Monday, February 28, 2011

Seeing the magic in my grandchildren's eyes....

While in Minnesota last week, I couldn't help but see the world through Audrey and Owen's eyes.

It was quite magical....and, I liked it there.

After putting Audrey's hair up in two crazy pigtails, I saw her transform back into a little girl.  Five minutes earlier she had been dressed in a "princess dress" and a tiara.  She had picked up a wand and was no longer a little girl....but  full blown royalty.  Before long, she was playing a "mommy" as she strolled her babies around the living room. Later on, she would put on Owen's Buzz Lightyear outfit and I would see her running around "capturing" bad guys with her brother who was  dressed head to toe as Spiderman.

Some of my favorite moments were spent watching the two of them in independent play.  Audrey would "mother" her two "children" baby dolls as she was deep into pretend play.  She would talk to them and soothe them in her two year old "motherly" way. Sometimes she would even break out in song....or "read" a book to them. It was so sweet.

Owen is heavy into being a Super Hero and he plays this role very well.  He loved putting the full Spiderman mask on and gallivanting around playing the part of this character out to save the world. Ta dum!  He especially loved the little webs that had been sewn into the underarms of the outfit and told me that his super powers were contained within those webs.  Who was I to disagree?

Of course, just as easily, I would watch Owen grab his favorite stuffed animal (Moosey Toosey, for sure!), place it in one of the strollers....and, begin role playing as the caretaker parent.  Then he and Audrey would stroll their "babies" around and around without a care in the world.

Everything holds so much fascination to us as children.  Why do we have to lose that wonderful vision of a magical world as we grow older?

Maybe Peter Pan had it right when he sang, "I'll never grow up....":

                                                       " ... 'Cause growing up is awfuller
                                                Than all the awful things that ever were.
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,

No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!"

: )

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A long, but inspiring day.....

Today started with my participation in the "Ovarian Cancer Cycle Ride to Change the Future".  As I slowly pedaled on the stationary bicycle, I couldn't help but remember this time a year ago when my dear friend was in the midst of a difficult chemotherapy for her newly diagnosed ovarian cancer.  She was weak from the chemicals being infused into her body.....her hair was gone.....and she was full of fear for her future.

Today, she is a strong women who is trying to get the word out to others about ovarian cancer.  She sports a beautiful short haircut that frames her smiling face perfectly.  She is healthy and cancer free.

This disease was new to all of us in my circle of friends and it hit us hard.  During this last year and a half since the discovery of her cancer, we have all learned so much about this insidious disease.  Most importantly, we have learned of the dire need to educate the public about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

I am hopeful that this fund raising ride will help us find a way to detect ovarian cancer earlier and, even better....a possible that our children and grandchildren will not have to face this disease in their lifetime.
After my ride, I headed over to a funeral.  My friend's father had passed away at the age of 92.  Just four months earlier I was standing in the same area mourning the passing of this same friend's mother.

While it was such a sad time for the family, I saw how lucky they all were to have their kids and siblings there with them to remember this wonderful man. As I listened to the eulogies, I realized what a full and wonderful life this gentleman had lived and what a beautiful legacy he had left for the family that he left behind.

I was saddened, touched and inspired.

The circle of life in its truest form.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Returning home from my week away in Minnesota.....I never imagined what was waiting for me at home!

Walking into the house I immediately noticed a musty smell. Next came that "all too familiar" squish, squish sound of a soaking wet carpet...

"Not again!" I yelled this was reminiscent of my "Great Flood of 2010" ...and I didn't want to go through all of that mess again.

Unfortunately, as I headed upstairs I noticed that the hardwood floor in the great room was beginning to curl up and the tile floor in the kitchen was pretty much underwater!  Dave had picked me up from the airport and was with me as we investigated this source of water.  It turned out that the little tubing that goes from the water source to the back of my refrigerator (and feeds into the icemaker and cold water feature in the door) was leaking. 

