Looking Back

For several years I have had the opportunity to transport my two grand-girls to school while school was in attendance.  They would bebop out of the house either in shorts and cute little t-shirts or all bundled up in winter coats and gloves.  After getting all buckled in, off we would go.

Kate was the first.

What good times we had!  She still believed in the purity and innocence of the world, so we had awesome rides to school where the trees talked to her as we passed, or the tires would squeal when we made curves, or clouds were all sorts of objects.  There were deer and other animals to be seen and enjoyed.  Big plans were made on these short little trips.

Ava came next.

She grew up faster than Kate, always running in her sister’s footsteps to be like her sister.  But we still had awesome rides to school.  She believed as long as Kate kept quiet, but if her sister stated this was true or this was make-believe, then it was chiseled in stone.

And now they are both in double digits.  My little fairies that used to hide in my closet  (until they were found by a couple of snoopers)  are leaving me notes instead of them leaving my sweet girls notes to ooh and aah over.  The toys that once were dragged out all over the floor haven’t been touched in a while.

They ride the bus home and Kate rides it to school as well.

But I still get to take Ava.  And we still have a great time talking about all kinds of things in that ten-minute ride.  The laughter is still full and fills our guts to bursting until our sides hurt.  She is ten.  I might have one, maybe two years left before she, too, starts riding the bus to school, wanting to socialize with friends.

And that’s okay.  I’m making memory boxes for them.  So they can remember what the trees said and what objects the clouds really were and how the car could squeal when it made a curve and how fairies were real.  Back when they were smaller and younger and believed in the unbelievable.

 

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My Little Duckies

Several years ago,  maybe five, I purchased this duck towel.  My little duckies would always want their photo in it, so after their bath they would fight over the duck towel (why did I not buy two for crying out loud!) and then finally settle into a duckie moment.

Living the Good Life

my just scrubbed grandduck

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Kate always always tried to make Ava pose just right

Quacky Halloween

Kate and Ava in the duck towel

They were here together again not too long ago (doesn’t happen so much anymore), so I cajoled and begged until they let me take the last duck pic I will probably ever get.Kate Ava in duck towel 2017My heart is full.  That towel will stay here forever.

And Momma still lives…

If I’ve heard it once, I have heard it a million times.  At least that’s the saying, and it’s close to the truth in my case.  All my life I have heard “Your mom will never be dead as long as you’re living.”

Dad and me on prom night

Dad and me before prom–for a second I thought it was Mom

And it’s true.  I look just like her.    I even sound like her.  From an early age.

One day many many moons ago as I was talking to someone, standing next to our vehicles parked along Main Street, a lady I didn’t know came up to me and asked, “Are you Amy Rutherford’s daughter?”  I was shocked.  When I affirmed that, yes, I was her daughter, the lady said, “I knew you had to be.  You sound just like her.”

So not only did I look like her, I sounded like her as well.  I’m sure I still do.

 

Mom isn’t the only person I resemble.  There are many similarities in my dad’s family as well.

It’s interesting to me the way the gene pool asserts itself across the generations, on both sides of the fence so to speak, Mom’s side as well as Dad’s side.

So who do you look like in your family?

My Praising Momma

It was just now on the radio.  The song that always reminds me of my mom.  When we sing it at church, sometimes I can’t even sing the last verse because I see Mom as she lay in the hospital bed we had exchanged for her double bed, dying, practically comatose, unable to eat or talk or give orders — I mean instructions.

Mom 1960

This is always how I remember Mom.  Here she is ready for church.

She had “instructed” us for many, many years, and, well, it was just a hard habit to give up.  As hard to give up as everything else she had to give up:  bathing herself, feeding herself, cooking for her family (the thing she loved best), cleaning her house (that may be a toss-up with the cooking for her family), mowing her yard, driving her car.  The list got bigger every year, every month, every week, and then every day.

She was being birthed into heaven.  Anyone who has given birth or witnessed a birth (humans or animals) knows what a difficult labor that usually is.  Being birthed into heaven is a labor as well.  Mom had struggled to eat with the coughing spells that accompany the death process.  She had struggled with the pain of her arthritis that came from not being able to get up and move around, lying in bed due to her weakened state.  Failure to thrive is what the medical field calls it.  I think she was tired and ready to go home.  All her life she had been afraid of death, and I always thought that odd because she so loved her Lord.  But at the end, when the journey home had truly begun, her peace and joy was abundant each day.90 cake

This particular day, as my sisters stood at the foot of Mom’s bed and sang hymn after hymn, no music, just their beautiful voices blending together, Mom’s little toes started  tapping to the music.  She couldn’t eat.  She couldn’t walk.  She couldn’t talk.  She couldn’t move her arms.

