Friday, January 30, 2015

Now it is My Turn - 62 things you may or may not know about me

I like making these lists.
I like remembering all the fun stuff.
I am guessing no one else will be making a list for me, which is fine because I understand that not everyone in my family would enjoy this, so I am going to make my own list.
I am actually going to enjoy this.
So, here goes:

  1.  I have backed through our garage door on two different occasions.  Now I am very, very careful and always check a few times to make sure the garage door is open.
  2.   I am blind as a bat (are they actually blind) in my right eye.  I had a detached retina in 1979 and the experts at University Hospital in Madison did not know how to fix it correctly.  I was told by an ophthalmologist here in Watertown that I had a great lawsuit, but that was years later and it wouldn't have changed anything, well, except I would have been richer.
  3. I had just found out I was pregnant with Alissa when they tried to fix that retina.  My grandma had always believed the old wives tale about if anything happens to a pregnant woman, her baby will have that same problem.  She must have worried about Alissa's eyes for my whole pregnancy.  Her first question after Alissa's birth, was,"What color are her eyes?"  I think she wanted to ask, does she have eyes.  
  4. I cried a lot in Kindergarten.  I hated the old Douglas school where I had to go.  I don't think I ever went in the bathroom, I was too scared.  I do remember that the girls had to play in a kitchen area and the boys had to play with blocks.
  5. I had to get glasses in second grade.  They were as thick as coke bottles.  I could not see a thing before those glasses, but I didn't know that.  I came home sporting my new glasses and said, "Wow, the clock has numbers."  I got contacts in college.
  6. My greatest accomplishment in life is my two daughters.  I would have had more children, but John was very happy with two, so he was the one to do something about it.  
  7. I feel like I missed a lot of my high school life because I dated one boy the whole time.  I have reconnected with many friends on FB and I find that I don't remember much about lots of them.  I wish I had gotten to know more people.
  8. John and I moved to Elkhorn, WI when he got his first job there.  I loved living there and discovering our new city.  Both our girls were born in Elkhorn.  We owned a home (actually a double wide modular) there.  We thought we would stay there forever, but that was not in the big picture.
  9.  John and I own a piece of the Pack.  We are Green Bay Packer Shareholders.  And, we are going to a game next season as a gift from our daughters and husbands.
  10. I went to St. John's Lutheran School from grades 1 - 8.  My daughters also attended St. John's from grades K - 8.  I taught Kindergarten at St. John's in 1975 - 1977 and I am back at St. John's teaching PreK.  John and I were married at St. John's as were my parents and I am guessing I will be buried from St. John's. 
  11. I am deathly scared of snakes.  Yes, even garter snakes, actually even long worms.
  12. I am addicted to Candy Crush.  It is my addiction at this time, I have had many addictions to computer games.  At one point I was playing Farm Town like my life depended on it.  I was as tired as any real farmer would be.  I panicked if I had to go on vacation.  Finally I had to let my farm go.  There was a time when the girls were in grade school that I would get up every morning and play a trivia game to try and win prizes.  Of course, I never won a thing.
  13. I have one brother.  Kevin is 6 years younger than I am.  I wanted a sister so badly and begged my parents to name him Cindy even if he was a boy.  We are closer now, as adults, than we were as kids.
  14. I skied once in High School.  It was a evening trip to Alpine Valley.  I figured it would be a piece of cake, WRONG.  I could not even get up or down the bunny hill.  It was a nightmare.  I spent lots of time in the clubhouse.
  15. I took figure skating lessons when I was 8.  The lessons were right down on the Rock River behind my house.  Now they won't even let you skate on that river for safely reasons.  I did not learn anything at those lessons but I loved ice skating.  My favorite game was crack the whip as long as I was not on the end of the whip.  I remember boys taking our scarves and hats and just having so much fun.  We skated until our we couldn't feel our toes anymore and then we skated some more.  We were tough back then.
  16. Speaking of boys, I was boy crazy at a very young age.  Thankfully neither of my girls inherited that trait.
  17. My best friend in grade school was from a divorced family and my parents didn't want me to hang out with her for that reason.  Things were different back then, I guess.
  18. I have been out of the country four times.  Three times to Canada and once to Mexico.
