Grandma’s Journal

Going outside with the kids is one of my favorite activities. Not long ago I posted on how Eric figured out by himself how to get up the hill that is our front yard. (the downward dog walk) So, today, he was working on going down the hill. He’s figured out that if he just does a reverse “commando crawl” that works a lot better for going down the hill than the stand up, lose your balance and roll down method. He tires easily of any kind of hill climbing and ends up just studying leaves, acorns and rocks within reach of where he is sitting. When he got tired of sitting he just used the regular crawl to get to either me or Bob, grabbed our pants legs and waited for us to pick him up! Being carried when you are tired is the best way of all!

Grandma’s Journal

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I can’t imagine many things being better than to discover the world through the eyes of very small children. Bob and I took Norah and Eric for a ride in their wagon this morning. I absolutely love it when Norah says, “Do you hear that? The birds are chirping.” Or that the dogs are barking or asks if we see the cars and the big truck. She will point things out in the yards of neighbors. After we got back from our walk/ride we took our usual walk to the front yard where Norah loves to explore. Soon it was lunch time and as we began our journey toward the door, Norah and I stopped to look up at the trees and searched for the birds and squirrels that were hiding. It was so cool to watch her as she heard all the different bird sounds and she whispers, “Shh..what’s that? Did you hear that, Grandma?” I love watching her explore and discover.

Grandma’s Journal

Our front yard is a hill. It’s great in winter for sledding when we have snow. But, when you are brand new to walking and are just a few days short of your first birthday, that hill must seem like a mountain. Eric’s “I do it” spirit clearly was shining as he shook his hands free from mine, as I tried to offer assistance getting up the hill. He’d take a step or two, lose his balance, plop down and got back up again just to repeat the process. After a slight struggle, he finally figured out that a sort of walking “downward dog” worked pretty well to get up the hill by himself! (but grandma stayed close behind to prevent any sort of Jack/Jill effect of tumbling down the hill)

Grandma’s Journal

I like to switch our routine around once in a while.  We’ve been going outside to have a snack at the kids’ outdoor picnic table and then they play with the outdoor toys, we walk around the yard and garden and then it is time for lunch and a nap.  Today we changed it up a bit and they got to have their picnic snack on the floor of the living room while we did flannel board songs and stories.  Then it was lunch and nap time.  After naps we can go outside.  It will be a little warmer by then–was just a little chilly this morning.

I love to see Norah participate in singing/reciting the songs/stories/poems.  She puts the figures on the flannel board herself and tells me which ones she would like to hear–which is just fine.  I love it.  But, I also love to see Eric participate a bit more than when we first sat down with the flannel board.  Now he likes to grab all the figures off the board, but he’s a lot more interested in sitting with us and I love that, too.

He claps his hands now too!  I’ve been showing him how when we do “Pat a cake.”  But just the other day he started to clap his hands on his own!  He’s also walking now, too, did I tell you that?  He started walking about 2 weeks ago and now he’s tried to run a couple of time but that doesn’t go so well and he either crawls or just walks.

And, speaking of nap time–love it when both kids are napping at the same time!

We are not wealthy, but we are so rich…

Wow!  How did it get to be November already??  Holy cow, I feel like I blinked twice at the end of  August and here it is November already.  At least I have started my Christmas shopping.  It has been a very memorable fall, that is for sure.  We have a lot to be thankful for and will have a very special holiday season this year.

First, I was shocked and saddened to learn that a friend and former boss was one of the victims in the Navy Yard shooting.  He was a wonderful man and will be missed.  As the shock of my friend losing his life so suddenly and violently began to ease off just a bit, I looked forward to a happier occasion, the birth of our 2nd grandchild.

Well, our little grandson decided to make a grand entrance.  It started with an ambulance ride.  After a normal labor and delivery, the little guy arrived at 2:47 a.m. but after just a few seconds, the nurse realized something was very wrong.  His color was not as it should be; she said his bloodstream was not getting the oxygen it was supposed to be.

At 5 hours old, he was flown by helicopter to George Washington University Hospital for expert care.  After stabilizing him, the doctors at Georgetown decided he needed to be sent to Children’s National Medical Center.  Finally, we had a diagnosis.  He was born with a heart defect where the main arteries in his heart were criss-crossed and the oxygenated blood only flowed between his heart and lungs, not into the rest of his body.  The good news was that it was fixable with open-heart surgery.  And, he would only require the one surgery.

