What They Will Remember

As a small child I began my love of art and drawing.

My favorite and earliest memories were drawing with my mom each night at the kitchen table.

She would provide me with brown grocery store bags to color on.

Our medium of choice was chalk but crayons were fine too.

I remember sitting for hours each night just coloring with my mom. I don’t remember what she colored but I know my favorite was Strawberry Shortcake.

I know this because my mom kept all of my artwork. I have a huge container of my artwork ranging from ages of around 3 up to my teenage years.

When I look through it clouds of dust swirl from all of the chalk drawings.

Those were some of my happiest times as a child. Just sitting with my mom doing my favorite activity.

I try to keep this in mind when dealing with my own children.

It does not take expensive toys to make them love us or keep them entertained. It doesn’t require doing elaborate crafts or expensive outings.

They just want us to be with them; spending time and enjoying who they are. That is what they will remember.

pictures I did when I was around 4 years old

 

picture I did when I was around 4 years old. Strawberry Shortcake and Orange Blossom

Reading to the Ladies

The summer is coming to an end and school will start on Tuesday. Along with this will come an end to the daily “reading to the ladies.”

In our neighborhood there are two elderly ladies who have houses side by side. One of them is 89 and the other is 96. They are sisters. The 96 year old has lived here for 70 years. She was widowed in her 40’s and has lived alone since then. The 89 year old has never been married and spent her adult life living in Chicago until 20 years ago when her sister with whom she always lived with died and she came back to the area to be near family.

When we moved here 8 years ago both of the ladies were in fine shape. They mowed their own lawns, tended to their gardens and canned large amounts of vegetables. Through the years their health has deteriorated and we have had to wait patiently for them to return home several times from extended hospital stays. Today they both still live at home but have caretakers who live with them and tend to their care and the housework.

These are two of the sweetest ladies I know. They have watched our family grow and have become a part of our family. We visit with each other and help each other out. My kids think of them as extra grandmas.

This past March, when visiting with the 96 year old, she told me how lonely she had been. All she can do at this point is really just sit and watch television.

That’s when I got an idea. My 7 year old daughter, Iris, loves to read. Being in 1st grade at the time, she didn’t have any homework after school. My kids loved visiting the neighbors but didn’t go every day so I established “reading to the ladies.” Once the 89 year old got wind of the kids reading to her sister she wanted in on it too!

Iris and my 5 year old son, Bency would go to the ladies’ houses every day after school and read to them a few short stories, visit with them and then come home. This has continued throughout the summer almost every day. Iris enjoys doing this because she LOVES reading to people and the ladies enjoy the company of the kids. The caretaker for the 89 year old is a Polish immigrant, speaks broken English, loves to cook and loves my kids too. She is always making up homemade cookies for the kids and fresh popped popcorn on the stove to send home with them after they are done reading!

Once school starts, I’m sure there will be homework so they will only be able to go on the weekends. I’m going to try to keep this going as long as I can because the summer of “reading to the ladies” will always be a wonderful memory!

The Polish caretaker, the 89 year old, the 96 year old, and my husband Alex at one of my kid’s birthday parties

Don’t Forget to Drink Your Coffee

I need coffee EVERYDAY. Like many people I am in a slightly catatonic state when I wake up in the morning. I’m sure it doesn’t help that most of my mornings start at 5am and that almost every night our 5 year old sleep walks into our bedroom, crawls into our bed and gives me 2 inches to lay on and virtually no air space to breathe.

I know it would be healthy if I started my day with a brisk run but there have been studies linked to coffee and its ability to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. So really I am doing my family a service by being fully awake each day to meet all of their needs and I will forever remember their names.

One day, I didn’t have coffee and I actually forgot how to run my washing machine. I have been doing laundry for 20 plus years, and in recent years, it is sometimes 10 loads a week. The only explanation for my mind suddenly becoming blank to this chore was that I had momentarily let Alzheimer’s slip in with my lack of caffeine.

In an effort to prevent forgetting one of my children at a store or the ability to be able to figure out how to open a box of cereal and give my kids breakfast. I will continue to drink coffee!

Here is a cool tip we do at our house to have gourmet coffee on a serious budget. I got this inside information from my Uncle Jeff and it is so good and easy!

We buy regular coffee and whichever one is on sale. Put your grounds in the coffee filter and sprinkle CINNAMON on top of your grounds. Add your water and turn on the coffee pot! That’s it! You will now have great tasting coffee and be given the added bonus of keeping your memory forever or at least be awake enough to make it through another day!!

My morning coffee

The Memory of the Lost Ice Cream Cone

Today as our family headed to a local amusement park in Green Bay, WI called Bay Beach we passed a McDonald’s. Bency, our 5 year old son asked, “Is that the McDonald’s I dropped my ice cream cone in the fountain at or the one that I puked all over the table at?” The answer was “no” on both accounts but it really got me thinking.

Here we are headed out for a day of incredible fun…Ferris wheel, Scrambler, Merry-Go-Round, live pony rides, bumper cars, big slide….and my son is bringing up some of the worst memories of his childhood.

When he was 2 we went to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone. It was a nice evening so we sat outside on the patio where there is seating and a…fountain. Of course being 2 he was mesmerized by the fountain; went over to inspect it and within 30 seconds had dropped his entire ice cream cone in. He let out a blood-curdling scream and tried diving in. We rescued him and much to his dismay could not rescue his cone. My husband gave Bency his ice cream cone and we calmed the boy down but he still continued to look longingly at the cone in the fountain. I realize now we have never gone back to that McDonald’s for an evening of ice cream by the fountain.

When Bency was four I had six year old Iris and an infant. Outings by myself without the accompaniment of my husband to help were not my idea of fun so we rarely went out. However, one brave day I took all the kids to Mc Donald’s. Everything was going so well. We were all talking and laughing and the baby was content and happy. All of a sudden Bency got a weird look on his face and without further warning puked all over the entire table and our food. Iris, who was sitting next to him starting screaming at the top of her lungs, “Bency puked! Bency puked!! Get me away from him! He stinks!!” The rest of the event is kind of a blur because I was in such shock. I know I cleaned it up the best I could, cleaned him up the best I could and got out of there as fast as I could. I realize now we have never gone back to that particular McDonald’s.

Today was a really wonderful day at Bay Beach. The kids had a complete blast! Nothing too traumatic happened. Afterwards, we ate lunch at a….McDONALD’s (we had never been to). No one puked. No one lost their food. Cesar, our almost 2 year old kept smiling and saying “Hi” to a little girl about his age sitting near us. When we arrived home I asked the kids what their favorite part of the day was. Iris and Bency were both in agreement on the big slide and Cesar said, “I saw a baby.”

Will they remember this day? Will it be a memory?

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The Big Slide

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The Ferris Wheel

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The Lady Bugs