Category Archives: Family

Reverb | November | Give Thanks

Sarah and Kim have been sharing Reverb prompts and  Meredith and I are back in the saddle.  Because writing can be fun.  And we all have a lot to say.  Join us.

Give Thanks: Even in the hard years, wonderful things happen. What has filled your heart? What will fill your stomach at the Thanksgiving table?

I think that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I don’t think I really knew that until midway through college, but it is.  I am pretty sure I also read somewhere about how the Thanksgiving story wasn’t totally true at all (a quick Google search just confirmed) so I really just love that there is no actual point besides family and eating a lot of food.

I feel like every year, I read at least article deriding traditional Thanksgiving foods as being “tired” and it breaks my heart!  Stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, relish trays, all of it.  Cozy, comforting food to its very core.  Honestly, I am somewhat shocked we do not enjoy this feast more than one time in the course of the year.  I am already confident that Critter will be delighted by it too.

And lots of hand turkey art (no, seriously…LOOK).  The Truest American Art Form.  That Critter can now participate absolutely delights me.

What am I so glad for this year?  Our Boy Baby.  My husband.  Our parents.  Our siblings.  Our friends.  Our health.

We have plenty.  Enough.  An abundance.

 

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Reverb | October | Ghosts

Sarah and Kim have been sharing Reverb prompts and  Meredith and I are back in the saddle.  Because writing can be fun.  And we all have a lot to say.  Join us.

Ghosts of Octobers Past: The trees are dying and so are you. We want to know what you plan to do with your remaining years. In the alternate, tell us about your favourite dead relative.


In college, I took a creative writing class to meet my freshman writing requirement.  In the class, the instructor told us that college students write about three things, when mining their lives for experiences to retell: relationships, blackouts, and grandparents.

Grandparents.  How about that.

I remember my Grandma Juaine’s dying words to me, which were “You find your man and hold onto him” and a beseeching that I return to the Catholic Church.  As my parents rebelled and baptized us as Episcopalians and then decided to join-up with the Lutheran (ELCA) church when I was in the seventh grade (eighth?) this was the culmination of a lifelong spiritual battle for my soul.  I will confess, I was only moderately successful in these endeavors.  I did hold onto my man when I found him but instead of returning to The Church I became Jewish.

My Grandma Boots died of Alzheimer’s and a host of other medical complications and hers was a longer, slower goodbye over the course of 80 days of hospice.  There were no last wishes.  Just Dr. Peppers and Cheetos consumed en masse from the nursing home vending machine as a sort of maudlin post-Confirmation party of sorts (hand to God, I got Confirmed the night before my grandmother died) while we prayed Our Fathers around her bedside.

While I had the chance to get to know my grandmothers, into the beginning of high school and the beginning of college, it is my grandfathers that I wish I could have known more.  You see, when I married Marcus, I re-added three grandparents to my tally including two grandfathers.  Over the last eight or nine years I have gotten to love them and be loved by them.  We have shared stories and holidays and firsts.

Having lost Papa when I was barely a toddler and Grandpa at the start of third grade, I can only guess how I would have felt about them as an adult.  The conversations we would have shared, the things they would have done that would have made us crazy.  What traditions they would have been adamant about upholding. How they would have loved Critter.  How many more times I would have gone fishing with Grandpa.  What types of spiffy outfits, my jeans-despising, depression-era, subsistence-hunting Papa would have continued to don.

I know how big they loved me.  I know how big they still do.  It is the little, seemingly inconsequential things that when viewed as a whole are what I will always wonder about.

Labor Day Weekend

Since we didn’t head up to the cabin this weekend, I wanted to be sure that we didn’t “waste” the long weekend at home.  Not that it’s really possible to waste a weekend with a seven month old, but I wanted to make sure we had the chance to do some fun things.  I also didn’t want to sit around at home the entire time.  It is too easy to fall into the tired-trap. 

Behold, a list complete.


When I showed it to Marcus he thought it might be a little much (and to be honest, the only thing I really thought I was 100% guaranteed to achieve was the donuts/coffee point) but we just kept on working our way through it and by 11:30 AM today, we had accomplished our final To Do.  Going swimming.

Which is to say nothing of the pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee Marcus went to, or the yoga classes I took, or the date night we scheduled for this evening.  For those of you sitting on pins and needles at home, we are participating in our annual tradition of using my Benihana birthday coupon.  You could not out-cool us if you tried.

Were we Up North?  No.  Was it sort of weird?  Yes.  Was it nice to not have to pack all of the stuff we now need to haul for a long weekend several hours away?  Absolutely.  There is always Next Year.

Reverb 16| June | Summer Lovin’

Sarah and Kim have been sharing Reverb prompts and frankly, Meredith and I are making an effort to type blog posts again because we need a kick in the pants.

