Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to the year 2016......

Just did wedding dress shopping for Kyre on Saturday!  We actually found one that was perfect for her, and that's all I can say about it!  We bought it!  Sorry I can't post pictures, it is top secret!  Haha.  So looking forward to that at the end of July this year.  Plan for a great party at the end of July, including a great hoedown.

Looking forward to McKayla's wedding in April.  I always love to go to Utah and visit Kimmi's family, and a wedding is always soooo much fun.  Can't wait to do that.

I wish there were another Houseman reunion this year, I could use a great camping experience again.  We
love it when brother cooks up breakfast!
have so darn much fun at those reunions.  Isn't it great to have family that we can spend a few days with and we totally love it with each other.  However, I do intend to do some camping anyway, reunion or not.  Can't wait until the weather isn't cold and white, bring on the camping / summer / fun.  I have always wished I could travel, and maybe someday I may get that opportunity, but for now, camping is my get away.  It is my time to rejuvenate, sit by the fire and ponder life.  Perhaps we will be able to take in another barn dance or two as well.

Whoot, whoot, I am going to see Johnny Reid in a few weeks!  I can't wait for that, I am so excited.  Logan bought me tickets for Christmas and I am totally stoked about it.  He has to be my favorite singer of all time.  I love his words, stories, and songs.

Some of the boys have Jeff Dunham tickets as well in a couple of months.  They are pretty stoked about that adventure.  I love to see them laughing and loving life.

Hoping to do a trip out to the West Coast this coming summer.  It has been far too long since we have seen
would love to go here again!
some of our dearest friends from there.  I so hope we can work this one in the plans after the wedding.  Time is pushing us all to our limits both physically and mentally, it would be nice to visit again while we are all well enough to enjoy it all.

All of that will bring us to the end of summer.  After that, Rosie will be in grade 12 and we will be working hard to get her graduated and ready for university. 

I know, I know, I am rushing the year away, but not really.  I am totally excited for this year of adventures, explorations, and experiences.  It is going to be a good year, taking it one day at a time, making memories every step of the way.

Come along for the fun!  2016 and beyond, bring it on!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Making it Through Journeys

Life is a series of journey's that we must all make, and for each of us it is a different set of journey's.  I watch all the time, my own kids raising their own now, and others raising theirs as well, and sometimes I think it was easier when my kids were little.  Though times were tough, most of the time, it really worries me to think of what my own grandkids will have to journey through in their life. 

I believe there are really great and wonderful things to come yet in this world we live in, but I also believe
that to get those great things, we will have to journey through some really tough stuff too.  How did I ever make it through my own journey's, I often ask myself?

We had financial challenges, some family challenges, but knock on wood....., we never really had challenges that included major health, death, abuse and those kinds of things.  And inevitably whenever I would get down and feel like the journey was too difficult, or I didn't want to make the journey any more, I would pause, look around me and realize that there is always someone out there whose journey I would not want to be walking, and then mine was always, yes always, put into perspective.

How did I ever do it?  I kept on keeping on.  I know that sounds like a cop out, but it is true.  No matter what happened, I didn't quit.  No matter how hard it got and how much I wanted to quit, I didn't quit.  I would hit my knees in prayer and then get up and move forward, always with the hope and faith that there were brighter days ahead - and there always were.

I also did my best to keep my attitude positive and learned to enjoy the little moments along the way that now are often some of my fondest memories.  Kids can be difficult, jobs can be hard, it can be difficult to always be positive in relationships, but when it boils right down to it, it is all a choice.  Our attitudes are a choice.  Enjoying the little moments, the big moments, it is all a choice.  How we deal with heartache, it is a choice.  How we deal with frustrations and anger, it is a choice.

I do get asked often, how did I ever be successful in raising six kids to be such good men and women, and honestly, I don't know.  I tried always to be their friend and to keep the lines of communication open.  The worst thing you can do with your kids is close those communication lines.  They need to talk to someone, so if they are not comfortable talking with you, they will find other sources - how sad.  I have people tell me all the time how we as parents are not supposed to be friends with our kids, we are the parents, not their friends.  I strongly disagree!  Be their friends!  Be the one they turn to when they are struggling.  One of the happiest things I think I have today is that my grown kids are my friends.  We like to do things together and they still trust me with their problems.  That is priceless.

