This route is familiar. I've definitely been here before. There's an unbelievable amount of trees and bodies of water. It is all very exciting to see on the roads to and from Little Rock, Arkansas, but we are much happier to drive to them than away from them. Typically, our family will point out scenery for the duration of the entire drive to Nana and Poppy's, but we're usually sleeping on the ride home. Which is why, by the way, I'm able to write this in the peace and quiet of our car on I-40 traveling west this morning. My family is asleep. Okay, Dad isn't, but he's the driver for the next twelve hours, so maybe he should be. :)
However, if you asked me to define the physical locations that have shaped the person I am today, the roads of Arkansas, then Missouri, then some other state, would not rank in my top ten. Or twenty. Not to make them feel bad, but they are just not going to make any sort of impressive ranking on any sentimental list. Some people say that life is the journey, not the destination. Which is so true. However, I'm not sure they were talking frequent flyer miles or filling up gas tanks. Not to complain. Ahhh this is a tangent. Getting back on track...
My first home was in Little Rock, Arkansas, on a cute little row of homes situated comfortably on Johnny Cake Lane. Which is adorable because Johnny Cake sounds a little like patty-cake and a little like the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane. Our next door neighbor had previously gotten her nose removed and sometimes she would garden without the prosthetic. That is kind of cool. I was very little, so I don't remember that, but I've heard stories.
When it all comes down to it, the house I truly remember and that holds such a special place in my heart is my little house in the middle of a cornfield. I guess it's not in the MIDDLE of the cornfield, but it feels like it. The house is an old immigrant house and has a quarter of a mile long driveway. I can remember hosting my very own temper-tantrum one very cold day and deciding to run away and can also remember not getting very far. At all. We're talking number of steps in the single-digits.
I had a yellow-and-white striped room, then a flowery room, and finally a quaint purple room with three windows on the second story. This is significant because I broke two panes of glass on one of those windows trying to pull a Cirque du Soliel run-and-jump-off-this-wall move while my sisters watched. I thought I had the motion perfected, so I brought the sisters in to view the performance. I didn't quite manage it perfectly the first time so I wouldn't let the sisters comment on it yet, although Lillian tried. I guess what she was truly trying to tell me was that I had cracked the first glass pane. The second circus act left me with a broken window, seven stitches, a glued area in my foot, and a concerned question from baby Julianna, "Is Sadthana broken?"
Side note: "Savannah" is truly a hard name for younger kids to pronounce. Julianna called me "Sadthana," Lillian called me "Santa," and Madeline called me "Sadayyou." She definitely made that harder, but it was adorable. I tried to coax my cousin Banner to say my name yesterday (Julianna even bribed with chocolate) and he laughed so hard at me. I don't know if he was truly laughing at the impossibility of his getting the pronunciation correct or if he was laughing because he was going to see "Chow" in Cars for the upteenth time that day and was on cloud NINE.
That was a great reading room, too. I would read the Redwall books by Brian Jacques and watch my purple flower clock to figure out my Book-It minutes. Sometimes I would re-count because I couldn't believe I had read so long. It was a great feeling. I wrote a special letter to Brian Jacques once. I mean, created special lined paper with cute animals on the edges and figured out how to send mail internationally and everything. I got the traditional fan letter response and promotional materials. Sapphire's mom wrote him a letter some time later and he sent back a signed photograph and a personal message. I was super happy for Sapphire, but that took some getting over. He died this year.
I also loved to sit in this giant tree in our backyard and read and eat plums. Sometimes I would bring apricots with me, but plums were the best for reading. I loved that tree. It had approximately three perfect spots for sitting and one super great hidey-hole for my plum while I was up there. As time passed I became too freaked out about snakes to truly enjoy my perch. I climbed a tree yesterday though! Most snakes in Arkansas are poisonous, so the climb was probably therapeutic. My hands are still a little sore from the bark.
The sisters and I had so much fun in our yard. We had a big dirt area called the "Desert" where crops used to grow. We were always digging around in that dirt. You could find the best stuff in there. Our cousins buried a bunch of junk to make a 4-wheeler track when we were very young and we were uncovering those things for years afterward. We were raised Christian and we knew that no one knew where Moses' grave was, so when we started digging up something white and porcelain, we naturally thought we were going to be the ones to unearth Moses. It was an old toilet seat. That was kind of a let-down.