  19. John and I have love affairs with two places in the world.  One is St. George Island, Florida.  We have been there at least 20 times since we discovered it in 1998.  The other place is much closer, it is Door County and we love going there whenever we can get away. 
  20. I have no desire to travel anywhere outside of the U.S.
  21. My two granddaughters are adopted from Ethiopia.  I had to learn a lot about both adoption and Ethiopia during the process.  I went on an Ethiopian adoption forum and met another grandma of an Ethiopian.  What a blessing and a small world, since she lives in Hartford.  Sometime I hope to meet her.
  22. On that same forum, I met a woman who had actually spent time with our grandson, Natnael before he died.  He never made it home to our family.  She has been a blessing to me.  Her adopted son, Tesh was Natnael's best buddy at the care center.  Maybe I will meet them someday, too.
  23. I have a strong faith and believe that God has a plan for me and my life.
  24. We took lots of family vacations when I was growing up and I continued that practice with  my girls.  I have the best memories from traveling with my mom, dad, and brother and I know my girls have great memories from our travels, too.
  25. My dad died when he was 62.  Unexpected and sudden.  I am turning 62 and that freaks me out just a little.  It makes me realize how young he actually was when he died.
  26. I don't like clutter, but dust does not bother me.
  27.  I am a control freak.  I am very uncomfortable if I am not in control.
  28. I absolutely love my job.  I feel that God has given all of us gifts and mine just happens to be teaching young children.  
  29. I plan to retire in no less than four years.  I feel I still have lots to offer as a teacher.  I will retire sooner if I completely lose my patience or my mind.
  30. I took guitar lessons when I was in 7th grade.  I wanted so badly to play an instrument, but I could  not sing so the guitar was not the best choice.  I should have chosen a horn of some type, then I would not have had to sing.
  31. In second grade, my teacher, who by the way, hit kids with a belt, made me stay after school for many nights.  I had to stand with my ear by her piano and try to learn to sing.  It was awful and to this day, I do not think I can sing.  
  32. My best friend in sixth grade was the daughter of a navy man.  She came to our school that year and she had lived all over the world.  I loved her stories and lived my life through her.  She moved in 8th grade and I lost track of her.  I would love to find Cathy Corbin again.
  33. I hate surprises.  Anyone who has ever tried to surprise me has failed.  I always find out, but I will pretend I didn't know.  This has to do with the control issue.
  34. When I was in High School, the girls had to wear skirts.  I wore them and I wore them short.  I would hike them up after I left the house.  A short skirt and knee socks, still one of my favorite looks.  To this day, my legs are one of my best features.
  35. I had some really cool swim caps.  At our pool, the girls had to wear swim caps.  Something about our hair clogging up the drain, whatever.  Anyway one of my favorite caps was known as the Wonder Bread cap, it had colorful polka dots all over it.  The best caps, however, were very expensive (maybe $3.00) and had little petals all over them.  I was very envious of those caps.  I think I finally was able to get one at some point.
  36. My first job was at the local theater.  I made $1.10 an hour.  I got the job on my 16th birthday.  My boss was made us do things that were definitely wrong.  We had to wash his car windows, fix his bullion, and sit alone with him up in his office to do our paperwork.  He was creepy, but I loved the job.  All the free movies for me and a guest.  Lots of free popcorn and candy.  It was the perfect first job except for the boss.
  37. I did a lot of babysitting.  I started babysitting when I was 11.  I had two very faithful families who went our every Saturday night.  They stayed out until at least two in the morning.  The worst part was when the TV went off the air around one.  I did not like the quiet and I was always scared of things.  I did make $.50 an hour.
  38. I had both of my girls without any drugs and I am very proud of that.  It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
  39. One of my greatest joys, was when a dear old friend of mine and I reconnected.  Patti and I had met in Elkhorn and instantly bonded.  She and her husband moved back to Ohio, we moved to Watertown and that was that.  We kept in touch for awhile, but life happened and we lost touch.  A few  years ago, she found me through this blog and we have had some great get togethers since them. I am so thankful and lucky she found me.
