We have a tradition in our family. When we sit down to eat dinner together, we go around the table and each take a turn asking a question. When everyone has answered the first question we move onto the next person who presents their question. These questions range from the basic: “What was the highlight of your day?” to the thought provoking: “If you had to choose any character to be in real life from the musical, Annie, who would you choose and why?”
Sometimes the question starts with, “Would you rather. . .” which means we are about to be confronted with two very unappealing options we must choose between. Last night, Ellie (age 7) asked this:
Would you rather be locked outside from June until September and not be allowed in the house for anything, OR play basketball on the playground at South Elementary for 2 hours. Naked.
Well, then. Two very unappealing options, indeed. As we went around the table, it was very clear that nakedness trumps the whole thing and even though it would only mean playing naked basketball for 2 hours, there is no way we choose that over any other option. Eat spiders or naked basketball? Spiders, thank you. Shave your head or naked basketball? Where’s the razor? Play outside in these frigid temperatures with no hat or gloves or boots or socks and no hot chocolate when you’re done or naked basketball? I’ll be nursing my frostbitten toes if you need me.
Sometimes the discussions get hilarious, and sometimes they are more serious. Whatever the case, we have a good time and throughout the day I often find myself trying to come up with a good question to present. How about you? Any fun family memories or traditions around the dinner table? I’d love to hear about them!
Our only brother is turning 40 today. We didn’t always like him. He wasn’t always nice to his little sisters. We were always nice to him. And we were never annoying.
Somewhere along the way we figured out that we like each other. In fact, hanging out as siblings is one of our favorite things to do. No one makes us laugh like Chad! Those of you who know him know exactly what we’re talking about! So happy birthday to our big brother. Here’s just a few things we love about you:
You are an inspiring athlete:
You pursue your dreams and work hard to make things happen. We are proud of your successful business!
You are a fun uncle:
A fun Son:
And a fun nephew:
You love your family fiercely:
You have great taste in t-shirts, and best of all, you put up with your little sisters:
I received many gifts for Christmas this year that I absolutely loved. Clothes, candles, everyday necessities like laundry soap and razor blades (two things I never thought I’d get excited about as gifts), and some lovely ornaments Conner made in preschool. However, my favorite gift from this year is a copy of this picture:
This is a picture of the farm I lived on for the first 18 years of my life. This shot was taken one year before I was born and while the buildings and landscape have changed over the years, this is how I remember our home. I couldn’t stop staring at the photo when my Dad gave it to me. First of all, it’s a beautiful farm scene, complete with the Allis-Chalmers tractor sitting behind the barn. Secondly, does it not look like the perfect place to raise a family? It’s so peaceful with so many buildings to explore and trees to climb. I have only beautiful memories from my childhood and many of the best come from my everyday experiences on this farm.
My Grandpa Gascho and my dad used to farm the land together. Almost every day, my Grandpa would park his truck under the tree in the middle of the photo so he could eat his lunch in the shade. My mom often packed me a lunch so I could sit in the truck with him while we ate. I would sometimes sit in the middle seat because my brother, Chad, liked to eat lunch with Grandpa, too. Almost every time, Grandpa would sneak me a little of his dessert even if I didn’t eat all of my lunch. He was cool like that.
On hot summer evenings, our mom would take us out to the porch so we could have watermelon seed spitting contests. On more civil days, we’d pinch the seeds between our fingers to see how far they’d fly. I used to think it was because Mom was competitive, but now that I have small children of my own, I realize she didn’t want us to eat watermelon in the house. Smart move, Mom.
My dad often let me “help” him with chores. I had a small yellow wheelbarrow and my dad would fill it with hog feed. I’d push my wheelbarrow behind him and use my small shovel to toss feed into the hog pens. My dad would then follow behind me with a big shovel and scrape up all of the feed that fell in the aisle instead of going into the pens. The work took twice as long when I was “helping,” I’m sure. But, he was always a good sport, thanking me for all of my help. However, I do have a very clear memory of Dad offering me $2 if I would let him chore by himself. Perhaps I wasn’t as helpful as I thought. But, I didn’t let that deter me. He needed my help. He just didn’t always realize it.
For me, life was close to perfect when I lived on this farm. I’m sure there were worries in the world and life was complicated at times. My dad farmed and worked in ministry while my mom worked afternoons and nights as a nurse. Together, they raised 3 kids with completely different personalities. That sounds stressful to me. And let’s face it, it was the 80’s and everyone had bad hair and ugly clothes. But our parents protected us from all of that, except for the bad hair and ugly clothes. For us, life was sunshine and green grass, wide open spaces, mud pies, and tall trees. I know our minds can choose to only remember the good things we want to remember, but when I look at this picture, it’s hard to imagine life being anything but perfect. Now that I’m an adult and the world’s worries are much more real, I’m thankful to have a picture that represents an easier time. An idyllic time.
A time when dandelions were flowers and not weeds.
A time when red socks and brown shoes made sense. Clearly, those are days gone by.