Baby Love: Emma May

10502063_10153883799908363_5996945672507358323_nTwo and a half days later yet nearly 3 weeks early, Emma May Fast entered the world and changed the lives of more than she’ll ever know. On Saturday, February 20th at 2:15 in the afternoon I became an auntie for both the 1st time and the 4th time. I’ve been an aunt for over 7 years to three wonderful children on Channing’s side of the family and I love them just as much as ever. But when my Little Logan Sunshine of a brother became a daddy for the first time, I knew the world would never be the same.

12742324_10153883799993363_5634277584651143841_nEntering the ring at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 ½ inches tall; this little southern bell namesake of a girl warmed so many hearts. I don’t even know how to explain all the feels I’d felt since hearing that they were pregnant to thinking about their future to the birth of their little girl.

As soon as she entered the world, all my fears and reservations vanished momentarily because I knew that everything was going to be okay. Logan is turning out to be such a stand-up man and he’s going to be a phenomenal father. He’s going to do whatever he needs to do to make sure that life is good for his little family and I couldn’t be more proud to be his sister.

The Day You Were Born

12717406_10153883800223363_3671269714107456680_nI had drove home on Thursday after work because you were supposed to enter this world that day little girl. But of course, you didn’t. You must get your stubbornness from your mom or auntie. I had to go back to work on Saturday morning and you still weren’t here but that’s okay. You must have needed to cook for a little longer. I got a text from your grandma Julie telling us that your mom was dilated to 8 or 9. I can’t remember now. At that very second, my boss was standing next to me and told me to “go!” I couldn’t believe it. I cried for some reason on my way to my apartment to pick up your uncle Channing (Well officially he’s my boyfriend at this point in time but I’m calling him your uncle.) I don’t know if I was happy or sad, probably scared of all the unknowns. You were early and your parents were young and my brother was being strong, too strong. Your mom wasn’t showing how much pain she was in last time I saw her and I’d never had a baby so I have no idea what she could possibly be going through. But I was elated at the very same time.

12715376_10153883799838363_3626927763486935881_nYou’ll soon find out that you were the first on all sides. You’re the first grandbaby, niece, girl. Just like me!

You were born at 2:15 PM. At 2:15 PM, I was on I29 between Halstad and Hillsboro. I wonder if I’ll remember that 20 years from now. I hope so. We’re supposed to remember where we were when 9/11 happened so why is this life changing moment any different?

At that moment, you were born. My brother and his fiance became parents. My parents were now grandparents and grandparents were now great-grandparents. I feel like I’m seeing and realizing all of this stuff for the first time like I had no concept of it before. It’s weird.

12744170_10153883799763363_2473925917232538382_nI hope your great-grandparents live just as long and hopefully longer then mine did. It’s something I’ll always cherish. I remember my great-grandma (your great-great-grandma) Aggie’s house still like the back of my hand. I remember her buttered saltine crackers and her “funny” accent and her laugh. I remember my great-grandma (your great-great-grandma) Elsie’s letters and doilies. I remember her heart and her stories.

Anyway, we finally got to the hospital around 4 PM and only had to wait a few minutes with your grandma Julie before your dad came out. I lost it. It’s so hard to wrap my head around the fact that my baby brother is now a daddy. I know I keep repeating myself but I don’t know how else to explain it. Nothing in his life will ever be the same. His entire world has literally changed. For the better. Everything about this story, about you, is good. There will be times of doubt and uncertainty, times of turmoil and arguments will arise but good will always prevail. I believe that and I hope you do too.

12745791_10153883800053363_3916493355841250004_nChildren learn more from what you are than what you teach. -W.E.B. Du Bois

Well, I suppose we’re nearing the end of this post. There are so many things I can’t wait to tell you about life and about your parents. I can’t wait to watch you grow, explore, and hear you laugh. I hope that you do everything you ever dream of doing, make friends, be kind and think for yourself. You’re already so awesome.

Love, your favorite auntie, Ori.

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The Other Victims

Is it wrong that I feel worse for the Schumacher family then I do for the officer killed in the line of duty and his family? I guess, I don’t mean that I feel worse for but I feel equally as bad for? I don’t think that the officer, his family, department, and community somehow have more grief than the Schumacher’s do.

