My recent struggles with Motherhood…

Danny has asked me for a few weeks why I haven’t written? Well, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

You can go back and read my early blog posts about motherhood, they all have nothing but happiness and gratitude within.

I am going to tell you that the last few weeks have not been fun – they have been very hard for me.

Along the coast of Northern California.
Along the coast of Northern California.

My escape was always thinking about what life was like before the children came along (pooping and vomiting on everything).

College – oh I loved college – my worries were whether or not I studied enough for an exam or whether my team would win the football game – heavy stuff guys.

Go Golden Hurricanes!
Go Golden Hurricanes!

Traveling was much easier – there was one bag – not five – and I didn’t have to haul any extra seats or strollers around or strap any tiny humans to my chest. Hopefully not any crying (pooping or vomiting) tiny humans to my chest.

Oregon coast - Cannon beach with my youngest sister.
Oregon coast – Cannon beach with my youngest sister. Goonies forever!!!

Time spent with family for reunions and weddings were much more simple.  I didn’t have to worry if my child was in danger or eating to much junk food (potentially going to stay up all night with a sugar high).

That's me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad.
That’s me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad. My Dad’s parents and older sister at family wedding. It was a great family party!! Nana was born in the UK, so we are totally a legit clan.

I could sit and enjoy a quite afternoon with my grandparents.

I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.
I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.

It’s been months, MONTHS! since I’ve been to the Temple. Something I used to do once or twice a week – now almost never happens.  I really look forward to having more time there again.

April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn't.
April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn’t. I still have that dress…I’ll wear it again when the baby factory shuts down for awhile.

My husband is aware of my princess complex – that thing where I like people to do everything for me? Okay, but really, I loved having someone around who could do my hair for me…does my hair ever get done now? nope. Unless you count a bun or a pony tail.

My sister doing my hair.
My sister doing my hair.

I rarely leave the house (because it takes lots of bags and effort) with two small children – throw in I’m pregnant too – and you have, “I would rather lay here and read…”

Confession, I'd still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair. Yep.
Confession, I’d still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair for me (because I love it!!!). Yep.  Also pictured is my baby brother – who turns 16 this year!

So the long outdoor adventures have been replaced by long days in my house wearing pajamas.

Do I make time for silliness these days? yes, I do, but again it all occurs right here at home, in my pajamas.

There was a time I was the person in our extended family that was called upon to house sit and watch kids.

That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle's house and stayed with the girls...and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was 'Phyllis Moneybags.'
That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle’s house and stayed with the girls…and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was, ‘Phyllis Moneybags.’ After we got dressed up, we drove to Walgreens. Just because.

The only kids I was responsible for were the kind I could hug and kiss…then leave after a nice visit, to return home to the quiet serenity of my clean living space.

My nieces and I - The niece on the far left turns ten this year!
My nieces and I – The niece on the far left turns ten this year!

In pictures, it looks like my life was a constant party or adventure and in a way, it was.

Party time - excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.
Party time – excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.

But after a lot of time thinking about what my life used to be like, I remembered the emptiness it still held.

Kayaking in San Diego bay.
Kayaking in San Diego bay.

I don’t feel that emptiness anymore – I feel tired, overwhelmed, busy, but not empty – I am free of the longing to fill my emptiness.

My husband and children complete me in a way that brings me the greatest ups and downs that life can bring.

Bay Area, California - right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant.
Bay Area, California – right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant with child number one..

My sweet moments are so much sweeter, because of the hard things I endure.  I sacrifice so much for these kids and the return is so much greater than a short trip or long hike in the mountains.

Kids grow up and my quiet time will return, so I’m still learning to embrace the chaos for now.  Because life moves so fast and I don’t want to miss the happiness of the present.

‘Twas the night before Christmas on the Wanch.

There were ZERO gifts under the tree at bedtime.
There were ZERO gifts under the tree at bedtime.

My husband and I decided to head down to my parent’s house (nicknamed The Wanch) for Christmas.

POOF - in the middle the night, the pile of presents begins to grow!
POOF – in the middle the night, the pile of presents begins to grow!

My baby sister was coming up from Houston and my four brothers were there,  A drive to Texas to visit Dan’s family is a bit longer and more expensive than a the short trip to my parent’s, we do Christmas in Texas every other year.

Kaylan adding more to the loot.
Kaylan adding more to the loot.

