Category Archives: memories

The Days Move On

Two years ago today my family sat together and spent my grandma’s last moments with her. We laughed and we cried as we lived together in each breath.

I mark time. I always have. Memories, anniversaries sit there waiting for their moment. Waiting for the chanced to be breathed in and out once again.

Two years ago it came time to mark the final moments with my grandma.

On December 12 my mom had called to say it was time to come home to see grandma. I had a cold so took a nap to prepare for the drive up. And then my grandma rallied so I told my mom we weren’t going to come–I didn’t want to make anyone sick. The next call was to come…it seesawed back and forth a bit until my hubby came home and declared, “no, we’re going.” Hubby and girls dropped me off at my grandparents for the next day and half to be with my family.

My grandparents have always been a huge part of my life. I spent a lot of time with them. Playing with baby dolls and a fisher price telephone. My grandma sewed dresses, halloween costumes, doll accessories. One year my grandma decided my cousin and I should experience a fancy lunch so she took us to a resort in the area that had a beautiful restaraunt. She made me chocolate dipped pretzels each year for Christmas.

I could list things all day. I really could.

My grandparents were snowbirds for many years–they headed for warmer climates when our harsh winters were settling in. Oh how I missed them when they were gone. They were a safe place to me.

And here we were. In the final hours with my grandma.

As I walked in to her room, having no idea how to act or what to say I said, “I love you grandma” and she spoke what would be her last words “I love you.”

And just two hours later we marked the moment of my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years. They were a team. Each having their strengths and their challenges. Having each other to lean on.

Two years later and time keeps going. Chaotically and in ways none of us ever imagined but it keeps going–waiting to be noticed, waiting to be tucked away.

I don’t know if my soul can bear all these days since then. I am buckling under the weight, the grief, the uncertainty.

I need my grandparents desperately right now. I need that safe place. I need to have them, not their time.

My grandparents many years back.

Cooking From Scratch

As of late, I have been making a weekly menu.  It lists each night what I am planning for dinner.  It gets rid of the evening scramble to figure out a meal and it has streamlined grocery shopping because I can look at the list and go just once in a week to get what I need.  We end up swapping meals around a fair amount, but I am liking the bit of ease this brings to my day.

Today, I had chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles on the list.  My mom has been making homemade noodles for years.  They are thick and yummy and keep you full for hours.

I don’t make them often…but they were on the menu…and I ended up with a new helper today…Sue.

The soup itself was made using a soup starter, but the noodles were all Sue’s hard work!!  She did a great job and they turned out fantastically!



Not a Runner’s Blog

I have a race tomorrow.  My first race since the half marathon in September.  Tomorrow’s race is a 5k–3.1 miles.  The distance is not a worry at all, and yet, I still have nerves.

Will I get up in time?  Will I find where they want me to park?  Will I remember my shoes?  Weird angst.

I’ve had some frustration all day.  I don’t know which came first, the all day nerves, or the running a race tomorrow nerves.


Here I am again, going on about running.  While asserting this is not a runner’s blog.  It’s not…I just so happens that running is the way I deal with most of life.

I have this thing I do in life where I see something, perceive that it is a good idea, take the leap, and then freak out about it.

Over and over and over and over again.

And here I am in freak out zone again.

Not really about the zoo race.  I don’t think.  Though my nerves are pretty wound up about that.  It is more about various projects I have going on.

I am actually done Christmas shopping for my girls.  Earliest ever!!  But I have taken on helping another family put together a Christmas for their family.  I sort of have things organized but I don’t trust the organization I have done, so I fret.  A lot.  Like feel like I can’t breathe fret.  Sit in my car trembling fret.  I don’t want to let my friend down and disappoint her kids.  It just has to work out.

Yeah, more than a little stressed.

In all of this I am trying to ignore the fact that my second born is turning 10 Tuesday.  She is such a little peanut.  She’s my little girl that yearns to be so big, so independent, and yet just wants time to be hugged and loved by mommy.

I had decided yesterday there was nothing worth getting up for on Black Friday.  And then a little voice asked from the back of the car, “Mommy, where are you going for Black Friday?  I think it would be so fun.”  She was so eager, I found myself checking ads again and setting my alarm for 5:15 this morning.  I half expected her to ignore me when I came down to wake her up, but no, she pretty much bounced up, wide awake.

So out we headed.  We purchased a few items at our first stop, a few more at our second stop, then a yummy treat, a few more items at our third store, and one more yummy treat.  During that second treat stop I was making an on-line purchase and was pretty intent on what I was doing, next thing I know, she is on my side of the table cuddled up next to me.  And I was reminded how important this one-on-one time is to my middle child…as I listened to her plan our Black Friday trip for next year!

No stores kept in the black from our little purchases, but we made a memory and that’s, as they say, priceless.  Oh my gosh you guys, that line I just wrote sounds so cheesy, but there are tears in my eyes when I think about how much this morning meant to my little peanut and I.  And how I almost missed it.

You guys, I don’t know how to sort it all out.  So I guess I am here writing it out trying to understand  my emotions and why I get so dang wrapped up in certain thoughts, why I can’t just shrug them off.


So there you go, a glimpse into how my brain is working, or not working, as of late.  I’d talk about the really cool fact that I signed up for my 2nd half marathon, but I better not, since this isn’t a runner’s blog.  I’ll just sit here amazed that I will run my SECOND half marathon a week after I turn 43. Nope, I won’t mention that.

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!”