Our Favorite Things – 2015

Favorite Things

1. Paper Culture Polaroid Pictures Stickers – Loving these. My new office in the basement was a perfect place to display these photos and it worked so well! I will probably find more places to put these in the future.

2. LLBean Adventure Duffle – Small  – This guy has come in handy this year. The couple of trips that we had this year, this smaller version of our big suitcases worked out perfectly. I am sure it will help again during the coming years with little one on the way.

3. Mama Bee Belly Butter – Keeping those stretch marks to a minimum and my belly smooth. Loving this lotion.

4. Cluck Cluck Sew Pattern for Nautical Quilt – This pattern was so super easy to use and was super helpful when it came to making #BabyCaff’s quilt. If all of the patterns are like this (which I do have my eye on a couple more of them) then I will keep using this website in the future.

5. Non-Alcoholic Wine – For all of my wine cravings this year. We had found one brand that I really wanted to try since they carried champagne but not that many liquor stores carry non-alcoholic wine, so we had to go with the chardonnay.

6. Tessemae’s Dressing – We discovered this local company at the beginning of the year and have been completely addicted since. The salad dressing is awesome and after trying the condiments we are hooked completely. We love it. Only issue is that it is hard to find in the grocery stores so we have had to make a visit to the headquarters to stock pile.

7.  Kilby Cream – Our home delivery of milk and eggs every other week has become something we absolutely look forward to when we are out of stock. The milk and eggs really do taste better. This will be something that I am sure we will continue to do well into the future.

8.  Pink Blush Maternity – Their sales have been a lifesaver. A friend told me about this place after I got pregnant and I don’t think I would have been able to afford to get as much as what I have gotten. I have cute clothes to wear on my growing belly. At least I have cute clothes to look forward to this holiday season!

Memories from 30 years with my Grandparents

My heart breaks even writing the title of this post. Selfishly, my grandparents were to be here until Baby Caff got here and I was able to get that 4 generation picture that I had always dreamed about having to share with my kids.

Unfortunately, we lost both of my grandparents in about 18 hours. I know I won’t forget the memories but I feel like I need to write them down so that I can share them some day with my children.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents resulting in more memories than I could even count. Visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house were always frequent when we were little but overnight stays were a treat. We knew that late night stays or overnight visits meant that we could eat whatever we wanted and stay up late watching tv. Many of those late night visits resulted in mom and dad moving us from our place on the floor, where we had fallen asleep to the car.

Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Playschool camper, and empty spools were the toys that were stored in the back bedroom in ice cream buckets. We knew where they were and we were always allowed to go get them when we wanted to play as long as we put them away.

Springtime always brought about the planting of the garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers were some of the highlights of the summer. The fence always seemed to get higher too as squirrels and other animals seemed to always get into the garden.

Grandma and Grandpa’s house always smelled of flowers. The lilacs in the spring and the roses into the summer and fall. The roses were always huge blooms and smelled so good. They were all different colors too. Red. Pink. Yellow. All gorgeous and will always bring back floods of memories.

Another treat of going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was getting to watch tv. We always watched shows that we didn’t watch at home. During the day, we would watch the Price is Right and Matlock. The volume was always turned up really loud so Grandpa could hear it and you couldn’t really talk to each other in the room. Grandma had her favorites too, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She was good at solving the puzzles. Reds baseball and Hoosier basketball were always favorites too. Dusty Baker was a horrible manager in case you were wondering and there was a difference between baseball before and after the strike. When I got older, I was allowed to go to the basement to watch tv if I wanted. Grandma and Grandpa had cable and we didn’t at our house. I would go to the basement and watch Little House on the Prairie and MTV.

When it comes to food, there are so many memories. Early morning visits meant that we got to go with Grandpa to McDonalds for the morning. We had the choice of pancakes or cinnamon rolls. I always got the cinnamon rolls. Lunch time meant it was either White Castles or Arby’s 5 for 5 deals. If it was Arby’s, those roast beef sandwiches always came with an abundance of horsey and Arby’s sauce packets.  For those times when mom and dad would go out at night, we knew it was root beer to drink from the refrigerator in the garage, ice cream from the carton, open on one end, and cut with a knife, and popcorn from the air popper in red, yellow, green and blue bowls.

