Monthly Archives: August 2014

Throwback Thursday 08/21/2014

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Today’s #tbt is Ayden’s very first RAYS game.  Well first, if you don’t count the Spring Training game we attended when I was pregnant (before I found out I was pregnant) and the regular season game after I found out.

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Three generations of Sturtevants.

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Father and son.

It was an afternoon game (the only kind that made sense to go to with a 9month old baby.

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We were able to take Grandpa with us (Berk’s dad, his mom had to work).

It was a very interesting trip for me as I had to pump in the back seat so that I didn’t have to take Ayden anywhere to nurse him during the game.

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I was a little embarrassed to have to pump right behind my FIL as he was driving, but I was glad for the noise of traveling on the highway that he didn’t even hear the pump…pump…pump.  Pumping mothers know what noise I’m talking about.  Well, I thought I was safe until shortly into my session, I noticed he was getting off the Interstate.  Why?  Why are we stopping???  He had to go to the bathroom.  Somehow I still managed to keep discrete and he didn’t even know.  (Not like he would have cared, I was just self-conscious).

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Ayden had a great time.  However, he was getting more mobile at this point (about a month or so before he started walking) and he didn’t want to just sit with us.

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We don’t usually purchase photos taken at theme parks, games, and such, but it was too good of a picture to pass up.  Considering the pic we tried to take, didn’t come out so well.

IMG_9782LOL  I just noticed the guy looking like he’s picking his nose.  GREAT!

IMG_3805I think he had a good time.

Where were you 10 years ago, today?

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TEN years!  It’s been 10 years???  I cannot believe that 10 years have gone by since Hurricane Charley opened my eyes to something I never took seriously.

I will try to keep this from being the most horrible run-on story.

A “simple” account of my day, TEN years ago…today!

August 13, 2004.  Was it a coincidence that it was a Friday the 13th?  I don’t so much believe in that whole Friday the 13th thing, but do find it a bit funny that a day that shook the town happened to fall on one of those “days”.

~~~ Where was I?  Combination of work (Publix #0266, Punta Gorda, FL) and home (Tobago St, Punta Gorda, FL (Deep Creek))

~~~ What was I doing? First, working (and panicking that I wouldn’t be able to get home because I had to cross bridges to get home) then at home watching,  waiting, panicking, crying, disbelieving.

On that morning, I had to open the office at work (scheduled in at 6AM).  I was so worried that they were going to decide to close the surrounding Publix’s too late and I wouldn’t be able to get home.  See, either route home required me to cross a bridge.  And I had learned that when winds reached 39 mph (sustained, I believe) that they closed bridges.  And since we were expecting Tropical Storm winds, that was very likely to happen.  At the time, Charley’s projected path had the Tampa Bay area as it’s target.

We opened the store before posted normal business hours for anyone who needed emergency items.  I remember vividly waiting for the phone call from the “Big Wig” to tell my Store Manager to close it up and go home.  7AM came…no phone call.  I answered all phone calls coming into the store so I would know if it was him or not, but not for  sure if it was to close the store or to stay open cuz the conditions weren’t going to be bad enough to close.  And with a chain as big as Publix, it takes a MAJOR even to close the store early.  8AM…no phone call.  I kept telling my managers that I couldn’t get home if they closed the bridges.  And neither could my Store and Assistant Store Managers.  I don’t really know what I thought I was accomplishing by obsessing over the bridges.  9AM…no phone call.  Then it happened, around 10:30AM, the phone rang.  He asked for the Store Manager.  The announcement was made!  Close it up and go home.  So my supervisor and I gathered all the money from the registers, headed to the cash office and closed up shop.  We followed the safety procedures for preparing for bad weather like what we expected (Tropical Storm) and I was finally heading home around 11:45AM.  I made it home around noon, where my parents, grandparents, and a friend of the family were already there checking weather reports.  We also had two cats of friends’ of ours who were out of town.  Berkley ended showing up shortly after me.  He was at his store in Port Charlotte and came as soon as they finished their closing procedures.  His parents were still in Connecticut on vacation.  (Berkley and I had only gotten back to town from CT three days before the storm hit).