I think my journey has a long way to go still, and I look forward to each new chapter, each new grandchild, each new marriage, each new job, and all of the new things that are before us.  I think the reason that I look forward to it, is because I know I don't have to do it alone, we will all do it together. 

Get through your journey's together.  Create your support team, family or friends, and get through together helping each other along the way.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Leon and Vera Wright

As found in "Bridging The Years".....

Leon was born 11 December 1909, in Beazer,  the twin son of Fredrick William Wright and Emma Elizabeth James.  When he was old enough he ran, sometimes barefoot over the two and a half miles to a one roomed school house.  His legs were moving so quickly that the sort trousers, which hung just above the ankles flapped and the rocks he stepped on left no impressions on the hard soles of his feet.  These feet were tough and calloused, and by the time he had reached home at the end of the day, his feet were also red from walking through patches of wild strawberries where he'd sit down to eat his fill, thus his hands and mouth
Grandpa is the one in the middle.  A handsome man!
were equally as red.  It was then time to climb on the old sway backed horse called "Bud" and go get the cows.  "Old Bruno" the faithful sheep dog was sent over the hill for the sheep.  While riding through the hay, the timothy was so high that it caught between his toes.

Hurrying to finish supper, all the neighborhood children would gather in the corner of  "Uncle Teds" field and play ball.  This game became an important part of his life.  he was a catcher and his twin brother Cleon pitched.  They were offered wages at one time to be the "Batteries" for an out of town team.  Leon, like all the Wright brothers was a good athlete.  He used to run and win a lot of races receiving .25 cents first prize money.

Leon and his cousin Warner, caused the school teachers lots of problems.  Staying in from school was no punishment - it just meant you missed a few chores.  They were told if they continued to cause trouble, they would be separated and have to sit by girls.  Was this punishment??

Leon learned to play the guitar and like to sing.  He sang and whistled while he drove the team "Pick and Pat" to accomplish his many tasks.  All the young people loved to go to dances and he rode his horse to attend the dances at Leavitt and Mountain View.  At one of these socials he met Vera Walburger and later
Vera is the tallest girl
they were married in the Cardston Temple, 9 July 1931.

Vera was born 9 November 1911, in a family of seven children.  She was the eldest girl and this position called upon her to assume many responsibilities.  Not only did she learn well all household skills, but how to work with horses also.  She loved horses and rode four miles to school in Leavitt.  Music lesson required her to ride on horse back to Cardston once a week for three years.  The horses were well shot and fast, so they were ridden fast.  Vera enjoyed entering horse races and usually won at the celebrations in Beazer and Leavitt.

The first few years of their married life was spent on the "Old Parker" place in Mountain View.  They remained there for four years and then moved to Beazer in April 1935.  They purchased Lot #7 in the Beazer townsite.  This was formerly owned by Samuel Cox.  It was a small place, and the room at the back was made from "mud dobbies".  The doors were very low and you had to duck your head to get through them.

In this period of time everyone seemed to be struggling to get by, and money was scarce.  Leon worked on threshing crews, sheared sheep and trapped fur bearing animals in the winter.  Since their home was the closest to the school, they were asked to be caretakers for $30 per month.  It was also Vera's responsibility to keep the exam papers each year for the Divisional School board.  The teachers would run across the road to her house to get them when it was time to write exams.  Since the Wright home was also across the road from the church, they were asked to keep the basket and volley balls and give them out when needed.  Cold,
I miss them!
refreshing water was also obtained from their well for both school and church use.  A new home was built in 1939 and some of the lumber used was from the old Cox house.