But she could praise the One who was bringing her home.  One little toe tap at a time.

And my heart is full of praise for the God Mom taught me about, dragged me to Sunday School to learn about, and forced me to play piano during the worship service to praise a name I didn’t fully understand yet.

Now… I have 10,000 Reasons and more to praise Jesus the Christ.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
10, 000 Reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Sing my soul, sing my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
10, 000 Years and then forever more
Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name (For all Your Goodness)
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name
Songwriters: Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
10000 Reasons lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

On Being A Gigi

This past New Year’s Day, almost all the family was able to get together.  In a previous blog I wrote about that and let you see for yourselves with some pictures.  I had planned and prepared, everyone shared talents or enjoyed watching someone else’s talent, games were played, food was eaten, presents passed out by the little ones, and the day was just great.  All the wee ones were happy as well as the not-so-wee ones.

As the day progressed,  there were nine grands (ten if we count little Will who is just starting to say words — I claim them all) yelling “Gigi” for one reason or another.  “Look at this.”  “I have two talents.” “Thank you for my gift.” “Watch me.”  “Can you get me (insert anything you can think of)?”  “I have to go to the bathroom.”  “Can you help me (insert anything you can think of)?”  “How do you (insert anything you can think of)?”

Way back in 2002 I became a Gigi (pronounced geegee not jeejee) when my sweet Jack was born, my great-nephew.  I didn’t know I was going to be a Gigi; I just knew I loved that boy and he loved me and we were going to have something very, very special.

And we did.  So I began to search for a name for the special relationship, finally settling on Aunt Granny.  I saw it at Dollywood, a restaurant or snack shop.

Food =  Comfort = Aunt Granny.

Then my sweet Sam came along, and I fell in love all over again.  I had two sweethearts instead of one.

It was about that time that little Jack started trying to say things such as “Aunt Granny.”  Only it came out Gigi.  At least that’s how we spell it.  The two grannies in his life, his Aunt Granny and his great-grandma who everyone already called Granny were now Gigis.  His grandma, my sis, was to be called Mawmaw which worked out very well because he could pronounce that.

From then on I was Gigi, and when my sweet girls, Kate and Ava, came along they picked up on Jack and Sam calling me Gigi, and that’s what they called me as well.

Rapunzel

In the big teacup five years ago.

We are a close family and spend as much time as we can with each other (which was quite a lot at that particular time in my life) so it was very common for my grandgirls to hear the name Gigi often; thus using it themselves.

These little ones brought such joy to my life, and we played and played and played and… you get the picture.

Punkin People

My little-to-big Punkins

The Last Tide

my sweet nephews

Along came Charlotte, Owen, Maci, Henry, Nia, and now little Will.  Each one has enriched my life and brought me great joy.The Last Tide

I have had the opportunity to play with them, spend time with them, have lots and lots of fun with them.  We swim in the backyard, dance on holidays (or any time because I love to dance), play board games or make-believe and dress-up, make tents, spend time in the sunflower house, play tag or hide-and-seek, read books, have sleep-overs.  If I can’t think of something, they can.

Oh, the make-believe!  Jack has my fun, make-believe gene, and that boy can lead the pack in superhero play or make a jungle out of a blah backyard or create ninja warriors (girl and boy ninjas) or have an awesome hide-and-seek game.  Anything he starts, the rest of them follow.  Our own pied piper.  He is older now but still takes time to play with them.  And they all love him.  The superhero cousin.

He has all the makings of a Gigi.

At the end of all the New Year’s Day festivities, as we were all settling down, packing up presents and food, Maci turned to her Mawmaw and said,

“How do you get to be a Gigi?”

Maci and nails

 

 

Putting Together Memories

For Christmas, I went to Shutterfly to make a really cool Christmas gift for my brother and two sisters.  Since so many of our memories of Mom are surrounded by her cooking for us, I wanted to make a cookbook of some of our favorites of Mom’s cooking.  It turned out great!

Mom's cookbook

Mom was a really good cook and cooked for whoever would show up for lunch, or she would bribe us with fried chicken and dumplings to come on weekends.

Surrounded by grandkids at Christmas 001 Her utmost joy was derived from feeding and caring the best she could for her children.  And her grandchildren.  And her great-grandchildren.