And there, we waited.  My dad on the phone to his brother in Tampa.  Asking him if he was prepared for what was about to happen.  My mother and grandmother in the kitchen, making a lasagna so we had a hot meal to eat when the power went out.  Because that’s what we were expecting, loss of power (only) and rain too.  Me, in my bedroom, folding towels and laundry so that everything was clean and put away so it would be easy for when we were fumbling around in the dark needing…well…towels and underwear.  HAHA

(Needless to say, that lasagna stayed in the oven until I think Monday, because no one thought about it)

I looked outside as it was getting darker and darker, the trees starting to show signs of significant wind increases.  I had always heard about the eye of a hurricane and how in the center of the eye, the wind stops, you can see blue sky, and it is calm and serene…until the other edge of the eye.  I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be cool to see the eye of the storm?”  WHOOPS!!!  An idea I now regret ever thinking.

It wasn’t long after that thought, that we got the word that Charley was taking a turn….for Charlotte Harbor.  We weren’t right on the harbor, but we weren’t far either.  Real quick, things got serious.  Winds picked up, windows rattled, sliding glass doors started to wobble.  A large portion of the main section of the house was sliding glass doors.  I also had a set in my bedroom and my parents’ had a set in their bedroom as well.

My dad had everyone go in to the laundry room.  Thank goodness we had a large laundry room.  In there we had 7 adults and 2 cats (in a cat carrier).  The volume of the winds were so loud.  It almost like standing on the jetway while planes’ engines are running.  I remember feeling the pressure in my ears as we just sat and waited.  We could hear one of the screen doors slamming, slamming, slamming on the lanai.  The interior door to the garage was rattling.  Until now, I had forgotten just how loud it was.

INTERIOR DOOR!!!!

After a little while, the noises seemed to slow down and it got a little lighter in the room.  We didn’t really know where the storm was as we had lost power by this point and had no weather radio or anything (if it would have even worked, I don’t know).  All of a sudden, my dad gets up and tells Berkley to come with him.  They were going to go assess the situation and see if it was over.  It wasn’t over, it was only half way done.  We were on the edge of the eye of the storm.  Not directly enough to see the clear skies before the other side.  But enough to realize what was happening and we were then herded (yes, like cattle, lol) to the other side of the house to my parents’ bedroom.  As we walked by the wall of sliding glass doors, I could see them almost rippling.  (I’m pretty sure the only thing that saved them is the winds were blowing parallel to them instead of perpendicular).  Up until now, we still had some cell service and I was keeping in touch with my sister who was in Port Charlotte.

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Hurricane is over right? Yeah, guess not. video

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(the videos should open in a new window.  you might need to activate QuickTime Player)

There we all sat, in my parents’ bedroom as the winds picked up again, the sky darkened, and the slamming of the screen door started again.  Only this time, everything was going the other direction.  Still texting back and forth with my sister for a little bit.  The last message I got was “our roof just blew off.”  No more messages either way.  I really started to freak out now.  And here, we waited out the storm.  As things started to slow again, my father stood at the threshold of the door, looking into the kitchen, living room, dining room, etc. and just watched the water coming in…shaking his head in disbelief.  When he felt it was safe for everyone to leave the master bedroom, I walked into the kitchen.  I walked through about 1-1/5″ of water.  No windows broke, no doors busted loose.  Where was it coming from?

It was just coming through the roof.  We lost all shingles, tar, fascia, gutters, etc.  The water was just coming through.  It was in the fixtures and everything.  I headed to my bedroom and feared the worst as the first side of the winds were directly hitting my sliding glass door.  There was no damage.  Funny enough, before the storm hit, I moved my new computer from by the slider into my closet.  After, when I opened the closet door, there was a small leak…dripping directly onto the computer tower.

