For years I’ve seen people do the Thankful thing for each day of November. Decided to give it a go this year~what with the world falling apart as it is~I’m needing to remember the good. Then again~don’t we all?
Today I am choosing family~both blood and chosen family. Each and every day I am so clessed for the amazing family I was born into~was married into and the chosen family in our lives.
Nothing seems to stress a person’s love of family as much as when someone is severly ill. Two weeks ago my in-laws moved home from Florida for the time being~Grampa’s cancer is unfortunately progressing. We are so thankful they decided to come home to spend time with the family and work with a new doctor who will maybe be able to see something the other doctor didn’t.
Have to say that I really lucked out in the family department, my childhood was pretty darn good and only a few family members annoy me. My best friend is my cousin whom we grew up more like sisters than cousins. My in-laws and their families are all great and treat me like one of their own~when Old Boy’s grandmother passed away it felt just like losing my own grandmother and watching Grampa Phil fight this cancer~feels like watching my own.
Of course, we have many family members who we do not share the blood connection with whome we love as our own family. The place to land for The Girl and her friends when in junior and senior high school was our house and I so treasure all our extra kiddos!
I started writing this earlier today while sitting in the doctor’s office (ear infection) and a little while ago I was blessed with a note from a fellow on Ancestry.com. This fellow was going through his father’s things from WWII and found my Great Uncle Booty’s name in a letter from a fellow soldier who had been standing behind Uncle Booty when he was shot and killed. He gave me the name of the fellow who had written the letter and said he would not go into details but “you can tell his parents as much as you see fit”. This fellow is researching, looking for the connection between the three men. Thankful!
Blessings and Peace!
March! Don’t all a ya’ll love the sound of the word March!? Old Man Winter is becoming older and Spring is starting to think about waking up! March just sounds so much nicer than February!
February was such a long month this year. Such a dark month for the family, thankfully Tuesday we were allowed to see a bit of a small light at the end of that horrid dark tunnel. Many tears have fallen this past month, a lot of anger towards some selfish family members and a lot of hacking and gagging and antibiotics.
We were so happy when 2017 rang it’s bell, 2016 was such a bad year, Kirk and I each lost an uncle we so deeply adored. My father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer over the summer, my sister-in-law was told she’d have to have a kidney transplant and started dialysis. Lastly, one of my oldest and dearest friends has been battling Multiple Myeloma, an ugly cancer in her spine, for many years…this fall the treatment she’s been on for years quit holding off the increase of the cancer.
Kirk’s sister is still on the transplant list, there was a family match that made it to almost the end of testing and was knocked out of being okay’d, she’s still waiting. My friend is at Mayo now, she received her stem cell transplant yesterday, hoping and praying!
Then Grampa Phil…just love him to pieces and the thought of losing him hurts my heart. About a month ago he was given an all clear with the prostate thing, was told to come back in a year for testing while still taking a monthly shot. Wasn’t long after when he started losing his voice, nothing was thought of it at first, figured it was a chest cold kind of thing. Thank God for his family doctor who decided to send him to a lung doctor for tests.
Grampa has cancer in his lungs. First doctor said there’s nothing that can be done, he’d get him on meds to make life easier until the end. Thankfully they went for another opinion…the second doctor said she wasn’t calling anything without scans. The first doctor felt Grampa was full of cancer, that he pry had spots in his brain because of terrible headaches….I want to say FU to this doctor!
So, last week a biopsy was done, Monday was the scans…Tuesday was the big day.
Before that…Saturday night we went to The Godfather’s, Kirk’s aunt and uncle…we talked about getting Grampa back to Iowa from Florida and getting him to his doctor here to see what he thinks and so on.
While visiting about whether to go down to Florida or not and if so, before or after the results, Kirk called to talk to his folks and The Godfather called the uncle that lives down in Florida and has been going to the doctors appointments with Gramma and Grampa. When Kirk got off the phone he felt pretty positive, when Godfather got off his call his information was the exact opposite. Uncle said Grampa was too sick to even make it back to Iowa. We were looking up plane tickets, crying, feeling absolutely helpless. Pissed off because he never wanted to move to Florida, he’s wanted to move home to be with his kids and grandkids for a long time. Pissed because we could all fly down to see him but Kirk’s sister can’t because of being on dialysis and has to stay within so far from Omaha in case of a transplant call. UGH!
Sunday and Monday seemed to creep past. Tuesday afternoon Kirk called to say his mom called, the cancer is localized in the lungs, that’s it! No cancer anywhere else in his body! The doctor feels like this is a treatable form, she’s going to get him on a treatment, find what works for him and then he’s coming home and she’s sending someone up here to get him setup with his treatments here and work with whomever he’ll be working with here! Of course it’s not a cure, but she feels this will possibly prolong his life a number of years. Way better than he’s too sick to ever be able to come home!
While Kirk was explaining all this to me I started crying, again…he asked why I was crying, it was better news than was expected, told him I was just so damned happy!
Talking to my mother-in-law last night she told me to hold on, Grampa wanted to talk to me…he was hard to understand, he told me about a horse ranch they’d gone to see last weekend, it was maybe a minute or two and his voice was gone, but it was so wonderful that he wanted to talk to me and just to here him! Beyond words happy!
