Friday, November 26, 2010

Family Photo Friday

My father scanned a bunch of his old slides the other week and shared them with me. It's a treasure trove of great photography and fabulous memories. I'll admit, I was scouring my new collection for embarrassing pictures of my brother. Dad apparently packed away his slide film as Matt and I were becoming gawky and awkward, so I was only left with these unbelievably adorable pictures.

Really? Could he have been any cuter?

Okay, well maybe this one's a little embarrassing . . . and Uncle Matt the Rummikub timer Nazi totally deserves it :-)

And now I must go as the timing nazi has told me I only have 2 minutes to finish this post. Thank goodness he's such a great Uncle or I might disown him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I'm still having difficulty with the colors on the camera, so just pretend the 70s was our Thanksgiving theme! Matthew's had a great week. He's working on using his fork and gets pretty insistent about it. He especially enjoyed using it to eat one of Uncle John's famous twice baked potatoes, which he nearly gorged himself on the other night.

Matthew has taken full advantage of having a houseful of readers and will bring a book over to anyone and everyone who might be sitting around. He caught grandma for an early morning round of Dr. Seuss's ABCS.

However, Matthew did take time to have a very American Thanksgiving. He started appropriately by enjoying the Sesame Street float during the parade.

but then it was time for the Farm Book with great grandma.

However, his favorite game to play with grandma involves taking her exercise bands out of her walker, having grandma hold them and then putting them back. Over and over and over again while Matthew and Ryan discussed football.

My little bottomless pit was ready for the big show well as soon as we sat down. Before we could get to grace, Matthew dug in.

The rest of the family.

Can you take a wild guess which Thanksgiving staple was Matthew's favorite?

Afterwards, Matthew and Daddy made sure Matthew knew that Thanksgiving has a 3rd F, Food, Family and Football!

Cheering on the team

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hanging out with the Pozuns and great grandma

Matthew's having a great week so far with the Pozuns. He thinks Uncle Matt is pretty awesome.

Especially because Uncle Matt brought a football to play with

but when Uncle Matt stole his hat, he wasn't too pleased.

He also enjoys reading with Grandpa Ron while great-grandma catches up on the news

though he still thinks that all farm animals say "grrrrr". He loved going with his cousin to do chores the other day and let us know that all the "Ayes" said "grrrr".

And sure they look cute and peaceful cuddled up reading, but Matthew also really likes some roughhousing as well:

He's also having a great time with grandma, though he tends to retreat to grandma for deep neck-nuzzling snuggles and I haven't gotten a great picture :(. He even let grandma put him to bed without protest the other night. And though he loves reading and snuggles with grandma, his favorite thing to do is to find grandma in the kitchen and show off his newest sign, complete with "Mmmmmm".

Grandma, grandpa and uncle Matt are learning their lessons quickly though, because if they give Matthew a treat, he then follows them around pitifully signing "Please, more, hungry" and pointing to whatever they tried to hide or are trying to enjoy themselves :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snuggle Bug, the signer

Before the rumor mill *cough* my parents *cough* goes crazy, just thought I'd remind everyone of Uncle Ed's favorite niece! June's far more enamored with Ed than the cats so we'll let her be the favorite niece. I don't think the cats will mind.

It's been a very busy two weeks here between playgroups, doctors appointments, vet appointments, an ear infection, a case of hives, 2 sinus infections and oh yeah, only my biggest event of the year at work and some crazy 16 hour days :-)

So, for the first time in a long time Matthew and I stayed home in our jammies all day today cuddling, reading and trying to get our house back to some type of presentable manner. Part of the day we were waiting for Matthew's big boy bed(s) to arrive.

He seems to like it so far as he gets on it and immediately plops his head down.

I was playing with the video camera so here are some videos of the little guy exploring his new bed. We were working on how to get off the bed safely, but he decided he needed a little help:

With Dad's help he got it and was quite proud of himself. He's also started to pat things when he wants up. In the living room he'll bring a book over to us, sign please and then pat our laps for storytime. It's heart warming, minus the fact that like any sane parent, I can only read Alaska's Train Story so many times in a day before going batty.

And another sign he's been using. Thank you!