Leon's first car was a Model A Ford, for which he paid $150.  Land was purchased in Mountain View from Fred Walburger (SW 1/4-12-3-27).  After Leon's mother moved to Stirling, he purchased the old homestead quarter that belonged to his father.  Here he raised cattle until he started to work for the Cardston School District, then cattle became a hobby.  Leon spend his spare time playing and coaching many team sports.  He served on the Bishopric of the L.D.S. Church and as Assistant Stake Athletic Director.  Leon served his community on the school board and was it's last trustee.  He is most happy in the mountains getting out wood or hunting.  He knows every valley by heart and could relate volumes of tales spent there with good friends, Alvin and Del Beazer.  A special friend, Meade Beazer made many trips into those hills with him.  Leon is now retired to 'golfing and fishing'. 

Leon passed away and is buried in the Beazer Cemetary with his parents and grandparents.

All drama enthusiasts in Beazer will remember the plays that Vera directed.  She was also an excellent cook, sharing her treats freely with others.  Her grandchildren refuse to let her retire from cooking, they expect cinnamon rolls and spudnuts to always be there when they come.

Many of us remember swimming in the old swimming hole under the bridge at Beazer.  It has been a daily gathering, during the summer, for young and old alike, and for many years starting in the early 1900's.  There has been many other swimming holes as well, but this one is the most well known and brings many memories for our family.

Both of my grandparents are gone now, and I miss them, but what great memories I have of them.  What a life they must have lived.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Oh The Places We Have Lived!

I wanted to do a bit of a flashback today, to some of the places we have lived.  It seemed like when we were first married, in fact the first 15 years or so we were constantly moving houses, switching jobs, trying to follow inspiration on where we should be, never really knowing why we needed to move somewhere, until all of a sudden it was time to leave and we finally figured it out.

Matt and Taryn in Coaldale
Our first few years were spent in between Coaldale and Lethbridge.  We would house sit a house in Lethbridge for the winter while some friends went South, and t

hen we moved to Coaldale when they were home.  We only did this for a couple of years, and honestly our most memorable times at this point were made in Coaldale.  We had some great friendships
Matt and Talia in Coaldale
developed, and we really loved living here.  Our houses were something to be desired, small, cold, spiders, mice, and even a gopher or two in them.  I must admit I do not miss that part.  You know many of these memories are kind of all blurred all together because we were married and had three kids within a very short period of time and life was really busy!

Shortly after this we moved to Magrath, thought we might take up Strawberry farming like my dad, but that was a huge mistake and learning experience.  We bought a house in Magrath, sad leaving somewhere because even though it is really easy to keep in touch, life goes on and others fill those holes of loneliness and we don't keep in touch except on special occasions.  We moved on from Magrath, all the way to Abbotsford, B.C.
Talia, Nicki, Matt and Dano in Magrath
another small house, memories of Logan crawling under the house into the extremely small crawl space to fix things, yuck! Many memories started being made because our kids were finally getting big enough to be social, and we had many family and friends there that we were close to.  It always made me

That was a journey.  I remember clearly how we came to the decision of moving out there.  We knew we didn't want to be in Magrath anymore and that we were needed elsewhere in the world.  We needed to make a break, start over and figure things out.  Good memories in Magrath, but also some hard times and feelings we needed to get away from.  We sat down with a map one day after Logan got home from work, and pretty much this was our thought process - we can't go south, we don't want to go east, we could go north but don't really want to because of the cold, let's go west!  I shudder to think we just did that, but that was the process.  We packed up the kiddos in the car that weekend and didn't tell anyone
Matt went to a BC Lions football game
where we were going - because really we didn't know ourselves - and headed west down the highway, feeling like we would know it when we came to it.  Whatever the heck IT was!

We literally drove into and around every town we came upon.  We would stop for a picnic sometimes in a nice park, or occasionally a certain town felt so dark and wrong for us that we would just drive on out of the town and keep going.  We did this all the way from Magrath out to Abbotsford, and when we drove into Abbotsford, we knew we had found where we needed to be.  We had no doubt we needed to move there.