She might mutter and complain about Jillsurprise party 1972 with Jill 002 not knowing what good food was as she made her the requested grilled cheese while bowls of delicious food (mashed potatoes and dumplings and home-canned green beans and Mom’s  coleslaw to name a few) sat on the table ready to be gobbled up by the rest of us.  Just her way of saying, “I love you.”

Those were hard words to say by a little girl raised in the depression to become the hard-working woman who didn’t have time for frivolity.  Not often anyway.  Every once in a while if we begged she would get up and do what she called “The Shawneetown Stomp” with my older sister.  It was great!!  She would laugh and dance, and so would we.  At least try to dance.  Mom was a great dancer.  So is Tish.  And they looked awesome together!

Mom used to tell stories about growing up in her family, the hardships.  As it does most people, that upbringing weaved its way into who she became.  It caused her to worry about having the money for a home and food.  She was frugal, very frugal.  Yet I still had a beautiful dress for prom and homecoming that she made from royal blue velvet material.  We still managed to get high school class rings, probably wanting us to have one because she didn’t make it through high school.  Each of the girls had piano lessons, something she would have been good at considering her lovely voice when she sang and her rhythm when she danced.

And, of course, the only boy in the family received a really cool car on his 16th birthday.  (No, I’m not mad about it anymore.  Not that I ever was, really.  Well, maybe a little.  But not anymore.  Hardly.)

A few of Mom’s recipes, most in her own handwriting, were included.  This dumpling recipe was from the sessions Mom and I had as she tried to teach me how to make them.  She was too weak by then to roll them out, but she sure enjoyed sitting there teaching me, smiling ear to ear.Mom's Dumplings 001

There was a little bit of history of Mom’s family because they were a close bunch of sisters.  And like my own family, one boy in all those girls.  (Did I mention that my brother wrecked that really cool car by jumping over the levee and breaking it right in half?”  Not that that bothers me or anything anymore.)

So along with pictures of kids and grandkids and recipes, I included a few pics like this one:Logsdon Siblings circa 1930s 001And just so we wouldn’t forget that once upon a time our Mom had a Amy & Churnie 1947 001real life, a life with laughter and flirtation, I included some like this one.

Being the middle child in a family of four children, my characteristics and qualities have been woven in ways such as those that made my Mom into who she was.  And that is why on the back of the book I put a really good picture of me and a not-so-really great picture of the rest of them.

My brother is the one in the silly birthday hat.  And I only used that picture because it was one of the best I had of him.  Not at all because I may still be just a tad incensed by the fact that he got a car on his 16th birthday, and I did not. Mom's cookbook back

If you want a free book, here is the link for you to get one.  https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/SOm1IE

The Clan

checking the photo booth

checking the photo booth

We are Scottish, Irish, English, and some sort of ancestry with high cheekbones in their DNA from somewhere.  Our sense of humor and love for pranks and making up musical ditties attest to at least part of the origin of the clan.  The DNA test that Ancestry.com offers may solve the mystery to the rest.  I’ve been contemplating swabbing my mouth and sending my DNA off to be analyzed just to see where my ancestors trod once upon a time.  Just for the heck of it, the fun of solving the origin mystery and maybe creating a couple more mysteries.

All of us, the siblings and the young’ns, (most of them anyway) got together for a New Year’s Day Reunion/late Christmas Get-Together.  It was great!!

Ava unloading presents

Ava unloading presents

Santa had left a bunch of presents!!  So Ava helped put them under the BIG tree.  It was a madhouse for just a bit as the girls passed out gifts to everyone.

Darla with hubby Dave

Darla with hubby Dave

The talent show was exceptional this year with blues singers accompanied by the guitar as well as acapella; original songs written by the participants; a hover board exhibition; Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae dance routines; a chorus of girls singing Jingle Bells; gymnastics and ballet.  I am expecting more to be on the program for next year.  We are a talented bunch in this clan.

It took a little coaxing to get some of the kiddos out there while  others had two or three things planned to do.  We had no agenda and no idea who would do what.  Most of it was spur of the moment and turned out awesome!

Kate and Nia

Kate and Nia

Hover board hotties

Hover board hotties

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Charlotte, Kate, Nia, Maci, Ava

Blues Player Dave

Blues Player Dave with Henry taking everything in.

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“Sant Won’t You Give Me the Scoop”

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This girl rocks!!

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watch me whip

Stanky Leg

Stanky Leg

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Maci gets down to Watch me Whip.  Her brother, Owen, was awesome as well, but somehow I don’t have his picture.  Charlotte, the ballerina in the clan, was also  whipping and nae-naeing.  Yeah.  That doesn’t look like a word to me either.  Even little Henry, the pre-K kid, was stanky-legging!

