Monday, August 29, 2011

Wishes do come true

I spent alot of time over the last several months making wishes.  "I wish my pregnant daughter could be home so I could watch her grow".  "I wish I knew when the baby would come so I could be sure to be there".  "I wish these weeks would go fast so my daughter can bring the baby home to visit".  I wish it were the end of July so my daughter and granddaughter would be in my life every day". 
Currently it is the end of August and as I look down into the face of my three month old granddaughter and she smiles right back at me, I realize that my wishes have been coming true!  The days are here that I have longed for and I don't have to wish anymore!

I remember not so very long ago I would sit on the swing, drinking my morning coffee and wishing that I could spend my mornings holding my granddaughter and chatting with my son...and now I do!  I wished for Sunday dinners with the family all together I have them (almost...still waiting on daughter #2's return).  I am happy that I am now at the point that I can wake up in the morning and get a special little granddaughter arrives at 8am.  I get to feed her and play with her and make her smile each and every day.  Each day is a fresh start, waiting to see what she will do next.  Thank goodnesses that some wishes really do come true!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting ready for Irene

For the last few days our area has been in prep mode for Hurricane Irene, who is expected to make her grand entrance in our state some time Saturday evening.  We have had the weather channel on, local news updates, on the computer etc and they all have warned us of the impending danger.  There are pictures and graphs and warnings from the mayor.  One has to wonder, however, if this is going to be another case of incredible hype and little damage (a best case scenario) or if this could possibly be as bad as it seems it could be.  They are telling us to make sure we have food and water, cash on hand, food for the pets etc and be as prepared as possible for the fact that we could be without power for several days.  So what is one to do?  We have prepared for the worst and are hoping for the best.  There's not much else to do.  My husband has been shoring up our basement stairwell where we have had trouble with too much water and a too small drain causing minor flooding in our basement in the past.  We have put away all the toys and garden items, moved everything from the deck, cleared the gutters and gotten gas in the car. 

I think what makes me the most nervous is that my husband, notorious for waving a hand at my weather phobia and overprotectivness, is very concerned about this one.  He has made sure we have the supplies we need and has even asked if I wanted to take the boys and go spend tomorrow night in Frederick where we would be safe.  I am hoping he will be here to ride out the worst of the storm with us, but he works for the gas and electric company and is on call and I am thinking that he will probably be gone for most of the weekend and the days that follow.  The boys and I, and the dogs and cats, will ride out the wind and rain and hope that there is an angel on our shoulder and a protective field around our home.  We will pray for our family, friends and neighbors and hope that Irene dies down or moves out to sea and leaves everyone alone.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shake, Shake, Shake!

Today was quite normal, considering, up until it wasn't!  My great niece arrived early, as did my granddaughter, and the kids played together while the baby slept.  I got them all together around 10:30 and took them into my work, brought them home and then made lunch.  Something has to give here.  I've only been watching the baby for two days, but lunch time is a zoo.  Everyone is hungry at the same time and then someone is unhappy when I have to feed the other.  My normal routine used to be to feed Dakota, my six year old, and then put on a tv show I enjoy and take my lunch and a cold soda into the livingroom and give myself 30 minutes to regroup.  Little granddaughter doesn't think this is a great idea.  She has been sleeping all morning, has a full belly, and is wide awake.  She is not quite three months old so she can't really play or occupy herself, so I found myself eating lunch and, instead of watching Ghost Hunters or Supernanny, Natalie and I laid on the floor on her blanket and watched Baby Einstein. 

