Hunting season eve


Well, it’s the evening before gun hunting here in Wisconsin.  Hunting is such an important part of my family’s life. The men in my immediate family prefer bow hunting over gun hunting by far, but there is something intriguing about this time of year.

 
Every year, religiously, I make “Papas chili”. Years ago when my husband was a child his dad made his special chili every hunting season and kept it in a huge metal pot warming on the space heater stove at the cabin. Some amazing memories were made there.

 
Once Mark and I started dating I got to partake in the tradition. To be totally honest I never cared for that chili. Mostly because they made it with venison😷. I didn’t grow up on venison so I didn’t care for it. Who knew I would soon grow to love it (made with beef of course) & actually crave it?!

 
Once we had kids we started bringing them to the cabin for lunch during hunting season. Papas chili was a hit. It was there that my son Austin would proudly wear his blaze orange that was adorned with his dad’s previous years back tags. He had quite a collection. He would stand next to the railing on the deck barely able to see over it resting his chin on his crossed arms just dreaming of the day he’d be big enough to go hunting himself.

My daughter Sam would also come to the cabin and sometimes bring her friends. They would sport the very fashionable plastic blaze orange vests and caps. I don’t think hunting was on her mind as much as just getting to the cabin to have fun.  Although she did prove to be quite the shooter once she decided she wanted to hunt. I say shooter, not hunter because she didn’t care to sit long and it rarely took more than an hour or so before her deer came in and she dropped it right in its tracks.

Opening day was and still is exciting to me. As soon as the guys would leave to go to the woods I would crack open the window a bit, no matter how cold-and sit with my coffee and just wait to hear the first gunshots. It was always very hard to tell which direction they came from. I’m directionally challenged the way it is and echoes didn’t help. But I always knew if it was coming from one of my family on our property. Then I would hear the four wheeler engine coming through the woods. I knew someone got one then!

 
To this day on opening day I still patiently wait and listen. It can be very bittersweet because now it is just myself and my husband . My kids are grown and on their own. They each go in their own direction and I still worry about them and their safety. Not everyone is careful out there. Not everyone was taught right from wrong. Not everyone was educated to do the right thing. Not everyone plays safe. But in the end I trust that all will be fine.

 
I await the day when our grandson Connor may be the little one excited to go hunting, or maybe he won’t want anything to do with it. He’s an animal lover for sure, but also a growing boy that could sure help provide for his family someday.

 
At any rate, I pray each hunter is safe and that there is a hedge of protection around each one.  Happy hunting!

✌️

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Happy birthday Mom! 🎈


Happy birthday Mom! 🎉To the woman who always puts everyone’s needs ahead of her own. Some call that enabling. I say there are far worse things. I will justify my enabling to the very end, whether it is right or wrong. The apple doesn’t fall far. There’s nothing I won’t do for my family and I had to learn that someplace. I didn’t learn to be selfish, I learned to take care of people. I enjoy taking care of people,  I think she does too. Maybe the biggest downfall is continuing to do so while occasionally getting taken advantage of. But we press on and the next time someone wants or needs something we’re there.

 
My mom is the first one to bring yummy baked goods to any and every occasion/non-occasion. She loves to bake, is truly amazing at it and loves to just drop off goodies for no special reason at all. I truly believe this will be part of her legacy. Her love comes through in her baking. God sure has blessed her to be an amazing baker! People aren’t kidding when they say people love through food.

 
My mom will do anything for anyone. She really does have a big heart, although she doesn’t share it freely. There’s a tough outer layer that must be broken through first. She’s usually the first on the scene for urgent matters, and the one who sticks it out for the long haul and sees things through til they are finished. She may not always show that emotional, soft side-but trust me, it’s there. Being a grandma has softened her.

 
I may not always act like it or say it as much as I should but I am very thankful for her. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to learn so much from her through good and hard times. Ive been taught some pretty great life skills, and hard times taught me that we all have times when we could do better and to never stop trying to do just that.

