Category Archives: memories

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.

2013-10-22 17.56.23 2013-11-30 01.44.36 2013-11-30 01.44.08 2013-12-03 12.03.59

Spring Cleaning is for the Birds

Here is a deep, world changing thought for you…I have realized that even though people say they need to do spring cleaning, I do my best cleaning in the fall!

Hubby and I have been married 10 years later this month.  We have lived in this house just shy of 7 of those years.  As I think most couples do, we have a stack of boxes that never, ever get touched.

Until Tuesday.

I started out to clean a small area, then grabbed a few other things and then was drawn to the 11 boxes of life in the corner.  I sorted and sorted.  My legs hurt.  My back hurt.  It was a long project.  But I did them all.  Some of what I found in those boxes is still there, but much has been thrown away or rehomed.

Long ago, I did scrapbooking.  I was never exceptionally good at it, but I did a few books.  I have one for our wedding, one for our honeymoon, one for my trip to Australia, and one for a friend.  It is a book of her very young boys.  They are now in High School.  Boy, did I ever have the supplies.  Paper and stickers, and embellishments.  Punches, adhesives, and many empty books I never touched.

A friend of mine hit the jackpot.  I purged it all.  I kept my cutting tools, but otherwise it is all gone.  It feels good.  One craft out there is no longer haunting me.  I am free to continue doing my scrapbooking via printed photo books.

Yesterday, I took a FULL, had to take out a car seat, FULL Durango load of stuff to the Salvation Army.  There were kid toys, clothes, shoes, ceramic (creepy looking) dolls.  I hope they all find nice new homes.  I am so glad to have them out of mine.  I took 9 large bags/items out of my house!!!

Not everything found its way out of the house.  There were beautiful wedding pictures in there, photo albums from my childhood and school years.  I found my old clip book (samples a journalist presents to prospective clients or publishers), there was all the material and costumes for the clowning my mom and I used to do at various churches.

2014-10-07 23.41.46

And some of my baby clothes.  I was born 6 weeks early.  Unlike most babies, I did not gain all the weight I needed while in the hospital.  I still needed preemie clothes when I went home.  Unfortunately, you could not buy them.  A neighbor lady rescued my mom out of her quandary of how to dress me when I got home.  The neighbor went to the doll store and bought some outfits, she adjusted elastic and made them so a real baby could be comfortable.

2014-10-07 21.46.02 2014-10-07 21.44.45

It was fun to show them to my girls, Caitlyn cared, Sue didn’t, and it made me thankful that parents can now get clothes and care for their pre-term babies.

It feels awesome to have found some very precious pieces of my history, of hubby and my history together, and things to share with those who need them.

The family better watch out, I am now on the prowl to get rid of more.  Everything is fair game.

Do you do your big cleaning in the spring, just keep it up year round or do you find yourself cleaning your den before winter hibernation?

My Daughter the Seagull

We were on vacation with my hubbys’ family this last week.  We were in the most beautiful place on earth, Michigan, specifically, Lake Michigan and the Sand Dunes.

There is nothing more beautiful than Lake Michigan.

2014-07-16 20.20.29 2014-07-16 20.25.45 2014-07-16 20.27.50 2014-07-16 20.29.51 2014-07-16 20.31.32 2014-07-16 20.33.51 2014-07-16 20.35.19 2014-07-16 21.05.14 2014-07-16 21.09.08 2014-07-16 21.11.31 2014-07-16 21.26.55 2014-07-17 12.19.40 2014-07-17 12.21.11 2014-07-17 12.57.39 2014-07-17 13.38.42

 

And the Sand Dunes

2014-07-17 16.09.51 2014-07-17 16.24.55 2014-07-17 16.25.39 2014-07-17 16.27.14 2014-07-17 16.42.14

And the pool

2014-07-18 14.44.30 2014-07-18 14.52.58 2014-07-18 14.54.34 2014-07-18 15.02.22 2014-07-18 15.15.57

 

And to top off this amazing vacation…we discovered we were raising a seagull.  Patrice can do the pitch and sound, perfectly.  At one point, there were seagulls moving closer to her.

My daughter, the seagull.

Filled to Overflowing

My heart is filled to overflowing.  So full.

There was so much amazing stuffed into Friday, it is hard to catch my breath.  Talk about living life full throttle.

