Ten Years Already!

Ten years ago this week I published my very first blog post here on Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees.

Ten years was a long time ago.

George W. Bush was president.

The first iPhone was introduced.

And the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

On the home front, we were on the farm, living in the old house and home schooling all five kids, ranging in age from 15 to 6.

 

 

So much has changed since then.

Today – I home school just one.

We’ve graduated four and added one son-in-law.

We moved to the new house.

Added cows.

And Jan started working in town.

Ten years. Wow.

I started blogging on a massive desk top with a tower that took up half the desk.

Now I click away on my little laptop.

My first photos were taken on a chunky digital camera that could do about ten pictures before the battery died, edited in ancient software and took 10 minutes to upload on our dial-up.

Today I take pictures on my iPhone and edit and upload within minutes.

At the time it was common for bloggers to give their young kids a blog name to protect them in the massive, unpredictable blogosphere.

Matt already had a successful blog and online presence – I used his real name.

Laura was the only one of our children to never have a nickname stick. She chose Dagmar as her blog name from her favorite movie at the time I Remember Mama.

Peter’s blog name was easy – Pedro. But he also earned the nickname “Crash” following an incident involving the 4 wheeler and a multiflora rose bush.

Anna was given her blog name, Angel Girl, by her daddy years ago. Every Sunday morning I would pull her hair back and fasten it with her very favorite “pretty pretty” (a hair piece with a lacy flower and ribbons). It looked like a little halo on her head and daddy called her his little “angel girl”.

Nathan was always the Little Buddy. But at almost 17 and taller than I am, he’s ready to move on.

They all are. So from here on, their blog names are no more! You are welcome kids. You’ve earned it. Thank you for letting me tell your stories here. You’ve given me some awesome blog fodder through the years and I’m sure there’s more to come!

Ten years.

And you, my readers, have been there.

You’ve watched my children grown up.

You’ve rejoiced with me.

You’ve wept with me.

And you’ve laughed with me.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read the ramblings of this Country Gal who loves playing with words and  always dreamed of having something published.

Your comments and words of encouragement have meant so much to me! Thank you!

And now – it’s time to celebrate!

In honor of ten years – I plan to dig a favorite blog post out of the archives occasionally and share it again. Some of my favorites, the most searched, the funniest, the most embarrassing.

I’ll clearly label them “From the Archives” so you can easily tell the old from the new posts.

And don’t worry – there are some posts that need to stay well hidden in the dark recesses and may never see the light of day again!

Ten years is a lot of words.

Thanks for reading them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory Lane

We had another little walk down memory lane last weekend as I met my siblings at mom and dad’s for our second annual sibling weekend.

Rain and cold kept us from many of the outside projects that we had planned – but we braved the north wind for one last visit to grandpa’s barn – which is scheduled to come down this weekend.

It’s listing even more than last year – if that’s even possible.

We rescued barn doors and gates and wrestled off century old siding to be passed out among children and grandchildren and great grand children to be used in projects and flower gardens.

All the while sharing memories of our times at Grandpa’s farm. Laughing about the time grandpa paid us to paint the barn – and we painted the snouts of his curious pigs as they came sniffing around the side. Grandpa was not impressed. Or happy. And we were asked to not do it again!

The cold, rainy weather also gave us time to dig through some heritage boxes in the afternoon, meeting ancestors, hearing family legends and uncovering treasures.

Like my Grandma’s diary – giving a rare glimpse of her daily life as a farmer’s wife and mother. Seeing her through new eyes and appreciating her all the more.

And my great, great Grandma Foltge Jurgena’s passport. She emigrated from Ostfriesland, Germany in the 1800’s with her husband and children.

We held in our hands a piece of history. Our history. And I wondered why they came? Was it hard to leave? How did they say good-bye to family? Pay for the trip? Start over in a new country with a new language?

But I’m so glad they did. Or I wouldn’t be here. Thank you Albert and Foltge.

We spent the evening as we did many times growing up – gathered around in the living room eating popcorn and watching family slides.

Remembering family trips and birthdays.

Laughing hysterically at our younger selves in all our awkward cuteness.

Reliving the joy and craziness of everyday life with five siblings, vivid imaginations, and an old farmstead for a playground.

