Tag Archives: old family photos

Happy Birthday to my Baby Sister

My baby sister is a firecracker. Yes, she is a spunky little spitfire, but she was also born on the Fourth of July. She really is an all-American, red-white-and-blue firecracker. If I had to narrow down the field, I’d say she’s either a sparkler (for her extroverted personality) or she’s one of those ginormous multi-colored, layered ring, laced with gold sparkly stars ground shakers they use in fireworks finales (for her impact on the rest of our family). I’m not going to sugar coat this. When she was little, she used to say snotty things to us like, “Mom says you have to make my bed because I’m the baby” which was usually followed by her sticking out her tongue. She was THAT sister. If we heard “I don’t have to do it because I’m the baby” once, we heard it a million times. Luckily, she was cute so we didn’t kill her, rub her with honey and leave her for the fire ants, or sell her to traveling gypsies. Not that we didn’t consider it from time to time. When you grow up in a large family, random thoughts of leaving your siblings on the toy aisle in K-Mart do cross your mind. As she grew older, she became far less of a brat and more of the family comedian. Baby Sister was always the one that could make a face, pull a stunt or break out the slap-stick and make us laugh. She is our “most likely to tickle your funny bone.” She’s still cute, but she’s also smart, funny and thoughtful and can sing the full lyrics to just about any song (she was in choir). And while my own daughter is still my first pick for “crazy dance contest” partner, my baby sister will always be a top choice for family road-trip sing-along partner. She also makes an excellent trivia & board game partner, since she somehow retains random knowledge as well as she retains lyrics. She’s a weapon of mass instruction. She’s Rain Man.

Our baby sister on her wedding day - surrounded by nieces and nephews

Today, our baby sister turns 41. She’s all grown up with a child of her own (Gabe the Babe) and a rowdy, fun-loving husband (I’ll call J-Bird). She makes her own bed now. She may have settled down and created a family, but she’ll never really be tamed, and that’s what I love most about my Baby Sister. She is a free spirit. Her glass is always two-thirds full. She looks for the best in everyone. She rolls with the punches and makes the best of every situation. She’s not afraid to laugh at herself or others. She is the most like me. No wonder I love her. So today, I’m sure I speak for the rest of my sisters when I say, “Happy birthday, Baby Sis!” Now matter how old we all grow together, you’ll always be our baby.

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Happy Birthday to My Very Best Friend

Yup...you're still super after all these years.

Happy 54th birthday, honey. You’ll always be The Complete Package to me.

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Six Flags Over Two Coneheads

Summer has me thinking about family.

Family has me thinking about old photos.

Old photos remind me that our mother used to dress us alike.

When we were little, our parents took Big Sis and I to the Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington, Texas. Once again, Mom made our outfits. I forgot to ask her if this was a special occasion, or if these were “every day” outfits. If so, knowing we wore the dresses regularly would be fine and dandy. They’re cute. Knowing we wore the hats out in public more than once would be tragic.


I’m the garden gnome standing on the bench. “You talkin’ to ME? Are YOU talkin’ to ME?” It’s hard to be tough in a conehead hat. When I see this picture I think, “Okay, I’m pretty sure the guy riding the big tricycle works here, but what about that guy in the front right corner wearing the striped hat and matching shirt?” Does he? I sure hope so, or we’re not the only one with outfit issues. Speaking of… does anyone else think Mom looks a bit like Gaga in that photo?

Hey, Mom…. who’s that old goat? No, not the scruffy gray one we’re petting. The skeevie one watching from behind the fence. Don’t get me started on the fact that his hands are in his pockets and he’s leaning in for a good look. {shiver}

“No! {insert diva moment here} I will not look at the camera! I don’t care if you are pointing and telling me to.” Besides, I know what’s going on in this photo. I’m looking for the barf bag. It’s supposed to be behind my copy of SkyMall. Wait! Where’s my copy of SkyMall?!? Big Sis looks a little too happy to me. I’m starting to suspect she swiped my peanuts and one of those tiny tequila bottles.

Ahhhh….there we go. I’m feeling better now that I have my SeaBand on. And I’m WAY out ahead in this horse race. Beating your Big Sister? Priceless.

This last photo was taken on the Sky Ride, high above Six Flags. Don’t you just love amusement parks and greasy food? All I can say is don’t get between me and my fried carnival food. Oh, sweet glorious corn dogs of my youth!

What’s that Dad? What do you mean we’re not stopping for a corn dog?

Now you’ve done it. That’s it!! I’m outta’ here!

As soon as we get down off this thing.

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In Honor of Mother’s Day

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and in honor of my mother and families everywhere, I’m re-publishing my “Tale of Five Sisters” page. It’s a glimpse into my childhood with four sisters and a mother who is our touchstone and our heart. Here’s to her and to mothers everywhere. Thank you for all you do!

“A Tale of Five Sisters”

I have four sisters.  Yeah, I know.  I don’t know what my parents were thinking, either.  They look so young and innocent, don’t they?   

Mom & Dad on their wedding day

My Mom & Dad - Their Wedding Day

 Actually, we all blame Dad.  He had that “I Want A Boy” syndrome that drives women to drink.  After five daughters, though, even the old man had to give it up.  I don’t know how my parents survived it.  Well, Dad was in sales and the Bass Club of America, so he was away a lot when I was little.  In truth, I don’t know how Mom did it.  I’m not even sure how some of us girls survived it (especially the teen years).   

Growing up, we were naturally divided into two groups – the “big kids” and the “little kids.”  Sister #1 and I (yes, I am #2 – keep your comments to yourself, Peanut Gallery) were the big kids.    

