Friday, December 4, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

I am always saying how important my family is to me. It is the truth. But recently I have gotten in touch with my grandmother's cousin,(let me see if I get this right) my first cousin twice removed. I found her on a website where she was contributing to some historical facts of the area where my great grandparents grew up. I noticed her name and instantly knew who she was. Although I don't ever remember if she and I met, I have heard her name mentioned several times by both my mom and my grandma. But also posted with her name was her email.....JACKPOT! I have always wanted to talk to her since she is the historian of our family ancestry. I LOVE tracing my roots. It actually makes me excited to find even the tiniest piece of new information. And my heart literally quickens when I get a photo of one of my ancestors them or equally exciting is a story that's been handed down through the generations. To me, there is very few things that are more exciting. So you can imagine my excitement when I emailed Mary Ellen and got a response back the same night! She and I emailed back and forth several times each day and I got to ask all sorts of questions. She even emailed me some wonderful photos. When I got one of them in particular, it made me cry! It is of my Great Grandma Greer. She lived until I was 2 months shy of 21 years old. I remember Great Grandma telling me a story about how she always hated the dresses she was made to wear as a young girl. She said they were knee-length, dropped-waist dresses and while they were all the fashion for a girl her age, she thought the sash that went around the dropped-waist looked like the big leather collars the work horses wore around their necks! I told Mary Ellen that story and she responded with a childhood photo of my great grandma wearing just such a dress!

I really did cry! Mary Ellen went on to tell me that my great grandma was known as the family rebel. Her mother was a quaker and therefore never cut her hair. Much to the chigrin of her mom, my great grandma cut her hair into a bob! Such rebellion! I wish I had a time machine to go back and meet all my ancesters, to sit around a fire and exchange stories, to laugh with them, to tell them how much they mean to me. But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to gather memories, stories, and photos from the generations still alive who have preserved them. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself, like a belonging. It makes me feel proud.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did you know pirates visited baby Jesus?

My youngest daughter, Josie is almost 2-1/2. Her personality is really blossoming and her speech is becoming clearer and more complex. She is a joy and I can't imagine our family without her. She is stubborn and gets mad easily, loves animals, is afraid of the dark, hates nap time or bedtime, is bossy and VERY LOUD, and looooves to eat, especially PIZZA! She is also my most affectionate child, imaginative beyond her age, can already count to 10 (with a few missing) and count backwards from 3, knows many of her ABC's, loves music and LOVES to dance, thinks baths are so much fun she would live in the bath tub pruned-up and blue-lipped, loves stuffed animals and baby dolls, and thinks bananas are yummy even eaten with the peels! I have often told people how my kids keep me in stitches with laughter. Josie is no exception to that.

Recently, we had to have a plumber come to our home. Upon his arriving Josie yelled "Greempah!" and ran to the door. I couldn't figure out just what she was saying, but I thought it quite funny that she was so excited to see the plumber! She immediately asked him to come play with her. I had to put her in her room with the baby gate over the doorway so she would stop following him around. From her room, we could hear her through the entire house! She kept yelling "Greempah, come play!" She was getting more and more distraught until upon his finishing his job and leaving she began to cry. I was still so confused. She told me she didn't get hugs and kisses from him. I finally figured out that she thought the plumber was her grandpa! Poor thing! Poor guy! If he figured it out, I am sure he felt uncomfortable.....he was young enough there was no way he could be a grandpa! Then a couple of weeks ago we had a package delivered to the home. As I signed for it, Josie poked her head out of the door and just smiled. I thanked the delivery man and as I stepped inside she quickly poked her head out again and yelled "Thank you! I love you!" and blew the man a kiss! He turned around and said Awwww, your welcome sweetheart! She looked at me and smiled with proud satisfaction.

But one of the cutest things she has done still makes me laugh when I think of it. While unpacking the Christmas decorations in preparation for the upcoming holiday, Josie was right by my side oooohing and ahhhing over each item. I came to 3 tall wise men and set them on the kitchen counter out of her reach. She studied them for a minute and then asked if they were holding drinks in their hands. Apparently to her little mind the jars of frankincense and myrrh looked like her sippy cups....and they really kind of do! I told her that they weren't drinks, but treasure to give to baby Jesus for a birthday present. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and toddled off into the living room to play with her sister. Just a few minutes later she came in and said, "Does daddy like those PIRATES?" I asked her which pirates and she pointed to my 3 wise men and said, "Those happy birthday pirates!" I couldn't stop laughing! To a 2 year old, treasure = pirates! Now everyone in the family calls them "happy birthday PIRATES"!

Did you know that pirates visited baby Jesus?

Those Crazy Neighbors!