Around 1:50 the baby was asleep, the kids were playing, my teenage son was in his room and my husband and I were standing in the livingroom.  I had a friend on the phone.  There was a rumble and then our large tv started shaking and the remotes fell to the floor.  We were confused and my husband made a move toward the tv as the whole house started to shake!  I couldn't quite comprehend what was going on...this is Maryland, after all.  I looked at the outside wall and stupidly made a move to possibly hold it up? and my friend on the phone screamed that it was an earthquake!  My teen comes running through the house and out the door and stopped.  We all looked at one another in confusion.  The little ones were gathered around and one was amazed and one was crying and scared. The baby, of course, slept through it all.  Did we really just experience an earthquake here in Baltimore, Maryland?  We went outside and all the neighbors were out.  Everyone was a bit shaken, literally, and wondering if it really was an earthquake or if there was a plane crash or a bomb or???  I tried to call my daughter, who's baby I have, and my mother, but phone service was dead.  Pictures were askew on the wall and in the bedroom a few had fallen to the floor.  The kids were chattering about what happened and now everyone was starting to think that since we were all safe and there was no damage, it was pretty darned cool!  The news picked it up and it seems that there was a fairly large quake centered near Fredericksburg, Virginia and the ripple effect went all the way up the Eastern Seaboard to Canada!  There was a little damage in Baltimore, but the chaos was much worse.  Buildings were evacuated, libraries closed, people were in the streets.  Then everyone decided they needed to get home and the streets emptied of people and became jammed with cars.  The subway was down, the public transportation backed up and the highways in a gridlock.  Incredible!  And of course, the news played it all over and over and over.  Washington DC and New York felt it as well, and I can only imagine the momentary terror they must have felt after all they have been through in the past. 

Football was cancelled for my husband and older son tonight and my younger son's baseball practice would have taken us on the dreaded clogged highway, so we decided to have a nice family night together.  We had dinner, laughed and joked, the guys played a video game tournament and then we took the dogs and all went for a walk..well, my husband and younger son and I went for a walk and my teenager walked the dogs in the other direction.  I was told there might be girls to pick up along the way, so he couldn't bee seen with us.  Sigh.  Now everyone is back, clean and fresh and ready for bed.  Now we can all say that we have lived through a real, true earthquake!  Amazing!  Next in line for us looks like it will be a Category 1 hurricane this weekend.  I hope we fare as well during that one. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baby Belly Laughs

  You can't help but laugh when twelve week old Natalie discovers the giggles hidden inside.  It's her very first belly laugh and I'll always be grateful that the camera was nearby!

Wow! What a Day!

I am, by nature, a busy person and I tend to pack each day full of activity.  I usually am quite confident that I can handle what I line up, but last night I lost sleep because I was squeezing so much into the day that I wasn't at all confident that I would actually be able to pull it off! 

At 8am my little granddaughter, Natalie, came to her Nana's house for the first of many days together as her mommy goes back to work.  My daughter was very torn at leaving her baby all day for the first time and my heart went out to her.  At least she knows she is leaving her with someone who loves her almost as much as her mommy does!  I also had another "daycamper" return today for one last hurrah before Anne Arundel County Schools return tomorrow. 

Natalie played with her Poppy and I, gracing us with gummy smiles and silly faces until about 8:30 before falling asleep in her swing.  My son and his buddy were playing and I started to get ready for my homeschool cooperative meeting that I had planned for here at the house at 10am.  My husband was so very sweet to take the day off and do the lawn and make the yard presentable for my guests since the rain made that impossible yesterday and my older son ran some errands and schlepped out a few chairs and a cooler for me.  Ten familes and about 20 children arrived right on time and, while the kids played tag, wrestled, played on the playground in our yard and sat on blankets and colored or built with block, the adults nailed out the final details for the classes we will be teaching and attending with our children in a few short weeks.  I realized again how lucky I am to have found these wonderful ladies and I am looking forward to them being a weekly staple in my life.  They are all devoted parents and warm individuals and they are a definite bonus to my day!

My biggest challenge came about 12:30, just as the last of our guests left.  Natalie woke up and needed to be fed, the boys and my husband were also starving and my boss was calling to have an emergency report dictated.  I took a deep breath, appeased the boss, fed the baby and finally got the hungry boys and men in the house taken care of.  After that, the baby played for awhile and that sweet little darling napped again from 2 to 5:30!!  I know that this was an exception for her and not the rule, but today was sure a good day for it.  I spent the afternoon cleaning up the outside, edging the lawn and breaking up scuffles between the two young boys. 