Apparently, it was leaking most of the week that I was out of town and the house was empty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a mess to come home to.

So, the carpeting downstairs is, once again, ripped up.....the big (LOUD) blowers are going 24 hours a day....the dehumidifiers are taking out the extra moisture in the flooded areas.....and all I can do is just walk around shaking my head in bewilderment that this is happening again!

Monday morning, the crew will be here to remove all of the furniture that sits on the hardwood floors, which will then be ripped up....and replaced.  Then, the carpeting downstairs will be replaced (again).  We are hopeful that the kitchen tile will be okay and not need to be replaced....but, time will tell on that.

I can't wait to see my water bill this month....and, I can't even think about what my homeowner's insurance premiums are going to do.

Such is life when you are a homeowner...

(look familiar?!?)

Monday, February 21, 2011

This "Southern Gal" hasn't ever seen anything like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is still coming down pretty hard.......and, there isn't any sign of a road anymore........and, it is too dry to make a snowman.....I am guessing that we now have about 18 is quite cold......BUT, this snow is breathtakingly (sp?) beautiful....and this girl from the Deep South is enjoying every minute of it!!!!!

I went out for a walk in this fluffy, white stuff and found myself almost knee deep in the snow in some spots.
But, with camera in hand, I tried to capture some of the beauty of this Minnesota blizzard....and found it all very invigorating. 

I wish that the grandkids were up from their nap so that they could play with me in it!!  But, then again, this isn't really that exciting to them since it is a pretty common occurence around these parts.

But, for Grammie, it is a pretty incredible experience...  : )

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Minnes-OH-ta : )

In spite of some of the "craziness" here in Minnesota, I find it hard to wipe the huge smile from my face!  I am loving every single exhausting moment with Owen and Audrey! 

Our days are filled with such joy and, truth be told, when the grandkids are both in bed for the night, Mimi (the other grandma) and I share a glass (or two!) of wine and laugh and sigh.

Of course, the best laid plans are always open to not working out exactly as you would like....but, somehow in the end, it turns out to be just fine.  For example, we said our good-byes to Mommy and Daddy as they headed off to the airport...and, eventually, Cancun, Mexico.  They got their tickets upgraded, got comfy in their seats on the plane while anticipating ordering a couple of bloody mary's....dreaming of warm weather and the beach....until, the announcement came on telling then that this plane wasn't going anywhere due to some technical issues.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to get off until 6 a.m. the following which time blizzard conditions were expected (!!)....however, the snow held off for a few hours and they did make it out today!  I am picturing them on the lounge chairs now with a good book and a frozen drink in hand.

Back at the house, the kids were getting up from their naps when we noticed that Owen's cheeks were bright red and he seemed to be feeling a little punky.  A thermometer was stuck under his tongue and I gasped as I watch it go up to 102.8.  Since both of his parents were recently treated for strep throat....and, thinking of the impending storm....a decision was made to take him to a walk-in clinic and check out the situation.  Several hours later....the verdict was, yep, strep!  A prescription for an anti-biotic was filled and home we went...

So far, this was becoming an interesting trip...

Fast forward to today....Owen seems to be feeling better.....Audrey is her usual adorable self....we gave them a couple of our surprises that we had both brought for them---Owen, a Buzz Lightyear outfit (see above photo) and Audrey a doll that drinks and pees and even comes with its own commode.  Of course, we didn't realize it, but as soon as you feed the doll the immediately comes out the other end! 

So, there have been lots of giggles....lots of playtime....building tracks and racing the little cars, playing pretend, singing, dancing, silliness, trains, books, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

I have given up on not eating any chocolate as Mimi and I decided that we must have some M and M's as well as chocolate covered raisins in the house for when the blizzard hits.  And, talking about that, it is snowing quite heavily outside and several inches of snow are forecast for today and tomorrow.

All this.....and, it is only Sunday... :  )

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Tomorrow, you're always a day away...." Annie

This time tomorrow I will be hugging, kissing, smiling, and spoiling these two grandkids!!!!!!!!!! 