 
My mom taught me at a young age to be hospitable, maybe not even through telling me but showing me.  To help clear the table at family functions and help with dishes even the other kids (even some adults) would run off.
She taught me that yes, chips and dip & Coke make perfectly suitable meals when you’re having a bachelorette weekend.

 
She taught me the wealth of knowing how to take anything in your kitchen and turn it into a meal. So now I’m known from my hubby as the woman who could feed 50 with a potato and a hot dog.

 
It’s my dream and goal of mine to be able to take my mom on a vacation someday. A vacation where we actually have to get on a plane and leave town. She will never do that for herself. To a place where she can feel what it’s like to just let loose and have fun.

 
She taught me last but not least, that no matter what hand life deals you, to put on whatever face you need to & you will make it. There’s ups and downs all along the way but you–will–make it. That the good far outweighs the bad. So here’s to you Mom! Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day! 💞

✌🏻

Interview with my 90 year old Gram ❤️

I’ve had the privilege of spending the last few months with my 90-year-old gram. Her husband, my grandpa passed away suddenly leaving her whole world turned upside down. Many, many changes are happening in her life right now and it made me sit and think about her 90 years of life and how things are so different now than they were when she was younger. It made me think that I should utilize this time that I have with her and continue learning more and more about this  amazing & remarkable  woman. I decided one day to sit down and just do a little interview with my 90-year-old Gram. I never get tired of hearing her stories and this gave me an opportunity to go a little bit deeper and to learn more about what life has been like for her over so many decades. Sitting here  over tomato soup and lemon pie, reminiscing. I ask a series of questions that spark hours of conversation. 

What was daily life like for you growing up?

We played outside all the time. We were always playing ball. We played til we got called inside. In the winter we went skiing & on toboggans. In the summer we swam in the  many lakes that surrounded us. We swam right with the cows and the cowshit.  We didn’t have many chores. I was the one who usually milked our 1 cow, we only had one. We took turns with setting the table, clearing the table & wiping dishes. No one really helped my Mother cook. Every night she cooked a big meal, usually a roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, vegetables from the garden & always a dessert. Every Sunday we had chicken dinner. My Mother would chop their heads off, dip them in boiling water and pluck the feathers. My Dad was always busy doing something. He was a hard worker. He made wooden horses for little kids. He never sat still.  My Mother & Dad were always on the same page. We never did get spanked. We just KNEW when my Dad gave us “the look” that he meant business. 

What were your parents like?

They loved to dance, we all did. They weren’t very lovey in front of us kids but they sure must have been lovey because they had 6 kids! They were hard working people and very respected. My Mother was a great baker often times baking 6 loaves of bread each time. I remember one time seeing my Dad pinch my Mothers boob, right on the side and all she said was Kenneth! You cut that out! They gave us advice daily. Mostly -don’t smoke. We all smoked. Haha. My Dads sister smoked like a chimney and we thought she was soooo cool. 

What kind of clothing did you wear?

My Mother sewed skirts for us with a nice band around them. We always wore dresses or skirts with blouses. NEVER jeans, people might think we were farmers then ! 😂😂😂

What was your favorite music?

We were all musical. Delores and I played piano, everyone sat around us and sang. I loved to play hymns. But I really loved rock music. Later I loved the Beatles, Elvis, & The Beach Boys. 

What were holidays like?

Holidays were HUGE celebrations! We always got lots of presents. I remember one Christmas I got 17 dolls!!! I was probably 4-5 years old. Some of them cried. I remember taking them apart to see how they worked. We always had a lot of family that bought us gifts. We were very spoiled. Birthday parties were pretty much like holidays. Big meals and lots of presents. 

I asked my Gram what the holiday meals were like if her Mother made huge meals on a normal basis. She said they were just bigger and more

What were some of your favorite foods?

I liked everything. I wasn’t picky. My Mother was a good cook. Delores didnt like potatoes. There was a place under our table where she used to hide them. My Dad didn’t like carrots but he ate them and always told us to eat them too. Betty’s husband later introduced us to krub, he was Norwegian. It’s still a family favorite!

Did you ever get in trouble?

