Friday, April 30, 2010

Earliest Memory...

Have you ever been asked what is your earliest memory? Hmmm--makes you think, and to be honest the more time you take to think about it the further back you can get. I have read that age 3 tends to be the earliest most people can recall a memory.

I first came to this question when I was working on a Mother's Memory book for my daughter when she got married. It starts way back to my mother and works it's way to my daughter on her wedding day. It was in those pages that the question was posed; What is your earliest memory? Every time I was ready to write something down, I came up with a new one, so decided to spend a couple of days mulling it over. Finally I found that I could not go back any further; the memory that I came up with was of my Great Grandma.

Great Grandma lived across the field from us; you could see her house from our kitchen window and we had a trail through the hay field to her place. I remember walking in her house where a a trap door to the cellar lay directly in front of the door. It was covered with a throw rug and there was no way to get into the house without walking over this door. My memory is of fear; that I might fall down through that door into the dark cellar! I recall the wood burning kitchen stove facing me as I stood there, the kitchen table with the oil cloth covering, to the right of me and the parlor to the left. I remember the feeling of love when I was with her, and her sitting in a burgundy velvet upholstered, high back rocking chair, reaching out to me with a smile:)
I could go on to tell you more, but that would no longer be MY memory; it would be of stories I have heard from other family members.

As I wrote of this in my daughter's book, I had to go back and figure out how old I would have been at this time. Well, my Great Grandma died in 1956; I was 3 years old...

Wishing you moments of going back to your earliest memory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...well kinda:)

When we go "home" to see our families in northern Wisconsin, the grandkids love to go to Great Grandma's farm. One of the best parts is having Grandpa give them a ride on the tractor. Often times we will hitch up the wagon so we can all go on an adventure through the fields and down to the river.

This picture is of Gary, with our grandson Connor doing what they like doing best, riding on the tractor! Makes me anxious to go "home" again :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just a Little Mouse...

Mrs. Robin thinks she needs to make a nest in our garage, so we have no choice but to keep our garage doors least until she decides to give up and nest elsewhere. It reminded me though, of how many people are afraid of birds. I can't say I relate to that unless you were part of the movie The Birds, then I could understand! But in all fairness, I try to put myself in others' shoes, and I assume that they dislike birds in a way that I HATE mice. I do not use the word hate lightly...I have very strong feelings about those rodents.

I'm not sure where it comes from, but does it really matter? I can't imagine ever having any sort of counseling that would lead me to conquer my fear by catching one in my hands. YIKES!! Trust me, it will NEVER happen.

My husband's Aunt Maryann who was a rather robust, full figured lady, once had an experience with a mouse that caused me to tremble. (Now you may wonder why I added a description of her womanly figure...I think it will help you to visualize the story better as I continue. )

It was winter and she was outside when a mouse happened to run across the snow; her dog started to chase it around. Suddenly the mouse headed right at her and went scurrying to safety up the pant leg of her polyester slacks! Oh my gosh-can you imagine? She tried shaking her leg but to no avail did that mouse want to leave the safety and warmth of her thigh. Finally in desperation, right there in the middle of the yard, in broad daylight and freezing temperatures, she dropped her pants! Thank heavens she lived out in the country and off the main road!

Evidently that was enough to send the little mouse out of his protective shelter never to be seen again. I wonder who was more traumatized, Aunt Maryann or the mouse? She laughed and laughed when she told us that story so I tend to think the mouse had to be more frightened than her :)

While I have had experiences with mice, I can't claim to have had any type of physical contact with one as Aunt Maryann did. The Disney mice are adorable as are the other cartoon ones that are dressed in cute little clothes and hats; but that is about as close as I will ever get to touching one; trust me!

So, I truly do have empathy for anyone who has issues with any of God's little creatures that he has created. May they stay wild, free, amongst their own kind- and far away from me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If You Can't Laugh At Yourself...

