Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pineapples from Heaven

Upon deciding the girls & I would be venturing home during Abby's spring break, one of the first arrangements I made was with my grandmother to go to my grandparents' house for supper and our usual hanging out.

The day before I left for my trip I got an e-mail with the recipe for a dish a friend of a friend had made at a recent gathering. It was a simple dish, but a big hit. Knowing how much my grandma likes to try new things, I called her up the morning of our visit to ask if it would be okay if I made it and brought it along; she thought that sounded like a good idea.

The girls and I arrived early at Grandma & Grandpa's house. I put together the Baked Pineapple, and then went to the business of helping Grandma take a few misc. things upstairs and chatting. Upon entering Uncle David's old room to put away some holiday items, I saw my dad's baby book sitting on top of a basket so I brought it downstairs to read. While browsing through the aged pages I came upon a meticulously documented family tree and discovered that this very day, March 27th, it would have been my great grandmother's 110th birthday. And not only was it her birthday, but she was born in the very house we were sitting in, as my grandparents live on the family homestead. I was excited about the discovery, and felt in my heart it was more than just a coincidence.

One thing led to another. We had Grandma's classic hotdish for supper with our side of baked pineapple that both of my grandparents raved about. I'm not sure what led Grandma to dig it out, but from the back of the cupboard she pulled out another piece of family history: Great Grandma's recipe box. After supper was eaten and the dishes were done, we settled around the table to rummage through the treasure box. What I found took my breath away. First was the recipe I had been looking for, her recipe for Sunshine Cake. The cake she had made my grandpa for his birthdays in his youth, the cake I was hoping to make him next week for his 80th birthday. Perfect! The second, she had an enormous collection of various pineapple recipes. Hmmmm. Pineapple.

I never met my Great Grandma Bendorf. She passed away just three months before I was born. But I do have her diamond engagement ring, and many beautiful memories in the house she grew up in & raised her children in. And now I have her Sunshine Cake recipe, and a special place in my heart for pineapple.

{On the Homestead: Great Grandma, Aunt Joyce, Aunt Glenice, Grandpa, Great Grandpa Bendorf}

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Floating Moon

On this bright and sunny day we made our way to gymnastics and Lauren noticed, "I see the moon floating in the clouds."

I guess our colorful use of language around this house is paying off.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Columbus Zoo

Last year for Geoff's birthday we marched to the capital of Illinois, meeting up with family and friends for some good hockey and an all-around good time. So in the spirit of adventure, this year we spent Geoff's birthday in another state capital, Columbus. The birthday boy's destination of choice--the zoo.

The Columbus Zoo is great. Don't get me wrong, this is the first zoo I've visited outside of Minnesota, it isn't like I'm the zoo expert of America. But the park is large, and offers a variety of animals separated into geographical sectors. And it is unbelievably well-kept. They have people designated as poo catchers in the petting zoo; so while your child meanders around the goats combing, petting and admiring, there is someone just a step away with a broom and a bucket on the lookout for fresh feces. Brought to life by Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo is the home to a baby elephant, grizzly bears, gorillas, lions, tigers, manatees, a historic carousel, the largest play area I've ever seen, an adjacent water park.... I could go on and on.

You always hope that when taking your children to the zoo they enjoy themselves in addition to learning a little something. As it turns out, they did. And so did I. I learned that there is such a thing as a maternity Ohio State t-shirt, gorillas fart up to 400 times a day, not all Homo sapien moms wear bras, and not all moms approach parenting with the same gentle touch. While some mothers diligently distribute hand sanitizer to their offspring, others can be heard shouting, "I don't care what people think of me. If you don't get over here I'm gonna kick your ass." Of course it could be a long day had gotten the best of that boisterous mom, but judging by the hole in her Married to the Mob t-shirt, and the additional hole in her gum line, that just might be how she rolls.

While the girls took a break from animal observing to amuse themselves in the play area, Geoff and I spent the time observing people. If there is one thing that was obvious it was that parents of youngsters wear their emotions all over their face. Most parents were pleased to see their children enjoying themselves. Many were exhausted. Some wore unmasked frustration. Others blissfully enjoyed the beautiful day.

Thanks to two relatively well-behaved little girls, I think I was in the blissful category. We took the right approach to the day. As we entered the park we each chose an animal to look for; so when the crabbies started creeping in all one of us had to say was, "Let's see if we can find those elephants," and it was mission on. We laughed a lot, the girls cried just a little, and when we left the park we were all just happy to be together.

