Friday, December 31, 2010

Saying Good-bye to 2010

"Celebrate endings - for they precede new beginnings." Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Is the year really coming to an end already?  Where did the months go?
Looking back, it has really been an interesting year...filled with a little bit of everything.

There's no question that it was an expensive year as I dealt with two floods in my home, replacing carpeting, flooring, re-doing paint and fixing soggy walls. My house began to show its age as I found myself having to replace some major items such as the furnace, heater and air-conditioner, washer and dryer, etc. etc. And, then there was the need to purchase a new car as I watched my old Jeep begin to break down little by little.

But, there was so much good to overtake the negatives....

My family tops the list: My children continue to amaze me as they each pursue their jobs and become more successful with each passing year.  They manage their homes and their children with relative ease as they  both find themselves as "two-working parent" households.  

They also bring me so much pleasure as I watch them in their roles as Mommies and Daddies.  They may not do things as I did in the "good old days" (ha!) -but, what they do seems to be working out just fine.  Times change, and so does child rearing and I look on with great admiration as both boys and their wives take on parenting so well. 

I feel such an incredible sense of joy and fulfillment when I look at my beautiful, healthy and, of course, brilliant, grandchildren!!!  : )

Being a Grammie to these four is a blessing that is hard to describe.  I am getting to see life again through a child's eyes.  I can feel their sense of wonderment with the world that they are just beginning to experience and it is awesome.

Four year old Owen is finding great pleasure in drawing and is showing some real talent as an artist.  Since this is one of my passions, I am thrilled beyond belief to share this with him. He reminds me so much of myself when I was younger...I can still remember the joy that I felt when I received my first "John Gnagi" art set.  It was filled with crayons, chalks, pencils, paper and an instruction book that took me through the steps to make a drawing.  Other than playing with the neighborhood kids, I remember wanting to do art more than anything else...and, I love seeing that in my grandson. He also has the kindness and sweetness inside just like my son (his Dad) well as the ability to turn into a "Super Hero" at a moment's notice!

Two year old Audrey is such a "pistol"....I love her spirit and enthusiasm.  After spending some time with Audrey this month when they were down in Florida, Mom called to tell me how much Audrey reminded her of me when I was that age.  She is pretty much non-stop motion and full of joy.  Audrey loves dressing up in anything "Princess".....and, that is how you can find her most of the time wearing layers of tutu's or Cinderella pajamas. She is talking so much these days and seems very advanced in so many things.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for her as she continues to amaze me.

Oh, and that Celia!!!  After just having spent 9 days with this adorable, curly-haired two year old whirlwind, I found her so much fun to be with!  She made us all laugh constantly as she imitated our words and actions.  She danced around the room with abandon as she played music on her little "cd player" or her stuffed bear that sings the "ABC's".  I will never worry about her as she goes through life for this little cutie has a mind of her own and I love that! She, too, loves being a Princess as she picks out her own clothing every day to usually include a frilly skirt, headband, and, a bracelet or two!  I loved watching her go to her "accessory" drawer to pick out something special to wear.

My latest blessing is Dylan, who was born in November.  I felt such contentment just holding this precious addition to our family, watching his every move, and listening to his little coos.  Being with him took me back to the time when I was a new mom many, many years ago.  I think about the world that he will be growing up into....and see his future filled with so many possibilities.

My mom seems to have adapted well to "The Home" as I listen to her funny tales of her new friends.  My three sisters seem to be doing well.... and we will all be together in January to celebrate my youngest sister's 11th year of breast cancer survival!

My friendships are strong and meaningful as we share each other's joys....and hold on to each other during the rough times.  Two of the Girlies are cancer survivors...and we are all celebrating their good health.  We all have grandchildren to well as many pictures and stories to share as we all go through life together.

So, as I look back on the past year, my heart is overflowing with joy, love, and gratefulness for all of the blessings in my life....with so much to look forward to.

Happy, healthy New Year!!  
May 2011 be a good one for us all! 


