Hey there! My Fly on the Wall friends just posted yesterday, but I wasn’t organized to sign-up in advance to participate. After reading the group’s posts, I thought I would join in with my own post. Better late than never, right?
For more Fly on the Wall, hop on over to this writing challenge founder’s blog: Baking in a Tornado.
South Dakota Vacation
We ventured to South Dakota during summer, and had an awesome time! It was a great family destination for our 5 and 7 year old kids. Before we went, my 5 year old son asked, “Do they speak English in South Dakota?”
On our drive from Sioux Falls to Desmet, our kids decided to make a honking sound whenever they saw an animal. This continued throughout the entire week. Sigh. Fortunately, there are open fields for long stretches where you don’t see much at all, like this:
The drive up to Desmet from Sioux Falls though beautiful, went through a quite rural part of the state. The population density is quite low in much of South Dakota, so I told Daddy O., “If we ever want to live off the grid, we can move out here!”
When driving past the many farms and lush green fields, my son observed, “I bet that farmer has 5 green thumbs.”
We could almost picture what it must have been like for the first settlers in the 1800’s who arrived here. The Ingalls Visitor Center consists of the Ingalls homestead, a sod house, shanty, church, barn and one-room classroom. We even rode on a covered wagon and learned about what life was like for the Ingalls family. We were struck by the extreme quiet of the land: no sounds of planes or cars zooming by on nearby roads, simply the sounds of the wind rushing through the prairie grasses. Beautiful.
We were excited to see bison, but just saw a lot of cattle, especially on the eastern part of the state. My daughter explained, “The cows are all black, and the bison are chocolate colored.” Can you tell we like desserts?
We drove the wildlife loop road at Custer State Park, and having been in the car for at least an hour, our kids asked, “Can we watch a show (on our portable DVD player)?”
“No!” I said, “Nature is your show. Look out your window!” So many amazing views:
The Black Hills
When we arrived in Rapid City, I said, “Look, kids, the Black Hills. Aren’t they pretty?”
My son’s response, “They look gray.”
In Rapid City, we enjoyed an awesome meal and beverages at Firehouse Brewery. We sat in a covered outdoor area (fortunately) and watched a major rain and hail storm come down. The food and beer were delicious – a welcome change from the fast food we had on the trip out to Rapid City. The company was nice too with everyone getting along, and I remarked to Daddy O., “This feels like a date night, except we have our kids along.” He replied, “It’s like our marriage is one long date-night.” Awh….
Hitting the Road
I have memories of my own family vacations as a kid, and we would wake up EARLY, maybe around 5am to get a jump on a day of long driving. I have not been able to replicate this timing for my family much to my dismay.
One morning after sleeping in, my daughter said, “Waking up early for me was unsuccessful.”
This happened on most days, and I just had to go with it. Oh well…
Best for Last
I was talking about the errands I ran during the week, talking about the things I picked up at a grocery store in a quick stop.
My son chimed in and said, “Wow, Mom, you work hard.”
“Yes, dear, why yes I do! Thank you!” He got a big hug for saying that!
Hope you all are hearing sweet things like that in your home too!
Have a great day all! Thanks for stopping by.
Now check out more Fly on the Wall posts, starting with Baking in a Tornado.
Last week we said our goodbyes to our last living Grandma. As expected, it was difficult, though memories of many years together helped provide much comfort. I was so very blessed to have had my mom’s parents around to see me graduate from high school, college, get married, and meet my two kids. While Grandpa Mark passed away in 2013 (I wrote about some memories of him), my Grandma lived on to reach age 87.
Grandma can be described as independent, generous, hardworking and kind. I always remember her home full of family socializing around holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. We often went to classic Wisconsin supper clubs together to enjoy fried chicken and meals served family style. Grandma was the matriarch of our family, raising three independent, strong daughters while working on their farm for over fifty years.
I have so much respect and admiration for all of my grandparents, given how much the world has changed in their long and full lives.
Many Changes in 87 Years
My Grandma was born in 1930. She remembered hobos coming up to their farm house and asking for food. Her mom would always manage to find something to give them, but made them sit outside and eat.
She attended school in a one room schoolhouse through the eighth grade. After that she was needed to work on the farm. I remember her telling me that she would have liked to have gone to school longer and might have even become a teacher. Though she didn’t teach in a classroom, our family will long remember her lessons and values she passed on to all of us.
As she went on to tell my mom, that’s just how things were back in the 1950’s: few women worked outside of the home, unless you were a nurse or a teacher. Women got married, kept up their home, raised children, and in my grandma’s case helped on the farm. She would drive the tractor and work alongside my grandpa. Running a farm certainly takes a lot of hard work.
My grandma was proud of her daughters, who all went on to work full time and raise their own children. When my mom had me and my sister (and after we had graduated from college), my grandma commented that her granddaughters “didn’t need a man to provide for them.” So true – how things have changed in 50 years!
The Original Girl’s Night
Along those lines, my grandma and her friends had their own “girl’s nights” except they took place on Tuesday mornings at the area bowling alley. There was even a newspaper clipping that showed my grandma leading her team with a score of 186! When she talked to my grandpa about the possibility of bowling on Wednesday mornings too, he told her, “Dorothy, well, I don’t know about all of you women getting together at a bowling alley.” Her response, “Mark, who’s going to pick up a bunch of farmers’ wives at 9 am in the morning?” She went on to enjoy bowling with her friends two mornings a week.