My husband and older son left for football practice at 2:00 and one my oldest and dearest friends came over at 4:00 for conversation and dinner.  It's so nice to be able to sit down and unwind with someone who has known you since you were eight years old and has been there through it all ever since.  You don't have to fill her in or give many details...she already knows and she still loves you!  I enjoyed every minute of our night, especially watching her play with my granddaughter.  She has a granddaughter of her own, as well.  I wonder how that happened :-)  Weren't we just preteens eating oreos and drinking Kool-Aid, watching Tom and Jerry at my Dad's house?  How in the world can we be grandmoms??? LOL

Well, here it is almost 11pm.  I am still working on my PCA files.  I'm exhausted and have my granddaughter and my great niece coming early tomorrow morning.  I guess I'd better get back to business.  Today was a full one, but I need not have worried.  I squeezed alot in, but I accomplished alot to, and tomorrow is another day! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Frustration Tolerance

 I have been doing alot of thinking lately over some long nights where frustration was high and sleep was fleeting.  It is very true what people say about women reaching a certain age and deciding they are done putting up with the B.S.  I think that age is 46 for me. Some things have not changed.  I am a mother to two grown daughters, one son, almost grown, one very young son and now a grandmother to one beautiful little girl.  I homeschool.  I work from home.  I live for my family, home and friends.  My passions are education and children.  I give my heart completely.  I live by the book, thrive on routine and don't like changes. 

So why, all of a sudden, do I feel so different.  I used to take the crap and roll with the punches.  When life happened to me, people would say "how do you tolerate that?" and I would just shrug and feel like it just WAS so I had to deal.  Lately, though, I don't want to just DEAL.  I don't want to let life just happen to me.  I don't want to live two different lives, one from December to June and one from July to November.  I don't want to deal with the BS.  I don't want to feel helpless because family members problems are happening to ME and they are making choices that are affecting my life in a negative way. I don't want to be responsible for wayward pets.  I don't want to be a single parent and a lonely' wife during football season.  I don't want to wonder just who I will be dealing with today when I look into the eyes of someone I love. 

Ask anyone....I will do anything and everything for my family.  Anything.  All I ask in return is to be loved back and appreciated.  When I feel used instead of appreciated, though, that's when things go south.  I don't like looking into my future and feeling frustrated and trapped.  I don't like having to put up with things that hurt me because I don't have any other choice.  I don't like it and I want to lay on the floor and stamp and scream at the injustice of it all.  My heart feels like it's hardening around the edges.  The things I want and the things I don't want seem to be heading for opposite poles.  I feel as if I am starting to define what I want and need separate from what they want and need and that's a bad thing, because my devotion will keep me in a place that sometimes is painful for me to be in. 

Sigh.  That's why I love cats lol.  While I moan, groan and complain about all the "whoa is me" in my life, my kitty sits beside me, one little paw outstretched to touch my hand, purring loudly and looking at me like I am THE very best thing since catnip. 

Okay.  Enough.  Time to go and watch my son in what will be the last of thirteen seasons for him on the football field.  God, protect my boy this season, as you have in the past twelve seasons.  Grant him some great moments to remember.  Give him teammates who are loyal.  Give him memories that will last forever.  Keep him safe, Lord.  He is my soulmate and the one I look to in this world when I need total acceptance.  I love my Boys Of Fall.  Go Cavs!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Party, Party, Party

Today was the last day of daycamp  here and some of Koda's friends are heading back to school next week, so we decided to have an early birthday party for Dakota at Chuck E. Cheese to make sure we could include everyone and avoid the back to school and Labor Day rush.  He was up and ready to go at 6:30am...very excited about his day!  We arrived at 10 for the party and our friends joined us, including Kris and Natalie and even Daddy for a little while.  It was hectic at first until everyone got there and the tokens were distributed and the greetings were done, but after that the kids played, the adults chatted and I got to relax and enjoy everyone and show off my granddaughter a bit.  I realized again that I am very fortunate to have a good circle of friends now.  That wasn't so for a very long time and I was lonely, but now there are women I can turn to and chat with, including my own daughter. 

The kids were very wound up by the time we packed up to leave and after I piled all of them in the car I realized I left my keys inside.  Then the hubby called me to ask me to stop at the store for him....."but I have four kids with me" I said.  He was not impressed.  So off we went to Office Depot, where the kids touched what they shouldn't and made faces in the security camera.  I made a hasty retreat and got them home!! 