  40. Another great joy was reconnecting with another wonderful friend.  Pam and I had been best friends as our daughters were growing up side by side.  We talked on the phone for hours on end every afternoon.  Again, life happened and we lost touch.  We reconnected through FB and our first visit was as if no time had passed.  Our friendship is strong and we both know we will not let life happen to us again.
  41. I went to church camp only once, but it was the most fun I had ever had up until that time.
  42. I am afraid to climb up into those big lookout towers.  My feet just will not move up the steps.  Although I did recently conquer the fear when  I climbed one in Door County.  I am not so sure I could climb another though.
  43. I was the runner up in a city tennis tournament back in 7th grade.  I loved tennis in those days.  I took tennis lessons every summer mostly because of the cute male teachers.  I tried to share my love of tennis with John when we were dating, but he had too much power and always hit the ball out of the fence.
  44. I never learned to dive.  I always wanted to dive, but could never do it.
  45. I love fires, in our fireplace, that is.  I think it goes back to my dad and I making fires together on Saturday mornings when we burned the paper garbage.  I have lots of memories of that fireplace in our basement as I was growing up.
  46. I once had to chase my mom's car down the street.  She had left it running or something, out in the street and it drove off.  Luckily it ran a curb before going through a stop sign and into a nursing home.
  47. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with boys.  I learned to play baseball, kicker, and all other boy things very early on.  My boys were nice, though, on Sundays, they would let me choose the activites and it usually involved dolls.  One of our favorite summer evening activities was running through the mosquito fogger.  Now they have banned those cancer causing chemicals.  We all enjoyed that feeling of coming out of the fog.
  48. My favorite doll growing up was a brown doll.  Was that a sign of things to come with my brown granddaughters, perhaps.  I also had a Patty Play Pal, which was a lifesize (to a six year old) doll.  I guess it was my substitute for the sister I did not have.
  49. I have one and only one cousin.  For that reason, I don't get the whole cousin thing.
  50. When I was growing up, we used to roller skate all around town on those roller skates with the keys.
  51. I worked in a nursing home once, for a month, it was not a good fit.
  52. My dad always dreamed that I would be a cheerleader..  I tried my best, but had to settle for the pom pom squad.  I always thought I disappointed him.
  53. I knew from very young that I wanted to be a teacher.  I used to set up all my dolls and even a few of my mom's salt and pepper shakers on a table and they were my class.
  54. I really want to write a children's book.  Maybe someday I will be inspired to do so.
  55. I do not ever want to sky dive or ride in a hot air balloon.
  56. I am so proud of the lives that my daughters have.  I love their husbands.  I love how they used their college degrees to find careers.  I love where they chose to go to college.  I love how they include their dad and I in so many activities.  I love how happy they both are.  God has blessed our family indeed.
  57. Speaking of my daughters, one of the things I love about them is how they are such good friends.  Always were and always will be.  They never, and I really do mean never, fought.  I only remember one time when they were both in college when they went for three days without speaking.  The disagreement was over a boyfriend of Courtney's who Alissa did not like.  The worst part of that fight was that they were the manager and head guard at the pool that year and it was hard to do those jobs when you aren't speaking.  I never had a sister (I wanted one though, did I mention that?) but if I had one, I would have wanted a relationship like my daughter's have.
  58. I was a gestapo parent.  I read diaries and notes. I snooped in bedrooms.  I listened in on calls and I read emails.  Part of being a control freak  We also had a strict curfew for the girls and I could never sleep until they were safely in the house.
  59. I have never broken a bone.
  60. John and I moved into my childhood home about 14 years ago.  My mom still lives here.  I love it and am so happy to be surrounded by so many happy memories.  I also like that my daughters are coming to visit in a home that they loved so much as they were growing up.  It is full of my dad, too.
  61. I dye my hair regularly.  Well, I don't dye it, I have it dyed.  I don't know what color it would be without the dye and I am not going to find out anytime soon.
  62. I could not get by without my Diet Coke.  Do not try and take it away from me.
Well, there you have it.
I am looking forward to 62 and all the things it will bring.
Thanks for coming by and reading.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Packers Lose, A zoo visit, A Night of Gaming, and Preschoolers sing

