Our Kids' Blog

Our First Vacation Stop

August 6th, 2012 by Mommy

The first stop on our vacation was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Robby got to spend a little time with Elizabeth, the girls got to play with Grandparents, the girls were fascinated with Elizabeth and her toys, and there was lots of swimming.

Some of the sweet or fun things that happened while we visited:


LOVE THIS! What is better than an eye-squeezing hug!


Emily is in-love with Midnight. This poor cat got more attention than he could probably handle, but he kept coming back for more. Emily would carry Midnight from room to room covering him up with blankets and treating him like a baby. Emily is asking for a cat of her own. At five she is already coming up with rational arguments of how we could work a cat into our home and promising to keep up with cat responsibilities. Please, no kind gifts of a cat for our house.


Elizabeth seemed to enjoy having other little people to play with. She crawled into the Lego cart and Emily happily pulled her around the house. What we didn’t catch with this photo was the tumble that Elizabeth took a few minutes later that ended the game. They enjoyed it while it lasted.


All the kids were taking turns wearing Uncle Doug’s hat. Julia had stolen it and was running around the house with it. She was proud of herself.


Julia has her favorite friends that she sleeps with. This trip she brought three and got a bear from Grandma. She seemed to have a firm hold on Nina the Mermaid this particular afternoon. Not to mention a sleeping kid is a perfect kid – Cute!


The girls love to borrow their Grandparents tablet and draw things. Julia was quite proud of her drawing


We heard stories that Lizzy thought she could sit on any flat surface that she could get to. Sure enough we watched her move the toys and then climb up on this shelf and try to sit. She did successfully sit, but it didn’t look too comfortable. The girls were trying to stop her and sticking with her to make sure she was safe until Sabah could get her down. Emily and Julia were surprised by this climbing thing because neither of them are climbers.


What a sweet face sitting next to Aunt Rachelle on the couch wearing a Julia dress. Aunt Rachelle was pretty lucky!

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Great-Grandparents: Grandma J

March 17th, 2012 by Mommy


Hazel was born in Missouri. At a young age her father deserted his family damaging something in Hazel that she would always struggle with. Her mother worked as a milliner to take care of the family. Hazel’s grandmother was Swedish and never spoke English. There were times that Hazel would have to play quietly at her mother’s workplace because there was no other place for her to go. With the hard times, Hazel’s mother had Hazel go and live with some family members out-of-state. The stay was not long, but Hazel feared she would never be reunited with her mother. When she did return, her life was considerably better because her mother had remarried. Her step-father was a kind man who always treated her well.

Hazel grew and after finishing high school she got a job and earned enough money to travel to the Word’s Fair in Chicago, IL with a girlfriend. She met her husband Harry at work. Because they married during the Great Depression she had to leave the workforce to allow for an additional job in the community. Several years later her life changed again, she became a farm wife. There was always something to do and she was a master at keeping her hands busy and getting as much done as possible with the limited time. There are stories that while she would do mending and sewing she would rock the baby cradle with her foot. Also, with washing clothes being so much work and their life filled with a lot of routine she potty trained her second daughter at one-year-old to reduce the volume of laundry to do. Hazel had her first child at a hospital before they moved to the farm and there no issues, so when it was time to have the second daughter, they were to have her at home with help. The second delivery was difficult and she almost didn’t make it through the delivery.

Her life was a lot simpler when Harry moved to town and took up a working wage job. She was still the hard worker, but not having the additional labor required by the farm was a welcome relief. Her young years in the depression and her personal family struggles seemed to give her an attitude of making do with whatever she had. Hazel enjoyed her time in Albuquerque and made lifelong friends. In Oak Ridge, she enjoyed her church and having family close by again. Always staying busy, she served her husband in retirement. She outlived him by over ten years. She missed him tremendously in those years, but also had the support of family, neighbors, and her church family. Hazel knew all of her grandchildren, saw all of them marry but one, and met many of the great-grandchildren.

This is the grandparent that Mama was the closest to. That closeness came from just spending time and the opportunity of being nearby. Those last 10 years of her life alone were also the years that Mama could do the most for her. We spent time going to the grocery store together and doing yard work for her. What a blessing to have known her as a child and as an adult. Grandma, as she was known to Mama, was always sewing. For most of her life she made the clothes that she and her girls wore and repaired the clothes that Harry wore. Later in life when ready-made clothes were simpler to buy she changed what she sewed and took up quilting. She had a beautiful small stitch and made many quilts. She made embroidery work for others, including pieces for Mama which now hangs on the walls of her girls’ room. Mama remembers spending hours in the kitchen with Grandma cooking. Her best treat foods were the cinnamon rolls and chocolate meringue pie. We spent summers on the back porch snapping green beans for her to freeze for the winter. She always seemed to have time to get everything done and had an order to her life that kept life simple and uncluttered. She was quite a letter writer. She had kept friends from the different places she had lived and kept in contact with those letters. When Mama was away from home she could count on having a letter in her mailbox every week from her grandmother.