After an early flight to Chicago and then Minneapolis, I will meet up with my partner in crime, the other Grandma, "Mimi", who I love and we begin our babysitting adventure together!

The kids know us as "The Screaming Greemies" because we have a reputation for expressing our joy, etc. by throwing up our arms and screaming together.  Thus the combination of "Grammie" and "Mimi" became "Greemie"... the name stuck....and, we love it. 

When Owen was first born we made our debut by singing a song of sorts to him.  The lyrics were quite brilliant (ha) as it went something like: "He poops he pees, he hears he sees....that's Owen...Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Owen."  The song was then followed with both of us laughing so hard that tears filled our eyes.  I can even remember that Mimi wasn't getting the words quite right and sang: "He poops, he peeps...." which totally put me over the edge as I became hysterical thinking that she was talking about a bird....not our brand new grandson.

And, that was even before the wine drinking had begun!

Laughter and silliness will abound as we enjoy our grandchildren together all next week....we always have so much fun....AND, it is so nice sharing the exhausting days with "someone my own age"! ha ha

One forgets how all consuming and exhausting watching two toddlers can be....especially two adorably energetic and high spirited toddlers!

Owen and Audrey have no idea what to expect when the "Greemies" come to town.

Watch out!  The Screaming Greemies are back..... 

....and, I, for one, cannot wait! :  )

(cups for coffee, tea....and, yes, even wine !)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Somebody's got to do it....

....pack my suitcase, that is.

I'm too tired to post tonight......mostly from figuring out what to take and pack as I get ready to head to Minnesota Friday (!) .............and, I can't lie......... from watching two full hours of American Idol...and loving all 120 minutes of it.

Again, I have gotten myself seriously hooked on that show.


g'night  :  )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

As Mom and I walked into the dining room at "The Home".....

...I could immediately spot her "men and Minna"!

These four men  have dinner with my 88 yr. old mom every night.  Rounding out the dinner "group" is 97 year old Minna, the only other female at the table.

None of them looked their age.  In fact, I was struck by what a nice-looking group this was and how spry they all looked!

After a couple of  not-so-easy years  getting used to living in "The Home" (Independent/Assisted Living facility), Mom has finally found her joy.....and, she owes a lot of it to this group of friends. They all seem to have really bonded together....and they adore my mom which thrills me to no end.

Not only do they eat together every night, but after dinner they sit and chat.  Sometimes, weather permitting, they will sit outside in the pleasant Florida night air....or else they spend time in the "lounge" that is right next to the dining room.  They enjoy this time together so much as it is filled, not only with great conversation, but lots of laughter....and, sometimes even a little singing. In fact, recently, one of the men has renewed his musical passion and has gotten together with two other harmonica players who have little impromtu concerts after dinner. They also enjoy going to the entertainment that "The Home" provides....musicians, comedians, speakers, etc.

And, after finding out that one of the men in the group was a good cook, they had a "private" dinner at Mom's condo one night where he prepared a delicious garlic pasta dish. Someone brought wine and Mom prepared a salad and dessert and they enjoyed a wonderful evening together....eating at tv tables (since Mom's one bedroom condo is quite small and without a dining area) while they savored this home-cooked meal.

So, you can imagine my delight in getting to spend time with these friends of Mom's while I was recently down in Florida last month.  I loved getting to know these remarkable people and hearing their stories.  They are quite a varied group made up of a retired dentist, a  furniture salesman, and, even a door to door "peddler" from long ago.  All had lost their spouses at one point and were now living and adapting on their own.  I watched their faces as they each spoke about themselves and saw their "younger faces" behind the signs of the aging that had taken place..... leaving creases and wrinkles behind.

