Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Memory: A Year of Mondays

I haven't been consistent this year with a lot of things. I didn't log as many miles running as I'd planned, nor did I break up the tacos-spaghetti-soup dinner routine we've been comfortable with. But I did crank out a memory every single Monday of 2013, and I'm kind of proud of that. Granted, some were short and sweet, but every week there was something recalled and written.

I've enjoyed this weekly walk down memory lane, and even compiled some of my favorites into a book I just gave my Mom and Dad for Christmas, but I know my limits and I know what I can and cannot do, and with a new baby, I'm not going to commit to weekly postings in 2014. (It's a funny coincidence how my due date lines up so nicely with the calendar, isn't it?) However, I still have stories to share and pictures to scan, so I'm shooting for at least one per month. I still want to tell you about 4-H sewing, the awesome rigs I drove in high school, making a game out of locking my brother and sister in the horse trailer, and dance class, so this series is far from over - it's just slowing down while our family adjusts to our sweet new addition.

I did think it was important to list and catalog all the post from 2013 in one place, and sort them by category. So, If you've missed a few, or want to recall a favorite, here you go:

-My Last Livestock Show
-Cousins and Pigs
-Logan the Dog
-My First (and Second) Pig
-Bottle Babies

School and Sports
-The time I got sent to the Principal's office
-"That Place"
-The Baseball Years
-I was a High School Cheerleader
-High School Cross Country
-I'm with the Band
-I Used to Play Basketball
-First Day of School
-Another First Day Pic

Family and Traditions
-Christmas at Grandmas
-Advent Calendars
-The Time my Sister got Hit by a Car
-Trick-or-treating and Taxes
-Grandpa Bud
-Washington DC
-Baby Sister
-Kids at Christmas and Lost Memories
-Poster Children for the late '80s
-My Blue Brother
-Birthday parties
-Henry's Lake
-Our Mother's Day Tradition
-Nearly 4 years of Motherhood
-Billy Bob Teeth
-Sausage Makin'
-Incarcerated Kids
-Kiddie Pool in May
-Pie Eating Contest

-Hospital Stay at Christmas
-Cinnamon Toast Crunch and our Wedding
-The Silly Hat
-Dress Shopping
-The Lid Drawer
-Happy 4th of July
-Epic Cake Smash
-Bad Hair Days 2
-My Last 1st Date
-Bad Hair Days 1
-Scenes from the Children's Museum
-Little Girls in Blue Dresses
-Wild Waters

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Memory: Christmas at Grandma's

Christmas is in TWO DAYS! Yep, if you haven't bought it or cooked it yet, your time is limited, so get busy.

However, I don't want to write about the hectic and crazy Christmases that we experience now as adults, I want to hearken back to a simpler time, a time when Christmas just magically appeared. You know, those awesome Christmases when I was a kid.

On my Dad's side, I have 10 cousins, making 13 of us in total. And pretty much every year until I was 12 (when our nuclear family moved 500 miles away) we'd all spend Christmas evening at my Grandma Carol's house. This meant a horde of children would convene in my Grandma's living room and tear open package after package after package. The wood floor would become covered in discarded paper and bows. One year when my younger cousin Joel was only a few-month-old rolling baby, we actually lost him under the sea of wrapping paper. I remember an aunt or grandmother stopping the chaos so we could find the lost baby. Joel was, of course, fine, although he had rolled farther than we figured he could. I saw pictures of last year's Christmas at Grandma Carol's, and I was so very happy to see the joyful mess continues.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you take a minute or two to remember the carefree Christmas times of your childhood and do your part to create those same types of memories for your kids. As I am learning, they really do grow up so fast, and they will never be this little again.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Memory: Hospital stay for Christmas

Christmas is only (gasp!) NINE days away. I still have shopping to do, a menu to plan, and oh yeah, a baby that could come at any time. I'm not stressing all that stuff though, because all that is peanuts and of little consequence. After the scare we had last week (car accident - I'll write about it later) I am grateful for the health and safety of my family and everything else shadows in comparison to that.

I am also reminded of a Christmas 28 years ago. I was only six years old and can't remember much about it, but I do know my wee, 4-month old baby brother spent it in an incubator in a local hospital.
(This is my baby brother, Kasey, being held by our Grandma Carol. He must have been on the mend when this picture was taken because for the first couple of days he pretty much had to stay in the plastic bubble.)

Shortly before Christmas Kasey came down with a horrible cough that turned into full-blown pneumonia. It's scary enough in adults, but downright terrifying in infants and small children. Kasey's case must have been bad, because I remember my mom taking him to the local doctor, and then directly to the hospital. I remember my mom and dad talking in hushed and hurried voices, probably trying to hide their fears from their six- and three-year old daughters.

I think I only got to visit Kasey in the hospital once, on Christmas Eve. I was a little scared to see my baby brother enclosed in clear plastic, but cheered to see his little crib festively decorated for Christmas. My mom explained that some of the nurses and volunteers had gone through and put up ribbons and bows on all the baby's incubators and Santa Claus came through and gave gifts to all the kids spending Christmas in the hospital.

Kasey was released from the hospital a little after Christmas, his lungs fully recovered. As far as I know, his Christmastime hospitalization had no permanent effects on his health. It does, however, serve as an important reminder that when we're asking for gifts, or writing out our wish lists, we should never fail to be thankful for our healthy and safe families.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Memory: The time I got sent to the Principal's office

(Again, sorry for another Monday Memory with no picture. Not what I envisioned when I began this series, but this story is important and needs to be told. I trust you all to use your imaginations to fill in the visual details.)