During my junior year of high school, I had basketball practice later in the day. I would drive to their house instead of coming all the way home because it was closer. There are so many memories from that year. Grandma would make sure that my nails looked nice but that they weren’t too long for me to play ball. If she wasn’t doing that, she was sitting on the floor with her back on her chair, playing solitaire, with the cards that fit just right in her hand while we talked about what happened during the day. Grandpa would come in from the garage or outside mowing the grass, pop his left leg over the arm of the chair and we would sit and talk about school or he would tell stories. There was always food if I wanted it but Grandma knew that it was normally a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It wouldn’t make me sick at practice.

As we grew up, the more we remembered the stories that Grandpa told. Sometimes we heard the same stories over again multiple times. When we were little, it was stories about the war and memories of him growing up.  As I approached college, he started to tell me more stories about his time in college after the war. As I started my career in education, we would talk more about the education system and the differences between the schools where we worked. When Sean and I got engaged there were stories from both Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma was an old maid but she said I wasn’t even though we were about the same age when we got married. Grandpa told me about his tradition of getting Grandma roses. It was always one for each year until it became too expensive so he would get one for each decade and one for each year. When I moved to Maryland, Grandpa would tell me about the shipyard when the USS Lackawanna was built in Baltimore and his short time there before boarding the ship.

Each year at Christmas, dinner was always huge. I would crawl into my place between the wall and the table in a chair, a lot of times next to Grandma. Across the table was mom and Aunt Bev. We would be stuffed and pie would have to wait many years until after we opened presents. The pecan pie was what I looked forward to the most. After dinner, I remember trying to clean up the kitchen as fast as we could to go to the basement and open gifts. The moment the door to the basement was opened and we could see the tree with all of the gifts was one my favorites. I always looked forward to Christmas with the whole family. When we were little we would go home, while Grandma and Grandpa would go to church for the candlelight service. As we got older and could stay awake for the service, we started to attend the service as well. Grandpa wouldn’t always stay awake during the whole service and we weren’t sure if Grandma was going to burn down the church. When I moved away, at church, I was put on Grandma duty and to make sure that she didn’t burn down the church. It always made me nervous.

Selfishly, I wanted them to be here until Baby Caff arrives in March. Even more I wanted them to be here in early July when we plan to bring the baby home to meet the whole family. I will never forget after being at the doctor for my 12 week appointment and hearing the baby’s heartbeat. I couldn’t wait to leave to call them. They were the first call I made on my way home that day. Grandpa’s reaction “Well, it’s about time.” I could tell that they were both excited for us to start a family.

This only scratches the surface of the memories that I have with my grandparents. More could be added to this list as I remember more or more post could be coming soon. For now, this is what I am hanging on to as we continue to power through a tradition that Grandpa loved, volunteering at the Salvation Army for the Christmas giveaway this weekend.

The Christmas Tree Experience

The last couple of years, you will remember that we go to cut down our tree at a tree farm a little north of our house. This year was no different. We were both super excited to head slightly north for the adventure. Some of the fog had started to burn off even though there was still some hanging around even for 9:45 ish.

We took the wagon ride out to the very back field where we found our tree last year. We said that we were going to try to find something a little smaller this year than what we had last year for a couple of reasons but mainly because we weren’t sure how much I was going to be able to help Sean getting it in the house and set up. (Getting it in wasn’t too bad, getting it out of the house will be another story.)
DSC02003DSC02005After looking for a little bit, we found a tree that we both really liked. We realized that it was about the same size as last year but knew it had a little different shape than last year. I took lots of pictures so we wouldn’t forget where it was in the field. We continued to look though not completely convinced that we had found the right one.
DSC02006DSC02007Then we finally gave in and said, “Yep, this is the one!”  Here we are right before the tree came down.
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DSC02014DSC02018 DSC02019Oh, look you can kind of see a bump there. I was super excited too that I still fit in my regular clothes. Well, except for the jeans!DSC02020 DSC02021DSC02024Sean said that the tree was heavy. I got a slight taste helping him bring it in the house but I didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting! We did get it in the house and thought we had it facing the way that we wanted it to face because there was one side that was a little more bare than the others that we wanted against the wall.
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We quickly found out we were wrong. It was a heck of an experience trying to turn this beast so we had it facing the way we wanted it to face. It was a slight fiasco but it was resolved and we all are happy. Then it was time to clean up all of needles and debris. That probably took longer than anything because there was so much debris! DSC02028Pictures of the beast with lights and decorations to come later. I am still working on getting them edited.