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. 🙂

Not What I Planned

Last week was my birthday. It was a day to begin the journey through a new decade. Since it was a landmark number, I decided we would spend the day with my son and his family. Gather my  loved ones close to witness the aging process. Unfortunately they live 1,500 miles away from me, in California. So what’s a person to do? Road trip!

Future posts will share some of the sights and activities of the trip, but this is all about my day which was planned a month in advance.

Catalina Island has always intrigued me. That would be my destination for the big day! What a joy and surprise to discover that birthday people get special treatment on their birthday day. First off, the boat ride over is free! Then there are many merchants who offer special deals on your birthday. Who can resist a free ice cream cone? Reservations were made for the ferry and at a hotel. We were ready, but apparently Mother Nature had other plans for us.

As we walked into the terminal, the lines to the ticket counter snaked like a premium ride at Disneyland. My son shook his head in wonder. “They never have lines like this,” he said. Nervously, I glanced at my watch as the line inched forward. We needed to have tickets in hand thirty minutes prior to departure. I feared we would not make that.

I checked with the person in front of me to be sure I was in the right line. This man shed light on the situation and where all the people had come from. He had been on the ferry that departed at 6:30 a.m. They made it over to Catalina, but the dock was moving too much because of the high surf that it would not be safe to tie up. (Remember the hurricane, Marie, that was causing swells on the California coast?) So his boat turned around and returned to the mainland.

Once we reached the counter, we learned that our boat would not be leaving, nor did they know when or even if it ever would. My heart sank. There would be no Catalina birthday for me. Fortunately we were able to cancel our hotel. Then the issue was what will we do?

Maddy and Me

Maddy and me in the backseat on our way to San Diego to celebrate my birthday

San Diego was the answer to our question. We had a wonderful rest of the day riding beach cruiser bikes along the beach, cooling off in the pool, and discovering some incredible places to eat. Yelp was able to point us in the right direction. Perhaps that will be another post. Let me just say, I came so close to picking up my plate and licking it clean. It. Was. That. Good! (I know you want to know what it was, spinach filled ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce, YUM!)

It wasn’t the birthday I planned, but it was one of the best days of my life.