Now it seems as if a stronger "friendship" has developed with Mom and one of her "men".  Lately, she sounds a bit like a teenager as she talks about what is going on at "The Home"...more specifically with this wonderful (I adored him when we met!) gentleman.  I am now learning what "strong friendship" means when one is 88 and one is nearing is more about companionship than anything else.....and, I have to tell you that my happiness and joy for both of them is unlike any emotion that I have ever felt.....and, I am smiling now as I look at this picture of Mom's beautiful, smiling face.    :  )

                                                                          XOXO Mom

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose......

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare

These magnificent roses were presented to me last night when Dave and I had our pre-Valentine's Day celebration dinner.  Aren't they gorgeous?! I love the fuscia pink color! I love the way they smell! I love how they brighten up the whole room!
Let's face it, I just love getting roses.

Since I am leaving Friday for Minneapolis, having them early will allow me time to enjoy them while I am still in town....and, enjoy them, I will.

"Don 't hurry. Don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So don't forget to stop and smell the roses." ~Walter Hagen

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feel the Hugs

Walking along the water duing the Susan Komen walk in S. Florida, we came upon this woman holding up this sign.

Some people stopped to hug her...some just looked her way and smiled and many took a picture of her, including me.

Ah, the power of words.

It is pretty amazing when you think about it.  The emotion that these three little words brought up was so warm and fuzzy.  I loved it!  Of course, I am a big advocate of hugs.  In my opinion a good hug can cure most ills.

So, go out and hug someone today!
Feel the hug LOVE.   :  )

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some things that I will NOT be packing as I head to Minnesota in a week...

1.) A bathing suit.
2.) flip flops
3.) sunscreen with spf 30
4.) sleeveless outfits
5.) straw hat

However, with the temperatures hovering in the teens, twenties, and below (brrr?), I will certainly pack:

1.) long undies
2.) warm gloves
3.) heavy coats
3.) flannel pj's
4.) a book on indoor activities to do with my grandkids
5.) boots

Yep, a week from today I will be going to babysit Owen and Audrey for a week up in Minnesota, or as I like to call it, visiting "The Tundra".  The other grandma and I will, thankfully, be doing this together. We will stay bundled up as we keep the kids occupied and dinners for them every night....reading stories....playing games.....and continuously playing with toys, toys, and more toys!  When we finally put them to bed, we will collapse in exhaustion as we sip our wine and eat popcorn because we will be too tired to cook anything for ourselves. I know, because we have done this before.

All of this while my son and daughter-in-law travel to warm and toasty Mexico where they will be sipping margaritas while lying by the pool....resting in hammocks and watching the sunset over the lovely resort where they will be staying. They will dine out and catch up on their sleep....etc. etc.

What's wrong with this picture?!?!?!

(Just kidding, Adam and Jenny....I truly can't wait to get those two kids in my arms and never let them go. You both deserve this well-earned break.  Thank you for trusting your moms with your most precious possessions!  Just make sure that your heater is working and that the wine is chilling! xoxo)

:  )

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I couldn't sleep last night.... I went from window to window to watch the beautiful snow flakes falling from the sky.

There is something so magical about turning on an outside light and seeing the sparkling reflection of the whiteness clinging to the tree limbs and coating the shrubs. In fact, there is something very spiritual to me about watching snow fall.

It took me back to a time many, many years ago....

I was a newlywed living in a fourth story apartment in Radcliffe, Kentucky.  Having been brought up in South Florida, snow was not something that I was accustomed, when it occasionally snowed there, I was mesmerized.

My memory is so vivid as I can still remember standing at the window, looking into the backyard of the apartment complex and watching the snow fall.  Tears would come to my eyes as I began to see the landscape completely covered in white. It was almost as though it could cover up any ugliness in the world.  There I was, a Florida girl, moved by the incredibly lovely snowfall.....crying joyful tears.

So, when snow was forecast here last night....I grabbed my camera and, in my  pajamas, I headed outside to capture the beauty. I don't think that the photos do it justice....but, here is some of what I saw:

It was worth every moment of sleeplessness.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Two bags filled with paper garbage and I am done with my taxes.....(sort of) !

