Monday, August 24, 2009

Baby Love

Once a week I have the pleasure of caring for my twin grandsons, my sweet peas, for the whole day. They are now 6 months old, robust and healthy. Someone recently asked me what I do with the twins all day long and as I rattled off our list of activities I felt a blog post forming in my head.

Since both boys are starting to teeth, lots of time is spent chewing. Below is one of their favorite chew toys. I love all of the colors. I also keep a supply of wet washcloths in my freezer which feels good on their swollen gums. Teething is not one of my favorite things.

Before the boys arrive I set up a big blue blanket on my family room carpet so they will be safe from dog hair, germs and other dangers. The big blue blanket allows for plenty of play space. Last week I had to go to the bathroom so I explained to both boys that they were to stay on the blue blanket while Grammie ran quickly to the bathroom and quickly emptied the bladder. Both boys agreed that they would stay on the big blue blanket plus I wasn't really too concerned because neither boy is crawling yet so... imagine my surprise when I came back to find this...

So much for the big blue blanket and no more bathroom time for grammie!

Reading is one of my favorite things so we read together each day. Eric Carle is one of our current favorites ~ especially the 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. The sweet peas love the pictures of colorful food and are starting to enjoy independent reading time.

Eric Carle might have made some of the food pictures a bit too realistic...

Okay. So true confessions. Sometimes the TV is on in the background for white noise but when a certain show comes on please do not call the house and ask to speak to the sweet peas because they seem to have a little crush on Bonnie and their little eyeballs are glued to the set. They also love the Sally Field commercial promoting some osteoporosis medicine. Both boys flirt with her via television. Just like their grampie.

We smile lots during the day because we are happy that we are together.

Below is a picture of our favorite toy. The boys are fascinated with their toes. They lay on the big blue blanket and talk to their toes, suck on their toes and teeth on their toes. Last week I laid down next them and tried to stick my big toe into my mouth and quickly realized that it wasn't happening. The boys did find it amusing to watch though.

We take walks through the neighborhood. It is a rather bizarre feeling for me since I used to push my own children in a stroller through these same streets many moons ago and now I push my grandbabies past the same homes, stone walls and trees. Life goes on.

In the hot afternoon, we lay on our big blue blanket and watch the fan. The sweet peas love to watch the fan and they go crazy when grammie plays with the remote and changes the speed on it. Their eyes grow huge and their feet start kicking as I hit the superfast button. I start to giggle as I watch them. And once again I learn an important lesson from my grandbabies ~ simple joys are priceless.

So what do I do all day long with my sweet peas? I enjoy each moment, I love them to pieces, I hug them, I kiss them and tell them that I will love them forever and always. And then we wrestle some more!

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School

In a few days my oldest daughter will be starting school. I didn't buy her any new school clothes this year. No shiny new shoes for her. I wanted to buy her a Strawberry Shortcake backpack to put all of her supplies in but she wouldn't hear of it. I recommended that she polish an apple or two and hand them to her teacher as she enters the classroom. I think she harrumphed at that suggestion. I really did offer to buy her a new desk so she will have her very own workspace. I won't be standing at the corner with her waiting for the big yellow bus to come bumbling down the road. She is quite independent about this whole school experience and doesn't need my help but that is probably a good thing since she is thirty years old. I know it seems impossible for me to have a thirty year old child and you are probably searching the Guinness Book of World Records to see if I am listed under 'Woman who gave birth at the age of one,' but alas I truly am old enough.

I have always respected and believed in education and its importance. I understand and respect that college is not for everyone and truly believe that some of the best educations are not found within the walls of academia. But my daughter is a born scholar. She LOVES to learn and to be surrounded by papers, piles of thick books, syllabuses, schedules and research materials. She already has her Bachelor's Degree and is now pursuing her Master's Degree in Linguistics. And I couldn't be happier for her. She lives on the opposite coast from me so I do not get to see her nearly enough. But when talking to her on the phone recently about her upcoming first day of school I could hear the excitement in her voice. She had renewed energy and zest. She talks fast on a slow day and on this day I had to set my ears to super fast listening as she excitedly told me about the classes she had signed up for and the people she had met so far. I am so happy for her. I am so proud of her. And then I decided I wanted the whole world to know how very proud I am of her.

Dear Oldest Daughter,

As you prepare for your first day of Graduate School, I find myself reflecting on the past thirty years and just a few of the thousands of experiences we have shared. When I was pregnant with you the popular belief was that if I ate lots of tuna fish my baby would come out with an IQ of 500 so I ate many tuna fish sandwiches. Of course now the research shows that maybe that wasn't the wisest decision because of mercury levels but you certainly are one smart cookie. Dad and I started reading to you prebirth. I would hold the books up to my belly button so maybe you could peek out and see the pictures and Dad would read the words to you. You would kick me and poke me when we came to a verse that you felt passionately about - you had very bony elbows. Dad would sing to you and I talked to you incessantly. Your present interest in Linguistics does not surprise me at all.