 

Precious snapshots of days long gone.

Glimpses of who were and how we lived.

And of those who went before us – parents, grandparents and great great grandparents – who made it possible.

We are truly blessed.

 

 

The Story Quilt

I’ve been working on a very special quilting project this winter.

I call it the story quilt.

I didn’t piece the top together – I don’t know who did. My friend Amanda discovered it at a craft show.

But as soon as I saw it – I knew how special it was and I volunteered to quilt it for her.

This is a vintage quilt.

A scrap quilt.

A quilt that my grandma would have made.

A quilt that tells a story.

Each square is a bit of fabric that holds a memory for someone – carefully saved bits of cloth that when sewed together become a piece of personal history.

It’s a quilt that spans generations – a time capsule of style and fabrics.

Vintage cotton from the 1940’s.

Checked gingham from the 1950’s.

Fun prints from the 60’s.

Polyester from the 70’s.

And even a few calico pieces from the prairie looks of the 1980’s.

All sewn together – with no rhyme or reason.

A delicate dotted Swiss next to a sturdy denim next to fake wool next to a piece of a work shirt like my grandpa wore – so faded and paper thin that I worry my quilting stitches are the only things that hold it to the quilt.

Bright 1970’s colored print next to a mustard and brown stripe next a pink floral next to a juvenile cowboy print.

Every square vaguely familiar as if I’ve seen it before.

These patches of fabric aren’t from my life – but I can see them in it. Their colors and textures and designs are all woven through-out the times and places that I’ve been.

Memories come flooding back as I hand quilt each square.  This Raggedy Ann print reminds me of my curtains as a child. My sister has a skirt in a plaid similar to this one.  That piece of blue cotton looked so much like Grandma’s house dress that I cried.

This quilt is special – a work of art.

Not because of how it’s put together – the squares are uneven and the whole thing buckles and curves – but because of what it contains.

Hundreds of stories. Millions of connections. A patchwork of history.

People don’t make quilts like this any more.

Maybe we should.

Angel Girl’s Big Adventure

Angel Girl had a pretty epic adventure over Spring Break.

She saved her money and bought a plane ticket to Hawaii.

Yep, Hawaii. Land of sunshine, pineapples, palm trees and miles of breathtaking ocean views.

And…. her good friend Grace who is studying there.

The two girls wasted no time!

They toured the Dole Plantation.

Hiked up Diamond Head.

Spent time at Pearl Harbor.

Drank tons of coffee.

Good coffee.

Ate fancy foods in fun places.

And sent us drool-worthy pictures.

They spent hours at the beach.

Swimming.

Watching the surf.

Sitting in the sun.

Relaxing.

And taking artsy pictures with perfectly manicured nails.

Spending every second soaking up the sunshine and time together before they had to say goodbye.

Then she boarded the flight home – sun soaked and tired with sand and salt still in her hair.

Already planning the next trip.

Aloha.

Happy Birthday, Poppa

It’s hard to believe that Jan’s dad will turn 87 next week.

16142784_1232329153523504_8453402464626224770_nWe decided to celebrate a week early – since they have plans to drive Florida and will be gone on the actual day.

Yes – he is driving to Florida at age 87.

16142474_1232329160190170_8244534842767304000_n

All of our kids were there to feast on Poppa’s favorite oyster soup (and a cheesy potato soup for those poor souls who don’t yet appreciate the warm milk and fishiness of oyster soup.)

Then we played games –

15977573_1232332460189840_3939402318156689418_nA mild game of Ticket to Ride that included lipstick and selfies and lots of belly laughter.

Steven and Laura won – again.

Yes – they beat Poppa on his birthday.

But he and Matt took second place.

And then – after German chocolate cake and ice cream and presents – we had a wild round of Pie In the Face.

16003168_1232333073523112_1770078695099218374_nA crazy game of Russian roulette that involves a giant hand covered with whipped cream and lots of laughter!

Anything to entertain Poppa on his birthday.

16114599_1232333066856446_5722873145077238127_nAnd boy was he entertained!

That was a birthday party to remember!

Here’s to many, many more!

Happy birthday, Poppa!