Then there is always the game of “Write Down One Thing Nobody Knows About You.”  Little Ava won this year with her “I have been a mile underground.”  We have a few coal miners, so of course everyone guessed all of them first.  Nos abounded.  They were clueless, and would never have guessed if not for the big grin on Ava’s face and her sister seeing it.  Sisters just know when the other one is up to something.  We had gone to Ruby Falls in Tennessee last summer which had taken  us deep into the earth. Darla used the same one she used last year (she has to have some excitement in her life this year!).  And we should have all gotten “I am a word Nazi” right off the bat (Keely) but had to guess a while for some reason.  We all know how she loves to read!  Mike returned the joke “fact” Davy put in the pot about Mike last year with a “fact” of his own about Davy this year.  We were all staring at Davy in disbelief for just a brief minute!

Rutherford clan

Rutherford clan

Donny and Keely

Donny and Keely

Benna and Amanda

Benna and Amanda

Part of the Martin clan, Wes, Darla and Will

Part of the Martin clan, Wes, Darla and Will

Nate and KaLee

Nate and KaLee

Mike, Steve, Julie, Amanda, Benna eating, drinking, and being merry

Mike, Steve, Benny, Julie, Amanda, Benna eating, drinking, and being merry

Turning the garage into a party zone wasn’t too hard with the help of the cheap 25-cent red plastic tablecloths for the “stage” and some white disposable tablecloths for covering up all the garage junk.  Wah-la!!  Pristine white temporary walls!

There was enough food for the 30 people and enough desserts to fill our tummies.  We started the year off right with black-eyed peas and cornbread and cabbage on the menu as well. (Thanks to Donny, the cook, for the latter two.)

It was good to catch up, to see how the kiddos had grown, to reminisce, to laugh at each other and with each other, to tell tales of old and some of new on one another, to meet some of the new people in the clan this year and yell a little louder at some of the older people in the clan.

We are a clan of game players, a clan of laughers.  So after the last game that involved some  fast and furious thinking up sounds, one-word clues, and actions, we were beginning to settle down.  That’s when the grown-ups ventured over to the photo booth.  The kids found it early on and had already created images and movies galore!  I would so love to put the video of Nia on here with Owen:  he pretending to pick his nose and she, well, it was just interesting.

And kind of gross.

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Nia putting on her mustache

Nia putting on her mustache

Photo on 1-1-16 at 4.08 PM

Looking back… Taking Kate to School

It’s the end of yet another year, and I am going through WordPress, looking at anything left undone.

Because I am very very good at undone whether it’s leaving a project in such a state or getting myself into such a state.  Here is what I found, and I thought it worthy to post.  Even if it was nailed up and left to linger on the blog tree — oops — I mean post for, um, about four years:

 

Hula Hoedown

Kate in the first grade

This week I have only taken Kate to school one day.  It is a treat to take her… but I suppose it wouldn’t be if it was my job every morning to get her up and fight with her about her clothes and try to get her little sis ready to go as well.

She came bebopping out of the house, all pink and brown, with her little skirt and boots with the tassle balls, .  Her boots were pink with the Disney princesses.  We had gone shopping a few days earlier and she had new clothes and new shoes.  Adorable.  I should have taken a pic, but didn’t have my camera.

On the way to school we sing “Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s off to school we go.”  Then I make up verses, but her favorite part, she says, is the chorus.  We walk in the school together — unless she sees some of her friends.  Then it’s a kiss and hug and off to walk in with the other kids.  Kate is very social this year.  She started last year in Pre-K getting a little more social, wanting to talk to people.  She will be the traveling reporter who finds out all kinds of things about people because she is full of questions and interested in them.  She also has a concern for everyone.

The trees will talk to us as we travel down the road; sometimes in a voice that sounds a lot like Gigi and sometimes in a voice that sounds a lot like Kate.  They say things such as, “oooh, what a pretty little girl; I want her bear.”  Because sometimes she takes her little blue bear with her in the car to school, leaving him to wait on her return trip home.  Then a tree will respond with “No, I don’t want her bear.”  Those trees are real talkers.  And on every curve the wheels on my vehicle go “Errrrk.”

This year, she loves school.  She loves her teacher and her classmates, and she loves learning the letters and numbers, sounding out the letters, making rhyming words.