There were other dirt piles in the desert. They had many purposes. We would grab a bunch of garden hoses and string them across the yard to our dirt piles. Sometimes we would find some frogs and make a frog water park out of a particular hill. A bunch of them hibernated in our sandbox. Other times we would all put on mud clothes and douse a particularly large dirt pile with water. A rousing game of king-of-the-mountain would ensue and typically Madeline or I would win. Mom would take pictures of how muddy we were at the end of a good Desert day. Dad would let us drive around remote-controlled racing cars out in the Desert, which was so neat. I can't remember if we made a little track for the cars or if we just let them run free, but I do know that there were glass shards in that dirt somehow. We were careful, but we never wore shoes unless we were playing in the snow.
I went through an archery phase (let's be honest, I haven't gotten over my archery phase...) and so Dad brought home a compound bow and set a target on a hay bale propped up against our storybook red barn. The arrows found a target more often than they didn't, happily. I even hit THE target sometimes. I do remember that I hit the tippy top of the front side of the BARN. We just waited for a good storm to come knock the arrow down. There was no way we were going to be able to retrieve it otherwise. The significance was that for a while I could go around saying that I could hit the broadside of a barn and HAD. Then someone pointed out that the front of a barn is without a doubt NOT the broadside of a barn and I felt both silly and robbed of a great line. What is the significance of the broadside of a barn compared to the front of it, anyway? Even now, it's tempting to head over to the farm (my grandparents still own the property and rent out the house, but not the barn) and shoot the barn to resurface the memory and be able to say that I did. I can also simply blog about it, and that's just fine too. :)
We played house all over the farm. Madeline and I were the parents, Julianna was typically a child, and Lillian was some sort of animal. Sometimes we were all the moms making fake pies in our pink playhouse. Our playhouse was so much fun. Mom drew out what she wanted the house to look like and Dad and Grandpa built it. The house had one room, six windows, electricity, a wood floor, various kitchen sets, a front light that stayed on, a light fixture inside with a light-switch, and a front porch. Mom and some of her painter friends painted it three colors: white, light pink, and hot pink! We all helped pave our brick pathway from the sidewalk to the front porch of our pink playhouse. It was our life size barbie dream house and was absolutely a blast. Every year we would have our "Clean-Up the Playhouse" day and sweep and mop the floors. We even went as far as to wipe down all the kitchen set stuff. The celebration at the end was that all the sisters would pick up their box fans and sleeping bags and everyone would try and spend the night in the playhouse.
I could rattle off so many stories and so many places around that farmyard: the window at the top of the stairs where we found our "pet" spider and named him Penny, the baby mattress used for sliding down our staircase, the spooky basement where we ran the rock polisher with dreams of jewelry-making, the wonderful Quonset building that housed the corn that we "swam" in, the cherry-drops made from the swings of our swing set with the "tumble turf," and the baby kittens we rescued and adopted and loved. However, that may be overkill. I can sum up my feelings in a matter of sentences. Although my family doesn't occupy that home anymore, I'll always carry the sweet memories of all the wonderful times lived there. A piece of it will always be with me. So that wherever I am at, I'll be right at home.
I'm driving the 560 named Lizzy! This tractor is attached to a pipe trailer and its hub-cap has definitely undergone some reconstructive surgery! :)
The farm on a wintery day in February! You can see the playhouse peeking out from behind the swing-set! :)
SCHOOL: AURORA PUBLIC
YAYYYY Football season! This was the first game in our super fun rain jackets! I loved those things! Three of them ripped during this game...so they weren't worn again. Anyway! I've spent every school year on this track and have LOVED it! :)
Three cheers for the annual Christmas Daddy/Daughter dance! Grandpa is included, of course! :) They do so well and are SUCH great sports! So thankful for my family at this school event and always!!! :)
Hey, locker buddy Madeline! :) This is a picture from junior year- but was a good "school locker" picture and I was so glad Madeline was in it! She is such a big part of my school experience, too! I love seeing her in the hallways! :)
COMMUNITY: AURORA :)
This is our BEAUTIFUL Hamilton County Courthouse! So pretty! It's even pretty inside, too! :)
This is our great coffee shop called "Espressions" near the square by the courthouse! We LOVE the owner and LOVE the restaurant! Whenever we have family visit (my fun aunt is pictured here! :) ) we try and bring them to Espressions! This was taken on a Saturday this year in between Julianna's volleyball games and the games of the Aurora High School volleyball invite where we were cheering! :)
STATE: NEBRASKA :)
"There is no place like Nebraska, good ole' Nebraska U..." Everybody now! :)
This was taken at the State Fair in 2011! It is so fun to see some of what the state has to show for itself in one place!