Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Once bitten

This simple family story is probably more common than I realize but so sweet I had to share.

My boys were quite the pair when they were little. Jake was such a good big brother always kind and protective, and making sure that everything was right for his little brother.

Justin was very strong willed and a little bully to his big brother who cared so much. They would be playing with their giant building blocks and Jake would come in to me crying with bite marks from Justin upset because his little brother hurt him again. I didn't just let it go either, I would punish Justin, I would discuss it with him and tell him what he did wrong and put him in time out. Sometimes if I caught him in the act I would give him a swat on the bottom and tell him again that biting was bad. Sometimes when he was having a temper tantrum he would bite me or his dad.

It continued with poor Jake getting bitten, me feeling horrible and Justin getting punished until one day while making supper I finally took some advice that I had heard from many different people.

Jake came to me crying with a bite mark on his arm and without stopping from washing the dishes I said why don't you just go bite him back. Jake said "No! Mom biting is bad I'll get in trouble and it hurts."

"I know," I said, "that's the point." Then I tried to make the little protector understand just why I was telling him to injure his little brother. "You can bite him back just this once, not enough to take a chunk out of him, just enough to let him know that it hurts, maybe then he will stop."

Off Jake went on his mission while I continued to wash the dishes.

A few seconds later Justin was screaming, an alarming scream, so I ran into the living room to see what was going on. He was crying, screaming and holding his forehead with both hands. Jake looked so sad he came running to me right away. "Mom I bit him, I just closed my eyes and leaned forward and bit him."

It was all I could do not to laugh. "You closed your eyes?"

"Yeah, and I bit him on the nose." he said with tears starting to form in his eyes.

"But why did you close your eyes?" I said while seating myself onto the couch, reaching out for Justin's crying little form and scooping him up into my lap.

"I didn't want to do it, so I just closed my eyes like taking medicine and did it." Jake said.

"It's okay Jake, your not in trouble I told you to do it."

"Justin, this is why we don't bite, it hurts and it is not nice." I said for what seemed to be the thousandth time. But, this time was different, this time he was on the receiving end and not the giving. I cuddled him for a second, wiped his tears and moved his hands to see a perfect little set of front teeth bite marks, top and bottom, right above his nose between his eyebrows.

Needless to say, Justin never bit anyone again. He is 17 now and he still has a small scar right between his eyebrows from a lesson well learned.

I'm in no way advocating harming a child ever, in any way but this story had to be told. I still giggle thinking about it. It was just to cute not to share.

Do you have or have had a biter? What did you do? I'd love to hear.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pushing the Bus

It was a typical Michigan January. The snow was deep and the wind was blowing. Like usual when that kind of weather hits the roads were getting some pretty good snow drifts.

Jim was home from work that day because of the weather but the kids still had school. The storm had stirred up really good about the middle of the day and by the time that we were expecting the school bus the roads were very nasty. Jim had gone out to use the snow blower to clean out the drive way and the drifts that had gotten quite big in front of our house. I was inside making supper so I didn't actually know any of this that had happened until all the excitement came in the door.

With all four kids now in school the youngest being in all day Kindergarten we had enjoyed our day and looked forward to their arrival from school. The bus was coming down our road towards the house but the drifts were to high and it became stuck just past the neighbor's house still a quarter mile from us. Jim noticed and stopped working in the driveway, grabbed his shovel and started walking down to the bus. He promptly started digging out the tires only to find that the bus was on a patch of ice too. He walked back up to the door and told the bus driver that he would give her a push to start rocking it back and forth a little.

You can imagine the excitement of the thirty kids on the bus all ranging in age from high school seniors to our little Kindergartner. Most were telling our sons that there was no way he would ever be able to move the bus. After just a few minutes they were on their way and the entire family was back at the house everyone talking over one another as they took off their snowsuits and boots to tell me what had happened.

"Mom did you see that Dad was awesome!" Alicia said as she burst through the door.

"No one thought he could do it! You should have seen their mouths hanging open as he pushed the school bus!" Justin added as he was unzipping his snowsuit.

"I told them my dad can do it he is stronger than he looks, he does construction for a living." Jacob proudly exclaimed as he was hanging up his little sister's snowsuit.

"Dad was strong! He pushed us out!" Alannah added as she wrapped her little cold arms around me and buried her cold nose in my neck giving me my usual after school hug.