The last two years I felt like Christmas was too big and my family and  I got too many gifts.

Am I weird? Too many gifts???

Santa has been leaving cups of candy for years. Mom did away with the stockings and first we received Santa mugs, but after our mug collection had over taken our glasses, mother turned to cups. I dig the cups! Even as an adult, I still look forward to my cup.
Santa has been leaving cups of candy for years. Mom did away with the stockings and first replaced them with Santa mugs, but after our mug collection had over taken our glasses, mother turned to cups. I dig the cups! Even as an adult, I still look forward to my cup of chocolate. Best breakfast ever.

I don’t know, I just wanted to scale back and focus on the true meaning of the Holiday season.

Even the tree was adorned with gifts.
Even the tree was adorned with gifts.

The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is THE Gift. He gave each one of us a reason to celebrate. We give gifts as a representation of THE Gift.

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Santa Claus, Santa Klaus, St Nick…Saint Nicholas – a follower of Christ – is portrayed as a giver of gifts these days. But be it known, that Santa Claus became a giver of gifts because he was trying to pattern his life after the example of the Savior.

This is the stable, shelter so bare...
This is the stable, shelter so bare…

So, likewise, everyone in my family had the same idea. Everyone wanted to give something to each other.

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After the large dinner that my mother prepared (for over 20 people) and just as folks were ready to eat, my dad announced that one family of five couldn’t make it because the kids were sick.

Dad was watching Miss Congeniality on his laptop and laughing out loud - right outside the kids bedroom. Mom kept reminding him to be quiet. "Don't you wake those kids Peter!!"
Dad was watching Miss Congeniality on his laptop and laughing out loud – right outside the kids bedroom. Mom kept reminding him to be quiet. “Don’t you wake those kids Peter!!” He was still laughing as mom went off to bed.

Mom said, “I didn’t know they were coming.” Dad replied, “I invited them, but forgot to tell you.”

That’s how it rolls in their house…there is ALWAYS room in the Inn.

I spy a bike back there...Dad decided to leave it on the back porch so it would draw out the surprises.
I spy a bike back there…Dad decided to leave it on the back porch so we could draw out the surprises.

When bedtime for the kids came, the space under the tree was barren.

Late into the night we wrapped and talked or watched movies…the older boys set up a game table where the couch usually goes in the family room.

Ooooh, how many did they get apiece? They are counting.
Ooooh, how many did they get apiece? They are counting. He still doesn’t know about the gift waiting on the porch. But after he opens a box with a helmet…he soon discovers the bike.

others made good choices and went to bed early.

I went to bed close to 2am and the boys and Kaylan were still awake.

Baby's first Christmas!
Baby’s first Christmas! My favorite gift this year!

It could have been that sleep deprivation weakens our immune system, but several of the older folks in the house woke up sick.

Every year, without fail, at least one person is sick on Christmas eve/Day and the sickness is shared.

Wiley got a LEGO Millennium Falcon and his daddy Kragle-ized it. Wiley loves airplanes and spaceships!! He lost Han Solo an hour later. I found Han in the washing machine a week later and Daddy Kragled him to the ship.
Wiley got a LEGO Millennium Falcon and his daddy Kragle-ized it. Wiley loves airplanes and spaceships!! He lost Han Solo an hour later. I found Han in the washing machine a week later and Daddy Kragled him to the ship.

I still count my blessings. It wasn’t the flu and our life is very comfortable and prosperous.

Sparkling Cider anyone? That is always a good choice with breakfast!
Sparkling Cider anyone? That is always a good choice with breakfast!

I’m grateful I don’t need Bugatti’s or sail boats to make my life good (although, my husband would like a Bugatti if anyone was curious or feeling generous). I’m so happy to have my children healthy, I’m grateful we are able to pay our bills and that my husband is able to go to school.

Sorry, Wiley, unless you get a sister someday, you wont ever see Barbie's dream house under our family tree.
Sorry, Wiley, unless you get a sister someday, you wont ever see Barbie’s dream house under our family tree.

I don’t know what your Christmas wishes were, but I hope you felt the love and peace that I wish for you and yours!

A Reunion With Good Food And Good Company

I graduated from the University of Tulsa (a few years ago…..) with a degree in Athletic Training.