Thursday I sat down and wrote a couple pieces to be published as guest posts on other blogs.  One, my Stigma Fighters, submission was published yesterday!!!!  I would be so happy if you headed over to Old School/New School Mom to check it out.  (FYI, I proofed it yesterday, but of course found a glaring error today–totally my fault–but I want to clarify, I have 3 girls in 4 years, not 4 girls in 4 years).

I also wrote a piece for the Semi Colon Project.  I originally learned about it in early April when I heard about a blogging round up.  The Semi Colon Project is an International undertaking to encourage those dealing with self harm, suicidal ideations, and other mental health challenges.  It’s goal is to remind us that we do not have to choose a period (ending our life), we as the authors of our lives can choose use a semi colon where we as the authors could have chose to stop our lives (a period) or just a pause (a semi colon).  We were invited to draw a semi colon on our wrists to signify our support and share our stores.  I posted mine here.  I proudly showed off my crayola marker semi colon.

Image

 

And went about my day.

Yet slowly, I was drawn back to that post as my depression deepened and the struggle got harder.  I would read the post again, start at my wrist imagining the semi colon there.

It became a lifeline of sorts.

I took a few moments to let the leaders of the Semi Colon Project know.  They responded very kindly and asked me to share more of my story to share on the project blog.  I finally wrote that Thursday as well.

I woke up to an e-mail telling me how much she loved my writing, asking if she could share it on their blog and asking me to join the project as a weekly contributor to the project blog.

I was speechless.  I have been looking for  my voice…

As I read, I found myself hyperventilating.  Caitlyn, said, “what did you win a trip to Paris or something?”  I told her about the e-mail.  She said, “you like writing that much??”  “Yes sweetie, writing makes the world make sense to me.”

I did ask to wait to make my decision until Monday.  I want to make sure I can give the project the attention and dedication it deserves.  But I am pretty confident I know my answer…

Then, if that weren’t enough, Sue read her book, yes, THAT book, Fancy Nancy and the Dazzling Book Report to daddy.

2014-05-30 17.46.14 2014-05-30 17.42.26

 

But more on that later…

My heart is so full.  So much wonderful going on.  I can’t express my excitement and joy at the last few days.  Just amazing.

Four Months in Coming…

Four months ago, Caitlyn hit the mother lode of dreams for a 7 year old…a loose tooth.  The watch for losing it was on…and on…and on…and on.

She wriggled.

And tugged.

Apples were bitten.

Her tongue pushed and prodded.

To no avail.

It stayed put.

Then…

It got looser.

And looser.

She started telling me it fell out.

I started falling for it.

Until TODAY.

It fell out.

Oh Glory!!!

My response, “really?  For real this time?”

Who can blame me?  I’ve been living with the girl who cried teeth.

But, yes, it was true.  She now speaks with a whistling subtext due to the absence of that front tooth.

With it’s loss, came Sue’s laments that she had not lost a tooth.  When would she loose a tooth?

Both, thanks to having read a book about Pinkalicious writing to the tooth fairy, decided to write the little nymph a letter.

They are so precious.

Sues’:  Der Toofee  I do not hav ene los tef.  Can no wit bac

(Dear tooth fairy,  I do not have any loose teeth.  Can you write back?)

Caitlyn’s:  Dere Tooth Fairy  I have a tooth for………you  I love you veay muuuuch  P.S Thank you  P.S send me a picher  Love Caitlyn PS I am 7! Now!

The tooth fairy wrote back.  And she’ll be keeping the letters.  She also left a picture.

 

2013-12-18 09.20.20

Love and Memories

This morning I donned an apron made by my Great Grandma H to make my Great Grandma Ks’ molasses cookie recipe that I remember my Grandma D making.

The cookies were in a jar in Grandma Ds’ kitchen on the long counter to the right of the door as you came in.  Hers were big and round.  I chose to make mine into Gingerbread men.

2013-12-15 12.18.23

 

Grandma Ds’ kitchen was always warm and open to anyone.  I loved going there.  I miss going there.

This time of year always finds me wandering among my memories.  We said Good Bye to Grandma a year ago this month and my dad, her son, would have turned 62 this year, tomorrow.

So amongst all the gaiety and fun of the season, I spend time, as many do, with memories of those we no longer hold close with our arms.

I remember Grandma H and the many Christmases we went there for brunch before heading to Grandma Ms for more Christmas.  I remember the couple of years they convinced my dad to dress up as Santa Claus and come to my Grandma Hs’.  I have no idea how they talked him into that, or how they got all that white make up out of his beard in time to get to Grandma Ms.  I also remember wondering why every year there seemed to be a reason he had to run home to tend our wood stove fires and miss the visit from Santa.