"It was nothing we used to get stuck in the snow all the time and push the bus back when I was a kid." Jim said as he was coming in. "Now who wants mom to make us some hot chocolate?" he added.

I was glad everyone was excited and four years later, my children still talk about how their daddy was so strong that he pushed the school bus and how all the kids were amazed. They said all the kids were in awe and said "Don't mess with Mr. Howe he's strong." The kids insisted that I include this story in the blog.

Happy Father's Day to my fabulous, strong husband from all of us. We love you.

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there have a great day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Painting Sun Catchers

Yesterday morning I was shopping. While strolling along I noticed some little sun catcher kits that were on sale. I thought what a great little activity to do with the girls and I could hang them on the large window in the kitchen that doesn't have a blind.

When I got home I decided to make it a bribe.
I did my best presentation of the fabulous mysterious something that I purchased for them and all they had to do to get it was to clean ~ not all, ~ but a portion of their bedroom.

My older daughter immediately said "Well, what is it because if it isn't something I want, I don't want to clean."

Hmm, my idea of bribing was sliding down hill fast...
So I told her that I had bought Sun catchers and how we could hang them in the kitchen and send some to loved ones and friends as little gifts in our letters. Trying desperately to talk them up to be much better of a bribe to her 11yr old pre-teen coolness.

Her reply to my bribe, "Do you still have the receipt? Could you take them back and get something else?"

Well that wasn't happening and little sister was all on board for my bribe so she was going to be coming along for the ride like it or not.

After a couple of hours had passed little sister came to me and said that she had done some cleaning and would like to paint her sun catchers. So, I got up from working on homework to enjoy a much needed break. The two of us got them out and we both started painting. It didn't take very long for big sis to find us and join in. She didn't clean but she does most the cleaning for both of them anyway. She admitted she had never painted sun catchers before and it was fun.

That little comment really made my day. Because me and little sister were enjoying ourselves too.

This morning we got up and hung some of our treasures in the window.
Have you tried to bribe your kids to clean? How did it work and what did you use? Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks and have a great Friday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Moment I Knew

Call it the romantic in me but this is one of my favorite memories.

Jim and I were dating and it was January in Michigan. He drove a brand new 4-wheel drive red Chevy truck. He had just traded his one year old black truck for the next year model a couple of weeks before.

He picked me up at the apartment where I was staying and we were just cruising around on the back roads that were very snowy and talking. All the sudden he looks at me and smiles the kinda grin someone has when they are about to be mischievous says "Let's just see what this thing can do." Then he pulls the steering wheel to the right and drives into the ditch.

I was shocked and worried. The ditches in Michigan can be huge, some of them you can drive down into and no one would even know you were there if they didn't look. They are that big. I held on wondering just what would happen next.

We made it a quarter mile or so and got stuck as he was trying to get back up to the road.

It would not have been unusual to me if he would have gotten angry, mean, began cursing and acting like a jerk. I was used to guys who did stupid things and then got mean when they backfired.

Not Jim, he looked over at me and laughed.

He shook his head laughing and said "Would you mind leaning forward?" I leaned forward and he reached behind the seat and grabbed a shovel. "Well, now we know what she can handle" he said, still with laughter lingering on his voice. "Make yourself comfortable, I'll have us out of here in no time." Then he leaped out of the cab and sank in the snow up to his thighs.

That moment, when he chose to be cheerful and playful in acknowledging the foolishness of his actions and happily accepting the consequences, that was when I knew he was the man for me.

I can honestly say, I've never, not once regretted that decision. After 20 years of marriage I only love him and his craziness even more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Shy One

I think every family has at least one.

Ours was the youngest and yes, I said was. "Was" because she has since out grown most of most
her shyness.

Let me give you an idea just how shy this little girl, the baby of four children really was.

She was the baby at the market that people would ooohh and aaahhhh over and she would bury her face in my chest to hide, or later when she was a toddler she would wrap her arms around my leg and bury her face in my leg and hide.

Now don't think that she was shy because we never went out, that is so not the case, she was shy in spite of the fact that her momma was a social butterfly. We were very active since she was born. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and Monday morning for MOPS, I was a cub scout and a 4-H leader since she was born so she went with us to meetings and such. Plus, she was born during the time that I was homeschooling the boys and we were active in a homeschool group and she went to all the field trips, activities and meetings for that also. My husband used to joke that I worked harder volunteering during that time than I had worked at work getting paid. Her shyness was a personality trait from the start not a taught or learned trait.