We were all pretty good kids. One time I came home and I really wanted to go to Richardson to the dance hall so I took my Dads car that he used for the mail route. The keys must have been in there. Well my Dad found out and he came right to that dance hall. I was smoking and drinking. I quickly stomped out my cigarette when I saw my Dad. My Mother said “Boy, are you going to get it.” My Dad had ink that was to be delivered to the school and he had kept it in the car so it wouldn’t freeze, and I had the car. The tires also had chains on them and I drove the entire way on pavement. I didn’t know. (😂)

Another time I was at the Rutabaga fest in Cumberland with my Mother and my Aunt Alice  and her baby. I decided I wanted to go to Almena to see my boyfriend, so I took the car. They must have ALWAYS kept those keys in there! (Haha.) I saw the time and had to hurry back so I was driving very fast. I heard a click, click, click…I blew a rod, but didn’t get in trouble because my Dad blamed it on the person who changed the oil.( Haha) My Mother was mad though, because the baby was crying and they wanted to sit in the car with her and the car was gone. 

One time we had planned a skip day in high school.  There were 70 kids in my class but only 7 skipped and I was one of them. The principal told some of the kids to find the people who skipped and tell them they had so much time to get back to school or they’d be expelled. He didn’t mess around! He called me in his office and asked why I skipped. I told him EVERYONE was going to skip not just me. He then asked me if EVERYONE jumped off a bridge would I? Haha. He then told me he’d inform my Mother & Dad about this. He did, they didn’t care. One girl got in a lot of trouble, probably beat, but my Mother and Dad just acted like la-de-da. 

What age were you allowed to date?
We always dated in groups. No one told us we could or couldn’t date, we just did. We didn’t have a chaperone, our parents trusted us. We never really got in trouble.

What was your favorite decade?

I would have to say 15-25. I LOVED my teen years. Probably because I could drive…. FAST!

What invention had the most impact on your life?

We never had  a telephone, so I’m not sure how all those boys could call and ask me out, maybe they drove to my house and just asked. We were the only house in our neighborhood who had electricity and running water. We were rich!(😂 haha) I guess I would say tv. That was really something when we got a tv! Oh and cars, because I love to drive! FAST!

Do you have any regrets?

I wish I could go back and help my Mother more. She worked so hard and we didnt help her as much as we should have. 

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned and what advice would you give to young adults these days?

Be kind. To everyone. Our family was raised to be kind and we were. Be kind. 

I had so much fun listening to Grams stories! I couldn’t let this opportunity pass to put down in writing the things we all think we will remember and seldom do. Today will be a day that goes down as one of the most memorable days I’ve had! 

(This all ended with, “What are you asking me all this for? You’re writing a story aren’t you? I could go to jail!” Haha Never a dull moment! 

✌️



Moments time stood still

Have you ever had things happen in your life that took your breath away? That seemed as though time stood still? Here is a list of some of the things throughout my life where time actually seemed to stop…for even just a brief second that seemed like a thousand years. The times where you always remember where you were when it happened. Where the whole room became silent as if you were the only ones there. In no particular order:

*Seeing my daughters big bright eyes open moments after giving birth to her, looking around,so alert.  Did I just create this beautiful little girl?

*The final push I gave when having Austin. The last push I didn’t think I had in me. Hearing the Dr say, “One more and you’ve got it.” Hearing Mark say “I know you can do this Mis-”

*Hearing my daughter in excruciating pain as she was giving birth to her own baby. Knowing this was one of those moments I couldn’t just rush in and hug her and reassure her it was going to be okay.

*Seeing my grandson Connor for the first time, eyes open laying on his moms chest…my grandson-to finally meet the boy I fell so in love with before I even knew him.

*Finding out I was going to have a baby for the first time. In that split second when I saw the pregnancy test results a flood of emotions from “Oh no!” To “Really?” To “How am I gonna do this?” To “What is Mark gonna think?” To “Wow…really?” All of those emotions seems to flood in at the same exact moment.

*Finding out I lost a baby.

*Finding out God blessed me with another baby on the way.