We pulled into town and got a hotel and the first thing we did was call up the LDS church to see if anyone
we had tons of picnics in B.C. all the time!
was around that would be willing to come and talk to us about living there.  Sure enough there was an amazing couple that came over and let our kids climb all over them and took us under their wings.  They were amazing.  The next day they showed us around the city and told us all kinds of things.  Helped us find some rental possibilities, introduced us to some people, and we were hooked.  We paid the damage deposit on the upper half of a house, drove back to Magrath, packed up our things and headed west.

Kyre and Santa Blair in Abbotsford
What a journey, my fabulous brother drove his truck and pulled our borrowed horse trailer full of our stuff.  What a trip that was.  We pulled into our rental house and moved in our meager belongings.  We didn't bring any beds or much of anything with us, just what we needed.  It wasn't long before we were overwhelmed with donated things from many people who became our dear friends.

We lived in our peach house, as the kids called it for a couple of years and then moved to the green house. 
Oh those were fun times.  Tough times, but fun.  We were dirt poor broke, struggling to make ends meet, but we made memories, and created friendships that I miss dearly today.  Good times.  We spent lots of time at the ocean, the lakes, hiking in the woods, playing with friends, camping and man they were great times. 
Our front porch in Magrath

After five years of struggling, and playing in B.C. we were strongly prompted we needed to move back to Magrath.  To this day I still am not sure why, was it another trial?  I don't know, but we did live in Magrath for another five years after that.  More financially tough times, but somehow we managed to buy a home in all of that.  Struggles with some of our kids at this time, struggles with some family, but yet most of those struggles we choose to forget and try to remember the memories made and the close friendships created at this time.

Five years later, unemployment had hit us again, and honestly I had lost count of it at this time, and was really struggling to care any more.  Yes that bad boy depression was a tough one, but I was hanging in there.  Logan started reaching out to find jobs elsewhere and landed a job in good old Medicine Hat.  We had just been fixing up our house to get it to where we absolutely loved it, so I guess that meant it was time to sell.  He commuted for almost a year and would only come home on weekends because I was stubborn and wanted to make darn sure the job was going to last before we sold our home and uprooted again.  Well the job lasted, and we sold, and spent the summer living at my dad's farm in Brooks, in a motorhome.  Yuppers that was a summer to remember!  Haha.  The kids remember it well.  In fact we didn't
summer in Brooks on the Farm ready for church!
even have enough room in the motor home so we had our old "one buck" truck with an old camper on it and the boys stayed in it, while the girls and us stayed in the other.  What memories!

We were not sure where we wanted to make our home, and Logan was still commuting to Medicine Hat each day, and in the mean time looking at houses and all over the place.  The house we are still in today is the one he came home and said he had put an offer on a house pending my approval.  So we got a house, moved to Medicine Hat and still live here fourteen years later.  My kids all tease us that Medicine Hat is a black hole, it sucks you in and you can never get out.  But in reality, it is a pretty nice place to live.  We still have had our ups and downs with jobs, I think that was just one of
Our front walk in Medicine Hat
our trials in life, but we love it here and now our kids are settling here too.  I really have no desire to leave again unless I am moving to the mountains, or six feet under.

Oh the places we have gone in life - and oh the places you may go.  You never know why you might be led somewhere, but trust your feelings.  Friends we have made along the way have been eternal friendships and without a doubt we will be building our mansions close together in the Heavens!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Family Recipes

I love a good family recipe, tried and true, that has been passed down through generations.  I have a couple of them I want to share with you today.  One of my favorite cookbooks is my
Ya they are looking a little rough!
Walburger family history / recipe book, and unfortunately mine is beat to death.  I use it all of the time.  It has many of my go to recipes in it.  Another, is a binder of favorite recipes I have compiled myself, and it is in need of a new face lift as well.  I think for the Walburger book, I will have to just copy out my favorite recipes and tuck the book away, for it is a treasure of family history, and I don't know that I can get another.  My red binder book, well, I will just have to get a new binder.  

