Counting Down

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Last Saturday began the count down

7 days until they arrive: shopping for diapers, wipes, formula, food

6 days until they arrive: finish notes for work in December, so I can enjoy my next week

5 days until they arrive: organize office so it can be a bedroom

4 days until they arrive: survey the house to remove hazards for a crawling 10 month child

3 days until they arrive: clean house

2 days until they arrive: finishing touches on house and yard

1 day until they arrive: final grocery shopping, fix food, what have I forgotten?

The day they arrive: pick up the rental minivan, hug and hug, repeat

My son, his wife, and two daughters will arrive on Saturday to spend the week with us. We truly are thankful to share this holiday together.

Saturday I will get to put my arms around these two. I have not seen them since May. Can't wait!

Saturday I will get to put my arms around these two. I have not seen them since May. Can’t wait!

 

 

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Memory

Can you ever go back to a previous time of your life and savor the experience? This photo sends me spiraling back in time to almost fifty-two years.

I am the fifth person on the front row. I think I was eight.

I am the fifth person on the front row. I think I was eight.

My family lived in a suburb of Chicago, but every summer we would travel from Chicago to Baldwin, Wisconsin. It was a grueling trip, five kids, two adults, no air conditioning. This trip took us all day, but in the end we landed at grandma and grandpa’s house.

Fun times were ready to begin. There were aunts, uncles, and cousins galore. Kids were shipped off to spend time with the cousins. Kids and parents met up once again at church on Sunday. After the service everyone headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where a feast was set up on picnic tables in the side yard.

At some point the cousins all had to gather in one place for the group photo on the side yard of grandma and grandpa’s house. Those where the best of times that live on in my memory.

Last fall I returned to Baldwin for the funeral of an aunt. I had my husband drive past my grandparent’s house. Decades ago they left this house (before they died), but it always remained firmly visualized in my mind. The house my eyes viewed, was not the house of my memory. This house was beaten down, there was no life spilling out onto the lawn. Weeds sprouted, screens were torn. It had not been loved in many years.

I think I will hold onto the memory of the home where twenty-nine grandchildren lined up to preserve a moment in time.

Text Messages Bring Smiles

The text tone on my phone is listed as glass. It sings a high pitched “Ding, ding” whenever a text comes in.

Previously, that sound did not raise my heartbeat or send me scurrying to locate my phone. But that’s all changed. Now, anticipation runs high whenever the high pitched ding plays. It could be a picture sent half way across the country bringing my granddaughter into the palm of my hand.

Clara was born January 3. We arrived to meet and greet her January 5. We spent the next four days holding her and savoring every moment with our family in California. Ever since then we have only had photos and videos sent via the phone. I am eternally grateful that we have the technology to bring family closer.

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Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.

Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.

 

 

 

She’s Here!

Finally! Sweet baby Clara arrived January 3. January 4, we were in the car by 5 a.m., heading west to meet this precious bundle. Late in the afternoon of January 5, she was in my arms. Words cannot describe the joy my husband and I felt.

She was 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 inches long. Hair color is still questionable. There could be some blonde (from her mom), but there is a hint of red (from her grandfather). We will have to wait and see. She was simply perfect. Of course you can’t just take my word for it, her doctor confirmed it a few days later.

We were able to spend several days with the newest family member, lots of cuddling time. Why put this baby in a bassinet when there are arms ready, willing, and able to hold her.

It was tough to leave, but we had to return to our daily life and the new family needed time to create their new normal. I know she will be so different every time we return. I can’t wait to go back!

Isn't she the sweetest?

Isn’t she the sweetest?

Waiting Is Not Easy

Mo Willems has the perfect title for my life right now.

waitingI feel a lot like Gerald. In this book, as he continually exclaims waiting is too hard. I feel the same way, waiting for a baby to make her appearance.

Every day I wake up and think, maybe this is the day Clara will be born. Then as I go to bed at night, I sigh and think, maybe tomorrow will be the day.

Waiting is hard, especially when you are 1,500 miles away. I know that each day brings us one day closer to this birthday. I move through the motions of daily life in anticipation of a sudden departure. My refrigerator is not stocked. Food preparation is whatever we have on hand or in the pantry. My bag is packed, the gifts are collected and ready to be loaded in the car. All I need is a phone call.

I’m a bit worried that the weather will prevent us from leaving to meet this granddaughter. My husband has been watching the route we take, it doesn’t look like pleasant weather in a few days. So we wait, and wait, and wait a bit longer.

I agree with Gerald, waiting is HARD!

The Best Surprise

The last few months, I get this panicked feeling every Monday evening. I sift through the events of my week looking for a nugget that might be of interest to someone. Thinking, how can I expand a moment into a blog worthy post? I don’t know what has happened, but my life seems to have slowed down. I work at my desk. I fix dinner. I watch TV while reading on-line and interacting via games on the internet in the evening. I go to bed. Repeat, day after day.

