Friday, May 29, 2009

Dist. 2

Last weekend when we were visiting my parents the kids and I went for a short drive. While we were cruising the countryside, my boys wanted to know where I went to school as a child. Well here it is......

This is Giles School District #2. My grandparents went here in the early 1900s. My dad in the 50s and my brother and I in the 70s and 80s. It didn't look this shabby when I was in attendance during the 70s and early 80s. It was kept up, painted, and the yard was mowed. It has been empty now for well over 10 years. It is so sad to see it in its present state.

Brace yourself....when I was in kindergarten....now mind you, I am not that old.....there was not indoor plumbing and if you had to use the "facilities" you had to go out to the outhouse. So we wouldn't get lost or fall in, we had to ask an eighth grader to escort us to the outhouse. Not the most pleasant experience during the winter. Fortunately, by the time my first grade year started restrooms had been added on....one for the boys and one for the girls. If you look closely you can see the small addition on the back side of the building.

I went to this school house all the way through to the eighth grade. There were only 8 students and 4 of us were Madsens....my two cousins, my brother and myself. Our teacher was Mrs. Snyder. She was really strict. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but now think of her as one of my favorite teachers.

School started at 9:00 am. At 10:30 we would have a 15 minute recess. Lunch was at 12:00. Then we would have a 15 minute recess at 2:30 and dismissal was at 3:30.

I just noticed the other day that some things were missing from school yard. I haven't traveled down that road in a long, long time. In the middle of all that green grass, there used to be an enormous swing set that someone at some point in time had fashioned out of pipes. Sounds strange but it was really sturdy. There were 4 swings and a tire swing and on either side of the swings were bars you could climb on....the low bars and the high bars. Just past the swing set were two teeter totters. It was always our goal to get ourselves to balance on them and see how long we could stay perfectly still. We also had a flag pole that we flew the flag from each and every day and one of us would go out and get everyday at 3:25. We always took great care to fold it into a triangle with stars on the outside. The flag pole was also our base when we played hide and seek. Not only did we play endless games of Hide and Seek, but also Tag, Andy Over, Red Rover, kick ball and softball.
Just on the other side of these trees we built a small fort by picking up sticks and carefully stacking them on top of one another making the walls. The minute we were let out for recess....we would head to the fort. So many memories. As I sit here and type, a flood of memories come back......things I haven't thought of since I walked out the door of the school for the last time in 1983.

There used to be several country schools in the area. Dist. 1, 2, 13, 18, and 81. I remember when Dist. 18 closed. I was only 7 or 8 at the time. An auction was held to sell off the property and I remember how sad everyone was. It was the beginning of the end of an era. We used to do several activities with Dist. 1 as they were only a couple miles away. We had a soft ball game with Dist. 81 once and several country schools got together for a few years and sponsored a track meet. My little country school and Dist. 81 are the last ones standing. All the others are gone.

I wouldn't trade any of my elementary experiences for the world. So many wonderful childhood memories happened at Giles School Dist. 2 and are great stories to share with my children.

S

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day

When I was a kid, Memorial Day was one of my favorite holidays.
This little country church is just 3 miles from where I grew up, down a dusty country road. My dad attended this church when he was a young boy, but it closed in the 50s and he and my grandparents started to go to church in town.

Although the church was officially closed, every Memorial Day a special service would be held. There would be a guest minister who would come out and conduct the service. One year I said the Gettysburg Address, which was amazing because I was painfully shy. My grandmother would play the hymns for the service on the piano. I loved to watch her play....her fingers would fly over those keys. She made it look so effortless.

The little church was packed with people from the community, and some who had left but
would make a point to come back and attend this service. I loved how everyone came together.

After the service, homemade cookies, lemonade, and coffee were served and everyone would mix and mingle and walk through the adjoining cemetery visiting loved ones they had lost.

For the last 35 or so years, my dad has had the honor of putting up flags on the graves of fallen soldiers and veterans at our little country cemetery. The Friday before, we would pile in the pick up, head to the cemetery and my brother and I would race around and see who could put up the most flags. We always had to do this the Friday before so those who came to cemetery prior to Memorial Day were sure to see their loved ones graves decorated. It amazing how many soldiers and veterans a small farming community produced....my dad included.

My favorite part of the morning was after the service. My friends Susan, Sandra, and I would roam the cemetery while our parents chatted with neighbors.

This is one stone we walked by at least a million times. My grandparents were planners and had their plot purchased and this stone put up about 30 years ago. I always thought it was a little morbid to still be alive and walk by your own stone, but they didn't see it that way.

In all my years of roaming the cemetery, I never thought I would see this. In a corner of the family plot, not too far from my grandma, is our first child who was born at rest. It is comforting to know that he is in such a beautiful, peaceful place and that my grandmother is up there taking care of our Maddie.