It has been another busy, fun weekend, but before I post anymore of that, let me give you the bad news.
and they didn't just lose, they pretty much stopped playing and gave the SeaHawks the game on a silver platter after having the lead up until the last three minutes.
The best part was Facebooking with my good friends, Patti and Terri during and after the game.
So, we have packed up our Packer stuff for another year and that is all I will say about that.

This Saturday, John and I decided to us our zoo passes and go the Milwaukee Zoo.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, more late Marchish than Januaryish and we needed wanted to get a walk in anyway, so the zoo seemed like a perfect solution.
The zoo is so different in the winter time.
Lots of the animals are hibernating, but we did get to see some animals that we had never noticed before.
John took his camera and got some great shots.
 John got a big kick out of this photo of the "thin ice" sign and all the animals that do not obey the sign.
 This orangatan was using an ipad with the zoo keeper and was doing a better job that I do with an ipad.
 The train was not running but John took this photo to show Soli that I was waiting by the tracks.
 Even though lots of animals were hibernating, the polar bear was active and fun to watch.
 John's favorite animal is the polar bear.
 I felt a little bad for these giraffes who are inside for the cold winter. 
I couldn't help but think that just maybe they would be happier on the Savannah in Africa.

 Here is a very happy giraffe though.
 The giraffes made me a little sad, but the rhino made me a lot sad.
He is in a very small little area for the winter and I know he would be happier in his native land.
 The tigers are beautiful and so have lots of area to roam.
 This one was taking his mid afteroon nap.
We had never seen these cute little tree kangaroos before because when we visit the zoo in the summer, we never go into the little animal houses where these little guys live. 

After our zoo visit, we headed over to Dave and Buster's for some pre-birthday dinner, drinks, and gaming.
We were like real senior citizens, which I guess we really are, eating at 4:30 to get the gaming special and ready to leave by 9:30.
For a mere $90.00, we enjoyed two long island ice tea in souvenir glasses, our dinners, two beers each, and two hours of gaming.
After our favorite games of Deal or No Deal  and Wheel of Fortune, we went to spend our tickets.  We were able to walk away with a nice new water bottle for biking or the gym, an ashtray in memory of my dad and John's folks, two laffy taffy sticks for the girls, and two finger fish that fly off when you pull them off your finger also for the girls.
I tried the skeeball which is still on of my favorites, but the pay off is not very good, so I walked away from that game for ones that paid off better.
I think I have my Dave and Buster's fix for a few years now.
Today my Preschoolers sang in church for Education Sunday.
They did an awesome job and I am a proud teacher.
Here they are.
Aren't they just so cute and they sing from their little hearts to praise Jesus.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A bit of this and a bit of that

The Packers play a very important game tomorrow.
They are in the play offs against the Seattle Seahawks.
They are not expected to win.
Aaron Rodgers has a bum leg.
I decided that we needed to have a Packer party in school on Friday just in case they did not pull out a win.
If, and I hope it happens, they do win tomorrow, we will just celebrate again in two weeks.
Here is picture of my class in their green and gold.
Today, John took our waterbed frame apart since we are getting a new mattress, box spring, and bed frame on Tuesday.
We have had that bed frame for thirty years.  We only had the water mattress for about ten, but then we bought a mattress to fit in the waterbed frame.  Now it is time to replace it.
Oh, if that bed could talk, the stories it would tell.\
I am excited for our new bed, but it is always hard to say good bye to an old friend.

 After seeing this photo, I kind of wish we didn't need a bed in our room.  It looks so big without one!
 Now, we wish someone would come to the curb and take our broken bed away.
After the bed dismantle, we took a 5 mile hike on a new trail that goes from Rockdale to Cambridge.
It was such a great day to be outside.

I also made dinosaur teeth, bones, and fossils for my upcoming dinosaur unit this week.
It has been a great, productive weekend so far, now if the Packers can just pull out a victory, it will have been perfect.
Go Pack Go.

P.S.  Just so everyone knows that we will never, ever forget our sweet grandson Natnael.
Three years ago today, we got the sad news that he had died before he ever was able to come home to his family.
 He will always have a spot in our hearts until we see him again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

22 Things you may or may not know about my niece, Mallory

For anyone who follows my blog, you know that I have a very special niece, Mallory.
In many ways, Mallory has felt like a third daughter to me.  She has been a part of all of my major life happenings and my daughters love her as a sister.
She turned 22 on December 13 before I had started this "list" of things you may or may not know, so I wanted to do a "list" for her, too.