A few hectic hours all the daycamp kids went home for the last time this summer and now Dakota and I are left to do our own quiet thing and relax.  He's doing a Lego kit he got for his birthday and he's almost got it done.  Looking forward to seeing the finished creation!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting to Know Natalie

In the past few day that I have spent with my granddaughter, officially twelve weeks old today, she has started to recognie me and to play silly games.  When she looks at me now, I can see the recognition. 
"Oh hey!  There's Nana!  I know her!" she seems to be saying.  I'm usually graced with a big, gummy smile and she follows me with her eyes, watching to see what I will do.  I even got her to laugh out loud for the first time on Monday.  It wasn't a belly laugh, by far, but a sweet little breathy giggle that melted my heart.  Today when she came to visit, I sat her on my lap, or she stood on my belly, and we played the "stick your tongue out" game.  I do it.  She grins and tries.  I do it again and she manages to poke the tip of hers out and grins again.  I do it once more and she gets the whole darned tongue right out there.  She sparkles, knowing she is doing something wonderful.  She coos more and she seems more entertained by the goofy grandmom things I do for her.  What a joy to be able to be with her everyday now and watch as she grows.  She's filled out nicely and is a little "tubby, tubby" as her mommy calls her.  She has rolls on her legs and a few chins.  Her hair is reddish brown and fine, but she has alot of it.  Her eyes are an incredible shade of blue and she loses me in them when I rock her and she stares at me.  I don't know what I would do if I had to send her away again now.  I am thankful every day that she is here for good and I count my lucky stars that I didn't miss too much!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Roots and Wings

I have always believed in the saying "you give your child roots to grow and wings to fly".  I know that I have given my children deep roots.  I have nurtured them and watched them grow, tending to their needs, giving them extra tlc when they needed it...and now three of them are grown.  The roots are deep and they are healthy and strong.  My kids know that they are my world and that their dad and I are always, always there for them.  The wings that's a little harder.  My girls are women now.  That in itself is often hard to believe.  They have tested the waters, leaving for a few months here and there to try out their independence, but they didn't go very far.  Things were about to change, however.    One flew away to North Carolina just after she got married and feathered her nest and then hatched her own little chick.  She was gone for fifteen months, but thankfully she flew home two weeks ago.  It is a joy to have her around again and double the joy to now have a granddaughter to spoil.  All was right with the world for two solid weeks...

Today, my baby girl flew away to Memphis, Tennessee.  She has always been close to home and had actually made her way for about a year with a young man she had hoped to spend her life with.  This was not to be and,with a heavy heart, she returned to the nest.  It's no secret that she and I are very different...and very much alike.  We do well when she is living out of the house, but when she and I are under the same roof, things can get a little tricky.  Our hours are different.  Our friends are different.  Our habits are different.  We clash often, but the love is still strong.  I will admit that I wanted her to move out.  I wanted her to take care of herself and be independent and strong.  She depended on her dad and I too much for her age and she was insecure about being able to be on her own.  I didn't, however, want her to move far away.  She came up with the idea to take an adventure and move to Memphis on a whim.  She has a friend there who transplanted from Maryland about a year and a half ago and this friend told her she could get her a job and would help her adjust.  I thought about it and I encouraged her to go.  I believed then, as I do now, that being away from family for a bit is something that is extremely hard, but ultimately a great growing up tool.  I lived in Germany for two years and had my oldest daughter there. Wow, did I grow up fast!!  My oldest moved to NC and had her first daughter there.  She came home a much more mature and confident woman than when she left.  Now it was daughter number two's turn, and my hope was that she would gain the maturity and confidence she needed to succeed in the adult world. 

That being said, when the reality of her move started to sink in a few days ago I panicked.  Did I tell her the right thing?  Did I send her off on a great adventure or push her out of the nest before she was ready to fly? 

This morning, at 4:45am I hugged my baby girl and kissed her goodbye through my tears and sent her off on her adventure.  I am so impressed with her!  She has taken a step that I surely would be too afraid to take.  I know it is the right thing for her right now, but it is hurting my heart so badly.  I miss her so much already and my heart is aching with the pain.  I am worried about her, but I know in my heart that she will shine.  She has our support and she's under no "contract" so if, in a few months, she is unhappy, we will help her to come back home.  My ultimate wish, however, is that she loves it, enjoys herself, gets a decent job and saves some money, gains confidence and maturity and then comes back home ready to face the world.  I hope she isn't gone too long.  I won't lie and say that I'm not already looking forward to the day when she returns, but I want her to shine, bright and strong!  I want her to take advantage of her youth and freedom and see a little bit of the country.  I want her to realize that she can do anything she sets her mind to.  She is kind and loving and a beautiful person and I hope that by spending some time away she will get to know herself better and see all the wonderful things that she is. 

