Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday! (To Us)

Today is my birthday. But is is also Beth's birthday. I actually wanted to go to the movies on that date those many moons ago. Plus, my OB was out of town. So much for birthday plans and it turned out to be pretty fun to share "my" day.
When Beth was little I used to tease her about it NOT being her birthday, it was MY birthday. As we both got older I gave it to her for her own and celebrated on another day. Then for a little while we both tried to be the first one to say "Happy Birthday!"
It is kind of special to share the day. I think that if you shared your birthday with a holiday it would be harder. A lot of people would be celebrating sort of for themselves. This is just the two of you. (Or maybe more?)
But then Susan Hayward and Lena Horne had it before either of us.
My mom said that she called the doctor and told him that she was in labor and he said to come in. So she waited for my dad to come home and then she also shaved her legs. :) When they finally got to the hospital the doctor said that he thought maybe she had changed her mind because it took so long for them to arrive.
I was born at 1130 p.m. on June 30th. 8 lbs 4 oz. I think 20 inches long. My Uncle Sherrill's reported comment was, "A girl! Send her back!" He was a 17 year old teenager. I am glad they decided not to take his advise.
When I realized I was truly in labor with Beth I was disappointed because as I have already stated, I wanted to go to the movies and my doctor was out of town. I actually went into labor on June 29th and delivered at 5 + a.m. on June 30th. My desire to celebrate my birthday in a way that didn't include labor pains didn't stop her. The doctor had originally said that she was a boy because of her size. She was actually my biggest baby at 8 lbs 12 oz. I think also 20 inches long. Jared had been a bigger baby and the next two girls were smaller babies. This was a big baby. Her name was going to be Seth. (On this original post I was incorrect and said Ryan, but Sara was going to be Ryan.) I think the Beth ended up being Beth because I liked the name Seth and when he turned out to be a she then I got the closest name.
Anyway, out she came and I have not regretted it at all, of course. I used to tell her that she was my gift because she came on my birthday.
Happy Birthday, Beth! Happy Birthday to me, too!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hotel California

Guess what I found out? My sister has a blog! I never knew. Over the last little while I have been trying to blog a little more. Several of my children have blogs. It has been fun to see pictures and read about their lives, interests, children, experiences, etc. My blog has been turning more and more into a family history type blog with older pictures and memories.

So I did the Father's Day blog and got a couple of responses. One was anonymous. I knew it had to be either my sister or brother. I didn't think that my brother read blogs or spent much time on the computer. My sister loves the computer. But still....

Well, she wrote to me about reading my blog. She had found it through reading my daughter-in-law's blog. You know how you start reading a blog and then read the blogs that they read and then read the blogs that they read.... so on and so on.
THEN she confessed that she had a blog too. I think that is fun. But she also confessed that reading my blog mad her sad some times. Well, I would NEVER want to make her sad. So I told her not to read it if it makes her sad. BUT I really would like her to read it. :)

My sister is a wonderful and giving woman. I enjoy her so much and her sense of humor. She makes me laugh more than any other person. Maybe it is the life ties that we have as sisters and growing up together? We just sort of "get" it? It is rather hard to make me laugh these days so I appreciate her ability. It's just the way she phrases and explains things. And she is very talented and has a houseful of kids (well, a lot have grown up now) who keep her running around and she works in the schools, etc.

So, I googled her and found her blog. It is called Hotel California. I had to read a while to find out why. But it has great pictures of people and now I can keep in contact with her life even more AND especially since we live so far apart.

While on a trip we stayed at the Hotel California. It was so funny because we definitely were NOT in California. I have been there and I know it wasn't California. Does California mean something in Spanish? I HAD to take a picture of the sign. And all the time we were there I kept singing out loud and in my head the "Hotel California" song. The song is sort of creepy in parts and while the hotel is not creepy, it is different from a Marriot for sure.

My sister and I both lived in California, she living there Much longer than I. But we both love the song and this is a great picture. (If you want me to send you a copy of it, I can, R.)

So Happy Friday! It's been a long week. Happy Summer! Did you know today is the first day of Summer?
I love my sister!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Engagement Picture

Now I regress a little bit.

