Weekend at Grandma’s

As indicated by the title I am sure you have surmised that my children spent the weekend at Grandma’s. This is in fact true. You may have also felt your mind wandering to the movie Weekend at Bernie’s and are imagining that my kids had one heck of party while they propped “dead Grandma” up in a corner.

Weekend at Bernie's...image courtesy of Google images

Weekend at Bernie’s…image courtesy of Google images

In past overnight visits with Grandma this is not that far off base. My husband and I pick up the kids late morning only to find a once very tidy house looking like a tornado has swept through. The children are running around like lunatics still in their pajamas and uncombed hair throwing Cheerios and marshmallows in the air and Grandma sits in the recliner looking like death warmed over in a comatose state.

Even though my Mom raised three children herself, we were all spaced out quite a bit so she never had 3 little kids running around. My kids are all small yet so they all demand guidance, supervision and some level of help. I am somewhat accustom to the demands and expectations that this involves but am not immune to the knowledge of the amount of work and exhaustion this brings. Through the years I have developed a set of guidelines I expect my children to adhere to at home so that things run somewhat smoothly. However, when my kids go to Grandma’s house all of these rules and regulations go out the door.

My children convince Grandma that food should be doled out every hour, there is no such thing as bedtimes, clothing is optional, every toy in the house should be taken out and cleaning up is not necessary. It’s not that my Mom doesn’t try to enforce proper behaviors but after a few attempts she just gives up when she realizes the effort it would take and comes to the conclusion that it’s only for a short time and her most important duty is to keep the children alive and let them have fun.

However, this past weekend was different. When we picked up the kids, the house was tidy. The children were sitting quietly playing toys in their clothes. The came and gave us hugs and began showing us the stacks of crafts and projects they did with Grandma. Grandma looked vibrant and youthful.

I think weekend at Grandma’s was a roaring success!

We arrived back at our house at noon on Saturday and unloaded the kids from the van.

The youngest had fallen asleep on the way home so I immediately brought him up for his nap.

When I came back downstairs I found a most unusual sight. My two older children who never take naps….were sleeping! All of the kids slept all afternoon and my middle son only woke up long enough to go up to his bed and go back to sleep until the next morning.

Iris asleep on the couch Saturday afternoon

Iris asleep on the couch Saturday afternoon

Bency just fell asleep on the floor

Bency just fell asleep on the floor

Apparently, even during the most successful weekend at Grandma’s there is still no such thing as bedtimes!

There’s History in Those Love Letters

Of course I never knew my maternal grandparents when they were kids because well, that just wouldn’t be possible now would it?

Grandma & Grandpa in 1936

Grandma & Grandpa in 1936

My memories of them are when they were in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

They were extremely hard working. They were running the all-in-one store/tavern/gas station in their small town. Plus my Grandpa was a farmer raising cows and tobacco. My Grandpa was a big burly man with muscles like an ox. My Grandma was a slight little thing with a ton of energy.

When I think of my grandparents I don’t conjure up images of romance. They certainly had a union that worked and I thought of them as a great team. They raised four children together and shared plenty of hardships and victories with one another. But I’m sure I never saw them kiss or hug. I never overheard an “I love you.” There was no gift giving among the two and no elaborate anniversary celebrations.

But I know how in love they were. I have the proof. I have a handful of love letters my Grandpa wrote to my Grandma when they were courting. He was 23 and she was 17. My aunts have the originals and my mom made me a binder of copies of them all.

When my grandparents were courting my Grandpa was a school teacher in a one room school house and my Grandma was still in high school. They lived a few towns apart so were only able to see each other on the weekends.

Enjoy reading the following letter my Grandpa wrote my Grandma and see how their love started and went on to create their family and many more generations. Their legacy lives on even though they are no longer with us. I have their memories forever in my heart and I have these words to know that my family was built on true love.

March 23, 1936

Dearest Charlotte,

Well Monday is almost past and all I can say is that it was just another blue Monday.

The kids were real good to school today, and I didn’t have to keep fire either so that helped. I had a new scholar to school today. It was Bobby Crumerine. He sure is the berries. He came up to my desk and asked me why I didn’t come over and take Marie K. to town anymore. I didn’t know what to say.

Gee I wish I could come up, but I don’t know when I will get to. I think I will have to take Dad to Viola tomorrow night.

George said he wasn’t going to Viroqua any more this week so I suppose I will have to come alone.

I sure wish you were coming home this weekend. I am afraid it will be an awful lonesome weekend.

It is almost eleven o’clock and I am sitting here thinking a lot and writing a little and all I can think about right now is you.

I am just wondering what you are doing. Probably out with some darn nice guy, and thinking how foolish you were to go out with me.

You said you liked me a little, but I just had a feelin you were foolin, but I hope not for I like you so darn much. I have been wondering whether or not it was love, but I guess it can’t be for I haven’t broken out with a rash yet although I have been looking for it.

I must close for it is getting my sleepy time.

With All My Love,


P.S. Please Excuse Scribbling I can’t do better I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.

Page 1 of Love Letter

Page 1 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter


The Magical Forest Wonderland

I would like to share a little beauty from my corner of the world with everyone that I experienced this weekend. My family and I went to our local Botanical Gardens. This name does not do it justice. It is indeed botanical and a garden but if I was given the honor of naming it, I would have called it The Magical Forest Wonderland or something equally as fascinating as it really is!