I wanted to video tape my grandson's spring concert the other night but my husband was at a meeting and he is the guy who always does the taping. In the past I had been able to fill in when necessary, but that camera died of old age--years of taping volleyball games, track meets, softball games, concerts, not to mention graduations and holidays. Wow! just writing about it makes me feel tired, no wonder it finally died!

With the new smaller camera in hand, Gary showed me how to turn it on, and then he talked me through it step by step. OK, that looked easy enough; I thought I could handle that.

The 5th grade choir starts to sing and I am ready. First-turn on the power button, next open the view finder, hmmm why can't I see a picture? Finally my daughter-in-law notices that I forgot to take off the lens cover. She's a photographer so is smarter than I am on this stuff-not that I suppose you need to be a genius to figure that out,(what does that say about me?)

Hey! there's the choir--hurray! OK, click the button to record--what the heck-- it's just flashing... Click, click, click,click click--still no recording going on--this isn't what happened at home when Gary showed me???

Finally my son takes it, and sees that the power button wasn't clicked on the right setting- I was taking pictures on the video camera. Are you kidding? What kinda video camera takes pictures?? Ugggh~

OK, now we are recording, but gee whiz where in the heck is my grandson? I see the ceiling, the floor..Oh there he is,- relief,- They are still singing. This is NOT as easy as it looks but I am determined.

The rest of the concert went fine, and at one point my daughter-in-law takes the camera to give me a break, and with calm steady hands records the rest for me. I am so impressed:)

My son remarks that he can't wait to see what my part looks like after observing me moving the camera up, down and all over the place...
My response, "Well, if nothing else, we will certainly have a good laugh!"

Wishing you much laughter in your moments of challenge:)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Building Castles

I often wonder what makes some people positive and others negative? Children born of the same parents can have such different outlooks on things. Isn't that interesting?

I think it comes down to choices. You can either take your experiences in life and use them to make things better, or you can use them to drag you down.

I choose to find the good, because face it, I would rather be happy than sad; but most importantly, that is where my faith leads me.

Thoreau wrote:

"If you build castles in the air your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.

Now, put the foundations under them.

History can be messy and painful, but it is not our destruction; if we are lucky it is our foundation.

You just have to work your way through the mess to find what matters; to find the pieces of your past you still want to carry with you.

And sometime, if you have just the right view and just the right castle, you can build the foundation for your new history... All by yourself."

I write this to all of you who are struggling with something right now. I believe you can build a new castle with a foundation that will lead to a positive outlook on life.
It truly is an adventure! :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Just Grandma..."

I am curious- what names do you and/or your children have for the grandparents in your life?

Seems as though every family has a fun way of differentiating which grandparents they are referring to.

When I was growing up we called my Dad's parents,"Grandma and Grandpa on the Farm" and my Mom's parents were, "Grandpa and Grandma in Town!" That was simple as that is where they lived!

When we became grandparents for the first time there was an actual discussion on what would we liked to be called? One suggestion was that we use our name, such as "Grandma Peggy?" Somehow that wasn't comfortable for me, so I asked if I could simply be called just Grandma and the other grandma could have her name attached. That seemed agreeable to everyone:)

Once Billy started talking, and he needed to tell someone about me, he would lovingly and without hesitation refer to me as, "Just Grandma!" We got such a kick out of that as obviously he was picking up on what his parents were saying when they needed to refer to us, instead of the grandparents on the other side of the family!

Yesterday I spent the day with my daughter and her kids. I rode with her to pick up 5 year old Connor from preschool. He ran out to the car along side of one of his little friends. As he jumped into my arms, I introduced myself to his friend saying, "Hi, I'm Connor's Grandma!" You could tell that Connor was very excited to have me there; he proudly and loudly yelled, "Her name is Just Grandma!:)" Now how can you not laugh at that?

Connor calls his other grandparents "Kitty Grandma and Grandpa," because guess what... they have cats:) You just have to appreciate the principles of association!