*Having a procedure done in a Drs office where I almost bled to death. The dr wouldn’t let me call my husband and told me to drive home and take Tylenol. We didn’t have cell phones then. So I listened to him and thankfully I made it. As he hit an artery and I almost passed out from extreme blood loss I saw the room go dark and thought my time had come. What an asshole that dr was!

*Watching my son get wheeled off to have shoulder surgery. There’s nothing like hugging him and seeing him go. I knew he’d be okay but when you see fear in your child’s eyes and can’t do a thing to fix it, it is really hard. Watching him get wheeled off seemed like it took an eternity.

*My first kiss. We played a stupid game where we had to look at each other straight in the eye and whoever looked away first had to kiss the other one. How stupid. I lost,but also didn’t make the first move. Not aggressive that way. Haha

*Seeing who would someday be my future husband for the first time. I was roller skating with a friend and he wheeled by and man did I think he was cute! Who knew? 😉

*The first time my future husband kissed me. I won’t forget. Once again we were roller skating. (it was THEE place to be) I was skating along and he wheeled up in front of me, very cool just turned himself around so he was skating backward so he was facing me- and said “I’m gonna kiss you now.” And he did. And off he went. 😍

*Writing my name with my future husbands last name on everything I owned. Who doesn’t do that?  Don’t say you haven’t done that!

*Hearing my grandma had breast cancer. There are no words when someone you love so much gets news like that. I remember calling her the night before her mastectomy and making sure she knew God and loved Him. I seriously thought she might die in that surgery and I needed to know where she stood.

*Phone calls in the middle of the night from my sister. They were never pleasant. Always scared the day lights out of me. I always regretted those calls but was always glad she called me and I was there.

*Finding out I was going to be a grandma. Numerous times. There is no greater joy than that of a baby. Especially when your babies are having babies.

*Hearing my son for the first time ever be sooo excited about this new girl he met. He brought her to meet us and they really clicked. I remember going to bed that night whispering to my husband “I like her…” And he said “I do too…” I remember calling my daughter saying, “she fits right in, like she’s been here forever.” He’s had other girlfriends but none has he ever spoke so intently about. At the time I thought to myself  “We will see, at first they ALL seem to be ‘the one’…” But hearing him so excited, as never before made me stop and think about his future for a moment and what it  might bring. Now I know that she completes him, and they are getting married!

*Getting life changing news

*Dealing with losses from both my children. There is nothing worse than the calls or messages saying that my children have lost a child. Each and every time my heart felt as though it stopped. I dropped to the ground. I dropped my phone. There’s nothing worse than that feeling of helplessness and that you can’t do a single thing to fix this.

I’m certain there are many more things that made time stand still. These are just a few highlights. The ones that came to mind instantly. I cherish all of them good or bad. They’ve strengthened me. Appreciate everything you go through. They truly all have a purpose.

✌️

Childhood revisited

Lately I’ve been thinking back to my childhood. Thinking of my earliest memories.

I remember getting a spanking from my Grandma because I refused to get out of the swimming pool. She walked right into  the pool with her shoes on and spanked my butt.

I remember living in a trailer court with my Mom and playing outside with friends. I can remember playing in a sandbox with one friend in particular and both of us ate the sand. That’s not just a joke, kids really did that crap! Little did I know that sand eating friend and I would carry that friendship into high school, and get in lots of trouble together! Haha

I remember taking a can of Coke into the bathtub with me, shaking it up and then cracking it open. It sprayed everywhere. But it didn’t matter because…I was in the bathtub!  I’m not exactly sure why I did that…?

I remember moving onto a dead end road. There were all sorts of kids in the neighborhood. We didn’t have playstations or cell phones, computers or electronics. We had kickball, a swimming pool, a park nearby. Most nights you could find us outside playing kickball in our backyard. Our yard was pretty big but if we combined parts of the other two yards we had a pretty huge kickball field. We used to actually enjoy raking leaves just to jump in the piles. We would take turns stuffing each other’s clothing with leaves to make us all look fat. We’d jump in the piles and then rake them all back up again, only to jump in again spreading them all over the yard.

