Letters to my Mom {Day 8} Muffins & Memories

warm muffins on the rug. beautiful kid memories. (The OU footie pajamas are just gravy)

Dear Mom,

Mornings as a mother are insane, this morning I made the mistake of not beating the kids out of bed and I woke to utter chaos.  A flurry of demands dominated the first moments of my Monday: Milk! coffee! cereal! meow! (feed me) I don’t wanna wear panties!  

I have no idea what I subjected you to as a child, I know I was a very crabby little person in the morning, but I would like to take this moment to apologize.  I’m sorry for all the times that I made your mornings unnecessarily hectic with my self-centered impatience.

Now I’m the mama and it’s truly a terrible thing to do to another person.

I know that as a Toddler I would yell for Cheerios to you over the monitor until you got me up and fed me.  “Ooooooos mumma!  Ooooooos!”

I still called you mumma all they way to the end, you loved it.  Somehow it always brought us back to each other.

You were the queen of muffins and breads, you didn’t like to do a lot in the kitchen, but muffins you seemed to enjoy and have a knack for.

I will never forget the bran muffin mornings on the cold winter days on Sally Drive.

You would keep a huge bowl of muffin batter in the fridge and bake up a fresh batch for us every morning.  Such a brilliant idea.

I remember taking two buttery muffins on a paper towel pand eating them on top to the heating register next to the table.  I would put an cream colored afghan over my head for optimum warmth.

Dad would always tease me: “C’mon Leanne, you’re sucking up all the heat!” 

I would giggle under my afghan at that comment, every time.

I miss that, all of it, the teasing and the muffins and the mornings together.  I know that they would be few and far between these days.  Surely, dominated by grandkids and all their demands.

I know you and Dad would love it, the little hands grabbing for muffins on the counter.  I can see Dad throwing them over his shoulder, blowing zerberts on their tummies.

I can’t tell you what a heartache all those dreamlike moments are to me.  Waves of pain accompany imagining all the moments that will never be.  It stings fiercely watching my children grow without you two.

I think I’ll share your bran muffins with the world and stop here, because as the great Forest Gump once said: “That’s all I have to say about that.”

I love you, I miss you,


Sally’s Bran Muffins 

There is nothing like hand written recipe card, crusty with use, to inspire nostalgia and memories

1 Cup Canola Oil (or applesauce to cut on fat)
1 Cup boiling water
4 Large eggs (lightly beaten)
3 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Qt Buttermilk
5 Cups Flour
5 Cups All Bran Buds
1 Cup Raisin Bran Flakes
5 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt

1) Combine oil, hot water, eggs
2) Add cereal and sugar, stir.
3) Add buttermilk, baking soda and salt
4) Add flour last (Grandma V recommends 2 cups wheat germ & 3 cups white flour)
5) Add dried cranberries or additional raisins as desired.  (Plump in hot water before adding)

Bake at 400 for 15 – 20 or until toothpick comes out clean.

Batter will stay good in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for two months.

Bake a fresh batch each morning for total family bliss.

Cosmic Santa

Today I’m linking up with JJ, (or as you may know her The Blah Blah Blahger) for her “Tales From the Tree” linkup, which is creating space for us to share about our favorite Christmas ornaments and the stories that they tell.

This is a “sort of repost” from Nov of 2011, but it’s been so edited and so many of you are new here, that I’m confident you’ll love it anyway.  

Growing up, Christmas was my favorite day of the year.  I could always count on Christmas to be a good day in our family.

My Dad was the Christmas King.  I miss him at Christmas most of all and my heart always spends a good deal of time wondering what Christmas would be like if he was still around.

Every year we would head out as a family to a local Christmas tree farm to hunt down that years evergreen centerpiece.

Then we would head home and haul the ornaments out of the basement while my Dad spent an hour in the garage, snipping away at the tree to even out the branches.  He was a perfectionist so I’m telling you that this part always seemed to take forever.

When the tree had a proper haircut, he would bring the tree inside and pray it stood up straight in it’s trunk, and about 50% of the time it did, and the other 50% of the time he ended up screwing the stand into the floorboards.

Then began the tediousness of watching him painstakingly wrap the tree in at least a dozen strands of lights.  As a child, every year I remember sitting on the couch wondering if my chance to decorate the tree would ever arrive.

Finally the moment came where my mother would carefully unwrap each ornament as hand them off to us as we hung every ornament, each one a memory, onto the branches of our tree.

But, there was one ornament that we saved for last.  The one that we saved the highest, most perfect branch for, my Dad’s favorite ornament, Cosmic Santa.

Cosmic Santa This is Cosmic Santa:

I don’t know the whole story behind him, but I know that he was a gift from my Dad’s mother, my Grandma Verkaik and that he made my Dad laugh.

When they asked me if there was anything I wanted sent from my parents house the Christmas after my mom died, Cosmic Santa was what I asked for.

Now he oversees our Christmas traditions here in Oklahoma.  I had to hot glue his helmet a little bit last year before I hung him up.  He’s getting up there in years, but I’m determined that he sees decades more Christmases with our family.

I even gave Kel a passionate lecture about how important he is to me, how Cosmic santa is kind of a big deal, and how when we unwrap him every year, he is required to make a big fuss as we hang him on the top branch.  This is non negotiable for me.

Every year, after tree is decorated, I pour myself a glass of red wine and allow my eyes to gaze over all the colorful and mismatched ornaments that grace our branches.  These Ornaments tell my story and many of them are gifts from my Grandma, who has been buying me Hallmark ornaments every year since I was born.

There’s a key from our first Christmas in our new home, a blinged-out acorn we picked out on a date night, and some pinecones we gathered on a winter walk while I was pregnant with Noelle.

They all bring back sweet memories from my journey, and Cosmic Santa soars over it all to remind me of where I come from, and the good parts of my family history that I am determined to carry into the future.

So when I look at his silver jet pack and bubbly helmet, instead of longing for what we’ve lost, I commit to building beautiful and lasting Christmas memories.  Memories that will become a foundation for my children to build on someday as they sip wine, with bedroom full of sleeping children, and take in their own grown up Christmas trees.

What’s your favorite ornament and what story does it tell?