Don’t get me wrong, the entire situation is heartbreaking and I don’t mean any disrespect by saying that but think about it.. From the little the public knows, the Schumacher family (children and wife) have been victimized for years not just on this one occasion when the police were called. They’d been living with “this” for years. I guarantee you hearts were broken over and over and over for years. This whole thing is just as debilitating for them as it is for anyone else.

The little that we do know is that the shooter has a history of violence and that is only what is public record. Speaking from experiences in and around my life, I can very accurately say that every “instance” is not reported to the officials. If it would have been, this situation may have turned out totally differently but that doesn’t mean that someone’s life wouldn’t have been lost. Maybe not last week but maybe it would have been years prior after a few stints in jail and a few more reasons to be angry at the world.

I don’t know what stirred up the events that happened that night and I doubt anyone really will but I’ve been thinking a lot about the family that he left behind. I couldn’t imagine the mix of emotions that they’re facing. Not only did they lose someone that they probably loved beyond words but they are also going to have people looking at them for as long as they reside in this community.

Just because someone is a bad person or does a bad thing or makes a bad choice or kills an officer does NOT mean that the family and loved ones are the same as that person. Often the opposite is true. It is nearly impossible to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. And sometimes it’s just as confusing for the loved ones as it is for the person themselves. Some days, weeks, months are great and then some days, weeks, months are horrible. It’s a teeter totter of emotion time and time again.

I’m very relieved to hear that there seems to be more positive community response then negative towards the family of the the deceased. I think that there is some kind of looming black hole for people to open their eyes wider than just the police officer that died rather than the whole picture. Officer Moszer wasn’t the only victim that night.

There have been a handful of funds and donations areas set up for the Schumacher family. For an updated news article and information on donating to the Schumacher family, click here.

I want to mention for anyone reading this, I don’t know the family and I don’t even know what happened that night but neither do you. He may have been ill, he may not have been. He may have had a bad day at work or he may have almost gotten hit by oncoming traffic. Anything can set a person off and events can escalate quicker than we are capable of figuring out a resolution.

Prayers and healing thoughts sent to both the Schumacher and Moszer families.

Happy 4th of July!

10985043_10153395171998363_4414178062167023536_nAll in all, this year’s 4thof July was pretty “decent” as quoted by Bubbles of Trailer Park Boys. We ventured up north (way north) to Warroad, MN. Historically, Warroad on the 4th of July, is one of my favorite places to be. From when I was a kid chasing candy thrown from the parade to family reunions to the best of memories with friends and loved ones, it’s a place of nostalgia and goodness.

11169475_10153395153128363_6627320951989960699_nThis year, we took part in the Foster Family Reunion and camped out in our tent. I’ve decided that I feel indifferent about reunions. I am kind of excited for them – to see people that I know I’m related to and kind of know about but never see. But at the same time, I’m like “eh” because I usually end up talking to the people that I normally see like my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma.

I know it probably sounds anti-social but I really have no desire to initiate in small talk or catch up with extended family because we don’t really know each other and probably won’t stay in touch any more than some kid I went to school with that I haven’t seen since graduation day. Apparently, I inherited my mom’s observational gene rather than my aunt Angie’s social butterfly personality.

It was still alright though. I had fun spending time with my cousins and got some much needed vitamin D. We were rained out on Saturday night though so my hope of a relaxing firework show wasn’t in the cards. We packed up our tent as quick as we could and headed over to my grandma’s house (with 16 of my beloved relatives) and waited out the storm. Happy (belated) 4th of July!

P.S. I designed the Foster Family Reunion t-shirts on CustomInk.com. They have awesome customer service and an easy to navigate website. I will definitely order from them again. The only thing I was bummed out on (because I’m a perfectionist) was that the larger the size, the graphic size stayed the same. I think the graphic could have been a little larger on some of the bigger sizes.

House Hunting Happenings

Sorry that I’ve been a little MIA lately. I have a few posts that I have sitting in my drafts waiting for me to finish. They are the type that I feel need time and effort put into them and I just haven’t had that laying around lately!

