Friday, December 7, 2012

Memories For My Memory Bank

As my kids are getting older I am cherishing this "simple" time with them even more. Maybe not more, but realizing how quickly this time in our lives is flying by! This year, so far, I have been able to structure our days to include some well needed fun and a lot let chaos than in previous years. I always strive for relaxed holidays but I have completely failed in that area. Last minute baking, shopping, service projects... everything seemed to always be last minute! I vowed NOT to do that this year (God willing and with many of my prayers heard, this wont happen!)

My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about Christmas! The music, mood, family, friends, giving and getting. I think I've implanted the love of Christmas adequately in their heads and I know I got this from my mom. She LOVES Christmas too! She always went all out in the house and on the house. Dad always went along drudgingly putting up Christmas lights galore! Mom always seemed to have it all together, never stressed, fire in the fireplace, Christmas music playing in the back ground. Now why couldn't I have gotten that amazing talent?   So far I have the lights up on the house, the kids were a HUGE help! This Sunday we plan to get our tree and the inside of the house is almost totally decorated for this special time of year. I even have a few Christmas gifts bought.

The kids wanted to make sugar cookies so we made the dough and I found a recipe that did not need to be refrigerated for hours before we cut!  With dough made and flour everywhere we began to cut cookies!

We really did have a fun time and I stayed calm, cool and collected! Yeah me! We iced and decorated to our hearts content! I even have dough saved for future cookie cutting... we just had that much fun! 

Here is where I got the Cookie recipe, I used two different types and they were both fabulous!
 My hope is to inspire you to create life long simple memories with your kids, the age of your kids doesn't matter (grab that teen and cut some cookies, make holiday crafts or do a service project together) and they will remember these memories far more than the gift that was given! May this be a holiday season of new beginnings for your family, just as it is for mine! ~Nicole

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cherishing The Time. A day of apple picking in Oak glen

This picture was taken at a beautiful orchard in Oak Glen, CA.  We I decided to go apple picking during the week so that the crowds would be less and therefore the trip much more enjoyable. These are things I have to think about when planning a trip with a kid with disabilities AND a 90 year old grandma!  Unfortunately on busy days they only have a small number of apples to choose from.. this day, ONE.. yes, one! I was a bit frustrated as we can get typical Red Delicious at the grocery store. However keeping in mind WE get to pick the apples, its really the experience vs. the type, everything was going to be A OK!  Grandma was also upset, she kept wanting to try the Honey apple, but I kept telling her, its the experience and spending time together!

It was quite comical to see me trying to navigate the blind (not to him) kiddo, the 90 year old grandma and make sure the princess didn't pick ALL of the apples.   Now apple picking isn't the least expensive activity to take part in.  It was $20.00 just for a small plastic bag, half (or smaller) a grocery store bag, so we shared the bag, which also meant sharing the apple picking. So within 10 minutes or so, our bag was filled and the kids were ready for our next adventure. We were off to find a good place for lunch!    There was a quaint little place in town, Apple Annie's (I think).  They were quite busy but the food was delish! I had a sandwich, and the kids had soup and grandma chose a HUGE grilled cheese!

All in all our day went amazing! I love the time spent with grandma and look forward to the holidays with many more memories made. I just pray that my kids are soaking up the things she says, does and how she treats them.  In my opinion we are on borrowed time with Grandma... This is truly a time to be THANKFUL for.  What a wonderrful day and wonderful memories to tuck into my heartstrings.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When the clock seems to be ticking...

Cherish the time that's left on it!

I LOVE remembering times when I was little. Special times like when grandpa and grandma Lee (my moms parents) would come and stay the night. I have lots of memories of family visits to our cabin in Big Bear. The many winters of dressing up like the state puff marshmallow man to go out and play in this white wonder... only to be freezing within minutes and back inside to warm by the fire.  I remember grandma use to cover our shoes in bread bags... they would go all the way up to our knees. Walking in bread bags on snow hence ice... SLIPPERY!  Grandpa died when I was 11. I will forever remember waking up and answering that phone so early in the morning. Even after papa died we would take week  end trips to grandmas house. One weekend the brave soul she was took Bryan (my younger brother) and I to Catalina island. I still can see the glass bottom boat we were on.  Oh and shopping... my grandma always took me shopping, we didn't always buy but she would always take me to look if I wanted to. One of my favorite memories were grandmas dresser drawers. She had two drawers in a dresser in the back room, and she filled them with special stuff for us. She was a school secretary so if a toy, sweater or something wasn't claimed she was able to bring it home. We would run back and see what the newest trinket would be! I also LOVED the hot tea we would have before bed. I would load mine up with sugar! I'm sure for a kid that was a great night time drink.. caffeine and sugar. funny.