There seem to be many things that Mama has from Hazel. Quilts, dollhouse furniture and accessories, embroidery, furniture, family keepsakes, but mostly Mama has wonderful memories.

Mom’s favorite memory of her mother is: sitting creek-side in Colorado and playing with her Ginny doll while her mother sewed dresses for her doll.

Hazel’s legacy is her hardworking spirit, hand-working skills, and her fantastic roll recipe.

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Three generations: Grandma, Rachelle, and Joyce.


Grandma with all but one of her grandchildren. From the left: Carrie, Philip, Rachelle, and Chip.


Hanging out with Grandma in her domain.


Rolling out dough with a little Rachelle helper.

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Great-Grandparents: Granddaddy J

March 16th, 2012 by Mommy


Granddaddy feeding Rachelle, who was just pulling up on furniture, little tastes of Lemon Meringue Pie.

Harry was born in Missouri where he grew up learning about farming. He finished high school, a Business School, and then started working at American Electric. It was at American Electric that he met his wife Hazel. They were married and had their first daughter. After several years they moved to the family farm. There on the farm they raised a variety of livestock and crops. They also had their second daughter while they lived on the farm. When the second daughter came the older daughter spent many hours out with her father working in the fields and riding on the tractor. Working the farm was hard and it was laboring work. Being the practical man he was, Harry knew that he would need to leave the farm before he had worn his body out and was still young enough to do something else.

The young family moved from the farm to Kansas City. He got a job at Ford Bendix making airplane parts. After several years, the company closed and Harry had to find new work to support his family. There were no jobs available locally, but he heard there were jobs out west so the family packed their car and moved west looking for work as they went. They went as far as Albuquerque where he found a job with ACF. Harry was bright and intelligent and seemed to excel at any job he put his mind to. Their time in Albuquerque was good. The family traveled a lot in the west seeing the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, camping in Colorado, driving through the pacific Northwest, seeing Yellowstone, and many places in between. Their oldest daughter married and started her family and their younger daughter was in college when once again the company Harry worked for closed. Some of his supervisors recommended him for a job in Oak Ridge and once again Harry and his wife were moving. In Oak Ridge, Harry finished out his working career. With time their younger daughter settled close by and their older daughter within a five hour drive. Harry spent his retirement enjoying gardening, taking up hobbies, being an elder in his church, and teaching a Sunday school class. He seemed to always be busy and served his wife faithfully. He was fortunate to know all of his grandchildren and see two of them marry before his passing.

Of Mama’s grandparents Granddaddy, as he was known to Mama, was the around for many years of her life. It would have been great to have known him as an adult, but her life was very blessed to have known him through most of her childhood. Some of the amazing memories Mama has of him are the great magic tricks like making a coin appear from behind your ear, he would put funny cups on his eyes and pretend he was different characters, he learned to make fun sugar popcorn that he would treat us kids when we would come to play, we were fascinated to watch him master whatever new hobby he set his mind to, we enjoyed rides in his boat, and loved his “special” pizzas. Looking back something that was always wonderful was that Harry and his wife worked together doing most things. They assisted each other in cooking, putting up garden veggies, and other projects.

Granddaddy was such a tinkerer. Probably the best thing he ever made for Mama was her doll house and many of the dollhouse pieces. Mama spent hours playing with the house that was such a labor of love he and Grandma made together.

Mom’s favorite memory of her father is: the yearly hunt for the perfect Christmas tree in the mountains outside of Albuquerque.

His legacy was his devotion to God, church, and his wife along with the hardworking spirit that drove him. His hardworking spirit can be seen in his girls, his cleverness in his grandkids, and his green thumb in his older daughter.


Two kitchen helpers


Granddaddy entertaining Philip with the silly cones on his eyes.

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Granddaddy with all but one of his grandkids. From left: Carrie, Rachelle, Granddaddy, Philip, and Chip.


The photo was taken of his backyard in Oak Ridge. Running along the side of the yard is his beloved garden that kept him busy all summer long. Dad must have been on the roof taking the photo and in the photo are: baby Rachelle, Joyce, Granddaddy, Grandma, Philip, Dalmatian mother Prissy, and Dalmatian pup Sparky.


Granddaddy “Lincoln Logging” with Philip and Rachelle at the kitchen table.