Keri, have an adventure, sweet girl.  Know that your dad and brothers and I and all your family love you very, very much.  We will be thinking about you each and every day and we will be here for you when you need us.  Don't look back, but always look forward.  There are great things out there for you....just reach out and grab them.  When the time is right you will come home and we will welcome you with open arms.  Be young and carefree.  Take lots of pictures.  Call often.  Live, love and laugh alot.  I love you so very, very, very much. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three's Company

Today there were three "daycampers".  My son, another boy his age and Dakota's female cousin.  They will all be seven within the next month.  The morning started out okay with the two boys hanging out together until the third child arrived and by 9:30 they had had breakfast and were working on their packets.  Pirates is the theme of the week.  The "fun" began, however, when someone decided to use "potty" words and the three of them were in hysterics, laughing and falling off their chairs.  I decided a change of scenery was in order so we used our certificates and headed over to the local bowling alley for some bowling.  We usually bowl two games, but I could tell that today wasn't the day for that.  An hour later, one tired, one bored and one wiggly, we headed back home after just one very long game.  Pizza for lunch and outside fun calmed things down a little.  They played with duplos and Legos and around 2:00 we got to work on more packet material and then they made bookmarks with pirate themes and then picked out two books to read for quiet time.  They chatted and enjoyed each other's company in general and at 3:00 the boys were back outside and Dakota's cousin left for home.  Now I am trying to squeeze in some folders from work while the boys play since I don't have to make dinner tonight.  Our church offers a free, light meal before Vacation Bible School and I am looking forward to a few uninterrupted hours to work while Dakota has some fun.  The only downside will be that he is already tired and dragging and he should be a fine mess by 8:30 tonight when I pick him up.  Bedtime won't be til close to 9:30 either.  THAT should be fun, as well.  Looking to tomorrow, he can sleep in til about 9am before the fun and festivities start for cousin Mariah's birthday fun at daycamp.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Already!

Summer is flying by and I can't say I mind.  It's my least favorite season between the heat and the loosey goosey schedule. we are talking!  Crisp, cool and gorgeous with browns and oranges everywhere....a time for new beginnings.  Anyway, right now it's August and we are gearing down our summer and gearing up for the start of school.  Daycamp is winding down and changes are ahead. 

Today I only had Dakota's cousin and they were incredibly calm this morning.  When she came in around 9 they sat at the table and did their packets and then got out a phonics tile game and spent 20 minutes making word.  Around 10:30 my daughter and her husband brought my granddaughter over for my first official babysitting duty and they went off to have some alone time at the movies.  I fed Natalie and changed her, packed all the kids up and went to run my errands.  I considered staying home, but I figured I might as well get used to running around with her.  Things went very well!  We went to Party City so Dakota could see what he might want as his birthday theme, went to the post office and then to the thrift store. The baby was awake and happy and I was thinking this was a breeze!  We swung by McDonald's on the way home and when we got in the baby was sleeping so I got to eat before she woke up.  It was only a ten minute cat nap, but she was hungry so my other daughter changed and fed her.  After she ate, however, she let me have it!  She has a very bad temper and for some reason definitely not known to me she lost her little mind!  She was red-faced, quivering and screaming like a banshee.  No amount of shushing, walking, rocking was doing the trick and I started to worry I had done something wrong!  Then her mom came in, picked her up and that darned little stinker went silent, snuggled into her momma's chest and went fast asleep.  I think she just missed her! 