She was the last to be at home with me. Just me and her after everyone else had gotten on the bus and went to school. Yes, they did decide with a little urging from mom that it was time to go back to public school when she was three. I loved it. A little alone time with my baby. But, she yearned to be a big girl, ride the big bus and go to school like her siblings.

Our small town had a half day preschool program so we enrolled her as soon as she was old enough. My little shy girl started school when she was 3.75 yrs old. She went the entire year and never once spoke a word to the teacher or the assistant teacher. Part of the requirement was for me to go and be an active helper and I loved going in and playing with the kids. It really was just a play time that had a story time and lunch and got them used to the idea of being with other kids and being at school with a schedule. She did play with the other kids and did great, she just wouldn't look or speak to the teachers.

She went to Kindergarten the next year at 4.75 years old and had the same problems, she was smart at home and was learning, but would not deal with the adult "strangers" at school. This was a huge issue with her learning. So, she struggled. I'll never forget the day about half way through her kindergarten year that a very happy teacher shared that my daughter had come up to her desk and tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention and then spoke to her. She then continued to speak to her the rest of the year. She was still very shy with anyone else. But her teacher and I were so excited that she finally spoke to a teacher it was a breakthrough.

Our move to Texas and being in a brand new place, at a brand new school was a large push to get over it. I say only most because we did try to go door to door to sell for her school fundraiser this year and only made it to one house across the street and she was done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Today I stopped in my tracks while getting dinner ready to marvel at my 14 year old dog laying in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room all sprawled out on her side in the doorway and paying me absolutely no heed what-so-ever as I walked back and forth from the kitchen to the table stepping over her each time. She opened her eyes the first time and then she must have realized that I was setting the table because then she just went right back to sleep as I carefully crossed over her.

Finally after the table was set and while my eldest son was

watching the dinner for me and chopping some cheese, I sat down with her there in the middle of the floor between the kitchen and dining room and just gave her a few minutes of my time petting her and let her know how much I appreciate her complete and utter trust.

I have the same trust in her, knowing that even though she loves everyone she meets, she still gets angry when I get angry and she doesn't like anyone to get hit around her even if they are playing. She makes me feel safe and I am glad that I in turn make her feel safe also.

Do you have a pet that trusts you and has your trust? Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Kitchen

The Kitchen in that old farm house was hand built by the homes first owner and had never been updated. When we first moved in the refrigerator was in the entry room, a weird room off the laundry room.

To describe it best I'll walk through from the driveway with you. The first door you enter from the driveway went into the laundry room a 6ft by 14ft room that did not have a single straight wall. I think it was space between the house and garage that they just decided to make part of the house one day. the laundry room was four walls with four doors one on each wall that led to the driveway, garage, backyard and the entry room.

The entry room was another weird little room some in MI called them mud rooms. A place where you could land your muddy shoes that also had the refrigerator and led to the only small bathroom in the house. My theory was, and when we remodeled there were indications, that the house was built a little at a time over many years.

From the entry room you enter the kitchen. All of the cabinets were on the left side of you as you were walking through with the sink in the middle and the door going to the dining room on the opposite side. A straight shot right from one doorway to the other.

I decided one day while in town that those ugly cupboards could use a coat of paint and picked some up at the hardware store. Then when my little guy fell asleep for his afternoon nap I started taking all the doors off the cupboards and painting the base. When my husband finally got home for supper, there I was sitting on the kitchen floor painting the doors and our little guy was sitting by the gate in the doorway playing with his toys.

I knew that there wasn't much I could do to make that old house my own and look good without his help, but I knew how to paint and could do at least that much. I was so proud of myself when I finally finished and put it all back together the next morning. It was my very first home remodeling project.

We continued to live in that house for the next 18 years and that poor kitchen never did get any more done to it, but we had always dreamed of remodeling it and turning it around creating our dream kitchen. In the end we had lived the dream without needing a "dream kitchen".

Isn't it amazing how when you look back on things, what seemed important then really wasn't. It was all about the time we shared, not the place we shared it in.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Accidents

On my very last day of working as a temporary secretary for Waste Management outside of Sandusky, back when the boys were young, I went to pick up the babysitter and on the way home I was involved in an accident.