Matthew's also become a great big snuggle bug and loves to give hugs and snuggle against us. He LOVES his elephant from Uncle Matt still. I can't believe a year ago he was just barely sitting up and playing with grandma's twin elephant that seemed huge compared to him! He sleeps with it and tends to use it as a pillow, even though he has a perfectly good, non-lumpy pillow in the crib. Anyway, here he is retrieving his elephant which for some reason he'd put in the bathroom for safe keeping while we rearranged his room:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Many of you met James' brother at our wedding. After getting to know him even better these past 4 years, I can definitely say he's even cooler in 3-D.

And though he's a crazy busy guy doing lots of cool things I don't understand, I at least do know that in the past year, his nephew and niece have greatly enjoyed his visits and wish him the happiest of birthdays in return! Happy Birthday Uncle Ed! Hope it was a great one!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Classic Toys

When I was little, Grandma Jennie had an empty cardboard flat that would have held sodas (or beer) that was filled with toys. It sat under the chair that was next to her rolltop desk. When we cleaned out the attic spaces I grabbed a few of the peg board for pounding and this awesome toy:

Matthew now plays with this 1948-49 Elsie's Dairy wagon that also sat in that cardboard box. I don't ever remember it having the bell or pull string or the glass cartons that were to go in the back by the time I played with it, but it never bothered me. It definitely shows its age and one of the wheels and an axle have been replaced and one of the hammers doesn't work now, but Matthew still thinks it's as great as I probably did.

Before I tell you about my absolute favorite toys in the box, you should understand the awesomeness of grandma's floors. Grandma's house had these poured epoxy floors. As we lived there, I realized how fabulous they were for country living because they were virtually indestructible. They were hard as nails so they didn't scratc and they were a practical tan with brown flecks that hid a lot of the dirt that's unavoidable on the WY plains. On looks alone, the floors were not my style, I put off replacing/covering them for a long time because with 4 pets they were so very practical.

Anyway, back to the toys. So my favorite toys were these 3-4' long strands of plastic beads that grandma kept in the toy box. I think they were leftovers from some hippie-style beaded doors that my uncles/aunt/dad had. Sure, they were fun to wear as a necklace or to twist around, but the absolute best thing to do with them was the lay them on the floor and shake them/drag them back and forth. Little plastic diamond-shaped beads dragged and shaken into snakes across those floors were inexplicably awesome, though my parents never, ever thought so. To our young ears, the scrape and clatter of beads on the super hard floors was magical. To my parents, this was to be a game avoided at all costs.

When we rearranged toys, Matthew rediscovered this necklace that his Uncle John had given him on a visit some time ago. A beautifully long strand of blue beads . . .

perfect for dropping and dragging across the kitchen floor.

I found that strand of pink, plastic, diamond-shaped beads in attic this summer. You could barely tell they were hot pink or diamond shaped because the edges had been so beaten, scratched and worn down from all of grandma's little visitors. Though I loved those beads, I went ahead and threw them away because in my memory they were far more awesome than they looked as I held them again in their aged state.

Now when Matthew drags his beads over to kitchen floor I still drift back to sitting on the floor of grandma's, in front of the chair by the desk, and shaking those little pink beads like crazy . . . and then I count my blessings for a softer floor and round beads because dang, it's kinda loud!
Then I hear my mother's voice in the back of my head working it's way to my lips pleading "stop that! Don't drag the beads on the floor" and totally get where she was coming from. Parenting karma sucks :-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Family Photo Thursday - Veteran's Day

There were 2 great photos from the fabulous albums appropriate to share for Veteran's Day. The first is likely my Uncle Julius as it is labeled "Seattle, 1957" on the back. Uncle Julius was in the US Navy and was definitely stationed in Seattle in the 1950's.

I found 2 great ship logs like this indicating his positions were Eng/Utility and Wiper as he traveled from Yokohama, Japan and Busan, Korea and Kobe, Japan and Okinawa to Seattle and then from Seattle to Inchon Korea Via Pusan Korea and Yokokaha, Japan. They are from 1952.

And here is a picture my father-in-law took a few Christmases ago at a tiny bar in Hudson. This is me and Mike Vinich, owner of 2 Hudson bars and a former brothel, dirty joke teller, staunch democrat and proud veteran.

And here's an interview with Mike Vinich undertaken by the Casper Tribune about his service.

However, one of Mike's favorite stories to tell should you saunter into either the El Toro or The Union is this story about his role in the nomination of Kennedy, whom he had met when Kennedy's boat had rescued him during WWII. Kennedy called to ask Mike to rally WY for his support and Mike felt he couldn't say no as Kennedy had saved his life.