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Longwood Gardens

Even though it was quite chilly in Delaware with a wind chill bringing it down to the teens, we ventured out to the Longwood Gardens one day and saw some incredibly beautiful flowers........ inside.

:  )

Monday, December 27, 2010

A very l-o-n-g Monday.....but,

we finally made it home late this afternoon!

Now the fun begins as I unpack, read mail, get to the grocery store, put on my pj's early, sleep in my own bed, etc. etc. etc.

It has been a great 16 days of visiting our families.....but now it's back to "Home Sweet Home"! : )

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Will I get home tomorrow?

I'm trying not to panic yet...even though the snow is still  falling steadily here at ten o'clock.

All of the weathermen today were reporting "blizzard like conditions" along the Eastern coast...including Delaware...where I am right well as Baltimore where we are supposed to be flying out of early tomorrow morning.

After being away for the last fifteen days, I must admit that I am ready to head back home....but, the decision whether to go or not will have to be made in the morning as we assess the road situation.

If we do decide to go...we are also faced with the possibility that our morning flight will be cancelled.

Alarms are set to get up at 5:30 and to leave here at 6:00 a.m. IF......

All in all, it is leaving us with anticipation, confusion, and, most likely, a rather sleepless night.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wishing you JOY

The snow is falling outside.....while inside, Dave's nieces and nephews are joyously playing with their new Christmas toys.  How wonderful to share in their delight and see the holiday through the children's eyes.

Merry Christmas to All.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My last day...

I awoke with a certain sadness today as I realized that today will be my last day with Jeffrey, Janet, Celia and Dylan.

While I know that it is time to go, I will so miss waking up and seeing those faces I love.

Oh, I will miss so many things:
...watching Dylan grow bigger and stronger each day...
...sharing Celia's delight as she dances joyfully around the room...
...capturing those moments when Celia wants to share with me and says: "Look, Grammie!"
...holding Dylan in my arms as he looks up to me and coos...
...walking back to the house and having Celia run excitedly to my arms...
...singing all of those wonderful childhood songs..."Itsy Bitsy Spider"....and, of course, Celia's favorite one-    "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (and, smiling as she pronounces it "Tinkle")...
...sitting in the tent with Celia and playing "pretend"...and "peek-a-boo"!
...having Dylan wrap his fingers around mine...
...seeing Celia flirt with Papa Dave...
...feeling so fulfilled as I see what wonderful parents Janet and Jeffrey are...
...hugs, hugs, hugs...
...simple childhood pleasures...and so much more.

Tomorrow morning will come and Dave and I will head to Delaware to spend the Christmas week with his family....and, though sad to leave, I will smile inside knowing that I have been the grateful recipient of my family's precious time.

It really doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Remembering when mine were this age...

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a new mommy?
I remember the cooing sounds, the wonderful new baby smells, and, the little fingers wrapped tightly around mine. Oh, and those delicious giggles when I would tickle their bellies...I recall those sweet, little eyes looking up at me while having their bottle and the delight that they got when a musical toy was playing nearby. Then there was the joy watching them discover this big, new world that they were now a part of.  It allowed me to see things through the eyes of a child...and, I liked what I saw.
I embraced my role as a mom and truly loved it.

As I watch Janet and Jeffrey, I am also reminded of how bringing up children is a twenty-four hour, never-ending job. I realize again that these early years are a time of great importance as many life lessons will be learned. Our children watch our every step and hear our every word as they begin to grow and develop. Everything revolves around the time is at a minimum.

As the years go by, I guess that we forget that other side of parenthood.  Maybe this is because bringing up our children can be the most unbelievably joyous time of life.  As I sit here wondering where the time has gone, I realize that the years erase the difficulties and we are left with all of the sweetest memories...

And, for those memories, I am most grateful.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My morning alone with Celia started out with blueberry pancakes..... a local restaurant.  The waiter was not sure that he should bring this tiny two year old the whole order with two big pancakes...but, I told him to go ahead...(thinking that I could always eat the extras if need be!).