I love to stand there on the hill and just take in the views. Every once in a while you will see a small herd of deer roaming through the fields. I especially like to go and listen to the wind rustle through the trees and just soak up the peacefulness of the country.


Memorial Day services are no longer held in our little country church and it has stood empty for years falling victim to vandalism. Soon there will be new life breathed into that church. It is currently undergoing restoration which will bring it back to its original glory and will be available for weddings.....getting ready for future generations to create their own memories of this little country church.

S

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Weekend at the Farm

We went to the farm this weekend to spend time with my parents and to just plain kick back and relax! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being there. It's so nice getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

We pulled up in the drive way and this little scene was waiting for us. So serene!

I swear, my mom could put Martha Stewart to shame!

Here is the trademark red barn. Right now it is the home to 3 little calves my dad is bottle feeding because their mothers abandoned them. It's sad but it happens. My kids love to go out with Brupa and help feed those little calves. Especially Chi-Chi....he loves to anything as long as he is with his Brupa.
"Joe Cool" (Brupa) took a short break from his chores to spend time with two of his granddaughters. They love being with Brupa, but I think the feeling is mutual.

By the way, my dad always has those sunglasses on...always...even when he is inside. They are so scratched up, it is amazing he can see anything at all.

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a 3 wheeler that my cousins and I would spend hours on tearing around their farm. Boy, did that make my mom a nervous wreck! Now, I can see her reasons for concern as we were more concerned about the "ride" than any one's safety. It's amazing that we still have all of our limbs. I guess what goes around comes around because today, my parents have this Gator....and the kids love it. Me? Not so much. They love to go for rides and are constantly begging for someone to take them out and about. Today my mom is the chauffeur. My niece and nephew are the blondies...the dark headed one is my oldest.


We loaded up the kids in the Gator and ventured down the road.

My niece is so funny. As long as the Gator was moving she would sing at the top of her little lungs...making it all up as she went along. Then we would stop, and so would the singing. We'd go....singing....stop....no singing! Hilarious!

Once we returned from our little "road trip" we had to go see the horses.

More than anything as a little girl, I wanted a horse. I mean I really, really, really wanted a horse. Never did get one! My how things change once grand kids enter the picture. There are horses all over the place!

Candy is another thing ......went grocery shopping and my mom actually had candy on the list. There was never candy on "the list" as I was growing up. What is this strange power that grand kids have over their grandparents????

They are such beautiful creatures....the kids can't wait to ride them!

From there we went to "Sherwood Forest". What a hot spot! When the weather is nice we roast marshmallows in the fireplace and feast on s'mores.

Doesn't this look like a wonderful place to just let your imagination run wild? The boys love to go out their with their plastic swords. They are the nights and Oma (my mom) is the Queen and they protect her from all things evil in Sherwood Forest. They have an absolute blast!

I know what you are thinking....."If this is such a hot spot, where are the kids?"
Well, just as everyone jumped out of the back of the Gator, my brother pulled in with the mowers and the kids took off and hopped on the trailer and rode it to the shed.

Yes, my kids are actually riding on lawn mowers on the back of a moving trailer. And you are saying...."The Gator looks a lot safer than this!" A) I was yelling for them to get off..but couldn't be heard over the roaring of Uncle Benny's truck and B) Uncle Benny was barely moving.
After a long day of playing with cousins, Gator rides, doing chores with Brupa, and roaming Sherwood Forest, it was time to go to bed. My kids were beat! They got to sleep on air mattresses in the den and were absolutely thrilled with the idea. They were sawing logs within minutes!

Q-T is an early riser. She hasn't quite figured out that mommy likes to sleep in on the weekends. Is that too much to ask of a 6 month old? Anyway, since I was up, I was able to watch sunrise through the grove of trees.

My grandparents used to live where my parents do now. My grandma always called the group of trees across the driveway "the grove". We would go on adventures with her through the grove, and every now and then we would have bonfires there. She would be so sad to see it now. It used to be packed with cottonwood trees. Through the years they have slowly disappeared to where there are only a few left. Some of those trees have to be at least 100 years old. If only they could talk.....the stories they'd tell.

Once everyone was up we gathered around the table for a hearty breakfast.


This is "The Law's" favorite place at the table. While we were all eating our breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hash browns....she crawled down from her chair and planted herself under the table in the center circle....just as happy as a two year old could be.

These two black lumps are actually cows grazing. They have all the sweet grass they could dream of eating. Imagine being able to eat all the food you want and not have to worry one bit about our weight. In fact the fatter you are the more attractive you are.