Slowly getting my study back to normal (?) as I filled in my tax workbook as much as I could today.  I have a few million questions for my accountant....but, for the most part, the difficult things are finished!  Just in time to relax tonight and watch American Idol as the snow rolls into the Deep South.

Yes, the powers to be are saying that we should get about 1-2 inches (stop laughing you Northerners!) before daybreak tomorrow.

Here we go again! : )

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Day two of the great income tax paper chase...

That's all I can say. 5 o'clock I'm switching out that glass of water (top photo, upper left) for some wine.
:  )

Monday, February 07, 2011

Let the fun begin.....

It's that time of year again. 

Tax time!

No matter how hard I try, I am always faced with the daunting task of gathering papers and information from the year before.

Instead of doing it bit by bit as the year goes by (like Dave encourages me to!),  I put everything into a box all year long and then I go through it all - piece by piece....taking up to several days to do....

I brought another table up to my office to help me arrange it the room is now filled with paper, paper, and more paper.

One of these years I will try and get more organized.....

                                                                  .....but, until then....

                                                   : O

Sunday, February 06, 2011

oh well....

Here we are....5 o'clock...... heading to a Super Bowl party....all decked out in our Steeler's stuff....including the "terrible towel".

Lots of great food.....wonderful wine.....good friends.....great party!

But, it was not to be. 

The Steelers lost 25-31.  :  (

Better luck next season!

The "Big Day" is finally here!

Dave takes his football very seriously.

"6 more hours", he said today, with a bit of angst in his voice.

Dave has been doing a countdown to the big Super Bowl game today as his Pittsburgh Steelers will be facing the Green Bay Packers.

He even plays some of the team songs over and over (and over) again....especially the one that was adapted from a Lady Gaga song and has Steeler's pictures flashing up on the screen.  Now that I have heard it so often, I can't seem to get this catchy song out of my head!

Listen to it....if you dare....but, don't say that I didn't warn you!  : )

Oh, and GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Steel Defense" - In Acchord

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Hoda ....and, "The Donald"

While down in Florida, I had the honor of meeting Hoda Kotb.  Hoda is the co-host (with Kathy Lee Gifford) on the Today Show weekday mornings.
I enjoy her on tv....but, watching her as the Grand Marshall of the Susan G. Komen walk in West Palm Beach made me into a huge fan.  She is spirited and gracious with a true positive energy about her.  She doesn't act like the celebrity that she is and certainly doesn't put on any "airs".  What a delightful lady! 

And, if meeting Hoda wasn't enough for this "star-struck" Grammie, I also "bumped" into Donald Trump. (I'm quite the name dropper, aren't I?)  My sister took me to a meeting that was being held in Mar-A-Lago-- which is Donald Trump's home in West Palm Beach. What I saw of it was absolutely beautiful....especially the grounds.  Below is a picture that I took as we drove up the driveway to his home.
As we were walking to the meeting room, there he was coming right towards us.  I shook his hand and told him how handsome he was in person (which he actually was)!  I would have loved to have had a photo taken with him....but, with all of his "people" standing just didn't seem appropriate at the time.  But, it was still exciting seeing "The Donald" in person!

                                                                               :  )

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Pink! Pink! Pink!

Walking, celebrating, and remembering....a picture of my back during the walk.

Me and my sisters on the day of the Komen Walk

A small fraction of the hundreds of breast cancer survivors that marched onstage.  My sister is in the front middle waving at the crowd!

Mom in the middle of her girls!

The sisters decorated a "Tinkled Pink" Port-A-Potty ...

....and I purchased a pink bow....
both in honor of my sister, Karen.....celebrating her 11th year of survival as she
co-chaired the Susan G. Komen walk this year.
This walk saw about 25,000 people of all sizes, shapes, ages, etc. etc. join together
to walk, run, and raise money for breast cancer.