As I said in my previous post, we had a busy weekend. We all spent time together to watch a few movies and play some games. Ryan raked the lawn and I strung a fence around our heating and air unit because my sweet doggy has begun chewing on the wires! All of which is fairly normal behavior for a family, right? Well, the time that Casey and I spent together was a bit unconventional and I am sure, has left the neighbors thinking we are just plain mad! First, one of our neighbors just had their carpet replaced. Casey and I rummaged through all the rolled up sections of carpet laying at the roadside and upon finding a large rolled up piece, we loaded it into the back of our SUV and took off for home. Next, we rode back down the street and rummaged through another neighbors mound of bagged leaves at the roadside. Again, upon finding just the right one we threw it into the back of our SUV and took off for home to play with our new finds. Odd, right? It gets better! We duck taped the carpet so it would stay rolled up and then set it against the fence....then Casey began shooting his newly fletched arrows with his new recurve bow at it. It was a perfect target! He even drew a big smiley face on it so it would be more of a target....take that-you crazy Walmart rollback smiley face! Next we set the big bag of leaves in the middle of our back yard and used it for a target for our new Atlatl. I cant really explain what it is and do it justice, so just refer to the photo. I will say, it has 7' long flexible "darts" that look like an arrow on steroids!

Most people have never seen one before and we had a couple of spectators who were trying to look inconspicuous. A couple of teenage boys kept walking very slowly back and forth in front of our house as if teenage boys go for walks together! ha! Overall, we had a great time, even though within our neighborhood we are probably referred to as "those crazy neighbors"!

Belated Thanks!

While I didn't post much over the holiday weekend, I certainly didnt want to let the season pass without expressing all that I am so Thankful for. To me, the most important things are all the simple things in my life and things that make life so much richer.

I am thankful for:

God's many blessings
For waking up each day, for being blessed with a beautiful family and a wonderful life. For Him providing my needs before I even ask for them, for the hope of a better place where he's built me the house of my dreams (BONUS:it is self cleaning!)
and for the everyday blessings that remind me that he loves me.

My wonderful husband
He supports me in all that I do, he believes in me even when I don't believe in myself, he holds me up when I am weak, has helped me overcome most of my fears, he makes me laugh so hard that I cry, he gives me any desire in my heart that is within his ability, he puts me in my place when I need to be, he keeps me centered and well grounded, he loves everyone of our children as if they were all born to him, and loves me even with all my crazy quirks!

All my children
No really, all my kids, not the soap opera! My children keep me laughing DAILY, I have never been snuggled and hugged more in my life, and they teach me something every day. They teach me to love unconditionally, to LAUGH and PLAY with wild abandon, to let go of the stuffy adult exterior and be just plain silly, to be excited by little things, to not hold grudges, and just to live life fully.

I am also thankful for:

good health, yummy food, photographs, the smell of rain, knee-high socks (I hadn't worn them since childhood, but I recently bought 5 pair and I love them!), Yankee candles oh-so-yummy scents, music, stories handed down from generations before, blue skies and crisp sunny mornings, the sound of churchbells ringing in the distance, baking, my family making collabritive suppers(the kids love this one too), and so many more things that I could go on all day! The point is I am thankful for all that makes life worth living each and every day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Showered: Part II

Have I said how wonderful my husband is! Not only did he offer me a chance to see my extended family over Christmas, but he also has been bidding on the most beautiful vintage Bear recurve bow to give me as a "just because I love you" gift! He won the bidding, and I have a super gorgeous traditional bow on the way! I can't wait! I have always wanted to try my hand at traditional archery, but never had the resources to do so. Casey found out how much I wanted to learn how to shoot, and he just up and bought me a bow! He is soooo good to me, but that isnt even the icing on the cake!

Remember my last post said I went to bed feeling showered with gifts? Well, upon his arriving home Thursday the spring in Casey's step and the mischevious look on his face told me something was up. But, what could it be??? He kissed me as always and as we talked, we walked back to our room where he always removes his workboots. I chattered on about something that I can't recall now and walked past him acrossed the bedroom. After asking him a question and not getting a response, I turned around to look at him, wondering why he didnt answer. He was just standing there....and said, "Can I get a kiss?" Of course I was happy to oblige, and as I tippy-toed to kiss him (He is over 6 feet tall and I am quite a bit shorter)he stooped to bended knee and pulled out a pretty mahogany box. My eyes welled up immediately. Then, although we have been married for just a month shy of two years, he asked me to marry him! He opened the box, and inside was an engagement ring! Tears were streaming down my face as I told him I would marry him 100 times over again. True to his character, I expected him to reply with some smart alec remark like "only 100 times? So you wouldn't marry me 101 times?", but in this sweet moment he just smiled a small, soft smile, reminiscent of the mona lisa. He slipped the ring on my finger next to my wedding band. I couldnt stop hugging him, still with tears occasionally rolling off my cheeks. Although I had always wished for that romantic moment, since we are already married, I never expected him to propose. Having several children already when we met and married, we couldnt afford an engagement ring. In fact, it was well past our first anniversary before we could afford a wedding ring. When we married it was in a brief civil ceremony at the courthouse with only the two of us present. There had been no proposal, only the two of us talking about getting married, and then deciding on when to do so. We both have always wanted a real wedding, as neither of us have had all the pomp and circumstance. But our family has grown since we first met, and everyday life requires most of our resources just to make ends meet. So that dream has been put on hold for a while. Maybe someday we can celebrate our life together with friends and family. Until then, I will tenderly remember this day....the day my husband proposed.