"The Big Kids"

"The Big Kids" - NanaBread & Sister #1

 We were born 15 months apart, and grew up with that “we were friends first” bond that first siblings share.  Sister #3 came along almost 4 years later and started the “little kid” explosion.  Every 18 months or so, Mom gave birth to yet another girl.  We started to think she was in the “Baby of the Year” Club, like the Weekly Reader program, but for infants.  What can I say? Mom’s initials as a kid were M.O.M. – she should have seen this coming.    

Sisters 3, 4 & 5

"The Little Kids"

 She finally threw in the towel at 5 daughters, and who could blame her.  Not to be graphic, but do you realize how many feminine hygiene products that woman had to buy over the years?  It’s insane!  She should have invested in Kimberly Clark and Midol.  Dad invested in MGD (Miller Genuine Draft) and fishing gear.  That was his escape.  But we made it.  We all made it through.   

The Five of Us

 Years have passed now and we all have families of our own.  It amazes me that we all grew up in the same house with the same parents and yet we all are different and unique.  I like that about us.  We all have different interests and tastes.  We all had different experiences in school and participated in different activities.  We had separate interests and hobbies.  We played different sports or practiced different arts.  We picked completely different types of men as spouses (or no spouse at all).  We all raised our children differently.  And yet, we all click when we come together.  All those differences are like pieces of a worn, favorite puzzle.  All that diversity makes us all fit.  I still don’t know how my Mom pulled it off, but she raised five smart, independent, creative girls who love to laugh.  Sarcasm and humor are part of our DNA.  It’s our coping mechanism.   When we’re together, hilarity always ensues. 

Our Mother

 In closing, I’d like to say “thanks, Mom!”  You are our rock and our foundation.  You taught us to cook, clean, sew, do laundry and dishes, fish, dig a camp toilet, fend for ourselves, pay our bills and be fiercely independent.  You showed us how to use common sense to solve life’s challenges.  You taught us to love things like coupons, greenstamps, Tupperware, chocolate, fresh vegetables from a garden, homemade jelly, handmade quilts and antiques.  You also helped us find the humor in everyday life, and that’s really important.  Thanks for being honest with us when we screw up and cheering for us when we soar.    

For good or bad, you left an indelible mark on the world when you unleashed the five of us.  Sorry, world.  No take-backs!

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Pioneer Woman Photo Contest: Sisters

A photo I submitted has made it to the finals in the latest Pioneer Woman Photo Contest. I’m stunned, but thrilled to pieces. The photo assignment theme was “Sisters” and I submitted this photo of Sister #1 and I, taken on our grandmother’s porch in the summer of 1963. We were sharing a bowl of berries with cream. I’ve always loved this photo. I love the colors, the clothes, the sweetness of us sharing a special sisterly moment. But I also love the concentration on #1’s face, and the fact that she’s sharing, but keeping that bowl close. If only we’d known there were three more sisters to come. We might have eaten faster.

The end of the summer berries - Sister #1 and NanaBread

If you’d like to see the other finalists, all of which are fabulous, you can go to:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2011/03/sister-photo-finalists/

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Christmas Past – A family photo blog

Over the past year, I’ve been scanning old family photos in an effort to archive them for my mother. The plan is to scan them, then burn them to DVDs and share them with my four sisters and our extended families so everyone has a copy. With the holidays upon us, I just had to share a few oldies but goodies:

A Holly Hobby Christmas - Sisters 3, 4 & 5

NanaBread & Sister #1 - We'll have a Blue Christmas without you...

Look what Dad found under the tree...Sister #3!

Don' ask. I have no idea why #1 and I are beating up the tree with stick horses.

Wahoo! New baby dolls for #1 and I. We're obviously stunned.

Mom must have told them Santa won't come if you're stinky.

I don't know where to start with this one. My stiff zombie pose? Original Flintstones on the TV? The matching outfits? The 'hear no evil' monkeys on the wall?

The day Santa was born. Nope, wait...that's Sister #3.

Happy holidays, dear readers. I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and celebrate the joy of the season. Love and peace – NB

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Old Photos of My Mother

I’ve been scanning old family photos for my mother. We’re trying to create a digital archive so all the sisters have a copy. It takes a lot of time, but it’s a great way to make sure all five of us and our families have a complete collection of all the family photos. Today, I pulled out two pictures of my mother I wanted to share. I love both of these photos.

My Mother in Elementary School

The first one is an old elementary school picture. I’m not sure what grade she was in when this was taken, but I love that the photographer captured this exact moment. School photos aren’t exactly famous for capturing us at our best, but I think this one is perfect. She’s so young and innocent, but her smirk proves there’s mischief churning just under the surface. You can tell by the look in her eyes that she’s up to something. I wonder what it was. Something to do with her brother, perhaps? She’s a clever girl, and it looks like she’s definitely up to something. She still has a mischievious streak. I like that about her. I like it very much.

Mom Managing the Money

I think the second one was taken when Big Sis was just a baby. It’s obvious she’s paying bills or balancing the checkbook. Money was tight when we were kids, but it was extremely tight when she was little. Times were tough, but Mom was tougher. Because of her youth, my mother grew up very frugal. She had a gift for making something out of nothing on a daily basis. She made our clothes. She fed a family of seven on pennies. She grew her own vegetables and had a small orchard in the back yard. I once saw her pull a door off its hinges and plane it down so it wouldn’t stick. She knew how to do everything, and still does. She was alway conscious of how much money we had and how to stretch it. I never considered what she went through when we were kids. I never gave a second thought to how we would pay our bills or how she had to juggle things to make ends meet. Kids don’t think of things like that. Mom never had it easy, but she made sure we were taken care of. Thanks, Mom. I didn’t say that as a child. Thanks for all you did for us and all you sacrificed to do it. I think you’re awesome. I really do.

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