Lauren's Still Hooked on the Moon

Lauren is still hooked on the moon. Last night's inquiry, "Why is the moon coming with us?"

I look forward to her waking up this morning to unwrap the curiosity in her mind.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Glad to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Every now and then I think about the impact my staying home with our kids is having on them. Sure they are missing out on all that daycare has to offer.... the socializing, sharing of communicable diseases, endless piles of crafts, birthday party invitations galore, etc. But what they are getting from me, and each other, just might be of greater wealth. Don't get me wrong, I am not in any way judging mothers who don't stay at home with their kids, just reminded why I'm glad that I can.

Foremost, I get to watch them grow and be there for it all. I am able to train them to behave and react to situations in the way that I deem appropriate. And as it was vividly played out in front of me yesterday, they are experiencing the ins and outs of much of what adults are responsible for by growing in my shadow.

The girls spent much of the afternoon outside enjoying the beautiful weather and entertaining themselves. At one point Lauren came to the house with a stick and said, "This is for my TV." Okay, I thought. It must be her antenna. Wait. They don't even know what those are. Hmmmm. It wasn't long before I found out where it was all going.

And then it was Abby's turn. "Mom, how do you fix the Direct TV? Lauren's TV is the tree, and I am fixing it for her."

Of course they were busy fixing the Direct TV. After days on the phone with technicians and a few different visits to the house, this must be a crucially important job. Being the true professional she is, Abby got Lauren's tree up and running in no time. And that stick? It was Lauren's remote.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Tell Daddy

Yesterday afternoon Lauren and I needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store. We decided to get some ice cream for an afternoon treat. After we picked Abby up from preschool we headed home and dished us each up a scoop. As we sat around the little table, Lauren looked up to me and said, "Don't tell Daddy we got ice cream, he will eat it all."

Geoff got home from work that evening just as we were sitting down for supper. He wasn't home for more than five minutes before Lauren blurted out, "Daddy, guess what we did today? We got ice cream!" So much for keeping that one a secret, Lauren.

Fast forward to this morning. A week or so ago Grandma Phillips sent us a package that included jelly beans, Geoff's favorite! But since we already had our candy jar filled, I insisted they stay at the back of the cupboard, out of sight and unopened. This morning the jar was getting low, so I decided to toss them in. Lauren looked on while eating her breakfast.

It wasn't long before Geoff was ready for work and downstairs on his way out the door. And, true to fashion, Lauren's first words were, "Mommy, I have to tell Daddy something."

Like a fool I replied, "Go ahead, Lauren," and gave no warning not to clue him in on the output of his favorite sugary treat.

"Mommy put out the jelly beans," Lauren proclaimed with pride.

Geoff left the house this morning with a smile on his face, "I guess if I want to know anything I just have to ask Lauren."

I will consider this my warning.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bathroom Break

So what can top a day at church with Abby wondering aloud for the entire congregation to hear, "Why does that old man not have to stand up?" Today.

With seven minutes to spare before the service started, I seized the opportunity to use the bathroom. I finished my business and vacated my stall. And then I heard the words you don't want to hear in the bathroom, "Oh no, this isn't good." I turned around in the two-stall facility to see a pool of black sludge gathering between the toilets. I was certain I had not left an overflowing toilet, so I returned to the stall, and bent over to investigate. Then the voice spoke again, "I think your toilet overflowed." I was mortified, and determined to prove I was not the culprit. Sure enough it appeared as if it was seeping out of the back of the toilet in my neighbor's stall.

Desperate I asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay," the voice responded.

And then she appeared. This wasn't just any voice, it was the voice of the pastor. Of course it was!

We both got a good laugh over it, as good of a laugh as I suppose you could have over the wreak of the sludge.

I offered my services and was tasked with the job of standing in front of the bathroom so no one entered the double stalls of nasty.

I was quite certain by this time Geoff thought this was some plot I had devised to leave him alone in a church full of strangers with our two questioning lovelies. But alas, ten minutes after I left I had returned. And while the service consequently started a little late, the issue had been laid to rest. Whew. Next time, I'm using a different bathroom.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baby Mamas

Like all other children, my girls love to imitate life as grown-ups. Sometimes I wonder what took them so long to come up with this one, considering all of the other things that have come into their play.

Won't they love this photo one day when they are expecting more than the delivery of a blanket.


{About Me}

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.