We’ve started looking at houses in the Bemidji area. It’s not an easy task, I can tell you that much. I don’t know if we’ll ever feel that we have all the information that we need to own a house. It’s like this whole world of grown-up-ness that you have to jump into without knowing how to swim.

Millions of people do it, I’m sure we can handle it. It’s scary though; mortgage, escrow, down payment, house inspector, wood stove….the list goes on. My dad thinks I’m too picky, he’s probably right. For the first few weeks, if I saw a baseboard heating register or a wood stove – NEXT! And for (in my opinion) completely sane reasons. First, I do NOT want any critters, rodents, or snakes for heavens sake to come through a register. (Yes, it’s happened and yes to me.) And second, I’ll probably somehow blow my house up or set it on fire if I have to rely on an actual fire in my house. Thanks for that, mom.

I’m trying to keep an open mind though. I know that with regular maintenance and actually taking care of and knowing the house that you live in, horrible circumstances should be far and few in between. Channing and I are ready to own a home though. Apartment living got old the second we signed our first lease years ago. No privacy, no creativity. I’m tired of white walls and not being able to have a pet or a yard to lounge around in. I want something to call my own and I can “screw it up” any way that I want!

We’ve looked at a few the last couple weeks and they’ve been alright but nothing that makes us want to jump on it right away. We have time though. Our lease isn’t up until the end of October so if all goes according to plan we can figure something out by that time. Hopefully not too much sooner because we (being unestablished beings) couldn’t possibly afford a mortgage payment and rent. Right?

I downloaded a few realtor apps including one called Zillow. Whenever there is a new listing, I get a notification. 21st inventions are cool. Am I right? Anyway, check out this link and let me know what you think. When I saw it, I was like “perfect!” It was one of those “this is it” moments. We’ll be looking at it tomorrow and sometimes photos are deceiving but based on the provided information, it’s the closest to what we’re looking for in comparison to others we’ve researched that are in our budget.

Stay tuned..

Family Tree Recipes

I had a total genius lightbulb moment this week and just have to share:

At every family gathering and even social event – food has mastered its way to be the staple that holds the paper of a family together in some crazy, weird way. Although FOOD is at times (actually all the time) my own worst enemy, I can’t deny its importance in my family and extended gems. I’ve decided that it’s the perfect time to compile a master “Family Tree Recipes” book.

I already have a handful of the staples including Gramma Aggie Bars, Grandma Rita’s Fudge Frosting and famous Foster Family Potato Salad but I’m missing a lot of our other family favorites. Dumplings, lefse, or the 300 variations of chili for example. I’m sure there are even some that I don’t know the names of or haven’t had for years. Maybe they haven’t even been made during my lifetime but were a favorite of my grandpas that I don’t know about.

I enlisted the help of my family and extended family through the use of a Facebook group. Unfortunately, it seems that no one either wants to participate or thinks it’s a spam group. Probably because it’s such a great idea. I have a feeling this is going to be something that I will be pursing on my own. Probably with the help of my mom (Who is always there for me and my great ideas, thanks mom!)

Capture

I want to include everything too! From how to make a proper BBQ sandwich to buttering your saltine crackers! I’m hoping that I’ll have a rather even amount from both sides of the family but I kind of think that my moms side cooks more than my dads side. We’ll soon find out I guess!

I have a few ideas bubbling up in my brain that I’m going to list below so I don’t forget them because no one seems to have a pen and paper handy these days. I’m very excited about this and really think that it’s something that can be successful. I’d primarily be doing this for myself and my family because I firmly believe in family traditions and history. I’m very fortunate to have grandparents on both sides still alive but the days go quicker and quicker and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to pass on a family legacy of good food.

The best part about this is that I’ll be able to travel to and contact relatives that I don’t get to see very often. Along the way, I’ll not only get to catch up with people I miss but I’ll be able to document a piece of my family that is often lost through the generations. My ultimate plan would be to publish the collection for the world to use because I don’t really think “family secrets” are necessary. We’re taught to share from a young age so we might as well stick to that right?

If you have any ideas for the success of this publication, let me know. I have a handful of contacts that could help me put this together once I have all the copy. Graphic designers, publishers, and editors are among a few.