Where will my slice come from, I worry. Maybe I will skip this week, I think. But then I read slices and I find myself at the computer tapping out my thoughts. So once again, no thought of a slice until I read an email from Oprah titled 11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends. I clicked on the link, curious as to what every woman should write down and found my nugget for today. It was #8 The Best Surprise You’ve Ever Had. The caption under the title said, “There’s no better way to celebrate the rich, full life you’ve lived so far—and the big, bright future ahead—than telling your story.”

An example was given, a 40th birthday party. That brought back memories. I did have a fabulous 40th birthday party. It was a party that included a pina colada in a pineapple with a paper umbrella and hula dancing men wearing coconut bras. But that was not the best surprise ever.

Here is the best surprise, ever:

Mike, my husband, and I were on our way to a Ben Folds concert in June. We had purchased these tickets months before. We only knew Ben Folds from his role on the TV show The Sing-Off. Since we enjoyed his humor and comments, we decided to see what he would do in a live performance.

It was a Sunday, late afternoon, a time when my son might place his weekly call to me. Just as we were parallel parking, my phone rang with the unique ringtone indicating it was David. Since we were in the car, the phone went right to bluetooth, so we could both chat with David.

After a few minutes of chatting, catching up on everyday happenings David said, “I have something to tell you.” My heart dropped, those words often indicated that something was not right in his world. But the next two words were the best surprise ever. Words I didn’t ever think I would hear. “Allie’s pregnant.”

The feeling of worry and dread exploded into joy that cannot be described. We had a baby coming into our life! I cannot wait for this baby girl to arrive! (due date: Jan. 1) So here’s to the big, bright future ahead as our family grows. 🙂

 

Creation of a List

A few weeks back I received notice from Twitter that I was mentioned in a tweet. Of course, I immediately was curious because I am a wish-I-could understand-Twitter-and-use-it-more-but-I-don’t kind of Twitterer. Terje (Just for a Month) had tossed a challenge my way. Create a list of 100 things I am grateful for. Whew, that’s a lot, but I let the idea simmer in my mind. Then last week Jaana (Jaana’s Writing Blog) created and delivered her list. I knew I had to get started. So here is my list of 100 things I am grateful for:

 

  1. my husband
  2. my son
  3. a daughter-in-law
  4. a granddaughter
  5. a granddaughter waiting to be born
  6. family near and far
  7. friends near
  8. friends from long ago
  9. a comfortable home
  10. a teaching career
  11. connections through blogging
  12. opportunities for learning
  13. Friends of the Library sale
  14. good health
  15. time to savor life
  16. ocean cruises
  17. wandering
  18. pizza
  19. scarves
  20. picture books
  21. a comfortable car to travel in
  22. sunshine
  23. awesome neighbors
  24. road trips
  25. having an office for my “stuff”
  26. professional books
  27. a son who usually calls weekly
  28. grilled cheese
  29. camera in my phone
  30. nieces and nephews
  31. blue cheese
  32. work colleagues
  33. toasty fires
  34. Italian cream cake
  35. visiting family
  36. new recipes to try
  37. Draw Something friends
  38. iPad with photos
  39. key lime pie concretes at Andy’s Frozen Custard in July
  40. biking
  41. Thanksgiving with family
  42. cousins who cook fabulous dinners (yes, that is you Phillip)
  43. eating out
  44. pumpkin food in the fall
  45. mail
  46. bright colors
  47. husband who keeps everything clean
  48. coffee with friends
  49. some time alone (not a lot)
  50. meeting slicers (17 so far)
  51. anything with coconut
  52. a great teacher retirement system
  53. fuzzy lined moccasin slippers
  54. granite counter tops
  55. comfortable patio furniture where I can read and enjoy sunshine
  56. heated seats in cars
  57. internet connection
  58. surprises
  59. discovering nature’s wonder
  60. bead stores
  61. bead stores with a sale
  62. blog comments
  63. Pandora
  64. Christmas celebrations
  65. diet cherry Dr. Pepper
  66. just picked peaches
  67. pedicures
  68. river cruises
  69. hamburgers
  70. freedoms of our country
  71. down pillows
  72. watermelon in summer
  73. computer techs
  74. teachers who want to learn
  75. pasta meals
  76. juicy berries
  77. cups that don’t sweat
  78. taking my mom out for a meal
  79. on-line shopping
  80. ice cream
  81. hot running water
  82. bookstores
  83. cozy comforters
  84. NCIS reruns (love Gibbs)
  85. Instagram
  86. changing seasons
  87. finding bargains
  88. garden tomatoes
  89. crispy bacon
  90. getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold day
  91. dark chocolate
  92. fleece vests
  93. appliances that make life easier
  94. snow days
  95. snow blower
  96. ice makers
  97. fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm when I type
  98. friendly smiles
  99. All Write Conference
  100. a husband who helped me get to 100 items when my brain shut down

gratitude

If you made it all the way to the end, I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to develop your own list. 🙂