Quickly, I moved anything I needed to and headed to check on Berkley’s parents house, just outside the historic district of Punta Gorda (aka…CHARLOTTE HARBOR).  They have an old two-story house (50ish years, at this point maybe?).  I was expecting the worst.  As we drove out of Deep Creek, I felt like I was in one of those TV commercials where you see everyone staring at the camera just after a disaster.  Neighbors were outside, looking at the damage.  The subdivision was flat.  Trees down, electrical wires down, everything…down.  It took us a few tries to get out of Deep Creek and into Punta Gorda.  We ran into down power poles, trees blocking roads, and a closed bridge.

As we approached Berk’s neighborhood, there was a house with the upper level ripped off.  The way it was positioned it looked like it was his house.  Thankfully it was not (yet very unfortunate for that family).  They had a few large trees in their yard that were broken and all over the driveway and yard.  We couldn’t even pull into the driveway.  We headed inside to see if there was any damage.  Amazingly enough, there seemed to be just very minor things.  You could see cracks tho where the house must have shifted.  I bed that thing was rocking something fierce.  Upstairs, in his bedroom, his rolling computer chair was in the center of the room (normally was at one side of his room).  So strange.

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We headed back to my house.  Every one was going to my brother’s house in North Port for the night.  He had power (hot water and AC).  That would be my home for the next 3.5 months.

I have never forgotten any details of that day.  Everyone is quick to tell their Charley story whenever it comes up.  However, I had forgotten the emotions.

Still can’t believe it’s been 10 years.

Wow.

I know that we were very fortunate but it still shook up my world a little bit.

Where were YOU, ten years ago, today?

Danish Kringlers

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As a kid, I have a very very fond memory of kringlers.  And as I learned more about them, my love for them grew.

Brief background (I’ll try to keep it brief)…I was born in Michigan.  We moved to Florida when I was about 4 1/2.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back to Michigan all that often.  Only for major events (weddings, family reunions, 100th birthdays, etc).  There was one special trip that we made at Christmas and I remember vividly the kringler tin.  To my recollection, the kringlers were always kept in a round cookie tin.  Most likely a tin that came with store bought cookies (like those little shortbread cookies) in it.  All packages like that were reused: butter dishes, cool whip containers, and so on.

Now, I’m not sure if kringlers are only made at Christmas or if I only got them at Christmas.

But to me, kringlers are synonymous with three things:

  • – my Great-grandmother (my father’s mother’s mother)
  • – Christmas
  • – something that ties me to my Danish-ness

 

Now, anytime I was every around kringlers, they were always already made.  I never was present for the making of them.  And over the years I often asked how to make them (grandmother, great-aunt, other aunts and such) and they would give me an expression and explanation that they were time consuming and a lot of work.  That they were “tricky” because you don’t just follow a recipe.  They are kind of like that thing that no one wants or knows how to make but everyone loves to eat.  To my knowledge, there are only about 4 or 5 people in our huge family that know how to make them.  And I’m pretty sure only 2 of us make them regularly (well, I’ve just begun, but I will be making them regularly).  I did see on Facebook that another one of the great-grandkids learned how to make them this year so I don’t know if she’s going to make them regularly or not.

And by “huge” family, I mean like Great-grandma had like 8 kids, two of those kids had 7 each, plus the others had kids too, and they’ve had kids, and we’ve had kids…yeah…huge.  I love it.

That didn’t stop me from wanting to know how.

I am an American girl but I still long for being able to have ties to the cultures of my ancestors.  I have always been this way.

Another brief history, my Grandma (Dorothy, my dad’s mom) and my Great-aunt (Lilly) are sisters.  That’s a given, right?  But just to clear things up, I don’t really think of my Great-aunt, Lilly as my Great-aunt.  She is another Grandma to me.  So I’m tired of speaking in technicals, and I’m just going to call her like I know her.