And speaking of this tiny town of Hudson (pop. ~407 in 2000) here is an old picture of the service for their Veteran's Memorial park. Sadly I don't have a good estimate of the year but may try to do some digging over Thanksgiving (aka drinks at the bar with Mike) to determine maybe a date for this photo and identify people some people.

Little has changed at the park, except now there are white crosses that adorn the front fence in memory of WY soldiers who have died since 9/11. One belongs to Chance Phelps. The film "Taking Chance" was based on the story of the officer who accompanied Chance's body back for his funeral in Dubois, WY. Another belongs to John Edmunds, an elementary school classmate and soccer teammate of mine from Cheyenne who was killed in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan in October 2001.

And last but not least, Matthew with his favorite Marine.

Our family was very blessed to have our soldiers return home with minor wounds. Though our family headstones are graced with military service honors and flags on holidays, our men came back to their wives and families and lived long lives filled with farming, raising children and grandchildren. However, as more of my family's WWII veterans and their wives opened up about the war, it is clear that the wounds we never saw from combat were far from minor as they lived nightmares that we can't even fathom.

I am thankful and proud of their service in ways I've spent the last hour writing and rewriting but can't express because it doesn't feel right to discuss the "unspoken" costs of war on these families without feeling guilty because at least they were lucky enough to come home. So I leave you with this quote from Jose Narosky in hopes we all remember that in the democracy our soldiers fight for, we all can have a voice about what our soldiers fight for and it is everyone's duty to help ensure we are wounding as few soldiers as possible fighting for causes we believe in.

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Most of the day, Matthew does everything in his power to prevent our house from ever being clean. Drawers are empty, toys are scattered and our recycling is re-sorted and re-distributed through the house. Laundry is graciously unfolded and dirty clothes are redeposited through the house.

However, when Matthew grabs a rag from the laundry room he likes to use it to dust the furniture. I'm going to pretend he learned this from watching me clean because I'm an awesome housekeeper. Let's just go with that. And while we're observing traits that are exactly like his momma, Matthew's pretty easily distracted while cleaning :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another gorgeous weekend

Bozeman has yet again evaded the mysterious Bozeman winter we've heard so much about. Though we did get a nice dusting when I returned from WY the other week, since then it's been mid-60s and gorgeous. We may not have ended up with a few feet before Halloween as everyone warned us, but 2-5" of snow is forecasted for tonight, but in the meantime we went out to enjoy the weather this weekend.

Matthew did a few more laps around the apartment with his car. He loves to push it around and has become adept at turning it and getting it unstuck without needing to look pitifully at us and sign "help". However, he has no interest in pushing it in the walker position and now will only use it when it's down in full ride-on mode. He also as no interest in riding on it, just lots, and lots of pushing it around the house and around the apartment.

We also headed over to enjoy the Dinosaur Park a few last times. He's really gained quite a bit of confidence with his movement and is now a climbing, crawling, scooting, almost running monkey.

Taunting me from the top of the slide with threats of heading down face first (or like he almost succeeded in trying the other day, sitting up but backward. Yikes!) He's hard to resist, look at those big gorgeous eyes!

Today we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head to the very empty lake so Sky could take one last swim for the season. Matthew insisted on carrying the thrower and pushing it the entire way. In fact, ever since we pulled it out of storage this has been one of Matthew's favorite things to do.

Sky was quite pleased and even though the wind picked up, he didn't seem to mind as the ball would drift further and further away.

While Sky took his swims Matthew made sure to hold onto the thrower for me, though he learned pretty quick to give it back as soon as Sky got near the edge of the water. Matthew found out that crazy, wet, shaking, excited Sky was nothing he wanted near himself and that could be Mommy's job.

I think on the walk down to the lake Sky had maybe forgotten about the awesomeness of the thrower since he was able to walk without paying any attention to Matthew and the thrower.

On the way back Sky didn't take his eyes off Matthew or the thrower once, which made for a very long, very chaotic walk back. At least now I know how to train Sky to be a Lassie-like protector of Matthew and Matthew will be safe, as long as he's carrying a bright orange stick almost as tall as him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Family Photo Friday

So, on Thursday night I got this fabulous email from my dad with old family photos and almost cheated and just posted those :-) However, I was also dying to get back into the albums so you get those again, plus A LOT of rambling.