  1. I am Mallory's Godmother as well as her Aunt.  Maybe that is why she has felt so much like a daughter to me.  Her Godfather's name is Jerry, another Godmother was Bari and then there was me, Sherri.  Isn't it crazy how our names all rhymed?
  2. Mallory taught me all I know about Toon Town.  One summer I paid the monthly fee so we could play without any restrictions.  She was so good at getting into those cog factories and no matter how hard I tried, I was not very successful at it.  I miss Toon Town at times.
  3. Another favorite video game for Mal and I  was The Sims.  I had the most awesome house built and a wonderful Sims family until disaster struck and the CD got stuck in my computer.  I had to take a hammer to it, (of course, I did) and I ruined the whole thing and never saw my Sims family or home again.
  4. Mallory was born on a Sunday in the middle of our cookie baking.  My mom, in all the excitement, understood her name to be Valerie.  We all headed up to the hospital with cookies in tow to meet this sweet Valerie.
  5. Mallory is allergic to nuts, strawberries, and a few other things.  She once ate fries that were made in peanut oil. Who knew that Hooters made their fries in peanut oil?  Who takes a little girl to Hooters in the first place?  At any rate, she did survive the peanut fried fries, but she is very careful about what she eats and for good reason.
  6. Mallory was a cheerleader/dancer at St. John's while I was her coach for a year or two and Courtney was her coach for a few years, too.  It was fun to be able to coach her and her friends.
  7. Mallory's dad's house had a pool and we all spent countless days in that pool.  I miss those days.  There were so many rafts and toys in that pool.  We had lots of diving contests picking up many little things from the bottom of the pool.  At one point, Mallory and my girls named all the little toys that we dove for.
  8. Mallory helped me with many crafting projects.  Our most successful were coasters that we made or maybe I just like to think they were successful.  She always made fun of me because I am known to use a lot of glue.
  9. Mallory has played every mini golf course in Door County at least once.  She invented the famous "hole in one" pose that we still use whenever we play mini golf.
  10. Mallory loves animals and has had many beloved pets over the years.  This is one way she is very different from my daughters.  She also has a soft spot for old people and doesn't care much for children, that makes her very different from me.
  11. Mallory took ballet lessons for many years and I always enjoyed watching her recitals, well, as much as I enjoy watching anyone's recitals.  I think, sometimes, she is sorry she had to give up dance when other activities took over.
  12. Mallory took years of piano lessons.  I think she disliked them as much as my girls did and I am not sure any of them can play a note anymore.
  13. We waited a long time for Mallory to turn 21 so she could join in the adult fun our family has been known to have on occasion.
  14. Mallory is a big sports fan.  She loves the Bucks, Blackhawks, Brewers, and the vintage Bulls.  Actually, it appears she likes teams that begin with a "B".
  15. Mallory has a great sense of humor.  She understands Uncle John's jokes which he has always appreciated.  He always says that Mallory had a very adult sense of humor.  Even as a young child, she got it.  Her Uncle John is also very proud of her political beliefs.
  16. John and I loved taking Mallory to museums, zoos, parks, and other fun places.  She filled the void that was left when our girls got too old to enjoy those places with us.  She was always so well behaved and enjoyable on these outings.
  17. Mallory was a bridesmaid in Courtney's wedding on the beach in Florida and a bridesmaid in Alissa's wedding on the Illinois Wesleyan campus.
  18. Mallory spent much of her childhood in bars but as far as I can tell, it has left no ill effects and has left all of us with many memories.
  19. Mallory visited both Knox College and Illinois Wesleyan University with us many, many times.  I always appreciated that her parents allowed us to take her for all those weekends so that Alissa and Courtney could see her when they were away at college.
  20.  Mallory has been blessed with the ability to face confrontations and speak her mind.  I have only done that once in a Forever 21 store just after Mallory's Louie Vuitton almost took my eye out.  I don't think she or my girls could believe what went on in that store.
  21. Mallory has been to Chicago with the girls and me a few times.  She was the only one in our group who knew which direction we should be going.  She also bought a nude footie to try on some shoes.   I refused Diet Coke, but gladly took a tart which turned out to be rancid.  I think someone almost had their arm broken in the American Girl Store, too.  Such good memories.
  22.  Mallory has a giving heart and enjoys supporting many charities through walks, runs, plunges, and purchases. She also has more best friends than anyone else I know.  On her birthday, many of her FB wishes were "to my best friend."
So, there you have it,
22 things about Mallory.
It has been such a pleasure to share so much of Mallory's life and to have her be such a big part of my life.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.
Love Ya, Mallory!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Celebrating John and Alissa's Birthdays

This weekend we traveled to the Hunter home in Bloomington to celebrate both John and Alissa's birthdays.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon and started with cake.
When you live in Illinois, it is hard to find a football cake that does not involve the Bears.
John choked down a few bites of the cake.  It actually was very good and Alissa's large G overtook the Bear business.

 My mom made Alissa an ice cream cake.

Tiz tried her hardest to get John to talk so he would have to sit under the table, but he did not talk.
After our cake, we had fun with some mustaches and opened gifts.

 John's gifts were two tickets to a Packer game of his choice next season.
How awesome is that?  And the best part is that I get to go with him.
After the gifts we had dinner at Joe's Station House.
We enjoyed beer and pizza.
More conversation and beers when we got home.

Tiz did my hair for me.
Today we played wii and then watched part of the Packer game before heading home.
Listened to the Packer game, they won!
 I am very proud of my new wii fitness age of 54.

The girls enjoyed a pillow fight with Cheddah before we left.
Home now, Tired but thankful for such a great weekend.

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