Here goes, the tried and true and favorites:

Crazy Chocolate Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
Put ingredients in bowl in order given.  Don't stir until boiling water is added.  Beat until smooth. Pour into buttered and floured cake pan.  Makes 1 9x13 pan or 24 cupcakes or 2 layers.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  

Puffed Wheat Squares
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup light or dark
2 tbsp cocoa
Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.  Pour over 8 cups puffed wheat measured into a bowl.  Press into butter cookie sheet or cake pan 9x13.  Eat warm or cool and eat, if you can wait that long.


3 tbsp shortening, margarine
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c milk
Milk all well and drop by tbsp into boiling soup or stew.  Cover for 15 minutes and let cook.  Don't open the lid to check them.  Just set a timer and walk away.  Yummm.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 c milk
Mix to form a workable dough.  You can roll this out and cut out biscuits or roll into balls and pat onto a buttered cookie sheet, or drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet.  I usually add some grated cheese to mine as well, like 1/2 to 3/4 cup or so.  Bake on buttered cookie sheet at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes until done.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

George Leroy Houseman

First off I must say, I had a dickens of a time with these pictures for some reason, so my disclaimer is to enjoy them as they are, and I will attempt to keep fixing them.  They just wouldn't cooperate.  Enjoy the Ancestor Flashback today......

George Leroy, Ida, and my Dad David
George (My Grandad) was born on the 18th of October 1911 in Deshler, Thayer County, Nebraska, to William Henry Houseman and Louisa Catherine Suiter. 
George, whom I will hereafter refer to as Grandad, was the second youngest of 13 children, and the last living of them all. He lived a long life of 94 years and 3 months. I can’t imagine the changes he must have seen in his life span. From horses and buggies, one room schools, to the age of computers and travel that we live in today.

At a Houseman reunion held in Brooks, in July of 1995, this brief history of Grandad was related as a tribute by his grandson Mark Senecal.
George was born on the 18th of October 1911 in Deshler, Thayer County, Nebraska, and lived there until he moved to Canada in 1929. He was milking cows and doing many chores before he even started school, and he started school at the age of four. He didn’t quite finish high school because his father, William Henry, died and he and his brother Hank had to operate the farm for two years before he moved to Canada. When he was a child he remembers that to get money to buy groceries they milked the cows, then separated the cream, and sold the cream. This was their grocery money.

George first came to Canada in 1929 with a brother, Raymond, and some of their neighbors. They rode in a box car with all the animals and farm equipment, and household furnishings. They had a set of bedsprings tied to the roof of the boxcar that he slept in with a friend. One night the wires broke and they fell down onto the tractor below.
When asked why they chose Brooks, Alberta, to homestead, it was because they were interested in buying irrigated farmland from the rail road company. They bought this land for $60 per acre.

Raymond moved his family to Brooks, in the fall of 1929.

Hank, Grace and George, sorry for the sizing of this pic.  It was being pretty stubborn
Hank and George with their mom and Grace (a sister) came to Brooks to stay in the spring of 1930. They brought with them a couple of cows and calves, some farm machinery and some household furnishings.

George took his mother home in 1936 to be buried, and returned with Henry and Rose Albers, a sister and her husband, and their animals and property.

He met Ida Bender when she was working for Raymond and Myrtle, doing
Grandad, Grandma and their three kids.
housework for them. They were married on the
9th of October 1936 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Ida was born in Schuler, Alberta, Canada on the 3rd of January 1919. They bought the farm from Raymond in 1943. And after farming the land for 47 years, they retired to Duchess, Alberta. George will be turning 84 in October of 1995.

Some of my own memories I have of Grandad and Grandma, first start of course when we all lived out at the farm in One Tree District. They lived in a three bedroom house, which still stands today, and we lived in a home on the same farm, which has since been moved off. As kids, I remember spending quite a bit of time at their house, since it was just next door. We loved to be with Grandma and she would always feed us. Even today she always wants to be the perfect host and is always offering to find food or drink for us. She was always especially good at giving us vitamins, which most of us still faithfully take to this day.