It’s kind of a long story, but Lilly is my sister’s Grandma.  Yup, you read that right.  Anyhoo, when I was a kid, Grandma (Wymer, as we call her) and Grandpa Wymer would spend their summers with us when they came from Michigan to visit.  I have fond memories of playing Uno on the couch for long periods of time with Grandpa and smelling delicious bread that Grandma would make.  What I wouldn’t give for just one more day of those memories in real life.

Ok, I’m back from memory lane and I had to get a tissue.

Alright, let’s get to the point here.  As a young adult, I had a few years of Grandma and Grandpa Wymer LIVING here that I could have had many opportunities to learn how to make kringlers.  Did I?  NO!  I would say, I’m kicking myself for it now.  But I’m kind of glad for the way it worked out.

After we lost Grandpa Wymer in 2005 (?), Grandma moved back to Michigan.  OH NO!  How will I learn to make these stinkin’ cookies????   Oh yeah, that’s right.  Grandma came to visit for a few months with one of her daughters (and her husband), (Toni’s aunt and uncle).  And wouldn’t you know a few years of this would go by before I could actually get my act together to really plan a kringler lesson.

Nevertheless, I did it.  One day in early 2013,  I was visiting with my Grandma Davis (my mom’s mom, who lives here), Grandma Wymer was there visiting too.  I told her she wasn’t allowed to go back to Michigan without teaching me how to make kringlers.  So it was set, I called my sister to get her schedule and we made a date!

To start off the day, Grandma handed me this…20140809-123956.jpgAny of my recipes that go in my recipe binder get typed up so they are all the same.  Not this one.  I was so excited to get this from her, she probably thought I was a big looney.  It’s most likely no big thing for her.  But to have her handwriting on my favorite recipe is something I will never type up for any recipe book.

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I was way more excited about it than my sister, and way more into it too.  But I was glad she was there to spend the time and see how they are done.

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When we started, Grandma gave me an overview on what we were going to do.  Then she basically just dictated from there.  If I did anything wrong, she was quick to tell me.  She is a feisty old lady.  Quiet, but feisty nonetheless.  It is definitely one of the highlights of my life.  Tradition being passed down to a younger generation.  I don’t know how many times she’ll be able to make the trip from Michigan to Florida (it’s a long trip).  And I hate to say it, but I don’t know when the next time we will make it to Michigan will be.

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Left to right: Toni (my sister, Grandma Wymer (Toni’s Grandma, my Great-Aunt Lilly), Aunt Sue (Toni’s Aunt, Grandma’s oldest child), Me and Ayden. And that’s how the kringlers cool. No cooling rack, just sheets of wax paper on the counter.

It is a day I will never ever forget.

The true test came when it was time to make them by myself.  Keep in mind, it was only my 2nd time making them, ever.  I learned from Grandma in February and then didn’t make them again until Christmas Eve, 9 months later!  Needless to say, they went off without a hitch!  It was almost like I had made them a thousand times before.  (And yes, I did buy a round tin from Hobby Lobby…see top picture)

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From Christmas: Anyone who knows anything about our kringlers, it is very rare to get one whole. Usually you are just eating the pieces as they are fragile and break just being stacked. This was the last kringler in the tin and it was whole. Very rare!!!

There was also something else so magical about making them.  Not only were we going to have kringlers, but when I made them, my parents were here with me. As they are every Christmas.  We were ahead of schedule (for once) and not rushing around so they got to just sit and visit with me.  It felt so right to be in the kitchen, baking, and visiting with family.  I often say I was born in the wrong era.  I would love to have been in the time where all you had to do was bake.

Another first, my dad (who’s family this is from) got to have a kringler fresh from the oven, still warm.  He told me that in all of his years growing up around kringlers, he had never had one still warm from the oven.  And that warmed my heart.  I felt such a connection to my Grandmothers’ and my Great-grandmother that day yet we were hundreds of miles apart.