Dakota and his cousin spent the afternoon playing quietly in his room.....VERY unusual.  Once when I looked in his cousin was asleep.  They must have both been tired, though, because they are NEVER quiet lol.  About 3:00 they came out and painted their bird house wind chimes, colored some more and then went outside to play.  I could wish that this was the way it was every day, but I just hate to waste good wishes :-)

I got a nice treat tonight.  My long time friend (ever since the 4th grade) picked me up and took me to Panera for dinner.  She is a teacher and had a stack of gift cards and she was kind enough to treat me to broccoli cheese soup and a sandwich.  We chatted about life and the kids and ourselves, falling back into that comfortable place that old friends do, even when it's been weeks or months since we have been together.  We strolled through Target together and then went to Cold Stone Creamery, got our ice cream and sat in chairs outside chatting some more while we ate.  I get very few nights out like this and it made me feel refreshed and re-energized.  Talking woman to woman has such a healing power about it!

When I got home the house was clean and the little one in pjs.  He and Daddy were exercising on the equipment downstairs.  I should really do some of the work that came in today from my company, but I think I'll save that for when I'm fresh tomorrow morning.  We are supposed to join my daughter and her godchildren at the park tomorrow if the weather holds out and then have a picnic lunch.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bringing Them Home

So where do I start?  It was a very long, but rewarding weekend.  My husband and the boys and I left at 5am on Thursday morning to make the six hour drive to North Carolina to help my daughter and her husband finish packing up their house, pack the moving truck and make the trek back to Maryland to begin their married life with family and friends.  We actually made great time, missing traffic and arriving at her house before noon.  It was so good to see them again, especially our little granddaughter, who has gained three pounds in the three weeks since I saw her!  We had a lunch of many different meats because what was in the freezer had to be eaten and then packed and cleaned.  By 7:30 we were finished for the evening and ordered pizza and watched a little more tv before the guys moved it into the truck.  Afterward the men made a fire out back and my daughter and I hung out with the baby in the house.  We put out the sleeping bags and a few blankets by 10 and by 11 we were all having a sleepover in the livingroom on hard berber carpeting and two very confused dogs who couldn't figure out why we humans were sleeping on their floor!  We went through various stages of misery and hysterical laughter throughout the night, especially when the dogs decided my older son's blankets and pillows looked like the comfiest place to sleep and nudged him right off of them and onto the foyer floor. 
Morning brought a frenzy with it as the guys put everything left into the truck that we didn't need to clean or tend to the baby and my daughter and I cleaned and tried to keep a fussy 2 month old and a bored six year old satisfied.  By 8am the men (and dogs) had left and by 10am we were out the door and making last minute stops around town. By 11:20 we were on the highway and, although it took us nine hours to get home, it wasn't all unpleasant.  We had enough to chat about that we didn't need the radio and the kids, for the most part, were very good.  Every 2 1/2 hours we would have to take a 30 minute break to feed the baby and change her and let Dakota run around a bit.  I think we finally made it home around 7pm. 

Saturday was spent trying to help my daughter get her basement apartment at her mother in law's together and eating crabs there with my son in law's family.  There is alot to be done and it's going to take some time to get it all together.  Sunday morning my daughter and I had coffee on the deck, something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Then we had a party here for my other daughter, who is taking off for Tennessee in a few days to have an adventure and try to see what it's like to stand on her own two feet.  We had my husband's mother, sister, brother, nephew etc and my mom and dad.  We also had Kris, Brian and the baby, which was very nice indeed.  Keri introduced us to her new boyfriend, who just happens to be the son of someone I grew up with in majorettes.  Small world!  The ladies chatted, the baby was passed around and the men pitched horseshoes and made a bonfire in the back yard 

Monday we were back to normal at my house, with one huge exception.  At various times today my daughter and granddaughter dropped in.  What a pleasant surprise to have them here!  My granddaughter is starting to coo and smile and she is very taken by both my sons, who are both crazy about her.  Tonight, after she got a nice bath and fresh, adorable pink clothes on and while everyone watched tv inside, Natalie and I went out to the deck and I held her so she could see the leaves on the big tree that's beside the deck.  She loves the play of light and the colors there!  We also already have a game together where I make a kissy sound and she opens here little mouth like a bird, waiting for the kiss she already knows is coming. As I sat with her, rocking gently and watching her study the leaves and sky, I thought about all the times I sat here alone dreaming of the time when she would finally be here with me and... here she is!  It still hasn't really hit me that they are really, truly here to stay.  I keep waiting for them to say goodbye and pull off in their car and out of my life again.