I remember Grandad being a really hard worker. And of course on the farm, there were always many things that needed to be done. I think the work was never ending. We would ride along to take Dad and Grandad dinner out in the field, because they only could stop the tractor long enough to stick some food in their mouths, and let us kids play up in the tractor for a few minutes, and then they would be back at it, until late at night. 
Grandad had always been a small man, physically, but a giant of a man inside. He has an attitude of work until it is done, and even then work some more. He has been a wonderful Grandad and has always gotten pleasure from his grandchildren and even great grandchildren.

Due to his hard work and Grandma’s healthy eating and fabulous home cooking, Grandad has always been one of the most physically fit people I have known, the next being my own Dad who is just like his own Dad. Even up until his passing, I marvelled at his overall health and physical fitness of his body.

Grandad and Grandma spent some time at my home in B.C. in the summer of 1994, and then in the summer of 1995. Their objective was to pick blackberries and make jam. It was great fun to spend time with them and still see Grandad’s excitement with picking blackberries. I think this is another hereditary trait in our family. Now for any of you who know what blackberries are like, you’ll understand the thorns and vines and what a nasty, tangled, mess it is to pick these berries. Well, Grandad had his coveralls, gloves, hat, and boots on, with belt around waist, bucket attached to belt, and a step ladder trailing behind for hard to reach places, and bush clippers to cut his way back into the thick of the bush, where the best berries usually are. He meant serious business.

From his funeral:

George Leroy Houseman

Born October 18, 1911 in Deshler, Thayer County, Nebraska, and passed away on January 16, 2006. Grandad was 94 years old.

Grandad was the second youngest child, but youngest son of thirteen children,
born to William Henry Houseman and Louisa Catherine Suiter. He was the last to pass away. He started school when he was four years old, but that wasn’t the first of his education. He was trained well in the art of milking cows, and doing chores on the farm and around the house. He wasn’t able to finish school because his father passed away and he and his older brother Henry or Uncle Hank as most of us know him, had to run the farm for two years before they made their move to Canada.

Grandad and Raymond made their first trip to Canada in 1929 to check out the
possibilities of farming here. Land was selling for $60 per acre. Raymond moved here to Brooks in the fall of 1929 with his family, and Grandad, Hank and their mother moved here in the spring of 1930, bringing with them a few cows, some machinery, and household things.

In 1936 when Grandad’s mother died he returned to Hebron to have her buried there with his father, and returned with another sister, Rose and her husband.

He met Grandma in 1936 when she was working for Raymond doing housework for them. They were married on the 9th of October in 1936 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. They bought the farm out at One Tree, from Raymond in 1943 and farmed there for 47 years. They retired to Duchess where they spent the next 12 years, until Grandad’s health needed them to be closer to help, and they moved into Brooks where Grandma still resides today.

Grandma and Grandad have three children, David, Lila, and Dory, with 17 grandchildren, and __lots of __ great grandchildren, and 4 (at the time) great great grandchildren.

Here is a story related by Bea Behnke about a time when they came to visit the relatives up in Canada.

I was probably about 9 when Mom and Dad (along with me) decided to go to Canada to visit George and Hank's families. We didn't write or call - we just drove up from Nebraska! Guess Mom and Dad figured they'd be home since they were farming. We arrived in Brooks on Saturday evening after dark - I think around 9:00 - 9:30. Since we had no idea where either George or Hank lived, Dad stopped in town and asked the first person he met if they could tell him where Hank or Shorty
Houseman lived. This guy said that he had just seen Hank in town a few minutes ago, so they took off to find him. He and Dorothy were both in town, so they were the first ones surprised. We followed Hank and Dorothy out to George and Ida's with a plan for when we arrived. Dad went to the door by himself (of course it was dark out) and when George came to the door, Dad said he was looking for work and was told in town that George was probably needing some help on the farm.