Well, that little thing ate every single bite of those pancakes without batting an eye.

Never underestimate a two year old's appetite!   : )

From there we went to an indoor play area for kids.  Since I don't know my way around this area, I geared up my GPS system in hopes that it would get me to where I needed to go.

Without going into too many details.....all I can say is that I continually heard: "Recalculating, recalculating" as I pretty much drove around in circles. 

But, we did finally get there and as we walked up the sidewalk some snow flurries had started to fall. I was a bit concerned about the drive back home....but, threw caution to the wind and we went on in so that Celia could play.

This was basically a huge room filled with fun things for kids to do....there was a shopping area, a kitchen, a train and tracks, a dress up area, lots of things to climb on, play with, create with, put together, or push. Celia went immediately to the kitchen and grocery area...while I sat and watched. 

A little six year old girl took to Celia and began to play with her.  She was wonderful and they had a lot of fun together.  I laughed out loud watching the girl go down the "car slide" where you sat inside a large plastic
car, rolled down the slide onto the floor where you then "traveled" until either the car came to a stop or ran into some bean bag chairs at the end.  The little girl raised both arms up in the air as her car came careening down the slide.  Celia must have decided that it looked like fun because, sure enough, when it was her turn to go down in the car, up went her little arms waving wildly in the air as the car finally rolled to a stop.

And, she did this again and again and again and again.....

....and AGAIN!

By now it was getting late and time to head back home.

As we made our way outside, it seemed as if quite a bit of snow had fallen.  I drove home very, very I wasn't very sure of myself on slick roads....and, I knew that I had very precious cargo in the back seat!

Well,we made it home safely....

But, by then, I didn't know if Celia was ready for her midday nap....but, Grammie certainly was!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The wind was howling outside....

...but, we were all warm and cozy inside last night. Celia was happily playing and Dylan was alternating between eating, sleeping, playing, cooing, and pooping. : )

I am getting the privilege of snooping on family life here at my son and daughter-in-law's home...and, I am experiencing the love and joy that emanates from everywhere and everyone.

I've been amazed at Mommy Janet's patience with Celia's many questions and requests. Celia is healthily (is that a word?) interested in everything around is appropros for a two year old. And, she wants to share everything that she does with Mommy and the point of taking one of their hands, pulling them away from whatever they are doing, and saying over and over again: "Come with me! Come with me!"  And, they happily comply.

Janet allows Celia the opportunity to pick out her wardrobe for day care complete with a hairband from her  very own "accessories" drawer.  Then comes the boots or sneaker or purple jacket? hat or hood? etc.....all left up to a very pleased Celia!

Daddy Jeffrey walks in from a long day at work and immediately gives his attention and energy to the kids....especially big sister Celia who greets him with enthusiasm as he walks in the door. He makes her laugh so easily and I just sit and smile at my second born son being a wonderful daddy.

I have had several "tea parties" with Celia where we pretend to dine on wooden sandwiches and tea.  The other night the setting changed from upstairs to the basement where we sat in a tent and dined. Getting in the tent was hard enough....and, getting out proved laughable.

But, I wouldn't change a single moment of temporary discomfort for the joy that I am feeling. : )

Monday, December 13, 2010


With Dylan's tiny hand wrapped around my finger, I realized that I had forgotten how very small new babies are. Although small, his grip is quite strong...

While Mommy went to the doctor this morning, I had some Grammie time alone with my new grandson.  It was wonderfully sweet and tender.  I love how he looks up at me when I am giving him his supplemental bottle.  I wish that I could know what he is thinking.....oh, to read his mind!

Two burps later, he was asleep in my arms.  I tried to swaddle him so that I could put him down to sleep, but, couldn't seem to get the blanket wrapped just right.  So, I went to my computer and watched a video on youtube to relearn the process.  Step by step I followed the instructions and must say that I did a mighty good swaddle on him.

