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.

 

 

Lessons from Christmas

Christmas is over. The tree is down. The lights are packed away and we’ve finally found a normal schedule again. I think.

But as I reflect on the craziness of the last few weeks I’ve decided that this Christmas season has taught me a few lessons.

1. When you give your brother-in-law an elf hat for Christmas and he puts it on with his new safety glasses and then he grabs a tape measure and pretends to be one of Santa’s elves making toys – you immediately take a picture and put it on your blog.

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Because you can.

And it’s hilarious and he will never see it anyway.

I hope.

2.  Changing all the light bulbs in the house on Christmas Eve day to LED might make sense economically – but will create bad lighting for selfies and other photo ops and drive your camera loving daughter crazy.

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And certainly don’t help my photography skills. Or lack thereof.

But aren’t those kids cute! (just missing a son-in-law who was on duty Christmas Eve!)

3. After 26 years of attempting a beautiful ice cream log for Christmas – I have finally accepted the fact that it will never look good and will quite possibly always look like something less than attractive.

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And well – less than appetizing.

Which is why we shall always eat by candlelight on Christmas Eve.

3. The stomach flu is always nasty – but it’s extremely unwelcome when it attacks on Christmas Day.

No pictures. You’re welcome.

4. Having a house full of family can wipe out a stocked refrigerator quickly. I took three grocery runs the week between Christmas and New Years – mostly for coffee and vegetables.

The coffee I expected but the veggies were a new and surprising development.

5. Speaking of surprising developments – I have lots of Christmas goodies now hidden in the freezer. While my children pigged out over Christmas weekend, by New Year’s they had decided to eat healthy.

Go figure.

At their current rate of consumption, Jan and Buddy should have them gone by Easter. I hope.

6. I love playing games with the family at Christmas. Really, really love it.

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Especially new games like this one – Ticket to Ride.  Which is my new obsession.

I even won a few times – at least until my new son-in-law arrived. Hmmm…somebody should tell that guy it’s not good manners to beat your Mother-in-law at her favorite new game, at her house on Christmas. Good thing I like the guy.

7. Actually – I love them all – the whole crazy bunch! And carving out time together with crazy schedules to be together is the best Christmas memory of all!

Hope your holidays were special!

 

In Which I Embarrass Myself – Again

We were gathered in my parent’s kitchen the day after Thanksgiving.

There were at least four conversations going on around us when my brother-in-law said to me, “I read your blog about the bladder.”

I look up quizzically, “A blog about the bladder?”

Then one of my sisters chimed in, “Oh yeah – you remember – the time we four sisters drove to Minnesota for Uncle Dale’s funeral.”

Then all of my sisters started adding to the story for the benefit of everyone standing in the kitchen.

“Teresa was driving and you had to go to the bathroom and there was no place to stop till we got to Faribault.”

“But there was road construction and all the exits to Fairbault were closed.”

(Seriously – is that even legal to c lose every exit to a city?!”)

“You were so desperate you begged her to stop at the port-a-potty in the median but she wouldn’t.”

“So you had to wait all the way to Owatonna and were so miserable!”

“And Sandy – enjoying your misery way too much starting singing songs about water!”

There shall be showers of blessing…”

Some through the waters, some through the flood….”

“Even Winnie the Pooh’s – And the rain, rain came down down down a mighty rushing river…”

(Each new song brought a new round of laughter from my sisters. So cruel!)

“And when we finally got to Owatonna, you ran all the way through McDonald’s to find the ladies room!”

At this point the entire kitchen is laughing.

“But wait” I said, “I never wrote a blog post about that event. I would never put that on my blog – it’s much too embarrassing.”

My brother-in-law stops laughing just long enough to say, “I didn’t say bladder – I said ladder, you know the blog post about the attic stairs.”

Oops.

The Orange Chair Adventure

Three generations of women.

One grandma. Four aunts. A slew of cousins.

One day of adventure.

One amazing niece who hosted and made the arrangements.

Many miles traveled to enjoy a day of memory making.

EmporiumA flea market. Antique stores.  Curiosity Shops. The Emporium.

Giggles. Laughs. Secret purchases.

Crazy driving.

El BashasA Mediterranean lunch.

Discovering gyros, schwarma, and garlic sauce.

orange chair paradeFinding the perfect orange chair and recruiting cousins to help carry it out of the store, across the busy street, and down two blocks.

Then watching two amazing aunts figure out how to get it in the back of the mini van already packed with bodies and purchases.

cousin photo shootSeizing photo ops to remember the day.

A snapshot in time.

Precious people.

Precious memories.

mom and her girlsAnd of the course – the big orange chair.

Priceless.

Last Hurrah of Summer

We had one last hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend.

One last weekend together with my family before the activities of the fall sucked us into it’s whirlpool.

10653704_699084826851910_2769751935112440105_nMy parents. Siblings. Spouses. Nieces. Nephews. Cousins.

Family.

Three generations under one roof.

Filling every minute. Squeezing out every bit of fun.

10665127_699086726851720_4637055652839721326_nTubing down the West Fork with cousins – twice.

Eating.

10698500_699086250185101_2754532246494617138_nHiking to the rock – twice.

Eating.

10414519_699084843518575_95587905122534132_nLaughing till our sides ached.

And eating some more.

10639453_284309921761555_8818700014860785146_nSitting on the porch watching the storm blow in – feeling the changes that were surely coming.

Remembering the past.

Relishing the present.

Anticipating the future.

Making hot sticky memories to enjoy all winter.

One last hurrah.