Then there is this guy! He has three other buddies in another pen. In two weeks they will get to mix and mingle with all the female bovine creatures and have their way with them, so to speak.
He's not too aggressive, however two of his buddies apparently couldn't wait the two weeks and jumped the fence, literally jumped the fence, to get in with the girls a little early. My dad was not a happy camper. He not only had to go chase them back into their pen, but he now has to repair the fence they took down.
When my grandparents lived on the farm this was a working windmill. I can still hear the squeaking of the wheel as the wind blew. Today, the top is gone and this tree has decided to branch out through the remainder of the frame.

My dad is a John Deere man. Everything he owns is John Deere. He has had this tractor for years. I can still see him flying down the road with his blonde hair flapping in the wind. Hey, it was the 70s and it was stylish to have hair that would flap in the wind.

Today I will leave you with this picture of my niece Mac. She is incredible! An endless ball of energy! And does she ever love to sing! Her song of choice Sunday was, "I Love Rock n' Roll". She bee-bopped around all day singing, "I love rock n' roll! Put another dime in the juice box baby!"

My version is, "I love Mackie Jo! She's so silly and she's so crazy!" Of course I get corrected and redirected to the "juice box".

What a great weekend!
S

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chi-Chi

Anytime I have my camera in hand, Chi-Chi is the first one to volunteer to have his picture taken.


The thing is....this is what he likes to do. He is not the serious type.
In case I haven't told you already, Chi-Chi is our funny guy.

The minute his picture has been taken, he runs over and wants to see how it turned out.

Then he does this.

He tries to out do the previous picture.


It's a never ending cycle.



But he sure does keep us laughing!
S

Look Who Is Sitting Up!

Look who is sitting up!!! At 5 1/2 months Q-T has gained a new level of independence, and she is absolutely loving it!

She has been trying for weeks to get herself into an upright position....she always has to be a part of the action and hates lying on her back and not being able to see everything that is going on!


Notice her eyes. "I see spots! I see nothing but yellow spots floating in the air!" (Flash had just gone off.)


She's got that tongue hanging out of her mouth......concentrating so hard on maintaining that balance.


Congratulations Q-T! I am so proud of you!


Just one question.....Why are you in such a hurry to grow up?

Love you with all of my heart-
Mom

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Girl

This is my girl.
I am absolutely amazed by her. By everything she does. By everything she says.

She is my ray of sunshine each and every day!

I get lost in her eyes.
I love it when her little hand slips into mine, or when she snuggles up next to me in the chair, looks at me and says, "I love you Mommy!" Moments I wish would last forever are when I pull her out of bed in the morning and she wraps her arms around me. Then she gives me a big squeeze, and I feel her little hand giving me "love pats" on the back.
I could stay holding her like that forever........I want the feeling and images of these moments to last a lifetime. Kids just grow up way too fast.

She is my dream come true!

S

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can't Get Enough of Q-T!!!

video
Look at my baby! She has absolutely been a complete joy to all of us. Yes, there are those moments. For instance, at 2 a.m., when all I want, more than ANYTHING in the world, is a full night's sleep....she looks at me with those beautiful brown eyes, gives me a little "coo" and flashes a smile, then her little hand reaches up and touches my face. My heart just melts. It makes those little "interruptions" worth it. She's not up for very long. Twenty minutes tops. However, I find myself staying up at least an hour....watching her sleep, feeling her breathe, simply holding her....just taking her all in.

She is growing up way too fast!

S

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Computer

What did I ever do 10 years or so ago without a computer???? I haven't been able to blog, upload pictures, or check my beloved email for 3 days and it has been killing me!!!!! I can live with out my cell phone and without TV, but I find it extremely hard to make it a day without being able to do something that is computer related!!!!!
But, now I am back and will have to make up for lost time!
S

Q-T's Playmate

Every Wednesday my friend, Kim, and I try to get together. We have been friends for YEARS, and have had bad habit of letting too much time go in between our get togethers, so we decided to have a standing date from now until one of us up and dies.

Kim has 3 kids...as opposed to my "millions of kids" as she so tenderly put it one day. Among her three kiddos is this little cutie pie....LuLu. (All of her kids are cute by the way.....there's just something about being a baby that makes one "extra cute".)

She was all over Q-T. Q-T was a captive audience and had no where to go. (Sorry Uncle Rob.....I know you hate exersaucers......but in our house, it is the one place I can put her and know that no one will sit on her, use her as a pillow, or as a baby dolly.

They had so much fun and just looked at each other and laugh and laugh and laugh!!!! LuLu tried to teach Q-T the ins and outs of the exersaucer. Luckily, Q-T hasn't used any of her new found tricks. I think she knows that is the safest place for her as well!

They couldn't be more opposite....LuLu blonde hair...blue eyes. Q-T brown hair...brown eyes. But they are already the best of friends.


I think we'll be getting this same look in a few years....."What party? What are you talking about?"
Although I, personally, would never know anything about parties or anything like that. Even my own mother would say I was always on the straight and narrow.........I think. Wouldn't you Mom?

Getting back on the straight and narrow path-
S