Proof is that he is securely wrapped and happily sound asleep... : ) 

Friday, December 10, 2010

ImageChef Word Mosaic - 

More to come..... : )

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

yada yada

Armed with photographs of myself with different length hairstyles-(my beautician is still laughing at me about this!)-I went to get "beautified" yesterday. 

Should I let my haircontinue to grow longer or cut it short again?  Should I go lighter with the color or deepen the brown color for the winter months? Yada, yada, yada....decisions, decisions, decisions!

After much discussion (and a little trepidation) we agreed on what was to be done.  At this point I needed to just sit back and let my beautician work her magic.

And, she did.

In fact, I like it so much that I might take a picture of it to show her at my next appointment!
Thanks for putting up with me, Caroline! : )
Today was dermatologist day.  I had my yearly body scan done and all was well.....however, she put me on another antibiotic for my cuticle cut in that it still hasn't completely healed.  Aack.  This will be the third new medicine this month for this "simple" little cut. 

Take my word of not ever clip your cuticles...just gently push them back.

....wish I had known.
Interestingly, I was talking to a male friend today and mentioned having to go to the dermatologist.

"Why?" he asked.

"For a complete body scan.  I do it every year." I answered.

"Really?" he said.

"Don't you?" I queried.

"Nope" was his reply.

And, that, my female friends is why women live longer than men!
I have still not begun my packing for my Saturday morning trip.  I wish that someone else would do it for me. I don't know why I struggle with this every time I go away.

If I was really rich, I would pay someone to be my "packer".
 : )
One of the (many) reasons that I so dislike taking antibiotics is that you have to take them with food.  Just to be safe I eat as much as I possibly can before downing my pill.

I ought to be up about 10 pounds before the end of the week.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Walking through Target today, I watched a little boy staring at a big, toy truck...

It was shiny and new and was carrying about twenty small matchbox cars in the back.

He looked up at his mom and said: "Can I get this, Mom?"

"Oh no", she said, "Christmas is just a few weeks away and we need to wait and see what Santa brings you."

Not giving up, the little boy then said that he had saved some quarters and could maybe use them.  "I have ten quarters!" he proudly said.

"Well, it would take about 100 quarters to buy this truck, " she answered with a grin.

"Oh, wow!" he said....disappointed but absolutely amazed at the enormity of the cost of this wonderful truck. 

I smiled knowingly at the mom as I walked away to continue my shopping.

I have a strong suspicion that Santa will be delivering that very same truck to the little boy's home on Christmas morning... 

Cold day in Birmingham today....and it will be an even colder morning tomorrow starting out at 25 degrees and warming into the 40's.  I have to admit.....I LOVE everything about the cold weather!

I do feel a bit guilty saying that since the high today in Minneapolis... (where son and daughter-in-law live) according to the newspaper's weather map... was 7 degrees with snow on the ground.


I have now Skyped with both kids as they lit the Chanukah candles in their own homes.  I then watched them open a couple of their gifts from me.

It was nice to be able to observe a little of  their celebration of the holiday.  Not quite as good as being there in person....but, fun, nonetheless. I am grateful that my kids took the time to share the grandkiddos with Grammie!
Thanks, All!
:  )

Friday, December 03, 2010

I was crazy enough to go to a mall today....

What was I thinking?

I sat in traffic for half of the time....and looked for a parking space the other half.

Ah, the holidays.....

I made potato pancakes (latkes) tonight for me and Dave in honor of Chanukah. 

They were pretty good so he saved two for his morning breakfast before golf.  As my non-Jewish boyfriend put it when he saw the look on my face: "They are just like hash browns, aren't they?"

"Sure, I said, knowing that he was absolutely right...but, holding on to the fact that when they are made at Chanukah time, they are 'latkes', not hash browns.

I pick my "battles". : )

So, my newest favorite toys are the "Singamajigs".

If you haven't seen these adorable dolls, they are supposedly the "hottest new thing" this year!