I stayed in touch with many of my former professors. I had favorites. One of these professors was Dr. C.  During undergrad, I was the only student to be invited to his wedding…as the babysitter for his nephews, but I was the only student nonetheless.

Graduation Day!
Graduation Day!

One of my favorite memories was when I saw him out at soccer practice one morning and I noticed he was sporting a new mustache.

Me: I don’t like your mustache

Dr C: well, I don’t like yours

Me – frowning/laughing hysterically

Look at this cute girl in the red and white dress!
Look at this cute girl in the red and white dress!

Dr C liked to give the worst tests ever – ‘not only are the first 10 questions of this exam true or false, but if the answer is false, you must correct the statement, followed by a few multiple choice and several essay/short answer questions.’

He also liked to encourage our academic pursuits

Dr C to class during Orthopedic Assessment:

“I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever learn.”

I realized right before the photos that I still had the bun on top of my head - that how I wear it when I cook....
I realized right before the photos that I still had the bun on top of my head – that how I wear it when I cook….

I knew he wasn’t all crusty on the inside when after he overheard my best friend (during lower extremity palpation) say,

Best Friend: “Dang Katie, why are your hands so cold?!”

without looking up from his reading we hear Dr C say:

“cold hands, warm heart.”

So when I heard that he and his family moved within an hours drive, I invited them over for dinner! The last time I met his wife was when they got married – she is a DOLL, seriously cool lady, he really lucked out with her.

And I finally figured out who Dr C’s daughter reminds me of

Cute, right? Halloween idea!! and Dr C can be Gru.
Cute, right? Halloween idea!! and Dr C can be Gru.

Margo from Despicable Me!

Seven years old and she could probably ace the SAT/ACT. What a cutie.

Dr C’s five year old son?

Let’s just say Chuck Norris looks under HIS bed at night for that kid.

DSC_2149
It looks like Dr C’s wife A and their cute little girl are as enthusiastic about pictures as Danny is…see the kid in the back? that’s what I’m talk’n bout.

When Dr C and his family piled into their car after dinner and drove away it kinda felt like family was leaving and it would be too long before we got together again.

Thanks for braving the long drive out to the Wanch, see you guys soon.

P.s. just in case you’re wondering who my other favorite professers

are:

Dr P – Program Director

DocP

and Dr G, pictured with me and two classmates

DRGand Dave P, who I don’t have a photo of.

These professors taught me everything I know and they somehow managed to maintain their sanity. I’m sure they’re glad I’ve moved on.

It’s True, What People Say About Hindsight

Dad's Retirement and a farewell to The Golden State
Dad’s Retirement and a farewell to The Golden State

In 1995, I was thirteen years old, my dad decided to retire from his first career – taking a major pay cut – to move home.

We left southern California and moved to Oklahoma, where my mother was raised and where my dad’s family had settled. Not the easiest move – one that I felt personally afflicted over – leaving best friends behind and the perfect weather…not to mention the beach.

Oklahoma, although my birth state, was in my opinion never going to eclipse my love for The Golden State.

I made more best friends, eventually acclimated to the schizophrenic Oklahoma weather patterns and spent time with family.

Family gathering at Auntie Tina's house with friends, one of many.
Family gathering at Auntie Tina’s house with friends, one of many.

My dad become a school teacher in his second career, making things financially tight for a family of eight – which was a hard adjustment for all of us, but we managed a comfortable life nonetheless. Looking back, it made me more grateful for the things I did get and allowed us to fill our lives with the most important people.

Dad enrolls in graduate school and becomes a teacher.
Dad enrolls in graduate school and becomes a teacher.

My dad’s parents lived in the house behind our neighbor, my mom’s parents lived an hour and twenty minutes north east, my dad’s sisters lived in town (walking distance really), one of my aunts taught my high school economics class and my cousins were a fixture at every birthday and family dinner. For years, the only brothers my older brother had were his male cousins.

Someone's birthday perhaps? We had a lot of birthdays with all the family near by.
Someone’s birthday perhaps? We had a lot of birthdays with all the family near by.

I can’t say I’ve spent as much time with some of my family since I graduated from high school and moved away – but, I’ve tried to make visiting family a priority in my life since and so have many of my family members and I am grateful for that.

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I am going to be putting on my family stories hat in the coming weeks. I have a mountain of old photos and with the passing of my 25 year old cousin on Monday – I feel like that will be something that my family will appreciate and it’s the least I can do.