Summer Lovin’: What do you love about the summer? Do you switch up your routine? What does summer mean to you?

My summers have been about splashing.  Yes, I have the odd memory of bike rides or playing in the backyard, but from the time I was tiny, I have been in the water.  I have a swimming mother so Billy and I had to become swimmers too.

Summers at the cabin, swimming in Big Pine Lake.

End-of-summer trips to the Wisconsin Dells for 96 hours of chlorinated relaxation.

Weekly trips to Lake Independence to swim and splash with friends.

Trips to Lifetime to ride down the waterslide and bob about in a quite-overcrowded pool.

Summers spent lifeguarding on Lake Charlotte.

Canoeing.  Fishing.  Some really bad water skiing.  Kiddie pools. Sprinklers. Slip and slides.  

This is just what we did.  In the water. Out of the water. In the water again.  Days and weeks spent in swimsuits. 

While Critter is far too young to have any sort of real pool adventures, this is just one of the many things that I look forward to doing with him when he is a bit bigger.  It will be the best fun.

Friday Food Round-Up!

When my cousin Val got married eight-ish years ago, for her bridal shower gift I assembled a cookbook of recipes from all of the women in my family.  When I was in the process of getting married five years ago, my mother assembled a similar, yet different cookbook for me.  So I’ve had these cookbooks for a number of years, filled with family treasures and I have cooked from them here and there but not a great deal.

I’ve always wanted to cook through the recipes in both of them (okay, maybe NOT the recipes for chopped liver) but have always been distracted.  That project started this week because as you know, all we do these days is eat at home and try to find new ways to make dinnertime diverting :).

Monday – Auntie Kim’s Sweaterbox Chicken Salad, Salad

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Tuesday – Mom’s Slow Cooker Thai Pork Chicken Stew with Rice, Salad

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Wednesday – Auntie Kim’s Mexican Lasagna, Salad

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Miscellaneous – Earth Cookies

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5 Years

Today we have been married for five years.  This year, I have known my husband for 10.

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What an excellent adventure it has been.

 

We Went To The Cabin Again.

Happy Sunday, kittens.  I am currently sitting on the couch with my feet propped up and it is So Glorious.  We are once again at that part of Sunday where if we haven’t been lazy, we need to become The Laziest.

This weekend, we went Up North To The Cabin once more.  This was trip #5 for the season, and I know for sure I’ll be up two more times before the summer is over.  Especially now that Little Critter is on the way, I really want nothing more than to be in a place where I sleep The Best Ever, the sun is always shining, and the food is always delicious.

Marcus was actually at a camp reunion this weekend, so it was just Mom, Dad, Billy and me.  I honestly don’t know the last time we were together at the cabin just the four of us so it was a pretty special trip in that way.  Obviously, had Marcus not been at his reunion (+1s were not invited!) he would have been with us too.

The weather was frighteningly nice this weekend.  Like 80 and sunny nice.  Like Be Outside All Day-nice.

Cabin 1

The hummingbirds really had a lot of energy.  I spent a good hour on Saturday morning watching them wage war against one another.  At my last count there were a total of 10 (1o!) of them.

Cabin 2Their hatred of one another and their love of hummingbird food far outweighed any fear they had of me.

Honestly they’re hysterical, so I probably could have watched them all day, but we had other things on our agenda!

Big Pine Lake is on the Pine River and so this year, Billy decided that we should try trapping for crayfish.  Obviously we headed down to the river.  This is the dam at the end of our lake.

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And here are the traps that Billy sourced.  I sourced the chicken.  We rigged them up and then Billy took them out to the spots we identified as “acceptable.”

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Cabin 5

Cabin 6Apparently you are supposed to set the traps where the current is not.  So that is where Billy put them.  While we were wading in the river, we saw one crayfish exoskeleton and two live crayfish.  When we checked the traps on Sunday morning? No crayfish.  Lots of chicken.  Clearly, we need to refine our strategy.

The fish were biting like crazy as well.  Over three trips, Billy caught six fish, I got five.  I pulled some of my usual shenanigans like catching a fish on the first cast, or reeling in my line to fix my worm (it was not in the “weedless” position) and discovering a Northern on the other end.  Billy, of course, did his part by catching fish that were consistently bigger than mine.  You will also notice that while I am militant about documenting my fish on film, Billy is…not as militant.

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Cabin 7  Cabin 9  Cabin 11 Cabin 12

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Can we also please take a moment to discuss how lovely this sunset was?

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It was such an 11/10 backdrop for our final fishing outing of the day.  Without sounding super cliché, generally, when we are up at the cabin, I am just so thankful that we even have this place to come to.  While Billy and I were sitting in silence casting our lines with the sun setting next to us, I really felt such an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we were able to have this time together and to share this thing.  Of course, then we had to get back to shore because I knew that there was a homemade ice cream sandwich waiting for me.