They are singing thingamajigs, for lack of a better name.  You press the hand and it says "hello" it two more times and it says "sing".  You then press the belly and they each sing a different song.  This red one sings "Oh, where, Oh where has my little dog gone...." If you have a group of them, they can harmonize.

Very clever.  Very much fun.  I bought one for each of the older grandkids.....but,  I am having so much fun with it....that I may not even give it away as a gift!

My son, Adam, called me today on his way home from work.  It was about an hour earlier than he usually makes the drive home.  When I asked him why he was leaving so early, he answered: "Because we have blizzard conditions coming our way."

Winter in Minnesota.

As I said good bye to my very old, hardly functioning washer and dryer the other day....I headed to Sears to take advantage of their appliance sales and see what I could find.

A very nice gentleman helped me and spent quite a bit of time with me explaining the differences in these new front loading machines.

I took notes and then headed home to do my research.

I pretty much had made my decision when I called the gentleman back the next day.  I wanted to know if I could use my Visa card to purchase my new washer and dryer so that I could get mileage for airplane tickets.

Unfortunately, he was not able to do this transaction over the, I had two options-buy it online and use my Visa, or, head back to the store (not close by) and take care of it there in person.  If I did it online, he would not get any credit for the sale....but, if I did it online, I wouldn't have to get out and drive down there again.  If I went down in person, he would get the commission.

Trying to have a holiday spirit, I decided to go back down to the Mall and do the transaction in person.  He was so appreciative....and, I felt good having done it.

In the mail today I received the loveliest note from the salesman thanking me for going out of my way.  He went on and on and said how much it meant to him, especially right now during the holiday season.  I could really feel the appreciation in his words. It was such a nice thing for him to take the time to do.

Ah....Life's simple pleasures.
A week from tomorrow I will be winging my way to Baltimore and then on to Maryland to spend 9 days with Celia and Dylan.


: )

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Time to get back to work!

Dave and I have finished my new 37"high work table for my pottery and, I love it!

I had been working on low folding tables forever and, after seeing the table that my bro-in-law made for my sister, we decided to tackle one ourselves.  It will enable me to sit higher up and even stand when needed without bending over.  It will be a huge improvement for me and I can't wait to start using it!

It started out with heavy duty shelving units placed side by side.  I can always put more shelves for storage underneath, but, for now, I would rather have the leg room. Then a wooden "lid" was made to fit snugly over the shelving unit by using two by fours underneath.  The top was then coated with a natural decking stain so that the clay's moisture wouldn't adversely affect the wood.

The great thing about it is that it can easily be moved because the top can lift right off leaving pieces of shelving below.  So, even though it is quite heavy and very steady, it is mobile.

As soon as I can find a great work stool, I won't have any more excuses for not getting my hands back into the clay!

:  )

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

As the sun goes down tonight.....the candles on the menorah will be lit....

Tonight is the first night of Hanukah (or Chanukah, or Hanukkah!).

It is a holiday that feels a little bittersweet to me.  I miss seeing the candle's light sparkling in my son's eyes when they were younger.  I miss the excitement they got when they each opened one gift a night for eight nights.  I miss making a huge batch of  latkes (potato pancakes) for the family that would be devoured almost as quickly as I could get them out of the pan.  Salted and crispy, we would put a dollop of sour cream or applesauce on top of each one.

Tonight, both of  my grown-up boys will be lighting the candles on their own menorah's and celebrating the holiday with their children in Minnesota and Maryland.  They will see the candle's glow reflected in Owen, Audrey, Celia and Dylan's beautiful faces. Presents will be opened and joy will abound.

This is as it should be.  It is now their turn to make their own wonderful family memories at Hanukah time.

As for me, I will light the first candle on my menorah and say the prayer quietly to myself.  After dinner, I may get out some old videos of my boys and watch the joyous memories that I have from those days years ago...and, laugh at how young we all looked back then. 

I will smile as I look back....and feel fulfilled as I look ahead....knowing that the circle of life is alive and well in my family. 

Happy Hanukah my dear children....I love you all,