Today’s picture was from Hadi and I love it. I love seeing Hadi and her photos are almost as good. I never have to ask what Hadi is feeling or thinking in the photos. I have been told several times over the past several months that I’m not great at masking my facial expressions in virtual meetings. Hadi is similar to me in that respect. I love how expressive she is and seeing the full range of her expressions.
Today’s picture was from Macli. She definitely loves her cats and her cousin Brock. I’ve been writing about memories I have with all of the kids and tonight I’m switching to a new memory. This year, for Christmas, I put together a ‘punch box’ full of all things slime related (and all Mom-approved) for my youngest nieces and nephew. Each night they have been ‘punching’ one of the holes and playing with slime with the add-ins or colors, etc. The slime adventure will continue on Christmas Day. I have enjoyed watching them open one of the spaces each night and playing together. I’m loving the new memories we have made this year even when we can’t be together.
Berkli’s photo today was from one of my favorite parts of my summer-Westfair. Westfair has been a part of my summer since the oldest kids were little and first started entering projects and later animals in the fair. As the kids have gotten bigger and the number of nieces and nephews involved has gotten bigger, the time spent at the fairgrounds has increased every year. I have enjoyed working on numerous projects over the years as well as watching them show their projects and animals. I have even jumped in and judged, mostly photography, at Westfair and a couple of other local fairs. I also enjoy the community activities like Bingo and of course, fair food.
When I made my list of memories with the kids, today’s memory from Brock was not on my list but it should have been. It was actually a trip to see Papa at the lake and then on to Uncle Jim’s 75th birthday party. We stopped at Bob Evans on the way down to the birthday celebration and on the way back to the lake. Not only did we love the tomato basil soup, we had fun with the kids menu activities as well. And Dad forgot Tate’s leash so we ended up using the strap from my duffel bag so Brock could walk him until we stopped and bought a new leash.
Like most Poland family trips, that one was filled with adventures. While at the lake with Dad, we checked on our Treasures at the Lake geocache hidden at the BLIA building, listened to Matt Snook sing, and played with Tate. We went to Big Jim’s birthday and saw many family members which is always fun. And then we saw some unique Missouri sites including the morel mushroom along the interstate and this Craig, Missouri bathtub and toilet display.
Hailee’s memory today was from our trip to NYC and Long Island. One year, the kids and I had an overlap in Spring Breaks and we decided to take advantage of it.
Hailee hit on all of the highlights in her memory so I will share photos of many of them. There was also a lot of NY pizza eating involved. I agree with Hailee-the best part of all of these memories is spending time together. I love that even though we can’t be in the same place these days, we still take time for each other and connect.
So this is the card I opened from Andrew. His mom had been telling me it was going to make me laugh since we started this so I decided to open it just after midnight because it was technically Day 18. I did laugh when I opened it because this is what I text him when I want to talk to Andrew because he is even worse than me about picking up a phone call. On the rare occasion this doesn’t work, I threaten to take away the Netflix password if he doesn’t call.
When I talked to Andrew, we started talking about the many, many things he could have written about on his cards. Which gave me an idea-after Hailee and Brock’s cards are opened this week, I have prepared top ten lists of my own memories for each of them and will be posting them over the weekend. They have done a great job coming up with some funny and sweet memories. And honestly, it would be impossible to capture all of our memories. My memories with each of them will be part of my gift to them this year!
I almost feel like this memory can stand on it’s own with no explanation. Everyone seems to know ‘the story’ though it seems to grow every time it is told. When Facebook memories come through from when the oldest kids were little, I laugh when they are about the kids teasing her about running into Caseys over 10 years ago. I think one of my funniest memories of the whole Caseys saga is from when we were at the Open Door Mission serving a Christmas meal. We were headed back to Treynor and Missy had stopped to pick up dinner for everyone. She texted the kids a photo as if she was eating their fries. So we downloaded a photo of a car that had crashed into the front of a random Casey’s store and sent it to her. She texted back asking us if we were stopping for gas. She didn’t see the car through the door of the store. It was fun to plan these shirts for her last year.
Wednesday’s memory came from Huck. I loved all of the photos that were included. And I had planned this story for Hadi but then realized it was Huck’s birth, not Hadi’s. So here’s tonight’s family memory. I was headed in town with Andrew, Hailee and Brock to meet their youngest cousin. Our first mistake was asking my sister what hospital Huck and his parents and sister were in. We set out and found the hospital and headed to the 5th floor as instructed. Only to find out we were on the psych ward (it was a bit scary how easy it was to get there). We called and were told we were in the ‘wrong part of the hospital’ so we went and asked for the maternity area and found it. When we asked to go to Staci Poland’s room, we were told she wasn’t there. That’s when we were told we were in the wrong hospital. We eventually found them and met Huck!
Tuesday’s picture was from Hadi with more memories-from Christmas last year and Thanksgiving this year. When I talked to the kids on Tuesday night, we had fun talking about some Poland Christmas/winter memories and thought I would share a few here (in no particular order)..
- My mom’s decorations-the first several photos below show the many decorations Mom had in and out of the house. I don’t have an easily accessible photo of Santa’s Village that she painted but it used to be across the entire front yard every year. I did find the snowmen but I feel they were a later addition, after I was out of school. We also always had real candy canes on the tree and LOTS of ornaments. I can’t explain the underwear on the tree but several of the other ornaments are ones made by my mom or other family members. The photos of duck duck goose include Jamie’s mom Jolene but also show Mom’s collection of Santas in the front window. And then outside she made huge wooden ornaments for the Blue Spruce.
- Pictures with Santa or at Santa’s Castle in the summertime! Can you spot my dad masquerading as Santa?
- The snowmen-Hailee is convinced that her uncle Aaron knocked over her snowman when she was little and there is nothing anyone can say to make her think otherwise. I think Aaron may have even been out of town when the snowman melted but he still got blamed for it.
- Building snowmen was a rare occurrence in Texas so I treasure that photo. When we were a bit older, it iced in Texas and Dad wanted to show us how to slide on the ice. So he sat in a lawn chair planning to slide down the front sidewalk. Instead, the legs of the chair slid out from under him and he went straight down.
- We have lots of Christmas morning photos! Some of my favorites show our stockings that my Grandma made, our stuffed animals and blankets, and how we were getting along (at least for that day). You can also see the hobby horse that Aaron cut his eye on!
Macli sent me lots of photos today. They are from some of my favorite times like Westfair and times that I have missed this year like birthdays. I was also able to meet the new puppy last night that Macli sent in a photo as well.
I love photos of the kids and will cherish all of these. Today, I’m going to share what will hopefully be a great memory for years to come. Last night, the kids got my Christmas present. It is a punch box full of fun craft and slime stuff that they were able to each punch one hole in last night and then will punch one a day until Christmas. I also gave them a slim recipe book and three tubs of slime to get started. It was all Mom approved! I love how much they love making things and learning as they make slime and other things. They will have more surprises under the tree Christmas morning that involve science fun! It was fun to talk to the kids last night as they punched the box and played with their slime. I’m looking forward to them discovering new things each day over the next week and a half!