Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twists and Turns in Life

This last year has been one of the most joyous and at the same time painful for my husband and I.  We celebrated the birth of our first grandchild and welcomed a new daughter-in-love (law) into our family.  Our family grew by two and we could not be happier! We feel so blessed to have Bradley and Jessica in our lives. :)  Sadly, while we were adding to our own family, we also witnessed families being ripped apart due to many reasons, all of them heartbreaking.  The stress of some situations seemed overwhelming at times and it caused us to question and reevaluate our prioroties and even some relationships.  The silver lining though is that throughout these twists and turns,  our kids, my husband and I have grown even closer and have realized that no matter what, we will always be there for one another.  

We have learned to hold our plans loosely because things have a way of always changing.  Some for them good and even great and others...not so much.  Speaking of holding plans loosely, today we had planned on a family game night with our kids.  It has become a tradition to get together with our own kids and our hanai kids when as many of them as possible are home for the holidays.  We were looking forward to it and I had everything planned and food bought...then came the twist and turn...Jeff stumbled in this morning from work with the flu.  Poor guy is feeling simply awful, body aches, headache, sore throat, fever.  He got up for about half an hour and kept falling asleep on the couch.  He is now back in bed and I'm sure started snoring as soon as his head hit the pillow.  I called the kids and let them know what was up and told them they might want to make other plans for New Year's Eve since we were supposed to have our grandson here for a sleepover.  I don't want them or baby to get sick.  Better to err on the safe side and not expose anyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lessons Learned from Christmas 2012

Now that Christmas 2012 has come and gone I thought I would make a list of lessons learned.

1.  Never look a gift fish in the face. (White Elephant Gift Exchange) ;)
2.  Keep Pepto Bismal in hand at all times...all that rich food can cause quite the problem.
3.  The best gifts come in small packages!
4.  New jammies and house slippers are a must.
5.  Always have the guest bedroom ready for one of the hanai kids to stay in. :)
6.  Next year take time for naps...lots and lots of naps.
7.  Hold your plans loosely and go with the flow.
8.  Always make time to watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" just would not be Christmas without it. :D
9.  Plan on having a house full of friends and family at any given moment and have snacks ready. (Luckily I always have snacks on hand)
10.  Snow on Christmas makes it all the more magical!
11.  Christmas baths in Grammie's big deep bathtub are made more fun for Bradley with measuring cups to play with.
12.  Expect to run into a few Grinches along the way.
13.  Enjoy the pretty tree with the delicate ornaments this year because next year we will have to do all the unbreakables since it is just too tempting for little hands.
14.  Count your blessings and tell those that you love how much they mean to you.
15.   Pencil in a few days to just collapse and rest after all the festivities!         

Santa Baby

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Life is Busy

Dear Blog,
   I am sorry that I have been neglecting you.  It's nothing that you have done...honest. It's me.  Life has been busy.  Between work, the Holiday Season, trying to spend as much time as possible with my children, grandson and hubby and a few other matters that have needed my attention, I have not been able to give you the attention you deserve.  I am sorry and hope to have more time to spend with you soon.  Please forgive me. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cherishing My School Kiddos

This morning the unthinkable happened.  Many lost their lives at an Elementary school in Connecticut.  A clearly troubled young man not only took his own life but the lives of many others...most of them precious children ranging in age from 6-7 years old.  In his pain and anger, he inflicted the greatest damage and the most gut wrenching pain possible, on the most vulnerable people, little children.  Families are shattered, innocence for all the survivors of this tragedy is lost forever, and emergency responders will forever be haunted by what they saw. 

As all this unfolded this morning on the news, I was getting ready to go substitute teach at our local school where the staff and the kids are all people that I care deeply for and love.  Shocked and dumfounded by what I was seeing and hearing, I just could not comprehend the "why" of the taking of innocent lives, especially of the children.  For a brief moment, I was fearful...fearful of going to work.  I realized that this tragedy could occur at any school, at any time.  And then I thought of the kids, my beloved kids at the school I work at.  Every single one of them so precious and I cried.  The thought of losing even one of them like that is unfathomable, must less twenty.  I knew at that moment that I NEEDED to be with those kids, my kids.  I needed to hug them, tell them how precious and awesome they are all and how much I love them.  I teach in a very small school district so I know these kids well and have spent years with them, I have even taught some of their parents, aunts and uncles.  The staff there treats me as one of their own and to be honest, I feel like I am.  I cannot imagine losing any of them.

Today I took just a bit of extra time to really look at each of the children and to appreciate their individual uniqueness.  I was greeted upon my arrival with hugs from the kids and given more in the halls from children from other classrooms. I made sure to tell the kids how wonderful and awesome they all are and how much I love being with them.  I was so thankful that they were being protected from knowing the terror of what had happenedYes, we are a close knit group, like a family and we take care of one another.    