I remember having walnut fights in the backyard. Picking up those green fuzzy balls and nailing each other with them. Man did that hurt!

I remember an old abandoned building in our backyard. We used to go inside and hang out. It was really kinda creepy but yet we felt so cool to hang out in there. Until one day we climbed up top in the rafters and one of the kids started to fall,grabbed a wire which turned out to be electrified. He got shocked very bad and fell to the ground. That was a pretty scary thing! He ended up being just fine.

I remember going swimming every single day in the summer unless it was raining. At the 3:00 break we would sneak down to the park and swim at the old swimming hole that my mom and her friends used to swim at. We were told to never swim there, that it was dangerous. Probably why it seemed more enticing to do it.

I remember at one point telling my mom I was running away. She didn’t try to stop me! I kept telling her “I’m really going to you know!” She said something to the tune of “Ok, I hope no on kidnaps you!” I remember packing my little blue suitcase and walking to the end of our dead end road. I got to the end where it met the highway and sat on the curb. Where did I think I was going? I sat for a while and noticed a few cars slowing and staring. What if my mom was right? Did they want to kidnap me? So I decided to go back home. I walked in and remember mumbling something like “I don’t feel like going today, maybe tomorrow.” Haha

I remember sitting on the toilet singing my heart out only to get the crap scared out of me by my little sister who was hiding in the closet in the bathroom. She jumped out and I about died!

I remember babysitting for cousins way before I should have been old enough to,but doing just fine! I credit my love for kids and wanting to nurture everyone to that very thing.

I remember Christmases at my Grandmas house where there was an adult table and a kids table. I remember pranking my cousin all the time! We’d make up excuses for her to go ask the adults something and we would put salt in her milk. She’d come back and take a drink and whine and get mad at us. We’d laugh and laugh. Then when she went to tattle on us we’d pour more in! She fell for it every time! It never-got-old!

I remember spending time at my grandmas with cousins and playing in the snow. Because I was the oldest I had to pull my cousins around on the sled. The sled…that was actually a flattened out cardboard box…that you couldn’t pull, you had to push. Because it wasn’t a sled, it was a cardboard box… And not very easy to push either by the way. And I always pushed because I was the oldest…. That really sucked. Haha

I remember skipping confirmation to go to the corner gas station to buy candy.

I remember babysitting my sister and brother and talking on the phone allllll night while my parents were gone. I also remember one time imparticular that my sister decided to make a cake while I was on the phone. She decided to make it on the kitchen floor. She took all sorts of crap out of the cupboard, dumped it on the floor and mixed it up…with her hands.  What a mess. I couldn’t even tattle on her because I was supposed to be watching her. Haha

It’s funny, I didn’t think I could remember that much about my childhood. I always thought it must have been really boring,that nothing really stood out. One of my own kids even says all the time how she remembers very little of her childhood. But I’m here to tell you if you quiet yourself and allow yourself to just think….it will come to you. Things you thought you’d never remember will come back to you. Some of the dumbest little things…like shaking a can of Coke in the bathtub or singing your heart out on the toilet. It all comes back, and you realize that you made some pretty great memories as a child,that there is always something to appreciate about your upbringing and your younger self.

Challenge: reflect on your childhood and what made it so great. There’s always something to appreciate in life. Always.

Christmas~Family~Legacies

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Absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. There’s really something magical about Christmas! (When things are going well that is….my blog from last years Christmas was not as happy!) I just love throwing on some Kenny G and digging Christmas decorations out. Just makes me mellow.

I used to love when the kids would line up all their ornaments on the floor, reminiscing about each one. I went through various stages at Christmastime as we became empty nesters. Our first year here as empty nesters I cried doing all this because I still had my sons ornaments (our daughter had been on her own for a few years and had all hers-although the first year I put the tree up without hers was equally as hard!). I remember thinking back to each one remembering details of why they got the ornament they did that year. So I cried. The second year here my son now had his ornaments, so I was a bit more used to it but the kids weren’t getting along and that made me mad…I didn’t have the Christmas spirit- I was bitter and angry and actually took the tree down before Christmas even came! So I cried. This third year here I started thinking about putting the tree up so I sent my son a message telling him if he felt like he was missing out on Kenny G and me bawling my head off he was welcome to come up for the day! Haha ! Well little did I know he decided to come up and help me put up and decorate the tree!  He and his fiancé! I know he could have been doing a ton of other things and I know just the thought of Kenny G makes his ears bleed but he was a trooper! I appreciated that so much! The gift of time is a precious thing!

