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This is dedicated to one of the strongest mothers I have ever known. Some know her as Sandra, many know her as Sandy, the most special known her as Grandma and one of my favorite people calls her, Maud. 

My aunt Sandra is one of the strongest mothers I know.

She is the mother to Brett, a strong, hardworking man. A man full of jokes and always a tease.  For some reason she put up with him skinning coons and other critters in her garage for many years.  I remember watching him as a kid thinking about how clean Aunt Sandra kept her garage and how she might not like that too much.   

The mother of Darcy, who was born with special needs in 1969. I know I wasn’t around for the beginning of her fight for Darcy, but from the many stories I am told she would have moved mountains to do what she could to care for her.  The community offered Cork and Sandra support and help with what they called “patterning” to try to help Darcy all that they could.  My earliest memory of watching her care for Darcy was of Darc sitting on the floor in her blue chair and the moment she would hear Sandra’s voice she would turn her head because she recognized her momma! Aunt Sandra literally wore out her back carrying Darcy to and fro, in and out of the bathtub and providing her care. Darcy passed away in Dec of 2007 and I will never forget hearing Sandra say that she wanted to make sure they had socks on Darcy because her feet were always cold.  She never quit thinking about her and how to take care of her baby girl.

Another reason I know my Aunt Sandra is one of the strongest mother’s I know is because she was also mom to Justin who was born in 1973 . She didn’t get the chance to care for him for more than one day in the world outside of her womb because he was born early.  At a time when she should have been preparing a nursery, she was burying her newborn son.  

After Grandma Patty passed away, Cork and Sandra’s house became our new place to come together as a family to celebrate Christmas Eve. All of us have so many fun memories of gathering in her living room around her bright white, flocked Christmas trees!  One of my favorite things to do was to sit downstairs by the fireplace hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa while the big kids played pool. There may have even been a Christmas where the joke was on  Aunt Sandra and she received a large number of spatulas because of a little spatula incident at Thanksgiving.

Aunt Sandra is the definition of a workhorse! Her garden is always blooming and kept in pristine shape along with her lawn. In fact just last week Rob called to see if she was ready to have her garden tilled and she told him, “Nope, it’s too early.”  She was right because as I type this I just finished covering all of my plants. I couldn’t even guess how many hours she has put into seeding, planting, working on her garden, and then canning her harvest over the years. When she was done for the year she would always call to see if I needed more cucumbers to make more pickles or green beans to feed my family. In 2010, I was pregnant with Ellie and I found out where the “workhorse” quality came from as she and Grandma Rosie literally picked 2 rows of green beans to my one.

She makes the best rolls or “shiny buns” as we like to call them. Field meals are never a sandwich, but more like a 5-course meal that was more than likely made from scratch with a homemade dessert. Not only is she an amazing cook, but she also makes the most amazing kitchen towels that you have ever used, some have animals, some have fruit and if you are lucky you have some in your drawer with the days of the week.

You may not know she has a jokester side, too. In her days working at Buy Low I swear she would hide on the back side of the cooler with her royal blue Warrior Booster Club jacket and just wait for me to reach for a pop to give me a scare. She has always called me Jenifire, even  a couple of weeks ago when I called and when I talked chickens with her she called me Jenifire. We had a few good laughs at the price of eggs in the stores and how crazy she was feeling with all of the social distancing and quarantine talk.  I didn’t ask her if her fingers were twitching from wanting to be playing the slots, but I would guess that she might have been getting a little antsy to step into a casino.

Beyond her nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, mother, children, grandchildren and soon to be great-grandchild I believe her greatest love is my Uncle Cork. He has called her Maud for as long as I can remember. They love to attend baseball, softball, and basketball games together where she proudly sports her warrior jacket with the graduation years of her grandchildren.  They enjoy popcorn, chatting, and Cork always has a few mints in his pocket for little and (big) kids. I believe that she is the strongest mother I know because she has a strong husband beside her.  The trials they have endured as a married couple, and as a mother and father are some of the toughest that any should have to face.

This weekend, on Mother’s Day, they are once again facing another trial. This Mother’s Day has been a somber one as we prepare for her to gain her wings and be reunited with her babies, I feel like it is only right for us to pay tribute to one of the strongest mother’s we know, Sandra Kay Kuhlemeier.  

Sandra Kay Kuhlemeier gained her heavenly wings on May 14, 2020, although we all know she was already an angel here on earth.

Looking for a fun fall day trip?  Need some new harvest time decor? I have the perfect place to visit, Enchanted Acres in Sheffield, Iowa. 

Enchanted Acres has something for all ages!  As it says on their website, “ It’s “that happy place” where kids, from 2 to 92, can channel Cinderella or Jack Sparrow. Enchanted Acres is a place where we all can dream about our happily ever after!”

Feeding goats on our visit

The girls and I headed over for their opening weekend festivities.  We were able to enjoy lunch, partake in Books in the Barn, feed the goats, play on the equipment, pick pumpkins, shopped in the market and enjoyed the great outdoors.  

Enjoying lunch

There are lots of kids activities going on throughout the fall like pumpkin painting, but there are also activities for grown-ups, too.  You can stay up to date on all of their activities by checking out their Facebook page.

Jam for sale

I hope you take some time this fall, go grab some pumpkins and enjoy the day with your family!

Have you visited Enchanted Acres? What are your favorite fall traditions?

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

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