Our other grandson, Tate, who lives out of state, refers to us as "Grandma and Grandpa in The Woods," which we love; as yes, we DO live in the woods:) His other grandparents are called "Grandma and Grandpa Chris." because Uncle Chris was in high school and naturally living at home with them when Tate was born, so that's how he relates to them!

I have an adult friend who called her grandparents "Jing-Jing and Bah," and I use to wonder how she explained that to teachers etc... when talking about them? Interesting...

Life is full of fun sayings, expressions and happenings, don't you just love it?
Have a great day:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Once Upon a Time..." Part 3 And They Lived...

Thanks to those who have shared how they met their spouse/companion--Fun to read:)
In my last episode I was determined that it was time to meet this guy...

Christmas break was over and I was excited to get back to school to be with all my friends. My decision to meet "this guy" was made; I just wasn't sure how I was going to do it. I had heard that there were a number of girls interested in him but evidently he was so shy that nothing ever became of it. I took that as encouraging news--he was eligible! ~Obviously I saw the glass half full rather than half empty:)

Everyday, my friend Alice and I had to walk past "his" locker on our way to English class.~Alright we didn't HAVE to, know.~ We were very discrete in checking him out as he was getting his books from his locker.
One day posters were up in the school that announced a "Girl Ask Boy" dance. This was my chance; I was going to ask him. My plan was to talk to him between classes on my way to English class. Everyday for a week I was ready to do it, but ugggh, I just couldn't! How do you talk to someone who doesn't even know you exist? My friend Alice, was getting tired of my aborted plans each day.
Then it happened...we were rushing past him at his locker when Alice suddenly said, "Just ask him!" and with those words,she gave me a shove, pushing me right into him!! The poor guy didn't know what hit him--literally!
Totally embarrassed and blushing from head to toe,I managed to look up at him and mumble something to the effect of, "Would you like to go to the dance with me?"

There was this pause as he regained his balance, and then he spoke...("This guy" actually had a voice-)saying,
"I heard you were going to ask...yes, I would like to go with you."
Did he say "yes?" In a very hurried way I said, "Thank you" and turned and walked a way. (Well, actually I kinda ran a way.) When I got to my classroom I was flushed, flustered and screeching over and over to Alice that he said yes!! My English teacher approached me with great concern asking me if I was OK? When I explained that I was, he obviously didn't believe me and sent me to the bathroom to calm down and wash my face! ~Ahh, that makes me really laugh now, being young is such an emotional time, isn't it?~

Well, I could go on and on about our high school years; much of it spent talking by the locker, as you can see from the photo, but I guess it is only interesting to me. The long and the short of it is that our high school years were a wonderful adventure. We got married during our college years and had five great kids. It has now been 43 years since I saw him for the first time. We will celebrate our 38th anniversary this year.
So yes, I do believe in fairy tales as our "Once upon a time...has so far turned into a "Happily ever after..."
~By the way, his name is Gary.~

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Once Upon a Time...Part 2--Enough Already!

I last left you with me, this 13 year old girl, who sees this 14 year old boy at a track and field day and decides she has to meet him...
So now you may be thinking to yourself "Gee, that is awfully young..!" Well, you have to remember that this is no different than any young girl who finds herself interested in a young boy; nothing more, nothing less.

Once I told my older brother about seeing this guy, his comment back to me was, "Well you'll never date him, he's really popular in school!" But I on the otherhand was oblivious. Afterall, what does being popular have anything to do with me wanting to meet this guy? ~Ahh.. the innocence of being 13 years old when anything and everything is possible; actually - I think I still feel that way:)

Ok, moving on...School started that fall and the excitement of being in high school was everything and more than I could have ever imagined. I loved school; the extra curricular activities, the socializing, the classes, and even the teachers! What wasn't there to like? And yes, I checked up on this guy who had caught my eye.
He was the president of his class, on student council and the only sophomore actually playing on the varsity football team, and OH, did I forget to mention that he was very handsome! My brother was right, he was popular, but so what?