Hmmm…

I remember gathering at Grandma Ds for family Christmas a few days after the actual holiday.  They had a finished basement with a family room in it.  There were so many people, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.  How I loved the years we got money to pick our own gifts.  Talk about feeling grown up!  Or the year I got the DELUXE Wheel of Fortune Game I had been desiring.  That was Christmas JACKPOT.

Christmas at home was a little complicated.  We didn’t have much money.   My mom did a great job of yard saling (still does) for gifts, so I never felt want, but my dad felt bad he couldn’t buy us a bunch.  It put him in a rather unpleasant mood.  I wish he had understood it didn’t matter how much I was given, anything mattered.

Like the year he got me a Crystal Barbie, what girl didn’t swoon for her sparkly dress and purple eye shadow?  Or the amazing year he forgave my debt for my car engine.  Now that was a gift a girl can never forget.  To him, it was a failure because he didn’t shop for me, to me, it was the weight of the world off my shoulders.  And then there was one of the last gifts he ever bought me, a beautiful lamp.  He had gotten me one years before that I cherished, but it got broken in my move to college.  I was elated the day I unwrapped the new one.  It sits, to this day, next to my bed.  The WHOLE family knows not to touch that baby.  I don’t need it in order to keep my dad close, but I dread anything happening to it.

These are just a few of the memories I live among during the holidays.  I hold them close.  I hold my loved ones closer, and pray those in eternity are watching down on us and sharing memories too.

Happy Birthday Daddy.  Merry Christmas Grandmas and Grandpas.

grandma and dad 20130707-151409.jpg

Get Ready For A Sappy Post

2013-11-30 01.44.08 2013-11-30 01.44.24 2013-11-30 01.44.36

 

See that family up there?  It’s mine.  Mine.  That’s my hubby, my girls.  Mine.

I posted these recent family photos on Facebook yesterday and two college friends reminded me how I had been so sure I would never meet anyone, have a hubby or kids.  I was sure of it.  They were sure I was wrong.  For once, I’m glad I was wrong.

I love those four people like crazy.  More than words can ever express.  I love them.

I love the good moments, I love the hard.  I love it.

This weeks has had some hard.  Patrice was sick, really sick, Wednesday night.  She has recovered, but now Sue is down.

In the middle of that, I started to panic I was not teaching the girls the right stuff.  I don’t have specific curriculum picked out.  I am working a lot from items I find on-line, iPad apps, I Can Read books, and hand-me-down workbooks.

Today I feel better about it.  The hand-me-downs I have are really great books.  I am photocopying a bunch of math for Caitlyn right now, won’t she be thrilled.  I have Rod and Staff Bible/Reading material to start in the new year, the girls are in love with and challenged by the Teach Me iPad apps, and I ordered some handwriting and phonics material from Christian Book Distributors (CBD) today.

Even that teared me up.

We used to get the huge CBD newspaper print catalog.  I would drool over it for days.  I would choose something to save my pennies for.  I remember saving and saving for Janette Oke’s Love Come Softly and When Calls the Heart box sets.  I still have them, and due to my high book handling standards, they are still in pristine condition.  Fast forward a couple decades and here I am, pouring over CBD again to find what is just right for my girls.  Mine.

So, I cried.  Tears of joy, utter joy.

And while sick kids are part of the hard, there is joy there too.  I am the mama.  They want me when they are sick.  I can help them feel better.  I can be there and love them.

In sickness and in health.

2013-12-11 19.00.38 2013-12-13 11.50.53

 

2013-12-13 11.57.47 2013-12-13 11.57.49 2013-12-13 11.59.04

 

And because you need even more cute of my family…

2013-10-22 17.56.23 2013-10-22 17.56.27 2013-10-22 17.56.31

 

And if  you could only see the cute going on in my kitchen right now…

Caitlyn and Patrice are having a dance party.  Patrice just pointed at Caitlyn and said, “lets do it!”  And do it they are!!!  They are busting a move with the “Funky Chicken” and “The Wheels on the Bus.”

We’re Awash in Peer Pressure

Okay, when you think of peer pressure, what comes to mind?  Drugs, alcohol, skipping school, refusing to take baths?  What, that last one wasn’t on your list?  Well, you better add it.  It caused quite the commotion here last night.