Showered: Part I

Being a mom for so many years already, has taught me to not want for anything too much. Its not that I don't have wishes or wants, its that my children come first and most times that means I go without. I am certainly not whining about that. It actually becomes second nature. A parent wants to be sure their children are cared for and even go so far as to give them things that they, the parent, never had but always wanted as a kid. There is a kind of pleasure giving your child a gift. When a daughter is twirling round and round watching the billows of her new dress and scuffling about to hear the clop-clop of her pretty "tappity" shoes (as my 5-year-old calls them).....well, it just warms the heart! When a son tears off outside to play with his new remote control plane, and soon is hollering at the top of his lungs from the backyard, "MOM! DAD! You've gotta come see this!"......well, it just makes a parent happy in a swelling-with-excitement kind of way. And lets face it, while getting a new toaster or socket wrench set is great and can evoke some excitement, its not the same as the wide-eyed, enchanting kind of excitement that can only be seen in a child's beaming face. So, as I said, I have learned to HAPPILY go without. But yesterday was a very different day. Yesterday, I went to bed feeling as though I had been showered with gifts.

I have to first begin by saying that I am married to an unbelievably wonderful man. He has known for some time that every year my Christmas seems to be missing something. There is a bit of an overshadowing of sadness each year. I miss being at my grandparents home on Christmas day so much. Yesterday, while we talked on the phone over his lunch break, my wonderful husband said if I wanted to go this Christmas he would buy me a plane ticket! He didn't even mind if our own family Christmas was put off for a different day so that I could be at my Grandparents. I cried.....a lot. (I am crying again as I type this) "No baby, I am not going to do that", I explained, "Not being at my Grandparents does feel like there is something missing, but not being with my own family would feel just awful." He heard what I was saying, but wanted to be sure I understood that he was completely OK with me going. I was being given the freedom (guilt free) to be somewhere else on CHRISTMAS DAY! He explained that didn't feel like I was wrong or selfish and that he didn't even feel like the travel costs were a frivolous expense. In fact, he told me that he would work overtime to pay for the plane ticket! His loving gesture meant more to me than any monetary gift ever has or ever could. I am not accepting the gift. My place is with my own family. And while there is a little something missing from my Christmas day each year, if I was not with my husband and children, there would be something much bigger missing. But his desire for me to be happy, even above that of his own, has helped me fully understand that giving begins in the heart. And that no matter the gift being given, it truly is the thought that counts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

So this is my first post in my blogging history! I am not blogging to show off my literary or spelling skills. I blog like I hopefully it wont be too hard to follow. I plan to use this blog to post the goings-on of my little family (chuckle). Come back often to watch the kids grow! But first, I think I need to begin by explaining my blog name. I really wanted "Sunny Side Up"....but sadly it was taken, as well as every variation of that name. Then I thought...hmmm how about something like "How would you like your eggs today?" Kinda like a waitress would ask while taking your order. But before I settled with that, I wanted to look around a bit online for ideas for just the perfect eggy name. So my blog has been on hold for a couple of months while I searched for something catchy about eggs ( I will explain in a bit why I am so insistent on the whole egg thing in my blog name) In my quest for finding a cool blog "egg" name I ran across the really great Dean Martin song you are listening to as you read this, "How would you like your eggs in the morning?" That's it...that's the name I want! (did I say what a great song it is?) GEEZ.....IT'S ALSO TAKEN!!!!! Am I the last person on earth to get a blog??? All the cool names are gone! But then, while listening to my newly found Dean Martin song (its really a cool song isn't it....oh, I already said that didnt I), I heard the lyrics "Eggs can be almost bliss, as long as I get my kiss"....too long, but "Eggs can be almost bliss"?....hmmmm, still kinda long, but I like it! So there it is! Anyway, I really wanted something about eggs in my blog name because from day to day, my life is like eggs or the different ways eggs can be prepared. As Forest Gump might put it, "Life is like a carton of eggs." Oh, that's too cornball? Sorry! As I was saying, somedays my life is sunny-side-up, sometimes its scrambled, or FRIED, or even over-easy! Eggs can even be like relationships or parenting. One must exercise care when preparing them to get them to turn out just right, they must be handled carefully so they do not break, and one must be cautious in how they are kept so they do not spoil. So metaphorically, eggs are the perfect way to describe least mine! Now,how do you like your eggs in the morning?