I spent the first three months of high school taking part in many organizations and being a part of leadership rolls. There were a couple of very nice young men who paid me attention, and I back, but it never lasted but a few weeks. Afterall, it wasn't like I could date anyone yet. The extent of liking someone was sitting by them at a sporting event,having my books carried to class, ~Do they do that anymore?~ and meeting at the Friday night school dances after the big football or basketball games. That is where we could actually get physical--holding hands and dancing close! ~Looking back, we truely were SO well behaved. I honestly wonder now, what our parents were ever worried about?!~

So, in December one of the boys who had a crush on me gave me a Christmas gift;a bottle of perfume. Ok, this was getting WAY too serious for me. NO WAY was I that interested in him, so I had to gently break up with him. ~Now, as a mom of 2 sons, I have experienced payback of that-You know that saying-'what you don't understand now, you will sometime in your life.' Not fun seeing your sons hearts broken:(
On the last day of school before Christmas vacation our school had a party in the gym. One of the senior athletes dressed up as Santa and would call chosen students down and present them with a gag gift. Well, "that guy" was called down!! I immedietly noticed that he was red faced from attention, which only got worse when they presented him with a book on "How Not To Be Afraid of Girls."
Hmmm, this was interesting, obviously he must be kinda shy? Hard to believe with all he had going for him, but must be. It was then and there that I decided, enough of this going around with these other boys, I was done. This is the ONLY guy I want to meet and when I come back from Christmas break I'm going to do it! ~Geez, that was pretty mature thinking for a freshman, don't you think?~

"Once Upon a Time..." ~to be continued...
By the way,how did you meet your spouse/companion?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Fragments--"Once Upon a Time..."

My seven year old granddaughter told me yesteday that they had to draw any fairy tale they wanted for art class. She went on to tell me that she did Rapunzel and the other kids didn't know who that was!

I asked her if she recalled how she knew that story?
"Well Grandma, you use to read that to me, remember?" Of course I remembered, as I love reading the fairy tales to kids. I believe that fairy tales can come true!

There is just something about the "Once upon a time..." that draws me in, along with the "happily ever after..." Love stories are my favorite; be it a movie, book or a real life story, they simply captivate me.

If you have ever read the Reminisce magazine, (I'm also an "old soul" it seems:) you will know that there is a section in there titled, "How I Met My Spouse." There are some great stories, most of them from the 40's and 50's
during the war years when men met their future wives while on leave. Wonderful memories made even better because they are true!

I saw my future husband when I was in 8th grade and he was a freshman. We didn't talk as he hadn't noticed me, but I went home that day and told my brother that I had to meet that guy as soon as I got to high school in the fall, and I did!

I will continue the story in my next blog, so for now let's just say, "Once upon a time, a long time ago..." ~to be continued...:)
--By the way, how did you meet your spouse?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why Scrabble up Scrabble?

I just heard yesterday that the game, Scrabble will be changing some of the rules of their game! Evidently they are going to allow proper names, places, titles etc... WOW!
My first thought was, "That will be helpful." Then the more I thought about it I realized that the challenge of the game will be lost! Don't you think?

With all the different names in the world, who is to say what is a REAL name or not when you are playing? I think it may come to the point that anything goes. If so, what will be the fun of it without certain restrictions?

I grew up playing Scrabble. My Dad loved that game and he was great at making the triple word plays and using the spaces to his benefit. My husband and I love the game too; we recently received the new one with carrying case etc...very handy:) Our kids and now our grandkids even play, it is a great way to teach them how to spell words.

You know, maybe when the new version come out I think I will just keep playing the one I have with the original rules. There are enough things "scrabbled" up in this world already, keeping this game the way it was meant to be feels right somehow. What do you think?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dragons and Old Maids!