My favorite thing to play when I was young was school so imagine how delighted I was to have a little girl who was my first real student. I read to you from the beginning, and when you were four you wrote your first book titled 'Henry and Denise'. I took dictation which was no easy task since you were a fast talker even back then. You drew all of the pictures to accompany the text. The book starts out...'Once upon a time there were two people. One day they were walking down the street and they found a box. It had two lines and a design on it. Their names were Henry and Denise. They opened the box up and they found an ...' the story continues for 21 pages and that book sits on my coffee table today.

I cherish the memories of walking to the local library and choosing books each week. You loved going to the children's room and there we would sit playing Hi-Ho Cherry-O and finally we bought our own copy of the game so we could play it more frequently. Your love for books and your proficiency as a reader was obvious from a very young age. You are proof that reading to children at a young age does make an incredible difference in the life of a child.

Prior to your starting public school, your dad and I had done our research and had the ability and freedom to be able to move to a community which had a reputation and track record for teaching children how to learn. And hats off to all the educators through the years who recognized and encouraged your love of learning. And words can not describe the pride your father and I felt when you not only graduated from high school but you graduated at the top of your class ~ with a 4.0 average. Your hard work, dedication and focus are to be applauded. And I must give some credit to the many cans of tuna fish I consumed while pregnant with you.

You then went off to college, taking a piece of my heart with you. You excelled in so many ways. You have traveled to places I have only had the pleasure of reading about. You challenged yourself constantly. You were like a sponge soaking up as much knowledge as you possibly could during those college years. I am thankful that your father and I could give you the gift of education and we know that you appreciate it and have never taken it for granted. You have developed into an intelligent, compassionate member of society who gives back to others and who uses her brain to make the world a better place.

You are a risk taker which is obvious when one learns that you started your own business and have run it successfully for the past few years. You love a challenge and to problem solve. You are one of the most organized people that I know and on your next visit home maybe you can help me straighten out a few closets. Again.

And as you prepare for this next chapter in your life I just want you to know how proud your family is of you ~ always and forever ~ Mom. xo

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Busy little bees ~

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Do you know what time it is?

A few weeks back, my husband and I were sleeping soundly. Deep sleeping, heavy snoring and a puddle of drool on each of our pillows. Often our sleep is interrupted by my hot flashes, my restless legs, or middle of the night nature calls. But not this night. On this night we were in the midst of some intense REM sleep when ' briiiing, briiing,briiing'...the ringing of the phone harshly woke us both. I sat up confused. My husband knocked over the lamp on his nightstand as he tried to reach the phone. The numbers on the clock read 3:00AM. As I slowly became aware of my surroundings my heart leaped into my throat and my stomach started to churn. Phone calls in the middle of the night are never a good thing.

"Answer the phone. Answer the phone," I hysterically yelled at him. I prayed it wasn't my mom calling to tell me that something unthinkable had happened to my dad. I crossed my fingers and toes, hoping, praying that it wasn't the police telling me bad news about one of my children. And it had better not be one of my tenants calling to tell me that the tenant above them was making too much noise or that someone was parked in their parking space. I tried to patiently listen to the conversation.

"Who did you say you are again?" asked my husband, yawning and scratching his head as he finally started to wake up.
"State Police Officer Jones. I need to speak to Tim Kelley. Is he there?"
"Yes, that is my son and he is here. Asleep. Can you tell me what is going on?"
"No. I need to speak to your son - now."

So my husband proceeded to get out of bed and walk downstairs to our son's bedroom. I paddled after him , wrapping my robe around my pink flamingo pj's.

"Ask him if this is an emergency. Ask him if there has been an accident. Ask him if everyone is okay. Ask him if he knows what time it is. Ask him..." My husband glared in my general direction and shooshed me. I felt nauseous. Phone calls at 3:00 in the morning are never good. I thought my knees were going to collapse.

My son came out into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He took the phone from my husband. "Yes, this is Tim Kelley." I dropped to the floor, holding my head in my hands. I knew that this had to be horrendous and my overactive imagination had created quite a scenario in my mind. Images of sirens, red lights, and more flashed through my brain.

"Yes, yes I did, " I heard my son speak into the phone. "You did what?" I yelled at my son. He brushed me away. Tears started to build up in the corners of my eyes.

" Yes, I was in that area last week," he continued. I ran to pick up the extension. Enough was enough. My nerves were shot.

"Yes, I did lose my wallet last week."