I was driving down the dirt road and there were corn fields on all sides and no stop sign, so I didn't stop and clipped a car. We both went into different ditches and immediately got out worried about the other. The lady (I'll call her Dee)was so sweet all worried about me and upset. We started chatting waiting for the police officer to make the report.

Dee was a neighbor to my husband's parents and knew my husband. Everything was soon taken care of with the police officer and we went our own ways. I thought I'd probably never see her again.

Then about two months later I went to go check out a church down the road from our farm house and who spots me right off the bat and grabs my hand like an old friend to introduce me to everyone in the small church, yep, it was Dee. I was mortified and embarrassed. But, she made sure those feelings didn't last long. It was moments before that feeling was replaced by the love and warmth that she and all the people at the church were giving me.

It must be about 15 years later now and Dee is still one of my closest friends. We used to love introducing each other to new people. We'd say something like "Hey Tom, I'd like you to meet my good friend Dee. We actually met by accident, we crashed into one another and became the best of friends." Now that is a conversation starter.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cruising in the Corn

Every once in a while my husband would be home on a Saturday morning and I would get the pleasure of going shopping without our handsome little toddler. Those moments of alone time wondering the aisles of the store and contemplating what I wanted to serve for meals over the next week were very precious times of solitude for me. Exactly what a young mom needs to recharge her battery and keep her sanity. This was one of those Saturday mornings.

I was driving back from the town listening to music on the radio and singing along thoroughly enjoying myself and decided to drive down a dirt road I knew well from my paper route as a short cut back home. The dirt road went straight toward home from the main road I was on while the paved road was several miles out of the way and then back again.

Driving this road was bumpy and slower than the main road, but definitely more secluded and enjoyable. I liked the miles and miles of cornfields on both sides broken only by the occasional farm house. There was a pheasant farm and a llama farm down this particular road also.
I’m driving along singing at the top of my lungs when something pops out of the corn field just a little. What was that? It puzzled me. It was small for a deer, low to the ground. I slowed down to about 15 miles per hour and watched that area of the corn field ahead as I drove up next to it.

There it was again, oh my goodness…

There was a toddler a little one who looked like he just started walking not long ago maybe a year old at the most standing between the cornfield and the ditch wearing just his diaper. I slam on the brakes and throw the car into park almost simultaneously as I leap out to grab the little guy before he gets back into the corn field. He’s so small if he makes it back into that cornfield he could be lost forever.

I didn’t want to scare him, but I didn’t want him to get away from me so I was talking as I walked toward him asking where his mommy was. Finally, I swept him up into my arms and he hugged me back. I was thankful that he wasn’t upset by the fact that I was a stranger.

Now, what was I going to do? I didn’t want to put him into my car because I didn’t have the car seat with me and if his mom was looking for him and saw me driving around with him in the car she might think I had kidnapped him or something. So, I began to walk down the long dirt road with corn fields on both sides as far as the eye could see. The eyes thankfully are deceiving though. There was a break in the cornfield about 45 yards up the road from where I found the little guy. So we turned down the long drive. I could not see the farm house because the drive curved but I hoped there was one and that the people who lived there at least knew who the little guy was.

As I rounded the curve, several minutes after I had first swooped up the little guy from the edge of the cornfield, I could see a woman rush from the house and go running straight back to the barn I could barely here her calling something but she was too far away yet to make out what it was. I started to yell “HELLO” and “HELLO THERE”. I kept yelling as I was walking up, she popped out from the barn looked to the left at the cornfield then turned and saw us walking toward her. She ran toward us tears streaming down her face and I knew that he was back where he belonged.

She explained that the phone had rung while he was playing on the porch with his older brother so she thought it was safe to go answer it. The brother was in the barn and told her that the toddler had gone back in so he went to the barn to do his chores. But the little guy went right back out and set off to find his brother or at least that is what we figured. We hoped in her car and she gave me a ride back out to my vehicle.

I went home and installed hooks and eyes on all or our exit doors high enough that only adults could reach as we were also surrounded by cornfields and I thanked the good Lord that he put me on that dirt road that morning. He placed me right where I needed to be at just the right moment so that child in the corn would catch my eye.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Locked Out

The boys were very young, about 2 and 4 years old. They were sleeping in the living room, the baby in the crib and my big boy was on the couch. We would often lie down on the couch together and fall asleep at nap time and then I'd get up and do some household chores.

