatoes.  Those got bought from the store.  And somehow, making potato salad for my dad became my job.  It was always a big job.  Remember the extra humungous Tupperware bowl and lid set?  We had a yellow one and a batch of potato salad filled it.

I was super proud of making my dad his potato salad.  He liked it pretty bland by most standards.  A massive amount of potatoes boiled, peeled, and cut up, another massive amount of eggs boiled, peeled, and cut up, a little bit of onion cut up and added, and just a smidge of mustard to give it extra color.  That must have been its purpose because it sure wasn’t enough for flavor.

I made that potato salad over and over during the summer.  I loved making it.  I was so proud that my dad wanted me to make him his potato salad.  So proud, but I hated eating it.  It was just yuck to me.  And it stayed that way until I was in my 30s.  I just hated the stuff.

Until I was pregnant with Caitlyn.

Then, I loved it so much.  I literally dreamt of potato salad.  Any version, any brand.  Just hand over the potato salad and nobody would get hurt.

And I still love it!!!  It is even one food I can have on the low FODMAP diet.

So don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here wolfing down potato salad while the family has ice cream.


The Ads Again

I think I pay too much attention to random things.  Okay, okay, I know I pay too much attention to random things.  One thing that gets me is radio commercials.  I can totally tune out a tv commercial, by never watching tv, but the radio has to be on for me to function.  It is like air to me.  But the dumb commercials.   You’ve already heard my thoughts on the exercise/antidepressant commercial, now for the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) commercial.

This commercial brings up lots of memories, wonderful memories.  Really.  Stick with me here.

I was exposed to a component of COPD as a kid.  My neighbor had Emphysema.  She had never smoked a day in her life, yet there she was, dependent on oxygen.

Cora was probably in her 60s when I met her.  She lived a few doors down from us in her white house that looked like a barn.

I headed down there once or twice a week to buy a dozen of her farm-fresh chicken eggs.  And she would chat with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved being an only child and I had great neighbor friends that I played with, but I was always looking for new company…and Cora was one of my victims.

She always bought wrapping paper from me when I came around selling it in order to earn some prize or another.  She helped me (okay, she basically did) with a sewing project that was well beyond my non-existent skills, she sold my mom her old secretary desk that sat proudly in my room until I went to college, she explained to me that the ice cream man, (Schwan’s) who finally extended his route to our part of the road, would have the ice cream my mom let me order that day and I wouldn’t have to wait another two weeks until he came again.  She let me just show up and chat with her for hours.  We would sit and watch soap operas, which my mom did not allow me to watch, and I would chat and chat at the commercial breaks.

I loved Cora very much.  I was so sad when she passed away when I was in late elementary school–I am not exactly sure how old I was when she passed away.  I missed her daily for a long time.  I just couldn’t believe my friend was gone.  My mom decided I was too young to go to the funeral, but I understood my friend was gone.  I sat and sat at her old desk.

And I still think of my friend often–anytime I hear one of the COPD commercials or when another friend posts on Facebook about their chickens (what is up with everybody getting chickens?!).

Cora is just one of the marvelous memories I have from growing up.  I hope my girls will look back as fondly at the memories we make amidst holidays, electronics, new puppies and the like!


Memories Fond Memories

Memories come up when you least expect them.  Sometimes it is nice to just hang on to them.

Today had a few of those moments.

My Caitlyn is 10 and growing like a weed. She only has about an inch to go before she is my height.  She is perfect and beautiful, I just can’t believe how tall she is.  When she was 9 months old one doctor diagnosed her with failure to thrive.  I’d say we have that issue licked 😉  Today she found a jacket shirt she liked at the store and decided to use some money she had saved from her birthday to buy it.  The size she chose?  a women’s medium.  Now, it is big on her, as daddy pointed out when I was lamenting her growing up too quickly, but still, she is comfortable in a women’s medium.  I am in a women’s medium–it’s not loose on me, but it fits.

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I remember like it was yesterday, holding a friend’s new baby and whispering to the baby, “my hubby  and I are hoping to have a baby like you some day.”  A little over a week later we found out Caitlyn was coming.

Another friend brought home a new baby this weekend.  Chatting with her got me thinking about that first night home with Caitlyn.  She had slept so well in the hospital.  Nobody warned me they don’t sleep the first night home.  I remember being blurry-eyed from sleep, not knowing what to do for my new bundle.  Finally I decided to sing her a song I have been singing my whole like.  I knew the words, but could not come up with the tune to save my life…so I made one up!