Thanksgiving at Nana's house 2001
Thanksgiving at Nana’s house 2001

I still have love for California and make visits, but Oklahoma is my home and the place I leave my heart.

Dancer, Singer, Comedienne

Just hanging out, you know, amongst the other flowers
Just hanging out, you know, amongst the other flowers

My mother turned 58 years old today. Which, now that I’m thirty, doesn’t seem that old or that far away from my current age.

Hoity Toity
Hoity Toity character in a stage production of Wizard of OZ

Where do I begin? My mother and I are best friends – now that doesn’t mean if I gave “her lip” I didn’t get a lecture, because I would of heard, “you don’t speak to your mother that way.”

That dog is a menace to society!
That dog is a menace to society! I love watching her perform.

Since I was a relatively easy child to raise, it was the type of relationship where I could go to my mom and tell her anything – about anything – she was the first to know.

And your little dog too!
“And your little dog too!”                               Her “cackle” is second to none.

Mama has always been good about telling me and my siblings how much she loves us, about how beautiful we are with no shortage of hugs and kisses. But my mom is awesome because, since we were children she would come into each of our bedrooms before bed each night and sing us songs of our choosing while scratching our backs. Even during high school, if it was requested. I bet she would do it tomorrow if I asked.

Oooh Wee Ohh

My mom is such a character – she got plenty of practice entertaining her family growing up. She took classical dance and took advantage of the stage, mom can light up a stage. The only show I remember her performing in as a child was “A Christmas Carol” and that’s because she spent the majority of MY childhood being a mother instead of pursuing her hobbies. She holds a BS in nursing and has recently become a midwife after 30+ years on/off as a Labor and Delivery Nurse.

Mother and baby - my youngest brother
Mother and baby – my youngest brother

My mom has also homeschooled all of her children at one time or another.

She has traveled with us, grown food in her garden – canned food from her garden and cooked healthy foods.

Honestly, there is not much my mom can’t do. My dad was gone a lot when I was young – out to sea as a Naval Officer – and my mom played “good cop/bad cop.” She took over mowing the lawn and fixing things that broke.

Mom told her children:

“the food you eat today, is the baby you make tomorrow – so eat healthy.”

“smart mamas, make smart babies.”

“he who serves best, loves most.”

“children will follow the mother to heaven or to hell.” to her daughters – be good mothers, to her sons, choose good wives.

And all she wanted every year for her birthday and mother’s day was:

“a clean house and no contention.” Seriously, a gift is so much easier.

My mom is such a hottie, even just after giving birth to me in 1982!
My mom is such a hottie, even just after giving birth to me in 1982!

To the woman who taught me how to sing! Happy Birthday, I love you Mama.

Katie

Celebrate Life Through Exploring

PoppinsThe summer of 2011, a month and a half before I got married, I took a trip with my Dad. I snapped this photo of dad teasing the pigeons with a napkin in Glasglow, Scotland.

Mersey RailThrough traveling with my Dad I learned many things I never knew, personal stories from his youth.

When he was 18 he went to live with family in England.  Dad rode the Merseyrail to and from work – the same rail we rode together.  It’s fun to think about your parents when they were younger. “You Were Once Young Too?”

Lake Windermere

We both enjoyed making friends with the locals. My Father makes friends very easily. One of the friends we made – owns/runs a cafe near Aunt Maggie’s home – and long time friend of my family. Andrew invited Dad and I to the beautiful Lake Windermere.

If Dad could buy a vacation home on a lake, it would be Lake Windermere. And you can have fish and chips delivered to you out there too.  Dad loves him some fish and chips.

Edinburgh

Dad and I are great traveling companions – we both like to do and see similar things.

While in Edinburgh, we both decided to skip paying to see inside the castle and find free things.

The Scottish Museum of History was free and amazing – could have stay longer.

We found graveyards, with beautiful stone graves and unkempt flowers growing around and out of cracks in the stone.

Books and Shells

I always knew my Dad loved to read, but what I didn’t know, was he travels to find more books stores.

He could make an entire trip out of finding old and rare used books…. His favorite book store was one in Edinburgh – we went there multiple times.

He found a copy of a Sir Walter Scott novel – one of his favorite authors and Edinburgers – that he had lost when he used to live and work in the United Kingdom. He put the book and some other things of little value to a thief into a metal lunch box – it was stolen by someone who worked on the premise of the airport who thought it may have contained some costly goods – those things were priceless to my Dad, but of little use to a thief looking to make money.