Being a teacher is in my blood, it brings me great joy to encourage kids and help them learn.  I never want to live in fear of doing what I feel I am called to do in life.  If I do, then the evil that happened today wins and I will not allow that.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Nine Months Old!

Photo: Why play in the seat when you could play under it? Lol

Why play in your toy when you can make a cool fort under it and your ball can't run away! ;)  

Happy nine month birthday to our grandson Bradley!

Bradley continues to entertain us with all his new accomplishments within the last month.  He can now crawl and walk around things if he is holding onto something.  He has also mastered the art of holding onto the edge of the dining room table and hanging by his fingertips from it.  His mom and dad had to rearrange things in the house and put the entertainment center in another room because clearing it out of all the dvds and things just became too tempting for our little guy.  He has learned how to turn up the volume on the radio and likes it LOUD...poor Mommy has to keep turning it back down. ;)  Being the smart kiddo that he is, he has figured out that going to the doctor usually involves being stripped down to be measured (he does not like being cold) and/or getting a shot and voices his displeasure at this and tries to climb right over Mommy to escape.  Bradley is also learning that playing with other people is fun and is exploring the world with more and more confidence while keeping a watchful eye on those people that he loves and make him feel secure.

We are so thankful that we live close enough to be able to spend lots and lots of time with our little grandson and get to experience the world through his eyes.  These past nine months have gone so quickly and have been filled with so many changes for our Bradley and for us.  Thank you Bradley for keeping Grammie and G-pa entertained and for all the love and delight that you bring into our lives.  We love you more than words could ever express!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Maybe I'm Just Getting Old and Christmas Memories

Maybe I'm just getting old...I find myself looking back on things more and more these days.  Little things, like a certain Christmas ornament, trigger memories of my father putting up an identical ornament to the one I have now hanging on my tree.  I remember him putting the delicate Christmas ornaments up at the very top of the tree where little hands could not get ahold of them and break them.  The Christmas angel at the very top of my tree was given to me by my dear mother-in-law.  Looking at it takes me back to Christmas Eve 29 years ago to the first time I met her and my father-in-law.  I can clearly remember not only the love they showed me but the gifts they gave me and what my father-in-law ordered for dinner when we went out after the beautiful Christmas Eve service.  Baking Cranberry Orange Bread takes me right back to my mother's kitchen where she would turn out loaf after loaf of this wonderful Christmas time treat to give as gifts and for us to enjoy.  I decided to continue this tradition with our friends and family many years ago and found a recipe for it in an old cookbook. Mine tasted a bit different than my mom's and when I asked her about it she told me she used Bisquick to make hers. :)  No wonder it tasted different.  To be honest, mine tastes better. ;)  Sorry Mom. :)

Maybe becoming a grandmother this year has triggered so many wonderful memories of my own grandmothers and my great grandmother (Tutu). I used to look at my grandparents and think they were old.  Then I looked at my mom when she became a grandmother for the first time to my children and was amazed to realize how young she really was and looked.  The day I became a grandmother I was overwhelmed with love for our Bradley but confused when I looked in the mirror and didn't see "Grandma" staring back at me. ;) Memories of my dear Tutu and her delight in getting to spend some time with her great grandchildren come flooding back.  I only wish my Grandma could have had that same pleasure and am so thankful that my Grambunny, Grandma Hazel, mom and mother-in-law have. 

I guess Christmas is a time for nostalgia, of remembering the past.  The memories we hold dear of happy times spent with friends and family.  For me that includes our hanai Auntie Joyce and Uncle Lorne along with my "brothers" Glenn and Drew who spent Christmas with us every year.  It was not Christmas in my mind until they arrived from California.  The atmosphere always changed to one of laughter, love and fun once they arrived and all the stresses in the world seemed to melt away.  Sadly we have now lost my Uncle Lorne and Auntie Joyce but some of my fondest  memories of them will always be of doing the Hokie Pokie with my Uncle Lorne to ring in the New Year and my Auntie Joyce's infectious laughter.  I will forever be grateful for those wonderful times and so thankful that my husband and children got to know and love them like I do.

This year I am looking forward to adding new memories that one day I will look back on.  Our first Christmas of being grandparents is yet another milestone in our lives.  My husband and I have been having so much fun picking out just the right gifts for our grandson and starting to build traditions and memories with him. We are looking forward to spending some time of Christmas Eve with my mother-in-law and father-in-law just like we have done since our boys were little but this time we have Bradley.  It will be wonderful to have those memories of Bradley with one set of his great grandparents to look back upon one day.  Christmas day Bradley will have both sets of grandparents, along with at least 1 uncle and possibly a set of great grandparents and another aunt, uncle and cousins to celebrate with.  I am going to take it all in, gets lots and lots of pictures and finally get to experience first hand what my grandmother, mother  and mother-in-law have...the joy of watching your grandchild at Christmas.