Grandma & Grandpa
When my grandparents were married in 1950, my grandma moved to grandpa’s farm, where he had led the life of a bachelor for several years. He only had 1 fork and 1 spoon, and when he made her eggs, he first gave her the spoon. My grandma refused to use the spoon, so he let her have the fork! My grandma just laughed at this memory and would shake her head every time she would retell it. She truly was the one who made their house a home!
As I mentioned earlier, there was always a lot of talking at family gatherings. My grandpa was notorious for his jokes and stories. I always liked it when he did something to make Grandma say, “MARK!” in her disapproving, scolding tone. Grandpa’s eyes would get really big, he’d raise his shoulders and cross his arms, and say, “I’m in trouble!”
So Many Good Memories
I was so blessed to have shared so many years with Grandma and fondly remember the earlier days when we’d visit their farm. There was always something to do on the farm: playing with the kitties in the barn, petting the calves and seeing the big cows, climbing around the hay mow, sledding and snowmobiling in winter too. One friend once asked, “Doesn’t everyone have a grandma who owned a farm in Wisconsin?” Yes, many do! And I certainly loved mine.
While the later years were more difficult as her health declined (farm work is tough on a body), I still enjoyed visiting grandma with my own family. As I put together the photo boards for the visitation and funeral, I especially loved seeing the pictures of Grandma with her great grand kids. She gazed down at them so lovingly, so full of pride.
The great grandkids always brought a smile to her face. I have pictures from Mother’s Day this year, ones I took and others that my seven year old daughter took. My daughter’s picture captured Grandma with a genuine smile much bigger than those in my pictures.
I’m so glad my kids were able to get to know you, and I hope that all of us grandchildren brought you joy and made you proud. Love you always, Grandma.
Hi ya! I was scrolling through some pictures from our road trip out to Washington D.C., and I couldn’t help but make some collages of our many attempts to get a nice family picture. It was a beautiful spring day on the Mall. While we missed the main cherry blossoms, it was still a lovely temperature, which was much, much nicer than the spring we’ve been having in Wisconsin. My kids were having more fun being silly for pictures I was trying to take to mark the occasion: their first trip to D.C.
Here’s what I could capture:
The one on the top left is one of the last pictures of the day. We quick grabbed some ice cream and shakes from an ice cream truck because it was hot and we were all tired from a day of walking. If my son had worn sunglasses, it might be almost passable. At least we are all in the picture, unlike the one at the Lincoln Memorial, where my son is hiding behind Daddy O. (riding on his back). I also like the one on the top right, where my daughter looks confused and my son is sort of winking.
At any rate, these collages are fun. Much like any family vacation in its entirety, they are not perfect by any means. There are good times, bad times, and down right ugly times as kids (and adults) get tired, impatient, and sick of being in the car for so long. We were silly. We did laugh and have fun, and we did it all together, making memories along the way. These pictures are reminders of all that!
Cheers to family pictures of all kinds!
More stories about our trip will be coming.
Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.
Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:
Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com
Menopausal Mother http://www.menopausalmom.com/
Searching for Sanity http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/
Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/
Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com
Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com
When I Grow Up http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/
Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:
- Me, Mama O.
- Daddy O.
- Big Sister, age 7
- Little Brother, age 5
When I was a Baby
The kids have been fascinated with stories of themselves when they were younger, especially babies. We’ve had some fun sharing memories and have had some funny conversations along the way – like this one:
Little Brother: When I was just born, did I jump into your arms.
Me: Well, not exactly. You came out, and they put you in my arms. Babies can’t really jump when they’re just born.
Little Brother, crawls on my lap, as I’m seating on a glider chair with my feet on the ottoman and says, “toilet.” I had to think for a bit, but remembered that the kids made up this “game” when I sat in this chair with my feet up. “Oh yeah, that’s what you meant when you sat on my lap and said toilet.” It’s not that he had to use the toilet. Just go with it, Mom.
Me to Big Sister, “I like your cardigan. I’d wear it if it were in my size. Someday maybe we can share clothes.” And possibly shoes too…fingers crossed! Seriously, sometimes her clothes is cuter than mine! Someday – #lifegoals
Me & Daddy O.
Daddy O (referring to the pillow shams: These are on the floor 90% of the time!
Me: Yeah that’s why they are called a sham.
Daddy O. (looking at Big Sister’s jean jacket): Shouldn’t you iron that?
Me: (who HATES ironing): No, you don’t iron jeans, silly!
What Really Goes on at Scout Camp
Me: I was thinking about looking at sending big sister to a girl scout day camp.
Little Brother: Do they hunt deer?
Me: No, it’s not like they live off the land. They may make a fire, but I’m sure they have food ready for them.
Daddy O: It’s not like Oregon Trail.
Me: Where they hunt for berries and then get dysentery. (This joke is going over the kids’ heads completely, by the way.)
Big sister: That doesn’t sound like fun.
Big sister: Can I just get an allowance?
Me: No, you need to do chores for money.
Big sister: No, just get money every week
Me: Just for being my daughter? No. You need to do work to earn money.
Little Brother goes to school half days, but has recently shared with me, “Mom, I wish the school days were on weekends and the weekends were on school days.” I just reply, “Well, those two school days would be super long. I don’t think it’s going to change.”
He then said, “Maybe God could change that.”
I think that may fall under the “unanswered prayer” category, but I think it’s sweet that he’s already pining for longer weekends at age 5.