We Went We Saw

Four years ago, we headed a few states over for a family wedding.  We did some camping along the way.

Turns out, I remember very little of it.

Patrice was one years old.  I don’t remember her being there at all.  Hubby tells me she was very good about camping and the wedding, but if you ask me, she wasn’t even there.

And sorry to my niece who was getting married, I don’t remember the wedding at all.  I am sure it was just lovely.  Really lovely, but you see, I was very sick with the postpartum depression and bipolar at the time.  Life at that time was really hard and so very foggy.

But time has passed and my meds are better…and my mind is allowing me to think and remember.

So this trip to a wedding was very different.  It was very nice.  We went to our nephews’ wedding and then headed to Lake Michigan to relax and even visit Chicago for a day.

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A waterfall in Wisconsin we visited with family before heading to Lake Michigan2016-06-08 07.36.48 2016-06-08 07.38.41 2016-06-08 09.24.22 2016-06-08 11.54.49 2016-06-09 10.28.58 2016-06-09 11.20.57 2016-06-09 12.29.25 2016-06-09 12.32.43 2016-06-09 15.09.42 2016-06-09 15.19.48 2016-06-09 15.50.44 2016-06-09 19.28.26 2016-06-10 13.37.00 2016-06-10 20.41.52 2016-06-10 20.53.07

Meeting another warrior mom was a huge highlight of the trip!!!2016-06-10 21.42.05 2016-06-11 08.21.03 2016-06-11 09.31.27 2016-06-11 12.10.21 2016-06-11 19.01.13 2016-06-11 20.51.33 2016-06-12 08.35.53This trip was fantastic and I am hoping to remember it for a very long time!!!

They Showed Us Up

Saturday hubby and I stepped way out of our comfort zone.  We volunteered to decorate our trunk and pass out candy at our churches’ inaugural trunk or treat.

We pulled out the girls stuffed animals and made a jungle.  I bought three big bags of candy.  Certainly that would be enough.

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Alas, it was not.  We, and the church, ran out of candy in the first 20 minutes.  People from the planning team were immediately sent to get more candy, but what to do with the kids there now?

The girls had gone around to the trunks at the beginning of the trunk or treat and ended up with lots of candy.  As you know, candy is a precious commodity for kids, but ours pulled out the candy they had collected and gave it away as we waited for candy reinforcements.

2015-10-31 15.07.58 2015-10-31 15.08.01Talk about being proud of my girls!  I knew they were amazing but they really showed it Saturday.  I was so proud of them.  I still am.  I told some sweet neighbors down the street, and yesterday, they showed up with this.

2015-11-02 10.21.40They were touched by our girls too and wanted to gift them with this to show when we bless God, He blesses us.

Now, do we need all that candy?  Heavens no, trust me, I’ve already eaten too much of it, but the message behind it is worth every last piece.

What Does Grace Look Like?

This is what grace looks like:

Leah at park 2010Grace is 5 years ago this little bundle screaming her head off as we put her up to the slide (not down the slide), while her very sick mama battled postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis in the background.

2015-10-01 18.01.08Grace is a mama still be here, homeschooling, her three beautiful daughters that 5 years ago today she tried to surrender them to her midwife during a psychotic break.

2015-10-28 09.22.43Grace, grace, Gods’ grace is this little girl, who was screaming on that slide 5 years ago while her mama battled for her mind, now wrapping her arms around her mama and telling her she’s the best mama ever.


Two Lawns Done

I think too much.  It’s just that.  Plain and simple.  I honestly think it is part of the reason mental illness found a home between my ears.  I stew in my thoughts.  I often can’t let them go.  And things have meaning to me, a lot of meaning.

Take, for instance, mowing the lawn.  Yup.  It is a hot and sweaty job that makes me feel liberated and empowered.

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I tried to mow the lawn for my dad when I was a little girl.  He had this old riding lawn mower.  And at probably 12 or so he let me try to do the lawn.

He wasn’t impressed.

After two attempts, he declared it looked like a racetrack and said I couldn’t mow it anymore.

I learned I was no good at it and that was that.

Another thing I wasn’t good at.

I tried to brush it off, but damn.  I took that thought deep.  I was no good at it.

Then I met the hubby.  We each had our own houses when we met (obviously) and I had this little teeny tiny lawn to mow.  I was paying someone but hubby had an extra mower and taught me how to start it, run it, and mow my postage stamp.

It was liberating.  I loved heading out there to mow my little spot.  I could do it.  I didn’t need someone else for this task.