So, here's my favorite picture of my grandmother and I.

The wedding picture's a hard picture to beat because a) it was the happiest day of my life, filled only with tears of joy and b) I actually remember it :-) Grandma had at one point told me she wouldn't make it come out for my wedding as she was done flying/traveling. My aunt traveled circles to ensure grandma was there and it meant the world to me to have everyone there.

Anyway the following picture is my second favorite picture of her and I. I'm pretty certain this picture was a pretty great day, but I don't remember it and I likely cried tears that weren't for joy. However, I love this picture of her and papa, even if papa was being a bit distracted. There aren't a whole lot of pictures of me and grandma and grandpa floating around, especially with me being so young, so this one's definitely special.

However, dad sent me this one today which I hadn't ever seen and is also equally precious. As non-PC and odd a thought it is, one of the first things that popped into my mind was "now I understand why everyone told my mom they thought I was a little Indian baby". Matthew had dark hair when he was born, but nothing like his mama apparently.

And this one that is far less precious. I still firmly remember one of my parents advising me to get frames a size larger so I could "grow" into them and wear them for many years and just replace the lenses. Tragic. (My parents vehemently deny this. As they rightly say, "growing" into glasses is dumb and they would have never said anything dumb when I was growing up). I want to believe they are wrong, but now that I'm a parent I *know* I've never said anything dumb to Matthew so I'm starting to understand their side of the argument . . . a bit.

He also sent along a few other ones I'll share later, but I LOVED this picture of mom and (uncle) Matt.

James and I were rearranging the storage unit the other day and I came across this high chair that we had in Matthew's old nursery, but moved into storage when we moved. I had intended to have Matthew use it when he got a little older but wanted to do something to protect the decal on the back so it didn't flake off. That project's still on the back burner but I have wondered for a while how old the chair was since I haven't found something comparable on-line. I knew it was at least as old as my cousin, since he used it here.

P.S. - I love that all the cupboard doors are open in the back. It makes me believe my affliction for leaving them open is more genetic than anything else :-)

Anyway, I just came across this photo which means I now have confirmed the high chair is at least as old as my Uncle John, minus 2 years.

And I'm not certain who this is or what high chair they are in, but if it's a Majdic or Pozun, my guess is he was calling dibs on the skin or the turkey leg.

Anyway, back to pictures from the albums. They are such an odd generational mix, some from the old world, some of my dad's cousins. The second album has a lot more formal pictures, some of family friends, some of family and some that only indicate the photographer's studio and nothing more. I'll delve into those next week. In the meantime, here's a few more snapshots.

This photo was a blessing as it was labeled Jakob Setina. More importantly, my great-grandmother had written below it, my Uncle. This is a huge leap for me as it helps me rule out some of the other Setina records I have found.

And speaking of labeling, I love the way this was labeled, "my sisters and brother Frank Setina." I like to think great-grandma had just as much difficulty labeling everyone in these photos but Frank, just like me. However, if their heights correspond to age, I'd guess this is:

Front Row: Tillie, Julia, Gail, Anna

Back Row: Rosalie, Frances, Louise and then Mary. If for some reason Jennie really wasn't pictured and these were just her sisters, this makes sense. If Jennie is in fact in the picture and/or one of the girls hit a growth spurt I have no idea who is missing and who is who :-)

And I thought this picture was awfully funny. This is Rosy on the left in the old folks home. Her costume sign says "Meet Grandma Turnipseed and her Darling grandson John III"

And because I'm a masochist, I played around with another photo with a paragraph description in Slovenian. This is the translation I got:

"Here the so called post one picture, my sister married in the picture are the sisters of my mother and my sister that floods this large volume is completely sisters husband I perceived all Toje front of my birthplace I have not three nephews, my sister is completely one that the child tents so we'll just meet you little daddy already no longer" Aside from Toje, it was all translated, but I think I need a native speaker to make sense of it. Moreover, I need to figure out whose handwritting these are in so I can anchor these relationships to a person.

And last but definitely not least, another cute picture of John and Sharon. I'm not positive about who got to be the horsey in the picture because of the fabulous face he's making, but it looks a lot like Uncle Jerry. There's something about these little square pictures. All of ones I have found so far are just fabulous little slices of daily life.

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...