As I have been going through pictures to organize, use for projects, facebook, and this blog I am practically living in the past. Not a bad past either, if I do say so myself.

I have been doing family "portraits" through the years and trying to do them in order. But I came across this photo and I just love it. As couples get engaged and send out wedding announcements today, they usually send a picture or two along. I really enjoy it because I like to see the couples. This month we have received a plethora of announcements and pictures. So when I found this picture it was really fun. We didn't send pictures with our announcement. And if we had this might not have been the one we sent. But actually this is probably the only picture we have of us as an engaged and not married couple.

When I look at this picture I almost don't recognize us. We really were young!

This picture was taken as we sat on the love seat in Jim and Susan's living room in South Sacramento, CA. It was 1972. Once again I remember those clothes. Wish I had those jeans now. Our colors match too and we didn't even plan it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Family Picture 1975

In 1975 Robert and I packed up our little car and moved from California to Illinois. The reason we were moving was a transfer for Robert from working on a flight line on KC-135s and B-52s at Castle Air Force Base to teaching airframe repair in a class room at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL. We spent a few months less than three years in Illinois in the middle of bean fields. It was good time.
Jared was 18 months old and Amanda was three months old when we moved. Amanda had a really nice car seat which I had hoped would help her sleep all the way across the country. From our experience when Jared got in his car seat he usually fell asleep if we drove for any length of time. I thought this would work the same way for Amanda. Little did I know that she was born an independent sleeper and she didn't sleep much if any during the three day drive in the car. She still doesn't sleep much. She nursed most of the way across the country on that trip. I was her human pacifier.
(I know! This was not safe, but it is what we did.)
Since Rantoul is only a couple of hours away from my grandparents in Terre Haute, IN, we would go down a few times each year. It was a great time for me to get to know them as an adult. I had not lived by my grandparents for almost 10 years.
This picture shows us with my Grandad, Royce Reel, at his home on Second Avenue in Terre Haute. I really cherish the thought that my grandparents held my children and talked to them. Even if the kids don't remember it, I do.
As this historical blogging goes forward I can share a few thoughts about it all.
The things I notice in this picture are: Proof that Jared sucked those two fingers. Robert's original wedding ring. He lost at least one playing softball, maybe two. My Grandad had a BIG ring. I didn't even notice it when we were visiting. I look so young with no wrinkles. Robert is so skinny. Interesting T, too, Janice. Amanda didn't have much hair and that is about as cute as clothes got for little boys in 1975.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Second Family Picture

This is 1974 and our second family picture. I think we had a little 110 pocket camera then. I do not know who took the picture for us. But I actually remember having the picture taken. And I remember that sweater! It was so stretched out, but it was so comfortable.
Isn't Jared cute? He was such a pretty baby. I began to worry right before he was born that the baby (we didn't know what gender) would be ugly. He was perfect though as all the babies were. Perfect little round heads. Perfect skin. Perfect, perfect. Up until Jared was about 2 years old people would mistake him for a girl if he had the hood up on his coat.
This picture was taken in Merced, CA in front of the little, old duplex where we lived at the time. I wish I had a picture of our side. It was a little white framed duplex located at the back of a big lot. You can see the front two houses in the background of the picture. The duplex was painted white with green trim too. Our side was the biggest with one main bedroom and a bedroom on one end that was added later. It was probably built in the 1940s or 50s. When we moved there I was pregnant and we were at our first duty assignment at Castle Air Force Base. There were lots of bugs and the landlord was not into killing things with pesticides. But I couldn't go to the bathroom in the night by myself because of the bugs. And pregnant people HAVE to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night! I was not used to apartment living and having bugs was not something I was used to either. Finally the landlord had the place bug-bombed and we were pretty much fine after that.
We also brought Jared home from the hospital (can you say Air Force Clinic) after he was born to this home. We had an old green scratchy couch and chair. They were gigantic but comfortable. I just threw a quilt over it sometimes. My mom and dad got them at Goodwill. Our television was a gold 13 inch black and white which we set on my hope chest. The kitchen was so tiny that we couldn't eat in there even though we managed to squeeze a table with both drop leaves dropped into it. The refrigerator was from the 50s I am sure. The stove was a four burner, but it was half the size of a regular stove.
Our bed sagged really bad in the middle so we just put the box springs and mattress on the floor. We had a dresser that was there from the landlord, a chest of drawers which we painted yellow for the baby, and an old oak dresser that I think my folks also got at Good Will. The only new thing in the place was the crib that my mom bought for us for Jared and my hope chest.
But you know what? We didn't mind at all. We had a place to live that we could afford on an airman's salary. We had the gospel and great visiting teachers. We were having a baby. And we were in love. What more did we need?
Don't we look happy? I think so.