Favorite Book Store

There was a funny sign on the wall of his favorite bookstoreLetterIf I ever got locked into a store by accident – it would be that one!

ExploringDad and I both love exploring and learning. What I learned here was – Scotland, being north of England – gets more of the heavy rains that pass over Ireland. Ireland takes a beating with the downpour and England gets a lighter spray.

Cool WeatherYou can see in the background the downpour moving toward us. It’s kinda awesome how it’s sunny for awhile and then a five minute downpour darkens the sky and followed by sunny skies again – and I thought Oklahoma had weird weather patterns.

The United Kingdom is where I fell in love with cooler weather. With highs in the upper 50’s (Fahrenheit) and lower 60’s – it was perfect, especially for two people walking up and down long staircases and through hidden alleys to get from one side of town and back again. I would hate to do that on a hot and humid day in south Texas.

Drama MamaThis photo was me just being silly – like a cover of some dramatic novel – Dad is actually talking to another friend we made in Scotland who was staying at the same Bed and Breakfast and went on the same tour of the Highlands with us. We had a great time with her and after meeting her I decided I needed to take a trip to Quebec where she lives some day. Dad and I also have the same taste in clothes? We both own red Columbia rain coats.

I would recommend taking a trip with your parents or parent – or someone you have adopted as a parent – because you will create a deeper bond by memories made together and the stories you share about your past life.

It was almost three weeks before I returned home to my fiance and back to wedding planning.

Pre-MarriageNow, I’m a married mother of one who just bought tickets to Costa Rica.

I am now trying to convince other family – mother, in-laws, aunts and cousins that they should come too. Time to make more memories – in a new place – with more people I love.

Celebrate life – take a trip!

Family, Memories and A Cute Baby

The year I spent my entire summer with my family in Oklahoma – all by myself – was awesome. At the time, my Auntie C lived next door to Nana and Grandad and I spent a lot of time over there with my male cousins playing with Ninja Turtle action figures and eating delicious sugar cereal that my mom never bought.

Steady

My Auntie C took me and the boys to see Jurassic Park in the movie theatre – it was epic – and it was a rainy day in Oklahoma too. It was also dark and wet outside when we left the theatre, which made for an epic ride home.

I then learned only a few years ago, that Jurassic Park was the last movie my Auntie C ever saw in the theatre, which made me feel a bit special, because a movie with me was so epic….there was no way she could go again without me.

Our Short trip last week, took us to KoKo and The Tenant’s home. While we were there, my Auntie C dropped in to meet my men. Boy of Boy did we have a good time and my baby boy was the central entertainment.

ReadyAuntie C was holding the back of my little man’s vest and letting him stand on his own…he tried running a few times and almost landed on his face, were it not for the vigilant Great Aunt hovering near by.

Five adults sat around talking and telling stories, while the baby played.

There are so many parallels you can take from watching a baby. So many times in my adolescent and young adult life, I wanted to run, before I could walk (figuratively speaking), when I needed the steady patience of a baby to keep working at something until it came when I was ready. If I could only know then, what I know now.

Enticing ToyI was also never good at traditional goal setting.

When I was about 15 years old, I wrote down a long list of things that I wanted to obtain or to do during my life and fifteen years later, I’ve already accomplished half of them.

At the time I wrote the list, I had just moved from California to Oklahoma and was missing my friends “back home.”

One of the most important things to me was, “visiting California.” I can’t count how many times I’ve returned to California since then, but it sure seemed like a big wish at the time.

Catching a Ride

It’s exciting to look back at a list of dreams that you have fulfilled and remember thinking, “these things are just too good to happen, but I can dream.”

eating his first shark

I am living proof that dreams do come true. I can hardly believe it myself. I attribute this to God, He gives me all that I have, including my family and I am humbled that He would notice me in a world full of good people.

snacking on second shark

God notices YOU too.

Bath ToysSpeaking of “back in the day” the toys that my son is playing with were bath toys that every single grandchild who visited Nana and Grandad have played with. I tub dived with those sharks too at one time, long before I was writing dreams on a sheet of paper.

Sharing a Laugh with KokoNow I watch me son doing the things I did, enjoying the family I had and learning new things. He is laughing with KoKo and trying to eat the sparkling pendant on her vest.

