Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Well Loved

Most children have a certain something that they love, an item that soothes when the going gets tough. It may be a blanket, thumb, pacifier, stuffed animal or doll.

My oldest had a beanie baby that her aunt Sharon gave her when she was just a baby. My second would suck on her two fingers, and to this day when stressed, if you know what to look for, you can see her hand rush to her face--then stop.

My third had a blanket his grandmother made and I mended and remended a number of times over the years. His future wife kept it safe for him while he was gone for two years serving a mission for our church.

My fourth child carried a quilt my grandmother made, it had embroidered panels of the three kittens on the yellow and brown pieced top.

My fifth had a soft blanket with perfect corners that he loved to suck on, trying to get that thing away from him to wash it was quite the act.

My youngest had a blanket that fell into shreds. He would take the shreds and wrap them around his wrists--that was just a bit worrysome.

While visiting with my oldest the last few weeks I saw the children dragging around the most well loved doll the world has ever seen. The face looks dirty from being almost worn off, the hands are threadbare and the ribbons are now sheer.

My son in law was preparing for an extended business trip and my daughter was stressed. Soon I noticed that worn out pink doll in her hands, she was rubbing the ribbons as she has done since she was a baby. As we talked about "Pinky" we remarked that this is about the 4th doll she has had--all exactly the same.

My granddaughter has just spent the last 15 minutes looking for that little pink doll, she might find it in her mother's bed, being snuggled by her sister. It is time to go to the old doll shopping place, ebay, to see if there is one last doll out there, that is where we found this one.

Each of us has a certain thing, memory or place that we can go to that will bring us solace during tough times. For my daughter it is her pink doll. For my grandson it is his stuffed dog, for my grandmother it was her scriptures.

Where do you turn for peace??

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food for the Soul

While we are visiting in different countries we like to eat the local food. I learned that I love cabbage when cooked the Czech way, and that polish dumplings are delicious. When we went to Italy a few years back we were treated to some of the most delicious home cooked meals, so much food to fill and over fill a hungry soul.

Germans are not famous for their delicious food, but while in Germany my husband cannot get enough currywurst with pommes frites covered in mayonnaise. We went to a gaust haus for a quick lunch last week and my mouth is still watering over the yummy mashed potatoes they served me.

When we visit my son Michael we enjoy the fresh doughnuts for breakfast. At Cara's we enjoy SAS cupcakes. The yogurt at Shawna's comes in a jar and is smooth and yummy.

Food is a great way to gather people and make a memory. Long after the experience is over you can recall the taste and smell, remembering people, places and conversations.

I love to cook for my family, gathering them around my grandmothers table, serving up a slow cooked roast dripping in gravy with creamy mashed potatoes on the side.

Shawna and I were talking about meal planning the other day and favorite foods that the children enjoy. Victoria declared that her favorite food is found in Grandma's kitchen (thank you for the ego boost my beautiful girl). I must agree with her because my memory of favorite childhood foods are those that came out of my grandmother's kitchen--including German Chocolate Cake.

Good food, good memories.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We are visiting our daughter and her family who live in Germany.

It has been quite cold and that smattering of left over snow that was on the ground when we arrived still has a few black piles lurking in corners of town. It rained and snow mixed a few times over the last week, but a pretty snow blanket has yet to fall for us.

We wear our coats, hats, scarves, gloves and boots, because it is cold. It rains on us and the wind blows. Through it all we travel and sight see, we take the children to school and run errands. We enjoy every day living with our daughter where going to the grocery store is a cultural experience.

We rented a car over the weekend and traveled with the family to Poland. We walked in the rain around piles of black snow and ice mounds to see fairytale cities then stopped to ooo and aaa over the pretty pottery.

When my husband was stationed here 40 years ago he lived 7 hours away from where Shawna lives. We thought we would return from Poland with the family and then take the rental car off on our own and continue across the country to see the sights he has promised to show me since I met him. We had a nice 3 day get away planned.

We woke up this morning and put the clean laundry into the suit case. Kissed little ones good bye as they headed off to school. We were working on breakfast and last minute details when it happened. First a flake or two, then twenty seven, then a thousand and twenty seven flakes fell. So many flakes that in 10 minutes it laid a beautiful blanket on the ground. Picture post card pretty.

We were going to be cutting it close to make our destination by nightfall. The snow is so pretty and it would be fun to play snow balls with the grand children. Maybe traveling this summer across the country would be smarter, we could take the family with us.

It has been decided. We will return the car and enjoy the snow with the grand children this afternoon when they come home from school. We will reschedule our trip for our visit this summer. Maybe the grass will be green and flowers will bloom as we drive across the mountains and enjoy the sights of Germany.

Snow has fallen and it is beautiful. It is a lovely day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beautiful Bikes

As we made our way home after our trip we stopped to visit our daughter who lives 3 hours away from us. She helped me order two beach cruisers.

I remember when I got my first bike, my uncle brought it to our house in his car, it was in the back seat. He sent me out to the car to see what I could see. The bike was blue and I was surprised. I remember my dad pushing me down the street and helping me learn how to push the brakes. I drove miles and miles on that bike.

As a teenager I was too cool for a girls bike, I rode a guys 10 speed--orange--for many years. When the kids were little my bike sported a kids seat where my little guy sat. My husband had a matching seat on his bike for our other little guy to ride in while his 4 siblings rode their bikes between us. I felt like a mother duck as we rode along the road on our regular family bike rides, we had a lot of fun.

We tried biking again a few years back but it was short lived--out of shape, busy roads and limited free time--not as much fun as we thought it was going to be.

Cara got a beach cruiser last year and has enjoyed it very much. I rode it one day, had a good time, and have been thinking about it ever since.

Cara helped me find the website. We searched the bikes and varieties. Yes, the 7 speed for sure, I need the ride to be easy. Pink is sure pretty, but the mint green is refreshing, while white would never clash, but it might get dirty looking....mmmm so many possibilities.

We finally settled on the shiny black with white walls on pink rims, a big white basket and little bell completes the picture.

He was busy watching a football game with his son in law. As I spoke he took little notice of the conversation, stopping to give an opinion when pressured.

He liked the matte black with black walls on silver rims--the brown seat with brown handle grips is UGLY, the white walls are sissie looking. As it turned out the black walls and silver rims were sold out and he had to settle for white walls on red rims with his matte black bike. No bell--that is sissie, he would rather yell at the people as he passes. If we can find a luggage rack, he might agree to that.

The bikes came in the mail--almost as much fun as receiving the washer and dryer in the mail. We put them together then took them over to the local bike shop to get the brakes and derailers adjusted. There were $7,000 bikes in that shop, we felt a little silly. But, our bikes are just what we wanted--big fat spring loaded seats for mature bodies. Tall wide handle bars so we can sit up straight and see where we are going.

We mounted the bike rack to the back of our Camry, loaded up those two beautiful bikes and drove over to Tobacco Road. The first day we rode for 3 miles, it started to rain but we didn't care. My face hurt from smiling so big.

The second time we took the bikes out we rode for 7 miles, it was a sunshiny day and I wore my big floppy brimmed hat. We passed a swampy area where the beavers put up dams and flooded the area. There was a group of geese having a noisy discussion. Again my face hurt from smiling so big.

Yesterday we were unable to take the bikes out so we rode them through the neighborhood. Up and down the hills, squealing like two little children sneaking away for a few minutes freedom before returning to the work at hand.

They are not your normal bikes. We are not your normal people. We are not wearing spandex or helmets, but a floppy hat and a great big smile.