From The Archives: October 21, 2011

Packing

I seriously laughed out loud as I reread this one! Thanks Peter!

Packing and the Teenage Male

I spent a goodly part of one week helping Peter pack for his 10 day trip to Teen Pact Venture in Tennessee.

With 5 days on the road there and back and another 5 days at camp – it seemed to me that he needed a little guidance.

I helped him find more jeans, a suit coat, dress slacks, a outfit for golf and raided his dad’s t-shirts to make sure he had enough.

I carefully counted and folded and made nice piles for him.

I even bought him new underwear.

All the while there was this annoying little thought that kept coming back – “Why am I doing this? Peter is a teenage boy who has been known to wear the same clothes for days at time…”

But the mother in me couldn’t let it go.

I was even kinda proud as he drove off on his adventure because I knew that he was prepared.

It didn’t last long.

I was brought back to reality within minutes of picking him up after his return trip.

He looked good and was sharing story after story of his time away – laughing and joking with his siblings.

Finally the mother in me just couldn’t wait any longer – so I asked him, “How did your clothes work out? Did you have enough of everything?”

“Well”, he responded, “I basically wore these jeans pretty much all week.”

(His sisters slide further away from him on the van seat.)

“What!” (I’m remembering all those trips up and down the attic stairs digging through his winter clothes to find enough jeans) “How about t-shirts? Did you have enough t-shirts?”

“I had way too many – I really only needed a couple.”

“A couple!” (You were gone 10 days! What about my neat little piles of carefully folded and counted shirts?!)

“Oh dear. What about your underwear? Did you have enough… No! Stop! Don’t answer that. I really don’t want to know.”

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Next time I’ll let him pack himself. ūüôā

Gathering of the Clan

Labor Day Weekend means one thing for my family – The Kamp-Out at Nana and Papa’s.

This gathering of the clan is a highly anticipated last hurrah of the summer.

Three generations.

Massive amounts of food.

Very little sleep.

The coffee flowed as fast as the conversations.

Laughter rang out as stories were told and memories made.

We took our hammocks to new heights.

And welcomed new friends from bonny Scotland.

Who arrived as strangers and left as family.

Dear people who laughed with us and found such joy in learning our traditions.

And fell in love with our sweet corn.

And us.

And we with them.

We played games.

Went wading in the river.

Took endless rides on the Ranger.

And just sat in the sunshine, watching the littles.

Remembering the days when it was our babies who were enjoying¬†Papa and Nana’s house.

And cherishing the fact that another generation gets the same opportunity.

We¬†took our annual trek¬†to ”the Rock”.

And posed for the annual picture.

And learned that a vuvuzela will attract all the cows in the neighborhood.

It was a sweet time.

A weekend full of precious moments with people we hold dear.

A true gathering of the Clan!

 

 

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 Рgathered 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.

 

 

These Girls

We had another epic shopping adventure last week.

It was Martha and I and our girls.

Just like always.

Hitting all our favorite thrift stores in St. Joe.

It’s a tradition now.

Big SaleStarted several years ago on our first extreme thrifting adventure. (Look how young they are!)

It’s been modified to just one city and always includes a trip to Hobby Lobby, lunch at Chick-fil-a and snacks at Big Lots.

Almost every stop has a memory.

“Isn’t this the store that you lost¬†us in and we finally found you sitting on lawn chairs two stores down?”

And every trip has something new to explore.

This trip including one new thrift store and a natural grocery store that both of our girls were excited about.

Yes – a natural grocery store where they bought health food for themselves.

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Yes – these girls!

The same girls who used to eat twizzlers and peanut butter in the backseat all the way home.

Which only shows again how quickly they are growing up and changing.

And how thankful we are for every moment together and every memory made.

May the tradition continue!

Sibling Weekend

It was sibling weekend.

I spent time at my parent’s with just my four siblings (and 2 of our spouses, but only¬†four of our many¬†children).

Our official goal was to help mom and dad with a few projects.

Our unofficial goal was sibling time with mom and dad, sharing old memories and creating new ones.

The time was both relaxed and busy.

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We scraped and painted.

Dug and planted.

Cut and piled.

We dug out¬†old photo albums and remembered faces and places we hadn’t thought about in years.

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We looked through the boxes of school memories that Mom had saved for each of us.

Worksheets. Art projects. Report cards. School pictures. Writing assignments.

And laughed till we cried at the things we found!

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Before we went home, we took one more trip to grandpa’s barn to take some pictures before it is gone.

It’s bowed and leaning – but¬†still full of memories.

And mice, and coons and probably rats and maybe even bats.

Some of us were brave enough to venture into the hay loft Рhoping we were making enough noise to scare away any unwanted critters.

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But few of us ventured up that ladder my uncle set out for us. My sister found a way up on the inside – climbing bales of straw and hoisting ourselves up.

My descent from the loft included a very ungraceful slide down those same bales.

I went home with straw in my britches and a head full of dust – but it was worth it to be a kid again for a few minutes with my siblings.

And really – that’s what the weekend was all about.

Going back in time remembering people and places and things that we share together.

One of my¬†dad’s friends often¬†says, “I would like to be able to go back and put my feet under my Dad’s table.”

And that’s just what we did.

For a few days one weekend in April, we put aside the cares and responsibilities of¬†our adult lives, put our feet under Dad’s table and¬†remembered.

Mission accomplished.