Sparkly ThingsOne short memory I have of KoKo, goes back to a flight I took with my two older siblings from Oklahoma to San Diego, California. I was about six or seven and my older siblings couldn’t have been older than nine and eleven.

Our flight included a lay-over in Dallas, Texas – obviously I was clueless about what was going on – but I knew when I saw my KoKo standing at the gateway gripping a stroller. She hugged and kissed us and gave us toys. I got a barbie and boy did that take the boredom out of the rest of the trip home.

Learning to walkShe walked us to our next gate and put us on the correct flight home to mom and dad. That’s what family is all about – loving each other, going out of our way to help one another.  This life is full of hard things and without family, life would be much more difficult.

Now here KoKo is, with my Auntie C, spending their weekday evening playing with my son and swapping stories with me and my husband. I am truly blessed.

Doing it on his ownWe all eventually go out into the world on our own, just like a baby lets go of our hands to stand without help.

But we are never alone. Family and friends are near by to help us when we fall.

Not everyone has the family network that I have. I tell you, that the Savior stands ready to help you at all times and that we can be instruments in HIS hands to answer other people’s prayers.

There is not anywhere in this world that we can go, that He can’t see you and know what you need.

Tall ManIsn’t is amazing that humans can grow from being a tiny infant to a grown man in just a “few” years.

This is my Grandad – I’ve mentioned him before, funny man.

I took this particular photo, because my older brother Keegan said that Grandad doesn’t wear his jump suits anymore – well, here is proof that the man still owns them and wears them.

The jump suits are Grandad – as far as the grandchildren are concerned – jump suits are iconic to summers on the farm and remind me of watching Grandad come in and out of the house to get a sandwich or drink of water, before returning to another project outside.

Eating a boatIt was a great trip – a fast trip – to see family. My son did things he’s never done before and after this photo was taken, he learned how to pull himself up into a standing position.

tasting bricksIt’s Tuesday, January 8, 2013 – experience something new today – dream big and call your loved ones.

Sincerely,

katie

Twas The Night Before New Year’s Eve….

Sleepy HeadTwas the Night before New Year’s Eve and all through the house, only a few creatures scurried – a few neurotic dogs – but definitely no mouse.

All the adults were sung in their beds…two little brothers chose to sleep elsewhere instead.

Couch CrashingThey have their own – Large Room – with two little beds…why would they chose to sleep on a couch and not bed?

I would have asked them, had they been not asleep.

One brother lay snoozing on something soft and cushy, but my youngest brother lay sleeping on his tummy – not tushie.

Floor Crashing

When I was younger I too had my own room and a large queen sized bed to myself and I opted to sleep on the floor in my older brother’s room or on the living room sofa.

In fact, I rode out the January 1995 Northridge, California earthquake on the couch in my older brother’s room – I woke up thinking he was shaking the couch just to prank me – because he used to do things like that.

I preferred to sleep with a blanket, the brothers sleep with a sleeping bag or on the floor half naked.

SlobberI find it funny they do this every night. The youngest kinda just crashes wherever he gets tired.

I sometimes find him upstairs on the hard wood floors laying sprawled out next to a dog.

As I get older – I find that I can’t sleep on the floor well – I know, because I recently tried.

Nope, it’s the comfy life for me.

I got up this morning and made buttermilk, blueberry pancakes from scratch for my husband and brothers and decided that I’m going to do some good in the world today – January 1, 2013 – even it is just organizing my bedroom.

Remembering the August Rose

I once heard that, “Memories help us remember the June roses during the winters of our lives.”  Well, my Nana was born August 1st, it was as close a June birthday as she would get.

With NannyShe was the third and last child to her mum and dad, born in England to Scottish parents. I’ve been told I looked like her as a child.

Nana’s house in the summer was a magic kingdom of sweets, swimming, make-believe and Solar Babies. We always had a bedtime snack and what my mother called, “junk cereal” for breakfast – it was awesome!

nanakateAs long as I can remember, Nana had silver hair and her face was ageless. She and Grandad would come to visit us when we lived in San Francisco, San Diego and Pennsylvania – they are dedicated grandparents.

In 1991, Nana would buy Bright Red wellington boots in England and bring them to me – I loved those boots and wore them everywhere.