Running List of Ideas:
Name of the book: “Family Tree Recipes” (provided that it’s not already trademarked)
Each page has a recipe (not multiple recipes)
Every recipe has a photo (which means I’ll be making EVERY SINGLE RECIPE!)
Signature names (EX: Gramma Aggie Bars)
Short stories to go with some of the legendary recipes
Pictures and names of the relatives who we grew up assuming “created” some recipies
I want this to be both a “family tree” and a cookbook – best of both worlds
Full color & glossy
Rating system (leaves not stars)
Small spot for notes on each recipe page

12th Day Of Christmas: The Donarski Clan

20141225_104706Today was Christmas Day – the 12th day of Christmas according to my blog. We stayed at my parents last night, watched The Interview via YouTube and my mom and I wrote a poem. Christmas morning was grand. Santa came with gifts which was a delightful surprise because we thought Christmas was over and done with on my side of the family and we decided to stay overnight just the day before. Santa’s definitely on top of his game this year.

Dad made breakfast. I ordered his classic fried egg sandwich. We were low on bread so he substituted a bagel. Delish! I don’t really do breakfast but I just can’t pass up my dad’s early morning cooking.

Early afternoon we headed over to Channing’s parents house. Soon after, his sisters and their kids came. Channing has two nieces and a nephew. They’re the light of the family. There is just something about kids that makes the world keep spinning and helps all your worries fade away.

Dinner was at 5ish followed by a couple drinks. Channing’s dad makes the best mashed potatoes around. I’m a total starch junkie so anything potato I always enjoy but something about these potatoes makes them my favorite.

Next up was gift time! It’s always so nice to have everyone together and watch the kids open their presents. Jayde is a veteran, she’s been doing this for years. She’s growing into such a young woman that it’s crazy. I came into her life just after she turned 5 years old and now she’s 11 going on 30! Make-up, purses, fashion, perfume!

Duane is at that age where when he knows there’s something for him, he wants it now! And it better be Thomas! He got Thomas all right. It was a healthy mix between Thomas gear and Cars fandom. He loved it!

And lastly there is Evy, oh little Evy. It was her very first Christmas. They put her down for a nap shortly before the gift opening but somehow, some way she knew it was Christmas and woke up just in time for the action. Her mom and dad opened her gifts. She’ll be good on books and toys for awhile that’s for sure!

After a game and a little more visiting we decided to part ways and head home. Thankfully the roads were clear. We avoided any forecasted snow so that’s always a plus. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or any other holiday you may celebrate) season!! If you’re not home yet, drive safe. When saying your goodbyes, hug a little tighter and don’t forget to say thank you for everything! Often times the hosts, cooks, and Santa’s don’t get the appropriate recognition.

Merry Christmas to all and all a good night!

 

 

11th Day Of Christmas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
But yet I heard a knock at the door..
Who could it be, a delivery for me!?
I went to see but whoever was there,
was there no more.
Was it a sound in my head
or just a spirit in the air;
something telling me it’s time to prepare.
As the man in the family had to work half a day,
I decided there was no time to play.
My crock pot was lined and ready for use.
I pulled out the carrots, potatoes, and moose.
(Just kidding it was a roast.)
As the roast was cooking and made the room warm,
what better to do than pick up my dorm?
I did the dishes and made the bed,
took the garbage out and was ready to be fed.
Dinner was served and deserved.
The leftovers preserved..
We exchanged gifts full of if’s and thrifts.
Next up was a safe travel from here to there.
Munchies were bought and lottery tickets were a thought.
I had to buy them even though not everyone wins.
For even a dollar would secure me a new set of bobby pins.
We visited Ashley and surly but not lastly
watched the end of Home Alone which was very catchy.
Christmas Vacation was up next..
but I got a text.
Dad had made Gramma Aggie bars;
they’re a family favorite of ours.
From there to here after a quick drive,
to mom and dads house we did arrive.
Thanks to Sony and Un’s bogus phony bologna,
we finally watched The Interview
and then mom and I wrote this rhyme for you.
For now ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a kitty was stirring;
for purring they were with such delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Written by Orianah Fast & Julie Fast