P.S. I used the crib for all my babies. PLUS... we still have the dresser from the landlord. We traded the curtains we put up in the place for the dresser! Actually, Leslie has the dresser now. Many years later Robert refinished it and we put cute rose painted china knobs on it. It is great dresser. Everyone in the family has had their clothes in it except Spencer. When we got it outside to refinish we could read in the bright sunlight the words, "I hate mom" scratched inside one drawer. I guess I pushed someone too far one day. :) I also still have my hope chest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day is this Sunday. This is what I read about the original Father's Day.
The idea for an official Father’s Day celebration came to a married daughter, seated in a church in Spokane, Washington, attentive to a Sunday sermon on Mother’s Day in 1910-two years after the first Mother’s Day observance in West Virginia.
The daughter was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. During the sermon, which extolled maternal sacrifices made for children, Mrs. Dodd realized that in her own family it had been her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, who had sacrificed-raising herself and five sons alone, following the early death of his wife in childbirth. For Mrs. Dodd, the hardships her father had endured on their eastern Washington farm called to mind the unsung feats of fathers everywhere.

Her proposed local Father’s Day celebration received strong support from the town’s ministers and members of the Spokane YMCA. The date suggested for the festivities, June 5, Mrs. Dodd’s father’s birthday was three weeks away-had to be moved back to the nineteenth when ministers claimed they need extra time to prepare sermons on such a new subject as Father.

Newspapers across the country, already endorsing the need for a national Mother’s Day, carried stories about the unique Spokane observance. Interest in Father’s Day increased. Among the first notables to support Mrs. Dodd’s idea nationally was the orator and political leader William Jennings Bryan, who also backed Mother’s Day. Believing that fathers must not be slighted, he wrote to Mrs. Dodd, "too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the relation between parent and child."

Father’s Day, however, was not so quickly accepted as Mother’s Day. Members of the all-male Congress felt that a move to proclaim the day official might be interpreted as a self-congratulatory pat on the back.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the day. And in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that states, if they wished, should hold their own Father’s Day observances. He wrote to the nation’s governors that "the widespread observance of this occasion is calculated to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children, and also to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations."

Many people attempted to secure official recognition for Father’s Day. One of the most notable efforts was made in 1957, by Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who wrote forcefully to Congress that "Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable."

Eventually, in 1972-sixty-two years after it was proposed-Father’s Day was permanently established by President Richard Nixon. Historians seeking an ancient precedent for an official Father’s Day observance have come up with only one: The Romans, every February, honored fathers-but only those deceased.

In America today, Father’s Day is the fifth-largest card-sending occasion, with about 85 million greeting cards exchanged.

I was thinking about Father's Day this morning. Robert wants to go buy some new shirts for work. He also is probably going to buy himself a new flat screen television for the bedroom. The old TV in the bedroom is going out. The vertical hold is not working and it takes a long time to stop spinning as it warms up.
I always recognize him for being the father of my children. I try to treat him and make the day nice for him. He usually doesn't make a big deal of the day, but as he is getting older I think he worries more about what kind of a father he has been and would like to hear about it from his children.
As for my own father...this year it is very poignant to me that he has passed on. I would really like to honor him this year, even more than last year which was the year he passed away. Maybe the newness of his passing had rather numbed me in 2007.
When I was in California in May I purchased some silk flowers to put on his grave. I will add a picture when I get access to a copy. I arranged them myself. What do you think?
Anyway, I miss my dad and wish he was here to call me, tease me, and send me two cards for my birthday! :(
Make sure you tell your Dad, husband, sons, sons-in-laws, co-workers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers Happy Father's Day while you can. You will feel good about it, they will feel good about it, and it makes the day nicer for everyone.