Kirk, Leo and I dealt with influenza for a good half month of February…thinking we had colds we were around my folks and The Godfather and Aunt Kathy…we shared the love and felt terrible about it. Bubba missed almost two weeks of school. This strain of influenza has been horrible around here lately. Spring needs to come!
So, we are seeing a bit of a light at the end of that long ass tunnel…things won’t be great, but they will be better, at least for now. Now if we could just get the politicians to stop acting like five year olds the world would maybe be a happier place!
Take Care! Peace!
You know the saying “when it rains, it pours”? It is pouring and hailing here and there’s no sight of any light at the end of the tunnel. We were really hoping that after the crappy year we just had that life would make a turn this year.
We are passing the influenza around like we are passing a bottle of whiskey. More than a week ago when Leo first got sick we thought it was a chest cold, Kirk and I had started coughing days earlier. Thinking we only had colds we didn’t quarentine ourselves. My folks and Aunt Kathy are all sick now too. Antibiotics all around!
Taking Leo back to the doctor tomorrow. Started complaining of a massive earache yesterday, so took him to our massage therapist this afternoon to candle his ears thinking it was build up from being sick. Yeah, she said his one ear drum is white.
The worst part if Kirk’s dad went to the doctor last week, he has cancer in both lungs and in lymphnodes, he gets a biopsy done Thursday. Fuck! We’ve been topsy turvy for days with this new information. We would love to go down to Florida, but Kirk and I have also been sick and have had low grade fevers in the past week.
Now we are just waiting for this biopsy and then we are bringing him home. When the folks moved down to Florida a handful of years ago we knew grampa didn’t really want to go but went because gramma wanted to live down there were her favorite brother was.
We are hoping and praying things aren’t as bad as they seem. This getting older and our parents getting older at the same time is really sucking the big one.
The one positive…Kirk and his buddy Marty took off for a preplanned roping weekend on Saturday morning. First was Bethany, Missouri and they did no good. Sunday they hit Lincoln, Nebraska and Kirk won on the heading side! Think it was good for him to get away for the weekend after the bombshell that hit on Friday.
Lots of prayers for the week! Things will get better!
This song speaks to me. I can feel the passion for how I grew up when blasting this song. Can’t explain it other than it’s an emotional thing.
I grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa. I sometimes wonder if people who’ve never lived on a working farm, known people who have or visited a working farm just don’t know that it isn’t just a job that one clocks out of at the end of the day or that it’s just the husband’s job. It is a lifestyle, it’s the lifestyle of the entire family unit. Personally I don’t see farming as a job, but as a way of life.
All my growing up years at home my dad was up at 5:00 every morning, seven days a week. He didn’t run and still doesn’t run via alarm clock, but his inner clock. He’d get up and dressed and then he’d make his breakfast, three eggs, three pieces of bacon and three pieces of toast. Many mornings when we were kids he’d be the one to make our breakfast. Mom has never been able to make pancakes to his satisfaction. He’s very proud of his pancake abilities! I assume he makes them the same way his mother did.
First light and he was out feeding the cattle and the horses. Still is. During the frigid winter months he’s always spent part of the morning and part of the late afternoons carrying his two five gallon buckets from the house and filled with hot water from the mudroom, back down to the cattle yards and horse pens. He still does. Always carrying them, not loading the buckets into the back of a pickup or into a gator. Back and forth, back and forth until all the waters are broken open for the livestock to be able to drink.
Dad has only ever run feeder cattle and now roping cattle, but my brother started his cow/calf herd while in high school and at this time of year is a round the clock operation. Calving happens in the dead of winter and round the clock it’s going through the herd and checking and making sure things are okay. Dad has always helped brother with calving season. The cattle are in the fields on stocks, not in the lots.
The best for me was always when a calf would need to come inside for whatever reason. Until a few years ago when dad purchased a small heated shed, the calves would always go into the backroom of the basement. The backroom has a cement floor with a water drain for easy clean up for any mess and also one of the warmest places in the house. Was always a treat to get to sit with the babies!
Before government regulations changed things, we always worked our own cattle without a vet. Can’t do that anymore, which in my opinion is complete bullshit, but to each his own! One of my favorite times of the year. When I was young I ran the back gate, letting cattle into the chute and closing the gate behind. That rough old rope helped contribute to the callouses on my hands. Eventually trimming the crapping ends of the tails off was added to my list, along with the pour on on their backs. Eventually I was allowed to start giving shots, dad always said I was the best shot giver, seldom ever broke or bent a needle.
It drove my grandfather crazy. He was always telling me to go to the house, it was mans work and I didn’t belong down at the chute working cattle. My dad would always tell me I was just fine. Depending on how many cattle we’d gotten in, it was a long, hot and filthy day, but it felt so good when the last head was let out of the chute.
There was sorting cattle with the horses when it was time to separate loads to go to out for slaughter. There was getting cattle in with the horses when the buggers got out and moving from pasture to pasture. My favorite part was when we’d have a renegade or two or three get away from the group and I’d get to play cowboy…my Old Man, Charlie was the best cattle horse, more often than not all I had to do was hold on while he did what he knew needed to be done.