I must say, now that I know how to make them.  I understand why I was given the reaction from my aunts and grandmothers.  It isn’t just a recipe that you can say, here are the ingredients and measurements.  Mix, cut, shape, bake.  And it’s funny that in baking, exact measurements are necessary for the science part of it.  But with these, it really is a little more about the texture of the dough.  Add a little more wet if it’s too dry, and add a little more dry if it’s too wet.

Anyway, I’ll try to see if I can do a play by play when I make them this Christmas.

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Now I thought I had a picture of my Great-grandma. But the picture I am remembering must have been my mom’s However, I did find this picture from (as you can tell) a very long time ago. But that is her, in the front in all of her cuteness. I am so very glad I got to know her and even into my teenage years.

Do you have any family recipes that make you feel nostalgic?

Who do you think you are???

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Well, who do I think I am? I’m so excited that the 2nd season of Who Do You Think You Are? is on TLC.

If you haven’t heard about it, each episode is about a celebrity finding out their genealogy. I am fascinated by family history and would love to be able to trace mine past my grandparents.

One of my great-uncles on my mother’s mother’s side has kept track of her family and has published a book for the family called The Branches and Twigs. I also know that an aunt on my father’s side has kept track of some family tree information on his side.

My mother's parents

My mother’s parents (I know there is German and Dutch there)

 

Father's parents (it was their 61st wedding anniversary on that day).  German and Danish

Father’s parents (it was their 61st wedding anniversary on that day). German and Danish

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My parents

(Why the almost 7-year-old wedding pictures?  Well, they were the nicest and most recent of all my family with me).

What I want to do is to be able to travel to the locations of my ancestors’ records. That’s what they do on the show.  They start on ancestry.com and search the family member they want to research.  Once they get some information (like a census or something) then they usually will go to the location of the census or whatever document/information they found.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but it is a really good show and I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Over the past five years or so, I’ve signed up for a three free trials for ancestry.com.   I’m not trying to use them, I just can’t justify adding the monthly fee to our expenses since I can’t seem to get too terribly far (maybe I could, if I had more than a month, haha).  But in my last endeavor, I could get as far back as my father’s father’s parents.  They both have “leaf hints” but I can’t get any more information since I am not in a membership.  {sad face}

Sometimes I sit and daydream about what it would be like to go back in time.  To go back and see what it was like way back when.  When there were no computers, no phones, no TVs.  When life was in black and white.

Who are my ancestors?

What did they do?

What did their neighborhoods look like?

What hobbies did they like to do?

What personalities did they have?

What goals and wishes did they have?

What struggles did they face?

What did they overcome?

What were their names?

What were their favorite foods?

What color were their eyes?

Hair?

What did they look like?

What languages did they speak?

Did they have any pets?

What were their names?

What were their cultures like?

I know most of these questions will never be answered, but this breaks the surface of what I would like to find out.

What I do know…

I have some German, some Danish, and some Dutch blood running through these veins.  But, I want to know more!

Another reason this is all so interesting to me is I am fascinated by nationalities and the cultures/traditions that go along with them.  Ask any of my ethnic friends and they will tell you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Greek, Italian, Hispanic…I get sucked in.

This is why it was exciting for me to learn how to make the Danish Kringlers like my Great-grandmother (Dad’s side) used to make.  Brief explanation here.  I thought I had made a blog post about the day I learned how to make them, guess not.  But I will be soon!

Four generation with my son, my mother, and her parents.  I knew this was important to do at the time, but it didn't hit me just how important, until I lost my grandfather only about a year and a half after this picture was taken.

Four generation with my son, my mother, and her parents. I knew this was important to do at the time, but it didn’t hit me just how important, until I lost my grandfather only about a year and a half after this picture was taken.

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Thinking about all of this, I am going to need to start getting things together for Ayden.  In case one day he wants to know anything.  It might take me that long to get it all together, but I’m sure I’ll be glad I did.

How about you, do you know much about your family tree?  Who…do you think YOU are?

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