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This was our grandsons first Christmas. It was so fun! He’s at a very fun stage right now where his mind is so curious and he’s so active. As all kids he could have cared less about his gifts and more so loved the paper. His obsession right now is cell phones, laptop cords, all the things he is not supposed to have. He is perfect, and so much fun! He also got his first haircut (at 6 mos old)and has just recently started eating solid food. He enjoyed some morning playtime with Uncle Austin and loves when he hears Auntie Allyshas voice! He was a bit taken with her this weekend! Let me thank my beautiful daughter and son in law, without who we would not have this beautiful bundle of joy!  

     

    This was our first year hosting Christmas with my side of the family and had a great turnout. A few families could not make it and they certainly were missed, but we still ended up with about 22. Lots of food, lots of fun! Games and outdoor play for the kids, fellowship and cameraderie for the adults.

img_0689 It was great to spend time with family, especially my Gram who will be turning 90. Still full of spit and vinegar now more than ever! We had lots of fun doing selfies with Gram!  image

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My niece was born on Christmas Day so I always feel bad for her having to celebrate both at the same time. Although my daughter phrased it perfectly- “You are so special that God chose you to share the same birthday with His Son.” I like to try to keep things separate for her and make it as special as I can. She got an amazing new flat iron from Sam and Jordon and a girly goodie basket and things from us. We took her out for dinner and they gave her an Oreo ice cream drink. I was very thankful to have some time with her! She always puts others ahead of herself, would rather give than receive, and it was great to spoil her a bit and make it about only her!          The weekend ended with all of us in the man cave playing cards and just hanging out! Absolutely LOVE weekends like this!

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I am very thankful to be able to spend as much time with my family as I do. You hope you make a difference in their lives when you see them and that you are creating a legacy that they will remember throughout their lives.  It makes my heart happy to spend time with them, to see them making it, making good choices, living happy lives, doing the right things regardless of their circumstances.  My husband reassured and told me this weekend as I got emotional over so many things that I was seeing the fruits of my labor in action this weekend, that living by example is such a profound thing. That there is always someone watching how you live, how you choose to deal.

I am so blessed! I hope you all had a great Christmas and that it carries into the new year!

✌🏻

*side note* Allysha LOVED her new selfie stick! 😜

Thanksgiving 2015

Happy belated Thansgiving!  It was yet another perfect day for our family! Great food & camaraderie.

Our daughter Sam and her husband hosted Thanksgiving  this year at their house. It was a special one as it was our grandson Connors first Thanksgiving.   What a cutie, huh?

We had sooo much food! Everything was so good! Everyone brought a dish to pass to help out. We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, buns, stuffing, pumpkin, pecan and apple pie. Needless to say naps followed.   

 It’s such a great time of year. A time for family, traditions and making memories.   It’s always fun to get together. Our son is engaged, our daughter and her husband still pretty newly married, and always fun to see how everyones families celebrate. Even though we seem to do the same things it’s nice to have that routine. It’s nice to show what is important to our family and what we hold dear. From preparing the meals, to watching the men with their full bellies meander to the living room while the ladies clean up and have great conversations there also. Not that it’s just a woman’s place to be in the kitchen & a mans on the couch– haha! Call me old fashioned, I just enjoy the cameraderie amongst the girls. We hope that we leave a legacy of just wanting to be together through life’s events.  It’s our greatest wish that family would be priority to all, no matter the event. 

I’m so blessed and trying super hard to incorporate that thankful feeling all year long. I have so much to be thankful for…we all do. It’s so much more than just a day. 

🍂🍁🍂