Caitlyn has this very nice friend from the neighborhood.  She is a few years older, but I really like her.  She is a good influence and joy to be around.  At least I thought so until yesterday…

About a month ago, she told Caitlyn that when you take a bath you are sitting in your own dirt.  Guess who refuses to take anything but showers now?  You got it, Caitlyn.

And normally I don’t care.  I’ll tell you, for your daily dose of TMI, I am a shower girl.  I started taking them when I was younger than Caitlyn.  I grew up in a house built in 1900.  They weren’t big on indoor plumbing at that time, so my dad had to add that when he bought it.  Thankfully they were big on large closets. Apparently in 1900 you could pee outside but your clothes must have lots of space in the closet.

Anyway, back to the bathroom.  There were big closets, so he made one into a bathroom, but it just had a shower stall.  He also put a tub in at one point but there were always issues with it, so it rarely worked.  My dad agreed with Caitlyn’s friend, he always said baths were disgusting because you were sitting in your own filth.  All this equaled me becoming a shower girl.

Like I said, I don’t normally care that Caitlyn is following in my footsteps.  But yesterday we tie dyed shirts.  I had gloves for the girls, but as you might imagine, dye managed to get other places, so last night I wanted the girls to marinate in the tub for awhile.

Caitlyn was truly distraught.  She just stood there until I forced her to sit down.  And then she cried the entire time.  She escaped as soon as she could.  Still crying.  When I went into her room to check on her, all of her hair was bone dry.

“Um, did you wash your hair honey?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

(cue more tears and sobs)

“I didn’t know I was supposed to wash my hair.”

(cue me shaking my head)

“Caitlyn, how long have  you been taking baths and showers?  Don’t we ALWAYS wash our hair?”

More crying.

“Why are you crying?”

“Because I didn’t know I was supposed to wash my hair.”

At this, I had to walk out so I didn’t laugh in her face.  I’m laughing just typing it…

My dad would love this!!!!!  He would laugh and laugh and laugh.  I can hear his deep rolling laugh.  Hearing his laugh in my heart makes me laugh and smile even harder.  It makes the craziness of the bathtub peer pressure easy to bear.

But be warned moms and dads…that bathtub peer pressure is lurking around every corner…just wait until it hits your home!!!

2013-08-27 14.50.02Here’s hoping the finished product, to be unveiled in half an hour, turns out well enough to be worth last nights’ hullabaloo!

 

Early Mornings All Around

We’ve been up since 5:30 this morning. Sue woke up sick. And thus ended our night. Daddy got up to help me, but I couldn’t settle back to sleep.

We were early risers today, but my daddy was always an early riser. Most of my growing up years he owned and operated a sawmill. He always said the best part of being your own boss was you could choose which 12 hours of the day you wanted to work. Most days he chose 12+ hours.

But every night he came in to watch the eleven o’clock news. He wanted to see the weather. Every night he would fall asleep at the commercial break just before the weather and wake up as soon as the report finished. Every.Night.

My daddy was a walking miracle. He really was.

He worked as a welder before he started the sawmill. One day at work, when I was five or six, he was run over by a hi-lo at work. It narrowly missed his head. Very narrowly. He had to have back surgery and as part of it they fused two discs together. He could not bend his back for a year following the surgery. And he followed the rules. He got very good at squatting down to do things. I remember so clearly his squatting down to pick strawberries in the patch we had along the fence. Seriously people, I can see it in my mind’s eye like it was yesterday.

I took my girls strawberry picking this year for the first time. We had a great time going out on a train ride, picking strawberries, having cider and donuts and playing on these huge wooden play structures. I wish my daddy could have seen it.

IMG_20130704_1

 

There is no end to the things I wish he could see. But most of all, I wish I could let go of the regret and guilt I have over the years I lost with my daddy. There were so many times I went up north to visit my mom and didn’t go to his place. There were so many holidays I should have called, but I didn’t know exactly what to say. I would give anything to do those lost years over.

But I can’t. So please forgive me as a few times a year I pour out my memories and regrets here, please forgive my attempts to salve my guilty conscience. I loved him so much, but I lost a few years. And now he’s gone. Nine years gone.

 

20130707-151409.jpg

That time of year again

We have a tradition around these parts. Every year we go to Dexter Blueberry Farm to pick…you guessed it…blueberries.

We even went the year Patrice was due any day.

This last Saturday the picking was rated excellent so off we headed.

And our first creation with the blueberries…