Easter is over and spring break has come and gone.It now feels a little uneventful around here. All the preparation and the looking foward to fun activities has come to an end... Well,at least until the next holiday or adventure occurs:)

With our two youngest daughters home over spring break, we took two of the grandchildren to see the movie, "How To Train Your Dragon." It definitely is a fun, action filled movie to see with wonderful graphics and incredible looking dragons and Vikings! Whereas the visual was great, the company I was with was even better! We shared many laughs, most of them at my expense I must admit.

Everytime the movie had a loud surprising outburst on screen, I jumped and of course that made the grandkids jump too.
"Grandma, don't scare me like that!" (Nice to know that I scare them more than the dragons!)

At on point I am eating my popcorn and comment to my daughter,
"There sure are alot of old maids in here."
She responds by looking around the theatre...
"Not THAT kind of old maid!" I tell her bursting with laughter and nearly spitting out my popcorn in the process!
My 7 year old granddaughter looks at me with this puzzled expression and asks,
"You mean the card game?" which then adds more humor to the already funny situation.
Finally my youngest daughter says,
"I know what she means. It's the unpopped seeds in the popcorn!" Hooray! Someone understands my language:)

We no sooner get through that conversation when we hear this noise that sounds like a load of hard pebbles being thrown on the floor. At first I think it is the sound effects of the movie until my daughter starts to laugh. Next to her is a father asking his young son in a distraught voice, "How many Skittles have fallen on the floor?"
The son replies, "I have three left..." (Can't you just feel the pain? You almost want to do the 5 second rule...but uggh, I don't think even the 1/2 second rule applys in a theatre:(

Well, I could go on and on, but needless to say, it was a great day filled with much teasing and laughter. These are the times that build fun memories and I wouldn't trade it for anything, not even great popcorn!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Fragments--My Favorite?

I have so many young parents following my blog and I love reading about how they are raising their children and the ideas they have discovered to make life easier and more meaningful!

What continuously jumps out at me is how life isn't as different as you would think, from when I was raising my 5 kids. I guess kids themselves are the same everywhere; they need love and much attention.

I will never forget the time we sat at the supper table, having the fun discussions as we usually did. I randomly asked the question, "Who do you think is my favorite?" They all scrambled quickly with a response, each of them declaring it was them! WOW!! I did not expect that answer as I assumed at some point one of them was feeling left out. It made me feel like "maybe" I was doing a good job?

I guess making each kid feel special is the key-giving them attention by talking to them and doing things with them. When they see you set aside time from your own busy schedule, it sends a very positive message to them. (Not any different then when our spouse does the same for us:)

It is good to read how so many of you are spending such precious time with your children. It is something they will never forget; it will help mold them into fine adults and wonderful future parents.
Have a memorable weekend full of adventures!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Just A Thought

Isn't it funny how one little word said OR unsaid, can make all the difference in how you feel that particular day? I have been noticing that the word "thank you" is becoming more and more absent these days.

When my kids were growing up we stressed saying "please" and "thank you." I would use little hints like, "What's the magic word?" (I think that expression came from the kids show, Captain Kangaroo--back in the old days:)

You know, what is so hard about letting someone know you appreciate something? Even if you don't really appreciate it, you can at least be respectful of the thought and the time put into it.

We can all learn a lot from kids. My grandson was here today and said, "Grandma, thank you so much for what you got me!" He then paused, and continued, "Ahhh, what did you get me again?" You see it wasn't WHAT I got him, it was the fact that he recognized that I had done something with him in mind:) How sweet is that?

Sometimes empathy needs to come into play--how would you feel if you were doing or saying a deed and you were given no response of appreciation? Something to think about...
The word "thank you" costs nothing. It is absolutely free but means more than any amount of money to the person you share it with.
Take some time and be appreciative of the people around you who are being thoughtful.
Have a blessed Easter!