During the summer of 1992, I went out to Oklahoma to spend the entire summer with my grandparents, alone. I was being home-schooled at the time and had gotten behind in my math and with my english paper on the Sioux Indians. Nana made me sit at the kitchen counter everyday and work on my math until it was completed.
Korf Castle

March 1993, I was so excited to visit England with my family. My Nana was born and raised in England, so I felt like England was a part of me, because I was a part of her. (The orange and brown coat was my favorite – I was devastated when I grew too big for it).

Summer of 1995, my dad decided to retire and move our family from California to Oklahoma…..away from his good job, my good friends and the ocean.  I was really disappointed about this at the time, but my dad wanted to be closer to his parents, siblings and my mother’s parents.

1997 – My sister was teaching me how to drive her manuel transmission car and I was only 15 – we drove by my Nana’s house and she was doing yard work in her front yard. We drove by honking and waving – later that day, when we got home, she called the house and said, “if I EVER see you driving without a license again – I’ll call the police on you myself.” I didn’t realize at the time, the police couldn’t arrest me – I was a minor – but I didn’t do anything stupid in front of Nana again; at least, not intentionally.

Forever PlaidNana and my Aunt Tina bought me a kilt on one of their shopping trips to Bath, UK and I wore it to my cousin’s Scottish wedding. I still wear that kilt during the winter months.

I attended college at The University of Tulsa, so I was able to stay close and frequently visit my Grandparents that lived near Oklahoma City.

In those visits, I recorded Nana’s stories and photographed her doing daily things

Garden FairiesTending her garden full of fairies and gnomes

TeaCUPDrinking Lipton’s Tea – which she said she has only had Lipton’s since she came to this country (1950’s) and only drinks English tea when she visits England…”and that because they don’t have any Lipton’s.”

SwaggerNana called everyone “Hey Guy” or “Love” even strangers – making everyone a friend.

She wore a necklace around her neck with several charms: a Christian symbol, a Jewish symbol, a Muslim symbol and something else, but she would say, “I believe all people are good.” She is correct, good people are good.

Her husband was her best friend and Her friendship with her children second only to her husband. Her grandchildren were her greatest treasures.

She passed away on December 30, 2009, My Father’s Birthday, after a short battle with cancer.

Nana chose for her memorial video to end with the song, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and finished off with Liverpool F.C.’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Because she is awesome and oh so right, we are never alone.

Angel

Keeping My Sabbath Day Holy

Everyone is a Conservative at 40

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Aunt Marg and I being dramatic. My Father bought her flowers and I was giving them to her and she was acting very regal.

Thinking of my Aunt Marg lately. She has been ill and living on the other side of the pond from the rest of her family.  I made a video of her telling stories about her fascinating life. From Opera singer, to lady policewoman walking the beat to a woman detective working high profile criminal cases, she has seen a lot.

Last year, my Father and I traveled to the United Kingdom to spend a bit of quality time with her. I’ve never know a person to be so vibrant in her situation. From my perspective, she has had some hardships and tragedies, that would make some  people bitter.

Never married, never a mother to her own child, lost both her siblings and her parents. In love twice, the first love was Jewish and his parents wouldn’t have a Protestant daughter-in-law (she holds no grudge and speaks no unkindness), the second love – a fiance – died before they married. Yet here she still sings and laughs.

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Since she never had children of her own, I wanted to preserve her personal history like I would for another Grandparent. She gave me gems like, “from 19-40 is the know-nothing/know-it-all-age, you think you know it all and then you turn 40 and you realize you’re a conservative.”  Telling me stories in the garden with her yellow work gloves on, she told me stories from being a policewoman, of speaking to prostitutes of 18 and 19 years old who had several children. She desperately wanted to help these kids who, “know about drugs and sex, but they don’t know about life.” She said, if children “were loved, it doesn’t matter if you come from royalty or from the poorest of homes, you will turn out a fine person….so many people couldn’t be bothered anymore.”

Aunt Marg is definitely from the greatest generation, the one who appreciates fine music and “not this rah rah rah stuff.” She loves Football – the real kind played with your feet – and always talks to her television and her cat Rosie – who is a bossy little madam.

I think of her often and of our relatively short visit together. Thank goodness I bought the plane ticket, the video camera and talked my Father into going too. It was marvelous.

Here’s to a happy Thursday and speaking kindly about others and to others.
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