The bummers, the babies, the years.

MOm & I
A few days old with my mother.

Fourty-seven years ago yesterday I entered this world as the fourth child of my parents.  The last they would have.  My father was watching a football game, of course, while the doctor barely made it into the delivery room from what I’ve been told.  I was ready to hit the ground runing!  Lucky for us there was a nurse right there with my Mother!

A few days later when I came “home” it was to a cattle feed yard in McPherson County. From what I’ve been told, my grandmother was waiting on the scales that used to weigh trucks and there were cattle out. My welcome home had to wait but my nickname was given the moment my Dad found out about the cattle.  As told by him, he said, “what a bummer.”

dad and i

Fast-forward a few years and I started Kindergarten thinking my first name was Bummer, not Julie.  (In today’s age people would be horrified by such a nickname.  They would worry about the low self esteem, meanness of it all, and how it would harm that child! )

Every cowboy, farm hand, feed lot employee, extended family member that I can recall from that time didn’t call me by Julie.  Only Bummer.  That was it.  I survived it too.  I have to admit when I was a teenager or young adult it did bother me some. By then my world had moved away from the feed yard and  was only spoken when I would run into people from that time in my life or by my Dad.

I woke up the morning of my birthday with the thoughts I just wrote in the first couple paragraphs.  A few times over the years I recall him saying, in a joking tone, “my bummer.” I suppose that is what gave the nickname a sweeter tone to my ears.

More thoughts from the last few days are…..

tashley baby 00122

Thirty years ago I was carrying a child, my first.  I remember receiving a blue sweater for Christmas and wearing it, my hair was pulled back.  Not long after that picture was taken I began wearing maternity clothes.

Kassidy baby pic 00122

Twenty-five years ago there was a one month old infant sitting under the tree and a four year old right next to her.  I had went from being a mother of one to a mother of two little girls.  Now I have a front row seat to watching them both be mothers.

PV 2008

Nine years ago another baby was making our Christmas time more fun.  I’m so glad this particular baby made her way into our home.  She’s my last baby.  In nine years she will be heading out the door and creating a life more on her own then with us.

So many babies, so much time, so many lessons, so many changes.  I can’t recall a time in my life that there wasn’t a story to tell.

I like to think of story telling encompassing  memories of life.  They cultivate the generations.  They are intertwined with tears and giggles, with a dash of surprise.  The stories are heartbreaking and also joyous and ones we will never forget either way.

The bummers, the babies, the years. So much to reflect on in 47 years of living here on earth.  Bittersweet some days for sure. But I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.  Thank you to those that have played a part in my life, my story, my memories.  Whether you called me Bummer, Julie, Jules, or something else.  🙂




Hawk & Grace – Short story by PV and JV

I decided I wanted to do something different with my six-year-old daughter over her Christmas break from school.  The idea came to mind to write a story together and then post it here on the blog.  I wanted most of the ideas to come from her for the story line and then I would add in what I needed to make it flow.  She is the illustrator and co-author.  Introducing our first written collaboration!

Hawk & Grace – A story about a friendship between a horse and dog.

Grace and Hawk

Grace was a dog that lived in the city with her humans Bob and Leah.  Bob and Leah decided to go to the country one weekend and see a rodeo.  They took Grace with them as she went everywhere with them! Grace was so excited to go, she thought the drive was so long she would burst!  They arrived at the rodeo shortly before it began!

Grace Car

Hawk was a horse that performed in the rodeo with his human named Leah.  They began their performance as usual and then all of a sudden Lucy noticed something following them around the arena!  A  dog was chasing them!

Grace chasing

Grace was so excited about being at the  rodeo she wanted to join in!  Bob and Leah were not sure what to do!

Lucy stopped and picked up Grace.  She didn’t want her getting hurt and decided it would be fun to have Grace perform with Hawk and her!  They finished the performance and Grace was so happy!  Hawk was excited to meet his new friend!  They gathered together.


Grace asked Hawk “will you be my friend?” and Hawk replied with much happiness “YES!”  They became best buds really fast!


Lucy, Bob, and Leah were talking.  The rodeo crowd really enjoyed Grace being a part of their act.  Lucy decided to ask Bob and Leah if Grace could continue performing with Hawk.

Gathered together

Bob and Leah discussed it and decided to let Grace become a rodeo dog!

Hawk & Grace became stars of the rodeo circuit and also best friends!

The End.

I hope you enjoyed our little story. It’s a memory I hold dear to my heart and hopefully she will too!
Grace is a gift,