Kate this year with Santa

Kate this year with Santa

We still hear the trees talk to us every once in awhile.  Not as often as before because Kate is now in the fourth grade and Ava is in the first grade.  Little blue bear stays at home now, replaced with her Ipod or IPhone.  She is still very social.  I am thinking politician.  So is Ava.  I am still thinking politician.

There are now two little girls bebopping out to the car.  Kate has chosen the comfy jogging pants and comfy shirts over her cute little first-grade outfits.  Ava choosing her cute little first-grade outfits.  They both love school:  A tribute to the teachers and staff at our school.  And they both are good students, although Kate is still more interested in what’s going on around her, I think, than the school work, itself.

It is still a treat to get to take them to school, and we still listen to our Sunday School songs on the CD and make up little ditties to go along with songs we know, and  we still look for things of interest along the highway.  Of course, this is mixed in with the bickering.  Ugh!!

Now, instead of one little girl there are two.  Now, instead of walking them both in like I have up until this year, I stop at the door, and they grab their stuff and hop out, catching up with friends, forgetting they have a granny in the vehicle watching them with a heart full of love.

Ewwww, YUCK….

My sweet little pumpkin (it IS Thanksgiving time, pumpkin time), Ava, comes over to play with me.  She is a game player, and this year, since she is now the ripe old age of six, she has caught on rather nicely to the intricacies of the games with all the skill that goes into blocking your opponent and planning the strategy for the big win.Ava & Callie halloween 2015 (2)

We play Animal Sequence, Uno Mooo, Bingo, Mickey Dominoes, War, Spoons, anything we have on hand or thatIMG_0367 looks interesting.

Sometimes we go for playing house, taking turns at who is Mom.  Or we play school where she is always the teacher.  Last year, in kindergarten, she was such a sweet, demure, kind, soft-spoken teacher, but this year in first grade she has an edge to her while she points her finger and says, “I’m not telling you again.”

Then there are the days I am not really quite sure what we are supposed to be playing.  She usually centers her make-believe whatevIMG_0369er-we-are around my working in the yard.  I tell her that, no, I can’t play house today because I am working in the yard.  She in her very matter-of-fact voice says, “I know!  You can be the daughter that works at the plant-selling place, and I will be the mom.”

No excuse will suffice.  She comes back with some other angle in her tenacious we-are-going-to-play attitude.

I, of course, always give in.

IMG_1352

How could I not?!!!  Just look at her!!!

Sunday, after I had beat her once again at Bingo, she jumps up on the couch and does a big raspberry in my face.  Spit everywhere!  So I jump up and pull her hands away from her face (she fought fiercely) and raspberried her right back!

The big coup for this old Granny?

Ava says “Ewwwwww!  YUCK!  Grandma spit!”

I can remember how I hated when my mom took her cloth hankie (it was all in super slow motion) and brought it up to her puckered lips glistening with spit and put a big glob of spit on the hankie.  Then her arm and hand with the spit-globbed hankie would so slowly (oh the dread, the dread) come toward my face to wipe off (I’m almost certain) an invisible spot of dirt or food or snot off of me.

Ewwwwww!  YUCK!

I’m still laughing about doing it to Ava.  Only it’s twice as bad.

GRANDMA SPIT!!!!

Oh, To Get It Right

From my Mom

From my Mom

This card was from my Mom at the party in 1981 or 1983.  I don’t know when it was.  I’ve tried to figure it out, and right when I think I have, I post a card from B. O. and Jane Young that says June of 1983.

Which explains the gist of most of the cards and letters:  I love you, you dork.

Which is also pretty much the gist of my life today:  I am a dork.

But my Momma loved me, and did right up to the day she left for Heaven.  I would imagine she still does.oh if I

This card is especially precious because of my Mom’s handwriting.  As we walk through life, or run, we have no idea how we will miss those little things like handwriting, a voice, a chuckle.

Here is another one of my cherished gifts from that day:  a long-ago picture of some neighborhood kids.

Jamie, me, and Terry

Jamie, me, and Terry

A lot of us had horses or ponies in those days.  We all played and played together: sledding down the big hills in the snowy winter, pretend ice skating with our boots in the freezing weeks, riding ponies and bikes in the hot summer, playing in the water hose or in the rain.  Gail tells it well:

Gail's letter

Gail’s letter

Gail's letter back

Gail’s letter back

Oh, the times we had as children!  Wonderful, imaginative, exciting times!

There were more letters from my Acteens youth girls and my Sunday School class, sweet letters from sweet girls who became good, sweet women, mothers, teachers of their own Sunday School classes, employees.

A time capsule of sorts.  One that I hope you have enjoyed opening.