I got up and was doing the dishes like usual and I don't know if it was the water running or something else but our beagle wanted outside. So, I dry my hands and go from the kitchen into the laundry room and out to open the back door to and let her out. I turn to go back into the house and I'm locked out.

It took about two seconds for me to realize all the dangers that were inside the house with my boys. We had two house cats and several candles burning in the living room, dining room and kitchen.

The first thing that went through my mind was that one of the cats would knock a candle onto the floor and start the house on fire. Or worse, one of the boys would wake up and mess with a candle. Or, a cat could crawl into the playpen and suffocate the baby.

After totally freaking out in ten seconds time, the next task at hand was to get inside that house and save my boys any way possible.

The door was a step up from the floor, a typical wooden door with a large Plexiglas type of plastic window. My first thought was to break the window on the door. I grabbed the snow shovel propped nearby and tried hitting the window. First try, I made a scratch. I get mad and really give it all I got for the second try, another scratch. Now I'm mad and frustrated, third try. I'm like a warrior woman trying to kill a bear, a third scratch. I drop the shovel and start to cry.

After a few minutes my resolve builds again, I like watching cop shows and they kick doors in, so that is what I'll do. First kick and I hear things that could be promising, wood cracking a little. I'm excited. I kick it again, definite sounds of wood splintering and the door is open.
I'm so relieved that I let the dog in and we enter the house only five minutes after we exited and I rush into the living room to find my babies still sound asleep, not even aware of the emotional wreck their mother had become.

So, I sit on the floor with my back against the couch and just breathe. I wipe a tear off my cheek and reach down to pet the cat that is rubbing against my thigh. The same loving little creature that was the source of panic just moments before and then hug her close while I stand up to blow out those darn candles.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Random Lunch Conversation

Okay, this just happened and was so funny I had to share.

Being home during the day with a two teenage boys 17 and 19 we generally fend for ourselves for lunch and usually Friday ends up being raid the fridge for leftovers from the week before. They know that if they don't eat it by Sunday I'll be pitching it all out to start the week over. "Out with the old and in with the new" and all that.

I open the fridge and find a bowl with some leftover breakfast sausage in it and say "well, there is one whole and two halves in there anyway."

My 17yr old immediately says, "You know mom two positives make a negative, two lefts make a right but two wrongs don't make it right."

I laughed out loud and said, "Yep, I know."

Just a snippet of the crazy off the wall things that he says just because something slightly related was mentioned. I'm gonna miss that when he grows up and moves away.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Fawn

One afternoon in the spring I was riding my quarter horse down the dirt road that I lived on and suddenly a fawn jumped out of the woods over the ditch and onto the road. I jumped, my horse jumped and then kind of lowered right back down quickly. I was lucky that she didn't raise up any higher because I would have lost my seat. Then we stood there stopped in our tracks, us looking at the little fawn and it looking back at us. I was so mesmerized by the beauty and unexpectedness of it I just sat there watching and waiting to see what it would do next. I think that the fawn was as curious as to what we would do next just a horse and rider standing silently on the road.

Then suddenly my horse snorted, she was becoming impatient with the whole thing and wanted to get on with our daily stroll. The fawn did a little startled leap and then again leaped over the ditch and into the woods on the other side of the road. Not thinking any more about it we continued on with our walk. We probably walked another 100 yards up the road and the fawn jumped out in front of us again. This time we were not as startled, just a small jump like when your watching a tv show and you know something is about to happened and you don't know when then when it does, you jump. Once again we are standing in the road looking at the fawn and it watching us. We must have looked like quite a strange creature to that fawn, not knowing that we were two creatures. After a minute or so off it went again into the woods and we continued our walk again. We didn't see it again but I will always remember that particular ride.

We took a ride almost every day down that old dirt road and through the woods for nearly two years we even went in the winter and of all those fabulous beautiful rides, this one meant the most to me I'll never forget that little fawn and it's quizzical look as it tried to figure us out.