Did I ever tell you about the time in middle school I was sent to the Principal's office for fighting?
I didn't think so.

When you think of me, as an adult, or as an adolescent, you probably don't picture me as a fighter. And really, I'm not. I appreciate being able to de-escalate situations and conflicts with calm and rational discussions, but well, sometimes that just doesn't happen.

I've previously written about my dislike of middle school band, and this story isn't about band, but occurred on the way to band class. The music building was actually located across the street from the main school building. The elementary grades were escorted over by a teacher, but middle- and high-schoolers were trusted to walk over by themselves. (Looking back on it now, how more altercations didn't occur, is a small miracle. Antsy middle schoolers + no supervision = disasters waiting to happen.)

The boys in my class were going through a "phase" (some call it a phase, I call it being jerks) where they thought it was soooooo funny to walk up behind a girl and snap her back bra strap. Many of the girls in my class were going through a "phase" (some call it a phase, I call it being ditzy) where they would pretend to be horrified, and then laugh and flirt with the boy who snapped their bra strap. I found the entire ritual to be disturbing and inappropriate. (Yeah, I was most assuredly NOT popular in middle school.)

While walking over to band one afternoon, I heard one particularly annoying boy rush up behind me. I quickly turned around and told him if he ever touched me or snapped my bra, I would hit him in the face. He laughed and said some degrading and inappropriate comment about me not even needing to wear a bra, so there wouldn't be anything to snap anyway. The entire class laughed at that and I felt pretty embarrassed and belittled.

We got to the band room and another, younger class was coming out. The annoying boy chose that moment to pull my back bra strap and snap it, so hard that the back clasp actually broke. I didn't think and just reacted by turning around and slapping him across the face, hard. The slap was audible and loud. The teacher escorting the other class out saw me slap the annoying boy and marched us both to the Principal's office. None of us said anything, and I really thought I was going to be in the biggest trouble of my short life.

I think I was called in to talk to the Principal first. I knew, I knew that I was right to be mad that a boy had touched me in a way I was not okay with, but I didn't know if the Principal would believe me or not, and I was sure I would be in trouble for fighting, even if the cause was just. The Principal just listened to me describe what happened and then sent me back to class. I passed by the annoying boy on my way out and noticed a perfect hand-shaped welt on his left cheek. I was silently proud of myself for hitting him that hard. He did not come back to class, that day, or for the next three days.

That evening at home I was gathering my courage to tell my mom and dad what happened, when they got a phone call. The Principal was calling to tell them what happened, but not to get me in trouble. Instead he was calling to assure them that he was taking this matter very seriously and that the annoying boy would not be bothering me any more, and all the boys in my class, would be getting a special "talking to" about their behavior. I think my parents were a little confused at first because I hadn't yet told them about what happened. When I did tell them, they weren't mad at all. They agreed that slapping someone shouldn't be my go-to conflict resolution strategy, but that this particular situation demanded it. They were also proud that I stood up for myself even though is was not the popular thing to do. I was instructed to let them know if anything like that ever happened again, because it was not okay, it was not funny, and it should not continue.

Well, my righteous indignation earned me zero popularity points in the school the next day. The annoying boy had been suspended for three days and all the boys were put off that they had to meet with the Principal about their behavior. I was pretty much blamed for ruining years and years of normal middle school fun. What I didn't understand then, or even now, is how this behavior had gone unchecked for so long? How had girls been putting up with this, laughing it off for all this time? Surely I wasn't the first who felt violated and uncomfortable when her bra was snapped by a gross boy. I couldn't have been the only girl in my class who wanted to walk to class and not be assaulted.

I didn't figure out the answers then, and I haven't now. I am grateful that our Principal saw the situation as more than girl-slaps-boy and really worked to get to the root of the problem. I know many schools (for good reasons) have a zero tolerance policy for fighting, suspending all involved regardless of the reasons behind the involvement, and I suppose I would have been punished alongside annoying boy if our school had that policy. But I like to think I would have done it anyway.

Lana Jean (and baby girl), if you're reading this now, know this; If you're ever in a situation that makes you uncomfortable and diplomacy fails, and your authorities are failing, handle it how it needs to be handled. If that means slapping a boy to get his gross hands off you, then slap him with all the strength you've got. Maybe just go ahead and punch him while you're at it. Yes, your school probably has a zero tolerance policy for fighting, but you let Daddy and I worry about that. If they think a sweet girl slapping a boy is a bother, just wait until they deal with that sweet girl's parents.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Memory: Advent Calendars

It was a tradition growing up that my mom would buy us three kids these paperboard advent calendars. Each little square was labelled with a date, and on that date, you were allowed to open it up and eat the little chocolate piece inside. Of course, we would eat our chocolate first thing in the morning, because at Christmastime, chocolate for breakfast is completely acceptable, right?

I don't know if the same was true for my siblings, but my mom even sent me one each year when I was away in college. It was really nice having this little piece of home to open up while getting ready for class in my dorm room.

Well, when I saw this particular advent calendar in the grocery store this evening, I just had to buy it for Lana. It's time she got to enjoy chocolate with her breakfast in the days leading up to Christmas just like her mommy did years and years ago.
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