Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Reunions

When I was a kid, we used to go to the Steiner Center in Wadsworth for a Pavkov family reunion every year in December.  Grandpa and Grandma Pavkov's kids and grandkids would all be there and we would have an unforgettable day swimming with our cousins, then getting out of the pool to play with the foosball tables, pool tables, maybe even sometimes play a little ball in the gym.  There were always games, a pinata and, of course, FOOD! 

It's funny how you can remember specific things from your childhood as if it were yesterday.  My memories of Steiner Center Christmases are at least 30 years old, and yet they are so very clear in my mind, right down to the sting of the chlorine in the pool to the smell of coffee brewing in our big gathering room to the taste of Aunt Janet's Saurkraut Balls!

When my cousin, Traci, e-mailed all of us to see if we would be interested in a family reunion, we all jumped on that idea!  What fun to introduce OUR kids to the fun we had at our reunions! 

So, today was that day.  We met in Mansfield at the Comfort Inn where we rented a conference room and had the use of their Splash Harbor mini-water park for six hours.  Oh my!  What fun we had!  The cousins enjoyed playing together in the water while the parents and grandparents enjoyed being splashed as the kids came down the slide.  The parents also enjoyed the adult-only hot tub, too!  We had games and gifts and FOOD!  Hot food, yummy food, and way too much food, but that's what Christmas family reunions are all about.  Aunt Janet's cheese balls and crackers and her saurkraut balls showed up, too!  We told stories about Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Janet.  We talked about all the cousins who weren't there.  We caught up on each other's lives and promised that we would do this again soon. 

The day was far too short, with our measly six hours together, but we're taking advantage of the time we had together and are showing our love like we never have before.  Unfortunately this week, a young man, known to many of us (and mostly my young adult nephews and niece) was tragically killed and the brevity of life has been staring us in the face.  We took time today to hug, to voice words of appreciation, to look each other in the eyes and to love each other as if it was our last day together.  The range of emotions today went from the lows of mourning a dear friend to the heights of enjoying family time. 

It was a beautiful day here and I'm so thankful that our family knows and acts upon the love of Jesus.  My memories of today will be cut deeply and I will cherish them. 

Family reunions.  There's nothing like them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Helpers

I love when the boys help me with fun jobs like vacuuming and watering the garden and helping to stuff Christmas envelopes.   Really, I do enjoy it.  There are other jobs I DON'T really want help with like decorating the cookies or counting the cash after a Watkins open house and Cookie Kitchen sale or actually addressing Christmas envelopes.  Really, I don't enjoy that.  But tonight we had fun.

Timothy, my little computer guru was helping me to get the Christmas letter just right this year.  He fixed the margins, adjusted font styles and sizing, printed the letters on the Christmas paper and then helped me tremendously by folding each letter with the Christmas card and then stuffed them into the envelopes.  We were having such a good time sitting at the kitchen table together, laughing, talking, commenting on the people on our list, etc.  The other boys were watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in the other room, so I thought they really had no interest in this activity in the kitchen. 

Then Stephen came in for a popcorn snack and saw us working.  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe went off and he plopped himself down at the table and started putting address labels on the stuffed envelopes.  We were all working so cheerfully and peacefully and then "The Question" came up:  "Mommy, are you going to pay us for this work?"  WHAT?!  This is FUN stuff, not work!  Haha!  I had a good laugh at that one as I got up from my chair, walked to each boy, gave them a hug and a kiss and said, "Yep.  You just got paid.  Thanks for helping me!" 

Believe it or not, they smiled back, returned my hugs and went right back to work.  End of discussion.  (Whew!)

Unfortunately we didn't get to finish before bedtime, but I was promised help that would continue as soon as they get up tomorrow morning. If you get a card from us this year, remember that they were all assembled with a lot of love and laughter and dialogue tonight.  I love my Christmas helpers!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm Here! Really, I Am

When I first started blogging, I was so excited!  I had so many ideas of things to write about, so many activities that I wanted to share, so many pictures I wanted to post!  I had to hold myself back from posting too many times in a day because I thought that I really should just keep to one per day (some unwritten rule in my head, I guess).  Now, here I am several years later and days, weeks, and yes, even months go by without a post anymore.  I'm so sorry to all of you faithful blog-checkers.  Don't take it personally.

I guess I kind of lost my steam.  I do love to write, and I love to tell stories and I do miss blogging, but it just seems like this whole change-of-life stuff that goes on when you're in your mid-40's (or beyond) has just sucked brain cells from my head.  Half the time I can't even finish a sentence that I'm speaking to my kids so to sit down and try to remember what I thought was so pertinent to share on a blog just doesn't happen anymore.  I could write things down so that I don't forget, but if I go to all the trouble of doing that, I may as well sit right down and type it onto the blog because otherwise I'd probably forget where I put the paper that I had written down my that I wouldn't forget.  Those of you who are right here with me in life, you get what I mean. 

Shel Silverstein wrote the most hilarious poem that the boys ask me to read on a regular basis.  They think it's funny.  I think it's reality.  It goes like this:

The Loser
from the book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" (1974)

Mama said I'd lose my head
if it wasn't fastened on.
Today I guess it wasn't
'cause while playing with my cousin
it fell off and rolled away
and now it's gone.

And I can't look for it
'cause my eyes are in it,
and I can't call to it
'cause my mouth is on it
(couldn't hear me anyway
'cause my ears are on it),
can't even think about it
'cause my brain is in it.
So I guess I'll sit down
on this rock
and rest for just a minute...
And of course, he sits down on a "rock" which is really his head.   The boys crack up at this every single time I read it, yet this is how I feel many days.  I hear that once women pass this stage of life, they DO regain some of their brain function back.  I'm looking forward to that day!
So my dear, faithful blog-followers, don't give up hope!  I'll be here!  I'll try to be more consistent and faithful in posting anything because I know you do care.  Do me a favor, though.  If I post and you read it, feel free to comment so that I know I'm not just writing to cyberspace alone.  It's always nice to know that someone is on the other end reading what I've taken the time to write.
Until the next inspiration hits.....go with God, and be thankful for your day!  I'll be back soon.