The Paper Route

When my oldest was a baby I decided I needed to be earning some money to help out and saw an advertisement in the local free weekly paper for a driving paper route. It said it took about two and a half hours. I thought that was something that would be perfect and I wouldn't even need a babysitter. So I went and applied. After a very quick interview, I got the job. I had to be in the next small town over to pick up the papers at noon and start my route through the country roads until I got almost back home. It was a great job for a young mother with a small child. I would give him his bottle while waiting for the papers, and then he would sleep nearly the entire route for his afternoon nap and wake up just a bit before it was done.

The best part wasn't the job, the convenience or the money, the best part of my newspaper route was that I met another young mom who thought just like me that it would be a great opportunity for her to make a little money without leaving her baby. We both picked up our papers in the same spot, that is how we met. As we chatted and got to know each other while waiting for the papers to arrive, we realized that we had a lot in common. We made dates to get together with the babies and hang out once in a while. I was so happy to have a friend my age and she had a baby too. Finally someone I could talk to besides my husband. It was great.

Like everything in my life though it was only for a season, when fall started to set in and the weather get colder, I decided it wasn't really something that I would want to do all winter long with a baby in the car. My new friend an I kept in touch for a while and then she moved. I love facebook though because we recently got back in touch through facebook it is great to be able to talk to her again. Now our kids are in college and we have entirely different lives.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Wedding Invitations

We had decided that we were going to get married. No big proposal, we just discussed it often since we had moved in together and had finally settled on a date. My birthday to coming year. So being very young at the time, I was 19 and he was 20 we decided to keep it small and get married in the same small little church that his parents were married in.

Jim was working all the time so most of the preparations fell to me and his mom. I don't remember where I got the information to order our wedding invitations, but I did and even though we were keeping the wedding small I was informed to order a lot of invitations to send out to relatives on both sides that would never show up but would like an invitation none the less.

There is one reason that I will never forget the day that my wedding invitations arrived. The UPS Truck drove into our driveway. Jim was already home from work. Unusual for him but it was to windy for them to work, not unusual in the MI winter. It was March 9, 1991 I know that because as I was getting the box from the UPS man the phone rang.

Jim answered it and as I sat the box on the table and opened it up he says to me that I need to take the call.

I'm like "You talk to them, I'm busy, I can't wait to see how they look."

He says "No, you have to take this call, it is about your dad."

Then I took the phone because my dad had just gone in to the hospital to have a tumor removed. He had the surgery and we had talked on the phone the night before.

On the other end of the phone was my dad's girlfriend. She told me that he had passed away suddenly in the night. Of course I was devastated. Now I was planning a trip to my father's funeral and our wedding was the very last thing on my mind.

Life is bittersweet. Unexpected events can knock the wind right out of a person. I know that my father's unexpected death really knocked the wind out of me. I think I was running on auto-pilot for some time through the wedding planning to come.

I will never forget the day that my wedding invitations came in the mail. I went within a matter of minutes through the roller coaster of emotions from joy and excitement to despair and dread. I survived with a lot of love from Jim and I still survive remembering the love that was and thankful for the love I have.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Brought a Date to Our First Date

Ha! Ha! Right. No joking I really did bring a date to our first date. In my defense I was an unknowing party that it was supposed to be our first date.

So we met on Halloween and bumped into each other a few times after that because we obviously hung around the same people. Then a friend of mine invited me to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. It went something like this:

Friend, "We are having some people over for Thanksgiving, not family, just friends. Would you like to come?"

Me, "Sure, that sounds like fun who all is going to be there?" Then she lists off couples that I know but fails to mention that Jim will be there. So, I'm thinking I better bring a date so I am not the odd man out. I ask my friend that I had drove up to Michigan with from Florida to come along and be my date for Thanksgiving dinner. He was happy to oblige me.

We show up with a bottle of wine for the hostess and she gets a little flustered and asks me if I can help her in the kitchen. After taking me into the kitchen she explains that she was setting me up with Jim that I wasn't supposed to bring a date.

That would have been nice to know ahead of time. LOL Oh, well we sat down for dinner and I was seated between Jim and my date. Not really awkward at all because after all my date was really just a friend. Then after dinner my date took me home and Jim came and picked me up from home. We drove around all night talking, watched the sunrise and he took me home. (At that point we still hadn't had our first kiss.)

