Saturday, August 29, 2009

So, where did our summer go? Okay, when did it ever actually come? Where is this global warming we keep hearing about? Crazy fall weather… it seems like we should go to the pumpkin patch this weekend :0)

Then, I think...where were we last year at this time? Aristana, although by this point, a punk...was a much smaller punk, and easier to control. My brother Brady and his family were living in Tampa, Florida, while Brady was stationed there with the Air Force. I was only four months post-surgery. The election commercials were airing, full-force, and I was absolutely positive that we didn't need to have another child. Needless to say, seasons change, we grow up, and God makes our decisions for us. I am glad things are where they are...although, it would be nice if Aristana was still a little less "punky."

I can’t believe how fast time is flying! We just passed the 18 week pregnancy mark, and can’t believe we’re already there. When I was pregnant with Aristana, things crawled at a turtle’s pace, because everything was anticipation for the next thing. How many weeks until we can find out the gender? Are we ready for this? …not to mention the proverbial “undo button” panic attacks (thanks for defining that feeling Andrew). We were excited to pick names, paint the nursery, and pack it with diapers, toys and onesies. This time around, the anatomy scan crept up on us (it’s a girl, by the way, for anyone who doesn’t know yet!) , we are finding it impossible to agree on a name, and are still dreading giving up the office/paperwork storage space/Mike’s closet, for the newest member of our family.

***To our precious little one… Please, if you are reading this someday, don’t think that we are anything other than ecstatic to have you entering our lives. We just had the extra time, extra money, and extra room, the first time around. You are truly a blessing from God!

Okay, now that that has been cleared up… Here are some more noteworthy tidbits…

An absolutely huge, excited, and with a sigh of relief, congratulations to Sarah, Cliff, Hattie, Atticus, and Paloma Cruz, on welcoming their two new sons/brothers, Miles and Keenen home, from Haiti. It was a long, over two year adoption battle…and the fact that they are home is a MIRACLE! We haven’t had a chance to meet them in person yet, since there are initial emotional obstacles to overcome for them first. However, they have been in our hearts for a very long time, and seeing them will feel more like a reunion to us, than a meeting.

Next, my little sister Lauren has finished up another summer at Camp Alice Chester, where she directed the counselors at the Girl Scout camp. She has now accepted an assignment with the Americorp. She will be based out of Sacramento, CA. Unfortunately, she won’t be home until July 2010, so we’ll have to be sure to send pictures of baby girl quite often. I am very proud of you Lauren. As unconventional life is sometimes, I am glad that you understand the need to do these things now, while you can. “Real Life” has a tendency to get in the way of new experiences with each year that passes.

Congrats to Scott, Wendy, and little Anna Schultz, on learning that they’ll be having another baby girl! Same to Martha, Brian and Emmett! I don’t know if our social group can handle anymore estrogen!

Okay, I want to mention a little about Aristana, since I realize there are so many funny things she does, that we’re not documenting. I don’t want to lose them forever.

Her new phrase is “F.Y.I.” Example: She calls from the bathroom, where she has a tendency to play with the hand soap… “Hey Mom.?.? Don’t come in here. I’m not doing anything wrong, FYI.”

Yesterday, Dad took her to run an errand, and she apparently got upset when he wouldn’t let her “drive.” She got home, ran to me, and said “Mom, Dada make me cry.” Then she turned around, shook her finger at him, and said, “Don’t do that again, boy!”

She also is learning some of her physical limitations, because she always says, “I get older to do…” “I get bigger to do…” But she uses it as an excuse to now. “Mom, I know how to clean up. I get older to do it.” Sounds fine in reading…however, in translating to what she is really saying… “Mom, I don’t know how to clean up, I have to get older to do it.” Nice try…
Potty training has been well…yeah.

We (okay, I) have been offering her larger and larger rewards for trying to go potty. She has done it plenty of times before, but has been very stubborn lately. I don’t want to push her, so I make the offer, and ask every once in a while if she wants to try. If she says no, I back off, and ask again later.

