Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Adventures Mick and I had a meeting with our financial planner and ended up spending 50 minutes in stopped traffic due to the recent floodstage rivers. It was quite a sight-many of the local rivers are at record levels and are expected to exceed them. We made the best of it-and managed to make our appt-about a half hour late and then stopped by Trader Joes for some snacks and morello cherries (hoping my Aunt Ruth will make some of tasty cherry pies for us ;) ;) Then it was on to a camera store to look at the camera lens I have been lusting after for the past year --as well as a lightsphere. Unfortunately, the store had neither. A bit of a bummer. But that's ok.

Next, we actually got to eat lunch out together at P.F. Chang's sans the BEBZ. I have to say it was really nice to have one:one time with Mick with no interruptions. (Usually I feel a tad guilty when the boys aren't with me-but I knew they were having a blast visiting with their cousins-so they wouldn't miss us at all-guiltfree dining it was for us!)A Happy Good Friday it was.

Yesterday afternoon Mick surprised me a Sony Camcorder. We actually had decided to purchase one a few weeks back and were "just researching" for just the right one for us. He apparently had found just the right one; refurbished and a at a good price and brought it with him for us to practice with over the Easter holiday. We had fun taking it out with us today-recording our traffic jam and all of the flooding. It will be really nice for our trip to Cancun this summer. Our old camcorder was from 1997-we bought it to tape the announcement of telling family we were pregnant with Ian.
I really regret that I haven't videoed as much since Ethan's been born-too busy with photography, I guess, but now I really, REALLY wish I would've captured more of their adorable, pinch-the-cheeks baby faces as they spoke in those sweet toddler voices. Sigh....
The good news is, the 4 cousins spent much of last evening creating video clips of various "shows". They had a "rock band" and they kept changing costumes and jammin' on guitars and they took turns taping each other. It was quite comical and entertaining. We "Big Kids" kept joking that we so couldn't wait to use the footage as bribery during their teenage years. Ethan pulled yet another "Ethanism" and when Angie yelled out to the cousins (out of the blue) "Who wants to get a REAL tatoo?" Ethan, who was at the time perched in herlap, promptly lifted up his arm and waved fervently while saying proudly, "I DO!"" Agghhh..that boy!

As I was watching the whole evening unfold, I kept thinking to myself how awesome it was that these four boys have such a tight bond with each other and that they have shared so many wonderful memories together in their short lives already..and that now they have it all documented to enjoy and to remember and to reflect on later in their lives. It also took me back to my childhood, reminiscing about all of the great memories I have of visits to my grandparents' when my cousins would also come to visit for the Thanksgiving holidays/early Christmas. My cousins Julie and Lori Ann and I would spend hours creating, rehearsing and performing variety shows for all of the adults to see. --Those are some of the very best memories of my childhood. A little house chockfull of family + fun +food displayed in such a fashion that I have always thought I had my very own version of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving-each and every year! I think every one should have memories like those of which I have been blessed to have had and I am so grateful for those memories.

In regards to the memorable Thanksgiving day festivities, Grandma C. would make sure the table was set to perfection-complete with nut and mint cups and handmade placecards made by none other than Julie and myself. She also put little crepe paper turkeys by each person's plate. The adults, of course, ate in the formal dining room and we young 'uns would be out in the kitchen, perched on those famously fun swiveling barstools that provided hours of entertainment--and a bit of motion sickness too! LOL We complained about not being able to sit at the "Big People's Table" but secretly we relished in the idea of our own little space.
Grandma, would have snacks and "Happy Hour" (Happy to us kids b/c of all the great snacks-happy to all of the adults b/c aof all of the great "Happy" drinks) for all of us which included her legendary "Etta Dip" with Pringles. We would all literally fight to fingerlick the very last morsel of dip out of the plastic Oleo tubs that she would put the dip in. If ever there was a Family Feud-it was over who got the rights to lick the "chip dip" tub clean. And when I say "We"-this did not exclude the adults-who frequently lowered themselves to childlike behavior in order to indulge themselve sof the last dollop of dip. (insert huge chuckle here)