Some of my fondest childhood memories were of my grandmother in Utah. This was my safe haven, my heaven here on earth, she... had the arms of an angel. This is where I was taught unconditional love. Grandma was just special, everything about her was, to  me perfect!  Grandma loved her garden and I loved helping her in it eating all the raspberries we would gather. Oh and she also had a nectarine tree. I would help to pick the nectarines off the tree, not sure how much of these fruits actually got inside the house! Grandmas table was always set impeccably. It had a table cloth, cloth napkins, glass glasses to drink out of and every meal had fresh flowers. Now when I was there, the flowers often times sat on a plate because now really, don't you just pick off the pretty top? Summers were heaven in Utah. We would go camping in the Canyon and take the old (it was really old although I never knew it!) camper and truck and drive up and find a spot right next to the river! I still remember hearing the water rush at night. I remember my parents came once and we were roasting marshmallows and as always one caught fire and my brother flinged it to get the fire out and swoosh within no time it was flying in the air. And then it was gone... and plop, it fell. right. on. my. head! oh the sticky, sugary, mess. I was laughing so hard! I'm sure my parents didn't think it was nearly as funny. I also remember the yummy homemade jam from the raspberries and nectarines, some had pineapple, some had cherries... didn't matter what, they were all wonderful.  I also remember how grandma cooked red meat. Now if you didn't know that "red"  meat started out as a pink color, you'd never find out at grandmas house because she cooked that meat until it was leather! Bacon.. was crispy burnt. Now I LOVE bacon, however didn't love that bacon. Grandma would start cooking the minute she got up. We would have breakfast made when we woke up and  you could smell the wonderful aroma clear in the basement. It was pure Love. I think I learned this from grandma, food and family = Love. by the time breakfast was over and dishes were done. Grandma was already taking things out for lunch. Papa would eat earlier in the morning (and of course a bite or two with us when we got up) so he was hungry for lunch earlier than the rest of us. Grandma would fix his sandwich and then when he was done, we were ready to eat. Grandma NEVER showed signs of frustration but gee.. how could she not have been? I know i would have been, and this is where I see her LOVE. She did this and did it with love and gratitude. Thankful to have us there, thankful to have us to cook for. I really need to keep her in mind more often when I am frustrated in the kitchen.

This post started when I was reminiscing about my childhood and looking through all the old  pictures to do a memory board for my Grandma Lee's Birthday. This weekend is her 90th Birthday! NINETY! WOW. She gets a gold metal, a star.. heck what ever she wants! I am so blessed to have her with us still. To be a part of our lives and for my kids to remember her. I pray that they have good, strong and lasting memories! I'm striving to create some "stand out" memories for them to remember her by!
So anyways, I'm going through old photos and boy is it hitting me. How very little time I have left with her. How every phone call needs to be cherished. Every visit ingrained in my brain. Remember to focus on the positive and let go of any critical comments (i mean shes 90, she had to be feisty to stay around so long!)  But really shouldn't we be doing all this anyways? Why did it have to take until I felt I was running out of time for all this to really be at the forefront of my mind? Yes, i had my kids, I had work.. etc. etc. you'll always find something to do. Make an effort, a true, real, heartfelt effort to spend time with those you love. You never know when that phone call... hug... visit will be your last. 

I am planning on some small local trips with her. On Oct. 5th the kids don't have school so I thought it would be the perfect day for a short get away up to Oak Glen. We are going apple picking. Grandma said she has never been out there, and the kids enjoy it there. Perfect memory maker!  I also thing we will go and spend a weekend with her, or a day when school is not in. I mean, she IS 90... I could do the driving to Long Beach!  and speaking of driving yes, even at 90 she is still driving! she drives good, is of good mind, has good hearing, good health. We have been truly blessed!  So stay tuned for more posts on our trips and of her birthday.

Grandma Thank you for always Believing in me, Encouraging me and Loving me!