A few days ago, she decided that she wanted McDonalds, two matchbox cars, two dollars, nail polish, stickers and ice cream, because she was on the potty for over four hours! The main problem with that, is she wants me to sit in there with her. One thing I have learned over and over and over again from potty training articles, videos, and books, is to be extremely supportive. So, we tried. …and tried, and tried…etc. On and off all day. Nothing. One time, she was on for over an hour, and when she stood up to walk to her room, she urinated all over herself. I felt so bad for her, because you could feel the determination she had to do it right

I guess that’s enough for now. Later…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Family History Subject: My father Bruce

So, I’m already writing another blog entry…short but sweet.

I’m kind of building on my family history again, which I think I’ll continue to do once in awhile.

This week on Family history: My Father Bruce

My uncle has been posting old family photos on Facebook recently, and it has been so fun looking at all of them. I knew my father was in a band, called “The Couriers,” based out of Manitowoc. I have a record of theirs, and a couple pictures. However, there were a whole bunch in the group of pictures that Gary posted. I wanted to share a few.

My father was a drummer. Ironically, my uncle Mike was the keyboard player. Based on the pictures, they look like they had a bunch of fun. Kind of reminds me of the old “Monkees” TV show, where they’d always be acting goofy.

Man, it’s fun seeing your parents in a whole different light.

Filled up to the brim with family history…

Around 2003, I started to trace my family history. I was interested to find out where I came from. I searched websites, and libraries, miles of microfilm, and a boat load of census records. I think I secretly wished to have a glorious background filled with royalty and riches. I heard rumors about possible “aristocracy,” and couldn’t wait to see what royal family I belonged to.
Each day of research brought me closer to the fact that there were indeed, no records of any of those things. I come from a family of polish potato farmers. Not that I minded, but thought things could have been a little more exciting.
However, I started to make contact with people…people who had stories. Suddenly, these “polish potato farmers” became real individuals, with personalities and stories. It was fascinating! My great great grandparents, Frank and Polly Omernik had 18 children. My great grandmother, in a time when women were supposed to keep their mouths shut, brought a black woman as a guest to dinner, at her country club, where black people were not allowed. Another great grandmother came to the US with her brother, hiding from Prussian officials who were trying to catch him for evading the Prussian army during the war. My relatives sat for weeks on dirty boats, with famine and sickness ravaging through the travelers, while trying to keep their families together, just so they had a chance at a better life, political and religious freedoms.
I have learned two things… They were so strong, and I am so weak.
Through this process, I have had the opportunity to grow very close to my maternal Grandmother’s family. My grandmother Therese was my very best friend, which is why Aristana’s middle name is also Therese. Getting to have long conversations with her sisters, gives me a glimpse into her life, when she was my age, raising a family. I love when I can hear my grandma’s voice when Anna Mae speaks, or see her smile in Mitzie. Even though she has passed, I swear I can feel her through my “Aunts.”
The day I reconnected with Mitzie, Anna Mae, and Mitzie’s son RJ, my whole search was blown wide open. I was blanketed with story after story, of their childhoods, and the good and bad times. I got to see pictures and old “artifacts” of generations gone by. I realized that I was missing so much.
This week, I got to go to Wilke Lake, outside of St. Nazianz, in the town of Schleswig, where both my grandparents and great grandparents spent their summers, with the whole family. I have seen so many pictures, and heard so many stories. We would also stay at one of the neighboring cottages a few times, which was fun…but I was too young to feel the connection to past generations.
I stood there, and pictured what was going on in those pictures, as I stared at my grandparents old cottage. My mother painted “The Funky Bunky” on the side of the old bunk building, when she was in her late teens. I was able to take a picture of Aristana standing under it.

I welled up so many times, out of pure respect for those who came before me, just wishing I could be a bird in the tree, and travel back to those days, just for a short while. I’m tearing up as I write this…I can’t explain it.
I am including some pics, then and now, just for some visuals…