So, now I have a funny story to tell about how even the worst of beginnings can lead to wonderful things, 4 kids and twenty years of marriage later, I only love him more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First Meeting

In honor of our 20th wedding anniversary in a couple days, I thought that I would share a few fun romantic stories over the next couple days.
I lived in Florida before I met my husband. So, one day I was just messing around with my friends at the beach like usual, and a guy friend of mine started talking about how he had a little girl in Michigan. I asked him why didn't he go see her since he missed her so much. He explained that he didn't have the money for the trip. I being the crazy nut that I was at that time said, I got some money let's go see her. So off to Michigan I went.

We arrived on Halloween. We pulled up at his friend's house who was expecting us so she threw a party. We walk through the door and just inside sitting on a chair was this very handsome young man with blonde hair and blue eyes. He was holding a glass and the liquid inside that glass was a florescent green. Me being a curious soul walked right up to the handsome stranger and asked him, "What is that?" He handed it to me and said "It's a green monster, try it." So I did and we chatted. I found out his name was JIM and met a lot of other people there that evening also. What I didn't know was that a year and a half latter, we would be getting married.

Still my favorite mixed drink, 21 years later is the Green Monster. :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

First House Fire

Once back at the farm, we woke up to a house full of smoke are oldest was 4 and we had a 2 yr old at the time. We grabbed the kids put them out in the car backed it up to the end of the driveway and called 911.

My husband went back in to try and figure out what was causing all the smoke which was so thick you couldn't see but we saw no flames.

He came out as the volunteer fire trucks arrived grabbed a stick out of the yard and went right back in then came walking out as the firemen were opening the door with a t-shirt in flames at the end of the stick. Threw it down in the drive way and the firemen stomped it out.

They teased him because they went to school together (small town) and said it was the easiest fire they ever put out. Then they went through the house to make sure that was it.

What happened was the 4 yr old went down to the bathroom during the night and thought the light was to bright it was a bare bulb because I had broken the cover changing it that day so he threw dad's
t-shirt from the hamper over the light then proceeded back to bed and left the light on. Scorched the wall a little but no real damage. Crazy huh.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Texas Gardening

Here we are planting our first garden in Texas. What an adventure. I had bought some tomato plants about a week ago, just couldn't resist. Then this morning my husband brought my two very sad looking tomato plants inside and said, "Dear did you forget about something?" I felt horrible. Since we had both finished are school semesters yesterday, it was time to get the garden planted.

I finished cleaning up from our usual Sunday brunch and my husband started working up the garden. A little while after I went out then our oldest daughter came out to pitch in. Finally, when we were nearly done for the day our youngest daughter also came out to help a bit.

I'm not one to force anyone into helping me with the garden, I was forced when I was young and I hated it. So, if they want to help fine, if they don't that is fine too. I like picking it and eating it myself way more than working the soil and planting it, but all in time. The wind was blowing like 40 to 50 mile an hour gusts today too. The temperature was a fabulous 87 degrees. We all got sunburns and enjoyed a job well done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Band Secrets

This simple family story is just a cute little incident involving a secret.

My oldest daughter is finally in band for the first time and she is so excited and happy. Since we don't have a lot of money and certainly no extra money for a new instrument she took up clarinet and borrowed her big brother's old clarinet to play.

I usually pick her up from school on Friday afternoons because the student council sells concessions (candy and pop) after school on Fridays and the line is so long she'd miss the bus if she went. So on this particular day she comes to van walking quickly and smiling from ear to ear. A sure sign that something went right during the school day.

So, being the curious mom that I am, I ventured a guess and said,"So, looks like you had a good day today, what happened?"

She was more than willing to share that her band teacher had said that she was one of the best sight readers in the band and doing fabulous for a first year musician. He had invited her to stay after school and practice with the intermediate band and to go to contest and play with both the beginner and intermediate bands. She was bubbling over with pride and joy to be so honored.

My response was just, "Wow, that is great! He really thinks your a great player! Did you tell him that you had three years of piano lessons, so you know how to read music?"

My darling little daughter turned and looked at me with a huge grin and glimmer in her eye as she said, "No way mom! What he don't know won't hurt him!" and then started to laugh with me.

I had to agree it wasn't hurting anyone for him not to know and it sure made her feel special that he thought she was such a great beginner. :-)

No thanks

This simple little family story is one that really warmed my heart.

I set my mind on opening my own store and after a year of researching and convincing crafters to sign leases for a store that I didn’t have an address for yet. I finally found a building with gracious owners who were willing to let me buy on a land contract and to allow me to set the monthly payments for what would fit our budget. My little family story starts inside the store as we were tearing out the layers of old walls.

