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!