This was the perfect place for kids. They could run, explore and not have to worry about breaking anything. The only minor incident that occurred was when our 5 year old Bency stepped into the koi pond. I told him he could stand on the edge and look in and apparently he heard, “step into the pond and become one with the koi.” He was slightly disturbed with his wet socks and shoes and a bit flabbergasted that I didn’t have an extra set on me but he soon got over it and began running and playing in all the beautiful glory!

The kids were disappointed to leave on Saturday so with Sunday being Grandparent’s Day I invited my Mom who has never been there to join us in one more day of nature’s beautiful splendor all encapsulated in one wonderful place!

Enjoy and have a wonderful and beautiful week!

Iris, Bency and Cesar excited to start their adventure!

Having fun running around


morning dew on the ground cover





The kids climbing a huge hill

The kids getting water from the rain barrels to water the animal topiaries

Bency water the bunny topiary

The dragonfly bridge

Cesar and Dad

Bency disgruntled with his wet shoes and socks after going into the pond

Iris on butterfly bench

The kids love the stars on the walking path

Beautiful garden art everywhere

Mr. McGregor’s garden from The Tales of Peter Rabbit

A huge maze for the kids!

a beautiful view from the tower in the children’s garden

The rainbow garden


Iris posing in the stone structure


The kids crossing a stream

The kids having so much fun running around

This is the bathroom!


another beautiful view from a different tower

The roof of one of the towers

The fairy garden

The kids waiting for the fairies to move

Nature’s artwork

Grandma spending the day with me and the kids

A door knocker on the English cottage











She Saw the Ghost of the Virgin Mary

This past Saturday we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. With my mother-in-law in town for a visit this has become our new tradition when she is here.

Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

It is a Catholic chapel set in the middle of cornfields in the heart of rural Wisconsin in a town named Champion. In 2010, it became recognized as the first Marian apparition sighting in the United States.

Outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help…notice the cornfields in back

The apparition sightings actually occurred in 1859 by a 28 year Belgium immigrant woman named Adele Brise. On her third sighting of Mary, Adele actually heard her talking to her saying,” I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.” Adele Brise was also given a mission to “gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

Adele’s father built a chapel over the sight of where the apparition appeared and Adele dedicated the rest of her life to teaching children by building a school on the same grounds.

On October 8, 1871 the worst recorded fire in history occurred. ..The Peshtigo Fire. This fire threatened the chapel but Adele Brise refused to leave and instead begged the Virgin Mary for her protection. This fire ended up destroying 1,200,000 acres of land and caused the death of nearly 2,500 people but the chapel and the people in it were unharmed. It did reach the Chapel grounds but only singed the fence that surrounded it.

People have been traveling to this chapel and its surrounding grounds for over 100 years in the form of pilgrimages and in search of miracles. Many people have claimed to be cured here… leaving crutches, hearing aids and years of blindness behind.

I do not know if these things occurred. I was not there when these things happened.

I was there on Saturday. It was a beautiful day with stillness in the air and warm sunshine. My kids enjoyed seeing the water lilies and frogs resting on the lily pads in the pond. My kids went in the chapel and prayed with their Grandma. Iris, my 7 year old, asked God to make her brave. Bency, my 5 year old asked God for a new race track. We went to the apparition sight and Grandma lit a candle. We walked around the gorgeous grounds out back filled with statues and other artifacts. Iris thought the eyes blinked on one of the statues of Mary. I think it was her imagination. To my knowledge no “miracles” occurred this day. It was just a peaceful day full of serenity, joy and my kids learning about God from their Grandma and us all enjoying the day as a family.

Frog and Lily Pad in the pond

Grandma at the apparition sight

Adele Brise’s grave site

The statue of Mary that Iris thought blinked!

Our littlest one, Cesar, enjoying all the open area to run!





The Grandma That Played Baseball

I fully believe you are born with your personality. I do believe that how you evolve and grow does come from outside influences. I think the women in your life make an impact.

I grew up with strong and fabulous women in my life.

My Grandma Charlotte ran a country, all- in- one, tavern/grocery store/gas station. She was hard working, tough, cried when she laughed and very generous with all she knew.

My Grandma Freda lived on a farm, raised a large family with no running water (outhouse and water pump outside), was extremely creative with the little she had to work with (painted designs on her linoleum when they couldn’t afford new) and was very quiet and thoughtful.

My mom has the spirit of a child, can work power tools, makes everyone feel special, is full of knowledge, is hard working, makes huge messes (she does clean them all up), plays baseball with her grandchildren and can make anything out of nothing at all.

I would like to think I have taken a little from each one. I cry when I laugh, I like being creative and I can make SOME things out of nothing at all!

My children have my mom, me and their Grandma Ramona who raised 8 children, has a lot of patience, has an uncanny ability to read people, saves every empty food container (you never know when you could run out of Tupperware with a family that big), always puts everyone’s needs ahead of her own and loves Elvis Presley.

The possibilities of how my children will end up are endless; taking pieces of their great-grandmothers, grandmas and me. In all fairness, there are flaws, poor genetic traits, plenty of bizarre quirks and of course the MEN in their life….BUT…..

I hope they are all creative and can make anything out of nothing. I hope they are all full of knowledge, hard working, and laugh until they cry. I hope they have lots of patience and like to make huge messes as long as they clean them up. I hope they save for a rainy day and can work power tools. I hope they love Elvis, can tell the good people from the bad and keep their childhood spirit forever and I hope…. THEY ALL PLAY BASEBALL WITH THEIR GRAND KIDS!

Grandma as pitcher


Grandma as hitter!