The girls and I were at the store and were working on tearing the drywall down. My oldest daughter received a phone call from a friend that didn’t live far away asking her to come over and play. She politely refused the offer and then starting ripping drywall off the walls again.
A few minutes later the same girl and her mom (a friend of mine) knocked at the door of the store. We let them in and they again invited her over to play. She again refused politely saying that she wanted to stay and help. Then the mom asked her why she would rather work at the store tearing down the drywall than go play with her daughter.

I’ll never forget her answer; it brought tears to my eyes. My daughter responded to her by saying “I want to stay here and help my mom. This is her dream to have this store; she has been working on it and planning it for a long time. I want to help my mom make her dream come true.”
Those were the words spoken by my eight year old daughter who would rather work with her mom than go play and have fun with a friend. Those moments, they are the ones that I cherish.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No Order

Just so that anyone knows reading these Simple Family Stories, they are not going to be in order. I am going to write things just as they happen to come to memory. I think it would be very boring to just start at the beginning of my 20 years of being a mom and give a history. So, as I think of a particularly funny, moving, emotional, romantic, horrific or interesting story, I will share. I am going to attempt three per week, we will soon see how realistic that is. Thanks for reading and please take just a moment and leave me a comment when you read a story to let me know that you were here and what you thought. God bless.

First Fears a Young Mom's Terror

Imagine being just twenty years old and head over heels in love. That's not hard to imagine or remember. Now add to that being a newly wed and finding out your pregnant. Wow! What a great story we have all heard it a hundred times young lovers starting their family, it is an exciting fabulous experience. Many family stories start out just that way.

This one takes a turn. The very first trip to the doctor, confirms pregnancy and more. The doctor was concerned and says he is going to run a test and he will let me know the results. Life goes on because I feel fine and I'm young and happy; whatever he was worried about couldn't be that big of a deal.

Then the doctor's office called and they didn't want to discuss the test results with me over the phone they wanted me to come in to discuss it. My thought was okay, it was a privacy issue, no big deal and I set up the appointment for the next day. My husband was working so I went alone.

Still not to worried, call it young love's ignorance, or just chalk it up to blindness. I walked into the doctor's office and couldn't wait to get it over with to get back home and make supper for my husband. Then the doctor came into the room.

"I'm sorry," he says, "you have cervical cancer and may have to give up this baby to save your own life." I was dumbfounded, tears started to come into my eyes. This wasn't real, this isn't happening, he didn't just say cancer and give up the baby.

"I'd like to set up an appointment for you with a specialist as soon as possible. He will do a biopsy and let you know more about your options but I don't want you to get your hopes up." Really, hope, I think he pretty much ripped out my heart, threw it on the floor and stomped on it, hope wasn't going to be a problem. I just wanted to concentrate on breathing and not turning into a complete puddle of emotions in front of this doctor who seemed to be devoid of anything resembling concern or kindness.

It was only a ten minute drive from the doctor's office to my house but that day it took me nearly an hour to make it back home. I stopped twice to just let the sobs take over and get them out before starting to drive again. In a single moment I went from joyous newlywed bliss to my first experience with terror.

Of course when my husband came home, all he had to do was walk through the door for me to lose it and start sobbing all over again. Then came the retelling of the story and telling him about the new doctor's appointment. Always the optimist, through his own tears, he said the doctor didn't know anything, that was why he was sending me to a specialist.

It was a long two weeks before the two hour drive to the specialist and then another long two weeks before we would go back to find out more. Remember, I am pregnant and the baby is growing in me all this time. By the time we went back to the specialist I was five months along.

At that point I had pretty much made up my mind that no matter what else happened my baby was going to be born healthy. If that meant I was giving up my life for my baby's then so be it.

Well, I am very glad to announce that yes, I did have cervical cancer but my specialist said that I would be fine to have my baby and then come back and see him for surgery afterward. He couldn't promise me how that would go or if I would be able to have more but I would not need to give up my beautiful bundle of love growing inside of me.

He was born healthy and strong and now he is 19 years old, handsome, smart and wonderful. We have always been very close as I truly appreciate the fact that he is here with me at all. My first fears as a young mom quickly turned to terror but that would not stop this mother's love for her son. I had the surgery and three more children and I'm still cancer free.