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Great-Grandparents: Grandma T

March 15th, 2012 by Mommy


Grandma T with baby Rachelle

Thelma was born in Missouri. She married Charles while she was in college. After moving several times, they had their children in Cincinnati. While her children were in upper-level classes, she returned to Missouri Teachers College to complete her elementary education degree. She then taught in a Cincinnati elementary school until retirement. While the children were in school she was a substitute teacher in the school system her children attended. In Cincinnati she was an active artist, painting most of her life. All of her children’s homes are filled with art from her hand. The inspiration of most of her art was the places she knew or visited including a trip to Europe following her husband’s death. Her life did extend beyond her husband’s and she enjoyed the privilege of knowing all of her grandchildren.

A college education for a woman in her era was not common. Her daughter followed in her footsteps and received her degree in teaching which she used until retirement. This legacy of education is a strong one in our family where all the women have continued on to complete their college degrees along with the men.

Mama does have of memories of time with Grandma T. She passed away while Mama was still in elementary school, so while her memories are limited they are clear. Mama remembers the twin beds we would sleep in when we would visit. The apartment building she lived in was unique to Mama as a child because she knew no one else who lived in an apartment. The apartment was very close to an ice cream shop which she remembers visiting. One New Years Eve, Grandma T watched Philip and Mama while we all watched the Wizard of Oz on TV. Mama remembers being very scared during the movie and hiding among the blankets we were camping in on the floor. Mama remembers the apartment as being very full. All of the walls were covered with art. We would be allowed to play, if we were quiet, in a basement area, back drive, and in the apartment. On a visit to Grandma T’s one summer Philip and Mama were introduced to our first non-parent tennis lesson. Forgive the random remembrances, because these are about all Mama has of her time with her Grandma T.

Mama is pleased to have her own selection of Grandma T’s art to hang in her house. Mama’s has been told that Grandma T never thought a painting to be completed. She was known to get a paint brush and paints out to make changes to works on her wall. What a fun perspective on life!

Dad’s favorite memory of his mother is: that she often took him to art school with her.

Her legacy to her family was her art skill and the inspiration of art. Mama has seen first hand examples of this legacy in both her aunts art interests and in the help her own father has given her in art projects where he showed his own skill in perspective and drawing.


Three generations – Grandma T, Philip, and Rachelle. Photo taken outside of Grandma T’s Cincinnati apartment.


A family visit – Grandma T and two of her children’s families, Ann and Philip. Ann was taking the photo. From the left Uncle Don, Lynn, Laura, Grandma T, Joyce, Philip, Phil, and Rachelle.


One of Phil’s favorite pastimes was baseball. This photo was taken outside of the Cincinnati Reds ballpark.

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Great-Grandparents: Grandpa R

March 14th, 2012 by Mommy


The grandparent that Mama never knew. Charles was born in Missouri, received his education degree at Central Missouri Teachers College and met his wife Thelma there through his best friend who was also Thelma’s brother. He worked for a time in Kansas City, got additional education in Minnesota, and a masters degree from Ohio State. After getting his masters he was hired by a high school in Cincinnati where he taught industrial arts including wood working and drafting. They remained in Cincinnati the rest of their lives raising their three children. He saw all of his children marry and met many of his grand-children.

He raised his children during and after WWII in which the kids kept victory gardens and used the extra veggies to sell in the neighborhood. Charles placed a high value on education and all of his children completed their college educations. None of the children settled in the area and both of their sons served in the armed forces.

Charles was very handy at building with wood. Some of the things that he built that have remained in the family are picture frames and a children’s table.

His legacy to the family was his love of education.

Dad’s favorite memory of his father is: doing projects for boy scouts with his dad. Dad would make the designs and then they would build the projects together at the high school wood working shop.

While Mama never met her Grandfather she has been taken past places he lived in Missouri and Cincinnati. One of our family favorite stops was a neighborhood bakery where he would get his favorite weekly baked good. Mama has several frames that he built for his wife’s art and the child sized table.


Charles, Thelma, Phil, and Joyce on Phil and Joyce’s Wedding Day

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Thoughts on Great-Grandparents

March 14th, 2012 by Mommy

Following will be several different posts about some of the girls great grandparents. In no way is this a biography of their lives or even guaranteed of being completely accurate. It is just an attempt to represent a bit of heritage and relationship we had with or to each other. The inclusion and exclusion of some of the great grandparents also does not limit their significant impact upon our family, only represents the available information.

We want to honor those who have gone before us and their contributions to our individual lives and to the corporate entity of our families. We also want to thank those who have told us stories of family members we were unable to meet and pass on our own version of stories. Through these stories we have met the people who have shaped our family.

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