Monday, August 29, 2011

Adjusting to Kindergarten

The most depressing thing came in the mail today! Not a bill -- a BUS pass with my little baby's name on it! How is it possible that a big, yellow school bus thinks it's going to come to my house next week and whisk my precious, little baby off to school? (Isn't she the sweetest? That's her at this year's Laura Ingalls Wilder Day at the Genesee Country Village.) It's going to be an adjustment -- I hope I'm mature enough to handle it! ;) I'm taking the day off of work so that I can get her on the bus (with her older sister!) in the morning, cry my eyes out, and then get her off the bus at lunch time -- it's going to be a busy day! Wish us luck! (I'm sure she'll do great!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chalkboard Art

I have had this blank space in my living room that I just could not fill. At one point, our treadmill was there – not pretty. That moved downstairs. I have large portraits of my girls that are on one of the walls in there, I have a beautiful stained glass mirror that my aunt made us for a wedding gift, and a wrought iron wall hanging. A couple of weeks ago, right around the time that I spruced up my daughters’ old dresser, I thought of finding a chalkboard to hang above the dresser in the living room. I found a great one at (my favorite!) Hobby Lobby for only $12! I refrained from spending $9 on the pretty chalkboard markers (maybe Santa will bring those to me for Christmas!). I have been collecting some quotes and have been writing a quote or a message on the chalkboard to fit whatever is going on in our home. We just went to the Genesee Country Village for Laura Ingalls Wilder Day last weekend, so we still have “Home is the nicest word there is” – Laura Ingalls Wilder up there. When we got home from Niagara Falls, I quickly jotted, “Home again, home again, jiggity-jig” which is from a nursery rhyme. The week that the final Harry Potter movie came out in theaters, I wrote, “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling (spoken by Albus Dumbledore). This is an inexpensive piece of “art” for the home – I plan on sprucing my chalkboard up with some thicker molding and some decorative paper (I’ll be sure to take pictures!). But regardless of how fancy it is, I plan to have it always changing to reflect what is going on in our lives, and to hopefully entertain and inspire my girls. So far they are getting as much of a kick out of it as Mommy is! ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I have a bunch of little things that I have been meaning to jot down so that I don’t forget them later in life – I thought I would just list some from time to time! These are cute things that my kids do or say or other things that touch my heart in general.

- Going to Wendy’s with my 5-year-old and hearing her genuine surprise and delight when she finds a pickle in her burger and she says, “Oh! I got a prize!” So sweet, and so easy to please!

- My 10-year-old who still does “jazz hands” when her sleep is disturbed (usually by a mother’s kiss on the forehead), just like she did as a baby. I hope that someday when she is married, her spouse finds that as endearing as her mother does!

- My husband always saying, “I love you” before hanging up the phone with me, whether it’s a long conversation or he’s calling from the grocery store to ask about the shopping list! I'm always thankful for that!

- Sitting curled up on the couch after a long day, with everything picked up and my family sleeping peacefully upstairs. I always have a night watchman / “Mother Protector” feeling.

- Getting ready for a vacation and watching my girls decide what they can and can’t live without for a few days – seeing them try to make such difficult decisions as, “Should I bring the stuffed cow or the stuffed dog?” (And usually deciding – both!) is really sweet!

- Driving home from work in the summer and seeing the older men out by the town hall, playing horseshoes -- I love to hear the sound and see them in the shade of the trees, playing and having fun. It gives me a warm, small town feeling.

- The fact that my youngest thinks "Little House on the Prairie" is called "Little House on the Pringles" - I'm sure it has more to do with the prairie and their last name being Ingalls, and not much to do with the potato chips in a can... It always makes me smile!

- Getting to watch my girls and see the relationship they have as sisters -- they can bicker over Polly Pockets and Barbies, and then be snuggling together telling each other how much they love them. I frequently remind them that they will always have each other and they need to always try to be kind to each other and love each other.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reflecting at 40 / Capturing Family History

I celebrated my 40th birthday recently, with nearly a week’s vacation from work, a wonderful visit with my mom and some of our out-of-town family, an overnight trip to Niagara Falls with my husband and the kids, and a party (that I threw for myself, natch! ;) with family and a few friends. I’m feeling pretty blessed to have been able to ring in my 40th with so many of my loved ones around me, from my little 5-year-old to my nearly 90-year-old grandmother. It was wonderful to be able to spend time with aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course my mom, who now lives out of state. When everyone gathered for cake, I grabbed my camera and went around and had my picture taken with nearly everyone there! I was raised in a Kodak family – nearly my whole family (as well as myself for a time!) was employed by Kodak – so we take our picture-taking seriously! In preparation for the party, my girls and I had a great time going through old pictures and putting together two picture boards for the party.

My husband and girls bought me a new digital video camera for my birthday, which I just love! My mother bought us a Sony video camera when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, and it’s served us well these past 10 years, but technology has changed so much – this new Sony is so small that I can fit it in my purse so that I always have it on hand to capture anything at any time! And, with the digital camera, I can e-mail little clips to out-of-town family so they can share in the kids’ special moments.

Another very special gift that I received was from my Uncle Dave and Aunt Charlene – my dad’s younger brother and his wife. Uncle Dave is our family historian, and he has album upon album of family pictures, along with videos, family trees – you name it! He has been having some health problems lately, and they made the drive out for the party but couldn’t stay long. We had chatted during the party and then on his way out he took me aside to give me my gift. He handed me a gift bag and said, “You need to know where you come from to know where you are going” and in the bag was a family tree dating back to the 1600’s (!) along with something I’ll cherish for a lifetime. He had made copies of cd’s with my grandfather (who is no longer with us) talking about his life, and another cd of my grandmother telling her own stories. This touched me so much that I started crying – what a truly special gift to have for myself and for my girls and their children.

Several years ago my mother had old 8MM home movies from her childhood put onto a dvd and she gave me a copy. Having those videos of my grandparents, who have been gone since the 1980’s, is a treasure that I can’t even put into words. To be able to add to that the cd’s of my other grandparents talking about their lives – truly priceless.

Often in families, stories get passed down verbally from one generation to another. Sometimes these stories are forgotten, or details are lost in translation. I have not been one to sit down and put together a family tree – I am lucky to have family members who have done that – but I am trying make a concerted effort to write info on the backs of photos so that I am not the only one who knows who is in the picture or where and when it was taken. My uncle also emphasizes the importance of tape recording or video-taping family members telling their own stories – it is invaluable for future generations and for people interested in tracing their family history.

So, at 40, I’m reflecting where I’ve been, appreciating where I am now and the people I’m with, and looking forward to what lies ahead.