Much of Thanksgiving Day was spent visiting with family while watching football games. (Great Uncle Ray and Aunt Thelma Fieser would drive down for the day from LaSalle Peru to visit-Uncle G, mom or others will need to add their two bits in here regarding them).The most memorable game I remember watching at Gma's on Thanksgiving Day was of Doug Flutie throwing up his Hail Mary pass to his roommate in the endzone-to pull off the last second win for Boston College. Funny how you sometimes remember the exact place you were when "big" events in history take place.
Oh, and I can't believe I forgot about Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Grandma absolutely loved it and would always try to drop everything to watch the parade. I can only imagine how much should would've enjoyed the convenience (or "luxury" to her)of having TiVo-to record the parade so she could catch it all. I think she would've loved that invention. Especially since it is so easy to use. I still remember her or Grandpa getting up from their matching 70's yellow velvet armchairs to change the channel manually or to change the volume. (They were forever having little spats about the volume level-Gpa was hard of hearing and liked the tv LOUD, and Gma, of course, had sensitive ears and liked it barely above the audible level. Thinking of this still makes me chuckle. Watching them go...up..then down...up..then down... a little chess match that went on for many hours...and many years! LOL
How it makes me laugh to think about those moments and then the day GMa and Gpa got their first TV that had a remote. It was a gift from the whole family for their 50th or was it 60th? wedding anniversary. They were sitting on their green sofa together and Gma put the rabbit ear antennas and held them up above her head (at least that's what i remember) and Gpa, well...Gpa, in true Gpa form, he picked up the remote, pointed it at Gma, and proceeded to try and turn her off. We were all ROTFL!! ) They were quite the pair the two of them...QUITE THE PAIR.
Dessert at Gma's was always a wonderful sampling of Christmas cookies that she and many of her friends had made at a "Cookie Exchange." Several of the family favorites included snickerdoodles, Spritz, thumbprint, sugar cookies, Danish wedding cakes, and our favorite: Santa Whiskers (or at least I think that's what they were called.) Complete gluttonly was the theme for the day and all of us would complete indulge ourselves and relish in it.

After dinner, while the adults hand washed the pots and pans, we cousins would be sent outside or down to the basement to play. Many hours we would spend playing hide and seek or other made up games. I can still smell the scent of Gma's unfinished basement and remember many of the things she had stored down there. It was like she had tons of toys down there-actually, I only remember there being a metal doll house-but we always managed to get creative and find fun and imaginative things to do-no Nintendo, No Wii, No Game Cube. Pure unadulterated, creative play. Those were the days1

When it was nice enough out, we would also go outside and play games of "Seven up" which involved throwing a ball (usually a tennis one) against the wall of the house in various fashions. We would also take Gpa's garbage can dolly andlay a small floor mat down at the base and tool each other up and down the driveway and down the sidewalk at various speeds in an attempt to shake the person off who was sitting on the dolly . I guess it was our little girl version of "riding the bull". LOL

We would also head out behind Gma and Gpa's back yard and play in the city park that was just past their property. We'd climb the trees and play softball or play on the playground equipment...or walk to railroad tracks and back (we weren't allowed to go up near them but could walk TO them). When we'd visit in the summertime, we'd go out and catch fireflies in Mason jars and make (dare I even confess to this-barbaric as it was) Yes, gross as this was, each of us loved to have a firefly ring and as I recall it, the idea came from my Uncle G. LOL! Leave it to a boy to think that one up.

A few times, when I was really little, we were fortunate enough to visit Grandma and Gpa at Eastertime. This had to have been before they started wintering in Florida. We would come down from WI and Uncle G and the cousins would come up-over from MO. We'd attend Easter service in our girly girl dresses and would have an Easter Egg hunt out in Gma's yard. Still, to this day I can remember some of the locations where the Easter eggs where hidden. So much has changed since then. And the older I get, the more melancholy I am over the fact that my boys aren't going to experience the simpler things in life like I did. It's just not possible. It's a much more complicated world. And yet, in talking with my parents and aunts and uncles, MY life was so much more and IS so much more complicated than theirs was. But, I guess the fact of the matter is I just have to enjoy and cherish those days my boys have that resemble days from my childhood..and to document them via written word, or video, or photography, so that they too can look back one day and realize just how blessed they were....
I guess that's just what's been on my mind today as I watched the boys(from the window) playing with the large gaggle of children from the neighborhood...all different ages, all different sizes, and many different nationalities-running around the yards, with their light sabers wielded and their shields (Scooby Doo umbrella) in the "on guard!" position, enjoying life and running free.
Happy Easter everybody!

John 3:16

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