Once we got married, me mowing the lawn took a backseat as three kids came in four years.  I was nursing one baby or another for 5 years, so I was kind of needed in the house.

Now, they are older and I am back outside part of the time.

I have joyfully taken on the job of mowing the lawn again.

Today, I mowed TWO lawns, while hubby cleaned the kitchen 😉 and then came out and did the trimming of the lawns.

I did it.  I did a task I had been told, and told myself, that I couldn’t do.  And that folks, is empowering.  I feel like a million sweaty bucks.

I love my dad deeply and the anniversary of his death is coming up Tuesday.  You’ll read a nice post about how much I love him, and I do, but right now, if he were here, I would choose the ever mature action of sticking my tongue out at him and saying, “I did it!  So THERE!”



It was late in the season, but the girls and I went strawberry picking yesterday.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time.  We each got to pick one pint, ride the train, have a doughnut and cider, and play in the play area.

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It was definitely worth the drive!

Overeating–Kid Style

A few weeks ago I was over the moon thrilled to find out I had won four tickets to Pinkalicious the Musical from a giveaway at Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood.

It was a gift I wanted to give my girls, but just didn’t see a way.  I have entered quite a few giveaways and always hope to win.  This is the first one I prayed about and cried over when Lauren announced I had won.

The girls, especially Patrice, had been extra grumpy all afternoon.  Patrice’s attitude made me wish I could leave her home, but I thought leaving a 4 year old alone would be a poor parenting decision, so instead, I let her crawl around on the floor at the show before it started.

What?  She just got an amazing dose of “build the kids’ immune system.”  Free gift with every ticket.

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The older girls were antsy because I made us get there so early, but they were troopers.

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Then the show started.  The girls were quite entranced.  Thankfully, that included Patrice.

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What’s not to love?  There were cupcakes, a girl who turned pink because she ate too many pink cupcakes, there were fairies, and there was a lesson about not overeating sweets and making sure to eat green foods too!

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It was a marvelous rendering of a very cute book character.  I am so glad we went!!

And the frosting on our night?  I got to hug Lauren, the woman behind Mrs. Webers Neighborhood!

What About Jesus

Hubby read my Sunday blog post, Generation to Generation.  I hold my breath waiting for his opinion when I know he is reading.  He is a great deal more conservative than I about what gets shared with others and what doesn’t.  Believe it or not, I don’t quite let it all hang out, and dirty laundry stays safely tucked away, but I still have a lot more to say than he would prefer.

Beyond all that?  His opinion is the one that really matters to me.  Yes, I write for myself.  Yes, I write for others.  But when he likes something I write?  That’s when it really matters to me.

And when he read Generation?  He found a typo (that has been fixed) and said, “what about Jesus in Christmas?  Doesn’t that matter?”

Yes hubby, there is Jesus in Christmas.

Honestly, when I wrote about decorating and Christmas, I was not intending to diss all of Christmas, just the glitter and glamour.  I could live without a tree up in my house, I could definitely live without two months of Christmas movies on my favorite TV channel and two to three months of Christmas songs on the radio are a bit much.

Most of Christmas, I love.  I love the opportunities to give that it brings out.  I love Operation Christmas Child.  I love taking the girls to the dollar store and filling boxes just as full as we can to send to kids around the world.  I have November 17 marked on our calendar so we get our boxes done and ready to be shipped to kids who most likely will have no other Christmas.

I’m already watching our church bulletin for updates on Angel Tree.  I will be picking three angels off the tree.  Each has a gift listed on it for a particular child.  Buying a gift for a child on behalf of their incarcerated mother or father is one way our family can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I’m not altogether altruistic.  I also love shopping for my girls.  I used a gift certificate yesterday to start the process.  And I am watching Facebook and Twitter for deal alerts.  It is amazing what different deals people find.  On-line deals tend to save me a bundle.

Beyond the gifts, I love the added freedom Christmas brings us to talk about Jesus.  His name is found on Radio Stations where He is never mentioned otherwise.  Churches have special concerts and programs that people are willing to come to when church is not always on their radar.  I love the candlelight services at church, time to pause where we normally rush through.  I love reading and talking about the Christmas story.

I love having my family to share the holiday with.  I love the extra devotions we do nightly as we put the ornaments on the Jesse Tree.  I am totally enamored with the fun crafts the girls and I can do, the special school studies we can draw upon.

Really, I don’t think it was a dislike of Christmas that was handed down in my family, I think it was just of the decorating and the programming changes that drag on and on.  I love the warm and cozy of Christmas, just not in front of a tree.

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