Well - George had been napping on the "Chesterfield" (a new word for me...) when Ida saw two cars drive in and pull up in the dark - (Uncle Hank didn't want them to see his car and recognize it right away.) So she of course, woke up Uncle George. There had been a murder in a town not too terribly far from Brooks and the murderer had not been found and just before he had fallen asleep, the radio had announced that there was a chance that the suspect was in the area of Brooks and the surrounding towns. So - the two cars, in the dark shadows - spooked him - when he went to the door, he quickly put the hook across and latched the screen door at the same time Dad reached to open it and ask for work. Dad was quickly told that "No" - Uncle George didn't need any help.....but Uncle George also noticed two figures in the shadows - Uncle Hank and my Mom - who wanted to hear the conversation. Dad used to call Uncle George "Governor" when he was younger and so he repeated his request, this time calling him Governor, instead of George. He still didn't catch on. Then my Mom stepped up and tried to get involved in the conversation about a job and he didn't recognize her or her voice either - still being in the dark and shadows, and still that one figure that he could see, (Uncle Hank) was standing back farther. Finally, after getting a little concerned, Uncle Hank stepped up and said "Come on, Shorty, let 'em in." Course he recognized that voice. What a great reunion that was. Aunt Ida probably knows how long it had been since they had seen each other, but I think the last time may have been when Grandma Houseman died in 1936.

I was just 6 weeks old then. I don't know if George and Hank had been back to Nebraska since then or not.....but if not, it would have been almost 10 years since they had seen each other.

The first Houseman Reunion - at Yellowstone - what an experience that had to be for the Houseman siblings. All the cooking was basically done outside on the open fire. I always picture Uncle George getting the fire ready. Everybody brought lots of food from home - my Mom and Dad brought bacon, ham and eggs, along with a HUGE griddle to cook on....and the California relatives brought so much fruit!!!! Uncle George brought lots of meat, too, I remember. I'm sure that all of us cousins are grateful that the Reunions got started - otherwise, we would have not known each other very well, as the miles had taken many of the first generation in lots of different directions and visits were few and far between.

Since we spend the winters in Sun City, Arizona, we get to see more of George and Lila since they come to Sun City Grand, Arizona. The last time Uncle George and Aunt Ida were in Arizona, they helped me celebrate my birthday in February. We've got some good photos of that evening and I'll remember his smiling face from that time.....good times!!!! Our oldest son, Michael, shares the same October 17 birthday as Uncle George.

The other thing I remember hearing my Mom talk about many times, according to the letters she would get from Grandma Houseman after they went to Canada and particularly the year before she passed away, she wrote that she was being well taken care of......and George did without things that he needed, to make sure that she had what she needed. Mom said it was hard to see them go to Canada, but she was proud of her younger brothers (George and Hank, both) and grateful that their Mother was being well cared for.

Thoughts shared by Hollis Grone:
I don't have any particular story to tell about Uncle George except that when I was a little shaver he had come back to Nebraska to husk corn for my Dad. It was a cold season and he had come down stairs where we had no heat. Mom used a cook stove in which she burned corn cobs and wood. Uncle George opened the oven door and sat down on it and the door broke. It took a little time for him to live that one down. I remember when my Mother, Bertha was in the nursing home that Uncle George and Aunt Ida came all the way down here to visit her. They came in their camper and parked by the nursing home so they could spend time with Mom. I thought that was really considerate of them.

Thoughts from Sheldon Houseman

Almost every time I try to think of something about him it has to do with berries. Him and his garden in Duchess, the raspberries in particular. I realize now how little I knew him, and really never did get to know him like I would have liked to. His smile and his laugh are the only other things that I can say were unique to him, and that I will miss.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Candy Making Day with the Fam

We had our first annual Christmas Candy making day a week ago and it was awesome!  Thanks to all who came and shared with us, and for those of you who couldn't make it, here is a shot at what you missed and we hope you can come next year when we plan ahead a little better!

We started with some basic supplies.......Oh sooooooo much sugar and butter......

We had chief cooks.....

Who cooked and cooked......

We had chief mixers.....

Chief testers and tasters...... baggers ..... haha

And we came up with some real treasures............

We had little kids who played......

We had big kids who played......

And in the end we all had a blast.

Thanks Family.......I am looking forward to next year, and I promise I will be more organized and prepared and it will be even better!