So, after keeping him stable for a few days, he had open-heart surgery at the ripe old age of 6 days.  Two big things were in his favor:  he was full-term when he was born and he was 8 pounds at birth.  The little guy is a trooper, that’s for sure.  He came through the surgery just fine and continued to improve every day.  He never took a step back–just kept on progressing forward.  He spent three weeks at the hospital and while he was there, I was able to step in and care for our 18 month-old granddaughter for 3 weeks.  I took her to daycare and fixed her meals and stayed over night with her at the house.  Our daughter and son-in-law came home every few days to spend some time with their daughter and then went right back up to the hospital to be with their son.

He had to have a speech therapist come in to teach him how to suck from a bottle because he had been on an IV and then a feeding tube and didn’t know how to drink from a bottle.  But, no matter what they put him through, he got through it and kept going forward.

What a special homecoming it was on the day our daughter and son-n-law pulled into the driveway with our grandson.  It was so good to have him home and to have their whole family all together in the same house.

Our little grandson is now a month old and he is doing so well.  He is absolutely adorable!

Years ago, I adopted an “attitude of gratitude.”  But, I have never felt so grateful as I do this year.  My heart goes out to my friend’s family and  all families who have lost loved ones this year.  No matter how they died, they will be missed by their families.   My Mom passed away just before the holiday season 3 years ago, and I know how hard it is to be without your loved ones.  The holidays and other special occasions are especially hard to get through.  I wish them all peace and comfort as they remember all the good times they had with their loved ones.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I feel so blessed and have so much to be thankful for this holiday season.  What  a special Christmas gift we all have been given this year.
























Why I love to be up at 5:00 in the morning on weekends

On weekends, I love the early part of the day between 5 a.m. and maybe 8 a.m. or so.  Before we humans start in on our necessary but noisy activities.    It’s quiet out here where we live.  The main road is walking distance to us and we can hear the car noises, but yet, it can still be very quiet and peaceful here.  I can hear the birds chirping and singing and the squirrels with their sort of chattering that they do.  Most of the time, I am up at 5 a.m. on weekends because after more than 30 years of working and getting up early, my body just won’t let me sleep much later.  When I am awake at 5 on the weekends, I love to listen to the transition sounds, the start of the birds chirping and the tail end of the crickets and other night sounds.  There are certain things I love to do at this time of day such as baking fresh biscuits or cinnamon rolls. Or maybe just make a cup of tea and sit near a window to watch the sunrise and the animals start their day.  Sometimes that early part of the day is my only chance to read or work on a crochet project.   These are the things I wouldn’t do if I slept later.  I would scarcely notice the sunrise or animals because I would be into my day and I’d be rushing to get laundry started and while the washer was running I’d be straightening the house and trying to do a thousand things at once.  When I sleep later, usually after being up later the night before, I wake up in “late” mode and feel as if I need to dive right into housework and the “have to dos.”  When I get up early, it seems to set the tone for the rest of the day. I get all the housework done, but I don’t feel as though I’m in “late” mode and I’m more relaxed as I work through my “to do” list.  At the end of the day, I love to sit on the porch swing and watch the transition from day to night.  As it gets dark, I hear the cheerful chirping give way to the crickets and other night noises and soon my day will be done, too.

Garden Journal 2013

Wednesday-April 10, 2013–I spent 2 hours in the morning pulling old plants and weeds from the garden planting boxes.  I raked up all the leaves and in general I got the garden cleaned up and ready to plant.

Thursday–April 11, 2013–I spent about an hour and a half pulling up more weeds and sketching a diagram of the garden and planning what will be planted where.

Friday–April 12, 2013–In between rain showers, we spent at least 2 hours planting seeds and  plants.  We still have more to plant, but the bulk of it is done.  We need to plant some herbs  in the mini garden by the deck and plant some flowers and some more herbs in the flower pots.  Just as we finished putting the tools away and declared ourselves done for the day and went indoors, a nice soaking rain came along.  So, at least we know our seeds got a good drink.

I love gardening.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s the good kind of work that makes you feel good.  And of course the rewards of fresh herbs and veggies all summer makes the work worth it.  Last summer Bob built some beautiful planting boxes.  They are great.  Our garden grows much better in the boxes than when we used to plant the seeds straight into the clay soil.  He filled them with good dirt and our plants thrived and did so well in the boxes.  He also put a 6 foot fence around the garden to keep the deer out.  I love the deer–except when they were coming into our garden and enjoying the “all you can eat” salad bar.  We can’t keep the squirrels and birds out, but at least they leave us more veggies and herbs than the deer would leave us.

When we were pulling up the weeds this year, we also dug up a lot of acorns that the squirrels had planted for themselves.

Sorry squirrels, but it’s our garden!garden and summer 2012 026

Have a happy gardening seasoning, everyone!ImageImage