Friday, February 27, 2009

Picture This!

There is no visual with this post.  First, I think we lost the camera somewhere on the Oklahoma trip and second, I'm not looking at it right now.  That's right.  I'm not looking!!!  What is it?

Well picture this:

Leftover boxes found while cleaning out the laundry room = lots of fun for some little boys.  They built castles and forts, etc.  Then when I came back down to the basement, the fort was larger.  How?  They found MORE boxes of course.  But not just any boxes.  The two boxes of china that I have not unpacked since moving to Ohio.  I really don't have a spot for the china here, so I thought leaving it boxed (and safe away in the laundry room) was the best option.  But the boxes were noticed on "clean the laundry room day" and the boys remembered.  These boxes just happen to have been on the bottom making a great foundation for other boxes, blankets, and boys weighing up to 48 pounds.  Then they jump.  And they play fight.

So at least for now,  I'm not looking.  No visual.  Not opening.  I just don't want to know.  

Before this sounds too dramatic, you should know my China was bought at a flea market and given to me by my mom one year as a Christmas gift. It is not super duper sentimental or super duper expensive, but it is a little sentimental and a little expensive and really beautiful (this great light blue and silver)  and it is my china!

Grant me patience!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Proud to be an Okie

Oklahoma.  Mostly flat.  Mostly dirt.  Some pretty hills and lakes here and there, but really there isn't too much about Oklahoma that I ever found of interest growing up there.  I was born in El Reno outside of Oklahoma City.  I lived in Durant for a short time in 6th grade and in Jay for 7-9th grades. I had friends named Echo, Bear, Feather, Youngblood, Wolf, etc in junior high and the pow wow with fry bread was amazing every year. Still, going back for grandma's funeral has in some way that I can't quite explain made me proud to be an Okie.  

Well, okay I'll try and explain it!  First, my mom in an Okie.  I mean Okie.  Born and raised (Rocky and Tulsa). She has the accent (but she can turn it on and off pretty well).  She was born there, raised there, moved away, but of course has come back.  Currently she is in Wagoner, OK.  But not too long ago she was living in Muskogee making her a true Okie from Muskogee!  She can cook like an Okie.  Beans, corn bread, real cream and  real butter, biscuits.  And she can make a meal from nothing.  Nothing.  I remember no food in the cabinet to eat and later-a full meal for a family of six.  I don't know.  She's just got it.   Not to mention she is a die hard Sooner fan. (My dad by the way, was in the OU Marching Band). My mom and I recently went window shopping in downtown Tahlequah and enjoyed seeing Indian art, turquoise, dresses, feathers, instruments, etc.  I should also note that my mom has remarried and her husband is Cherokee. She also has a broach that is the Oklahoma seal! 

Then there is my grandma.  Also born and raised in Oklahoma.  She lived in Tahlequah, OK. Tahlequah is the Cherokee Nation Capital and has some really interesting places in it.  My grandma always donated to the Cherokee Children's Services.  She also collected beautiful Indian art and yes, there was Cherokee music at the funeral. 

My sister Holly is an Okie as well.  She is married to a Keetoowah.  They are a branch of Cherokee with some pretty strict rules about getting in the tribe.  Holly and Ben actually live on land given Ben's family years ago by the government when the tribes walked out there.  Ben and some of his family will also be extras in a PBS special on the Trail of Tears to come out in April. Here is the link if you are interested.  I've been out to their place and it is just Indian land with a few modest homes.  Interesting history.  They still get health care through the Indian Health Services.  

But I think the real endearing thing to me was sitting around after grandmas funeral and hearing my great aunt talk about her mom, my great grandmother-Laudie Lorraine Bachlor.  She was born the year Oklahoma became a state.   I heard some good stories.  Like this one:  Granny got in to it with her parents when she was 17 or 18 about something (no one knows) and her parents told her to leave.  So she took one bag and started walking.  This is the 1920s.  She had no where to go.  A fellow drives up and it is a guy who helped paint their house a few months back.  I guess she had written him a letter after he left their home.  After finding out the situation he said, "well get in and we'll go get married."  So they did.
I wish I could say it was happy ever after, but. .
He had lots of younger siblings and a mom with terrible scoliosis so she took care of his family for years.  Later she had her own three children (one of which shared this story with me, one my grandma who we had just buried, and then a son who lives in New Mexico now).  Oh ya, and he was an alcoholic.  
I also heard about the dust bowl.  I just can't imagine living through something like that.  Granny had to actually put cloth over her face so that she could breathe.  Can you imagine?  
My mom lived with Granny when she was a child and she asked her, "Granny how did you survive all that?"  According to mom, Granny just:  Paused.  Sighed.  And replied, "we just never left.  We just never left."   I highly recommend this documentary.  

So, these are my roots.  
Generations of women from Oklahoma.  Driving back to Ohio after hearing all the stories of hand washing clothes, selling corn, alcoholic husbands, farms that didn't produce, panties from flour sacks, seeing hand made quilts and dresses, looking at fine needle work, seeing the Indian bead work, hearing Amazing Grace in Cherokee, and yes driving along seeing flat dirt. . . well I just got this sense of pride for these hard working people in the heart of this country I love.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Life and Death

So the same day I am celebrating Ivan's life and his big 4th birthday--my grandma Smith at age 83 passes away.  This picture was taken just six weeks ago and I am SO glad we went to see her on our way to Arkansas.  This was her first time to meet Ammon and only her 2nd with Ivan.  I was happy to see that she keeps pictures and cards I send her near her chair.  We are working out details on getting to Oklahoma for the funeral.  Even though she has lived in Missouri for several years,  she will be buried next to Grandpa in Tahlequah, OK.  I now have no adults other than my mom in my direct line.  Having lost my dad and all other grandparents.  It seems a bit lonely.  I guess with time, the generations will flow the other direction and I'll become the grandma and great grandma.

I think she felt bad she couldn't offer us anything.  But she offered us her Christmas fudge (notice the red tin) and my boys ate every bit of it!  I'll miss knowing Grandma Hettie Louise Smith is there.  I may blog later about the funeral.  I expect it to be interesting knowing this side of the family and all of our varied religions, ideologies, and injured feelings.  Still, I'm hoping for a good experience.  I've heard there will be feathers and balloons?!  Nope, I'm not kidding!

Happy Brithday Ivan!

You'll know why the title is Happy Brithday when you get to the end of the post.  But first, who is this handsome boy?  Well, that is my little Ivan.  Who isn't so little anymore.  This is a recent picture taken at the wonderful COSI museum here in Columbus.

Ivan had some friends over for his birthday.  This was the first time we had friends for the party.  Usually it has just been family.  Orlando had a 4th birthday party with friends,  but it was at his school.  So, this was a BIG deal for our family.  Especially the boys.  Lando and Ammon enjoyed the excitement as much as Ivan.
We did some simple decorating and I let the boys help--the anticipation is probably as fun as the event!

This was "the birthday tunnel" made from streamers.  The kids got to climb to the top, put their gift down and then when it was present time they went to retrieve it....what a hit!  Parties for four year olds are fun!  We also danced and sang songs.  

The kiddos also chose a pony or dinosaur to paint and take home.  Another hit!
Okay, here is the cake.  Josh and I decorated on Friday night for the party on Saturday.  It turned out great (considering we had to make a spider!).  We must have been tired by the end though, because the message was Happy Brithday Ivan  instead of Happy Birthday Ivan!  I'm sure Charlotte would never have made this mistake.  Then again Charlotte just had to make the web, not the spider and the web!  Not one of the kids pointed it out, again parties for four year olds are fun!