One early morning when cattle got out dad got me up to help since Brother wasn’t home, I wasn’t totally awake when one head took a quick turn and Charlie saw it before I did…he didn’t dump me but came mighty close. Loved the adrenaline rush! Now all I can think of is how much my lower back would kill me if I were to land my ass on the ground. Memories!
Spring was always busy and something I wasn’t allowed to help with. The disking, planting, ect. Dad didn’t even like his dad or Brother helping, he has a way and he just prefers it to be done his way. Recall one time my grandpa came out to HELP, dad wound up having to fix grandpa having disked a section of field that dad had already planted.
Oh, then there was haying season, three times a year, four on a good year. Another thing I wasn’t really allowed to help much with. Hot, dirty and heavy work. We baled mostly small square bales, takes a lot of time to pick all the bales up, stack on the racks and then unload and restack wherever dad chose to stack for the year. Getting help was tough back then, high school and college kids aren’t so much up to baling as in years past. Dad mostly bales the large round bales now.
The only time I ever really was allowed to help was when people would buy bales. Dad would have me help load the pickup and ride along and help unload wherever it was they needed to go.
I would get to help some when it came to cutting silage, I’d get to drive the tractor with the empty wagon.
I won’t go any further, lots of hard work, early mornings and late nights. It takes a village to run a family farm, but it’s a lifestyle that is nothing short of pure love! Wouldn’t have wanted to have grown up any other way.
This Christmas season I’ve really struggled with remembering the “Reason For The Season”. Had some moments of feeling sorry for myself when I’ve had to tell myself to get over myself and remember the meaning of the season and just why we are celebrating. Have had a few moments of wanting to break down bawling and once wanting to yell and scream and throw things.
‘Tis The Season!
Kaet and Dal made it back to Iowa late Friday night. They just went straight to my folks to spend the night and came home yesterday morning. I had more than enough to get done for the evening and for today, but I made time to sit down with the kids a few times and visit and laugh!
By the “skin of our teeth” we made church last night. Brother walked in minutes later, after the service had just begun. As always, pastor had a wonderful sermon and the kiddos had a cute little program. Everyone behaved until lighting candles for ‘Silent Night’ when our extra daughter kept turning around and blowing out our candles…she 27, so I had to tell her she was going to go to hell for jacking around in church.
In all reality, we are all always stunned when we don’t spontaniously combust when we walk into church. We were really bad this year and last night was the first time since last Christmas that any of us went to church. Well, except for Brother, he does go from time to time.
Afterwards we all headed back to our place for Oma’s futtjens! We did them for the first time last Christmas Eve when we found one of my cousins actually had her recipe. We decided to make them a yearly tradition on Christmas Eve and after doing some research recently, found that they are a common Christmas Eve thing from the area of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany that my paternal great greats came from.
It was so nice, we had a house full! Brother followed us home after church and mom and dad came after church where they went. We turned on Christmas Vacation, ate futtjens and just spent time together. We gave Kaet her birthday gifts, she turns 22 tomorrow…doesn’t seem possible.
Gave my folks an early Christmas gift, a stuffed life sized stuffed dog…they lost their 12 year old dog the day after Thanksgiving, dad wants to get another, mom does not…there’s a long story that goes with and being told not to get them live animals anymore. I’m the youngest, I tend to be naughty from time to time!
Usually Brother Bear hits the bar crawl on Christmas Eve, this year he stayed around and watched a movie and thought about crashing. His kids always spend Christmas Eve with their mother, he’s all about his kids, so I know it’s always tough for him. I like being able to bring him into our annual doings of the night.
We started Christmas at my folks about 1 today. Think it was at least 4 before everyone arrived. Seems I forgot to tell The Sister that the time changed from 4 to 1…that one is totally on me, I could have sworn I told her, obviously forgot during our almost nightly phone visits over the past week. The adopted brother’s kids showed up early and their parents showed up later, they had two family Christmas’ today, the kids have more cousins on our side, so when they were done with their Grammy they headed over early.
Kaet and Dal left for Out West about 7 this morning so they could get to his family gathering. They didn’t make it until about suppertime. Their pickup broke down almost half-way between here and there and had to wait until Dal’s dad showed up with a car trailer to haul them home. Had to remind myself when my brother-in-law pissed me off that things could be so much worse, to calm my ass down. Just so thankful they were able to get back Out West safely.
We really did have a good afternoon with the family. This year mom had us all bring snack foods instead of having a big meal. It was nice, but we sure missed the big feast. It was definitely easier. Enjoyed bonding with my brother’s girls and our “other” brother’s girl and wife. We played Go Fish, snuggled…was just nice! The family had never actually spent as many hours at a family gathering before, we’ve usually “had enough” by two hours and start leaving one by one. The teens hung out in the basement and watched a rodeo, the boys actually behaved themselves as far as we witnessed!
So excited to finally get to sleep in tomorrow before starting back in on this house. Told the Old Boy last night that I wasn’t going to go any cleaning up until Monday…it was the holidays and we could do crazy mess until then.
Hope everyone had a good one!