"Oh, great. You found my license and my credit cards. Excellent news." My son had left his wallet on top of his car while pumping gas and it had blown off onto the highway. This State Police Officer had been on duty during night road construction and had found the guts of Tim's wallet - no wallet but all of the important cards were found. Guess he thought it important enough to call and tell us at 3:00 in the morning.

"So can I come down to the station in the morning to get my license and credit cards?"

The officer replied that Tim had to go and meet him right then. Tim agreed since he did want to get his lost cards.

At this point I was still sitting, holding my stomach, still shaken up. My hands were trembling. "He wants you to drive all the way to Exit 14 at 3:00 in the morning? This is odd. I don't like this. Your father is going with you."

While I was still sputtering and muttering, the two headed out the door into the car - to go meet the State Police Officer and retrieve Tim's belongings. I tried to fall back asleep but there was no way that was going to happen. I tossed, I turned, I paced.

Finally husband and son returned. It was now 4:15 AM. Nice. Birds had started to sing. I grumbled to my husband about the need to call our home at 3:00 AM to tell my son that his wallet guts had been found. Was that really necessary? That officer must not have children because if he did he would know that you don't wake people up at ungodly hours to tell them that you found their wallet guts AND you don't make them get in their car and drive to meet you so you can hand deliver the guts of the wallet. My husband decided it might be quieter downstairs in the kitchen so he got up for the day leaving me to grumble to my pillow. Finally at 5:00ish I once again fell asleep, still feeling anxious but no longer nauseous.

And then at 6:30 AM my dog decided to run from window to window in the house barking, growling and howling. I jumped straight up in my bed. What the heck? I flew out of my room screaming at my dog that she had better have a wicked good reason for waking me. If I found out that it was a squirrel that was causing her to get this riled up there was going to be a major tantrum on my part. By the time I got downstairs she was leaping at the front door ~ frantic. I looked out the window to find a local town police officer standing on my porch. No kidding. Not joking. I opened the door, trying to hold my dog back.

"Hi. I just wanted to drop this off for your son. A State Trooper found it on the side of the road, radioed me that he had already given your son the rest of his wallet and thought he might want this so he asked me to bring it over to him." He stood there holding my son's wallet. The empty wallet. The wallet which had been lost one week earlier when it blew off the roof of the car. The wallet which had been run over 1800 times while it laid on the highway and didn't look so much like a wallet anymore. I stared at the police officer and tried to look past him. I just knew that I must be on Candid Camera or I had just been punked by Ashton Kutcher. I pinched myself because the events of the last 4 hours were to bizarre to be real. But nope, I really was standing on my porch at 6:30 in the morning talking to a policeman who was returning the wallet. I thanked him for lack of anything better to say.

I walked to the trash and threw the wallet away. I poured myself a strong cup of coffee. I wondered what time it really was ~ and did anybody care?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our tree is growing...

First comes love...

It seems like only yesterday that my husband and I went to visit our oldest son at the University of Maine. He was a freshman, living four hours from home. Leaving for college had not been the easiest of transitions for him or for those of us who were left at home missing him. There was a void in our home and in our hearts. I became more and more excited as we approached the campus. I needed to see with my own two eyes that he truly was okay, that he was surviving the rigors of academia and the weekend 'activities'. When we got out of the car I could barely contain myself when I saw him walking towards us. I resisted all temptation to run up to him and give him a huge bear hug. I didn't want to embarrass him totally. I settled for a quick peck on the cheek and then a mini bear hug. I stepped back and took a long look. Somehow my son seemed different but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. He nervously danced around and seemed rather giggly. What was this new behavior? I checked his pupils. Normal. I checked his breath. Hmm...normal boy breath. He took a deep breath...'Mom, Dad, there is someone I would like you to meet.' Ah, I quickly comprehended the situation. My son had met a girl, a girl who captured his heart and soul.

Over the next few years of college and after graduation their love continued to grow and strengthen. Our entire family fell in love with her ~ he chose a woman who is intelligent, kind, beautiful, humorous, patient, thoughtful, generous, compassionate, logical...perfect for my son. It was as if our family had had a missing puzzle piece and then when she came into our lives, she was the perfect piece and our family was complete. We accepted her with open arms and open hearts. Our family tree gained a new branch and was thriving.

Then comes marriage...
Last August this wonderful couple was married. It was a storybook wedding and I wrote an emotional post which left me teary and exhausted upon its completion. It seems hard to believe that in one week they will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary.

Here they come pushing a baby carriage...

Yes, that is correct. This wonderful couple gave birth two days ago to my granddaughter. They will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary with the cutest little baby girl, who I will refer to in my blog as my little Olive. She weighed in at a whopping seven pounds and was twenty inches long. Ah, it has been a lovefest around here. Lots of kissing, hugging and celebrating as we welcomed Olive into our family. Our family tree has never been healthier. My heart and soul have never been more complete. And now I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family...our little Olive !

This is love.
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