Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lessons from Liam, the barefoot baker

 Nana Linda loves Liam unconditionally!

His Nana Tracey does, too. She and Liam made cupcakes. He helped place one paper in each space. That's pre-math, but he doesn't know it.

The barefoot chef got to crack the eggs, pour in ingredients and use the mixer as she held it. He learned you have to listen and follow instructions.  Good lesson to learn early in life.

 Just like with writing and submitting, writers have to follow the guidelines.

Liam and I hang out on Mondays. We stopped at the Dollar Store. He saw the bin of footballs and had to have ALL of them. That is a developmental stage in early childhood. Children cannot share SOME until they have experienced ALL. They have no concept of sharing, and think when they give it away it's gone for good. He kept dropping them. He said, "Nana Linda, I have too many footballs."

Sometimes too much of a good thing CAN be overwhelming at any age. Do you agree?

He put the balls back when he saw his heart's desire in the party aisle. "BALLOONS!"
He had to make a decision. He talked himself through it. "I want the ones that are green, and purple, and black. No, I want the white ones. Hmmm, maybe this big bag with big AND little balloons." 

Choices are good, but it's hard to make a decision sometimes, isn't it?

He had me fill water balloons one after another. We took them outside, and he took them to the driveway. Then he chickened out. When I showed him how to spank the balloons to get air bubbles inside he got brave, came over, spanked them and realized they would roll on the driveway instead of pop. They bounced all around and he giggled like crazy. When he tossed one on the grass, it popped. So he tested the hypothesis: will they always pop in the grass?

 They did! He was amazed at his discovery. Some he popped deliberately, and some he tried and tried to pop on the pavement, but they did not pop. In fact he got a little frustrated. See picture below.

Trial and error is the way we learn. It's good to make your own discoveries. We learn best by doing.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, or how sure you are that something is going to turn out a certain way, it doesn't happen as you predict or think it will.

When you are so exhausted from too much work/play and frustrated that the way you planned things isn't working your way

it's best to grab your sleeping buddy, your favorite blankie, and curl up for a nap.

We are so blessed with this little guy who is beginning to declare his independence. It's like fourth of July at home. His new stage: NO! to everything. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nothing like keeping the family guessing.

Here's Ashley, Liam's, and soon to be A********'s, mama at the gender reveal party for all the grandparents. The house was decorated in pink, yellow, and blue. Little mama's been craving pumpkin pie recently. Her mom bought her individual pumpkin pies.

As soon as I walked in I saw this!!!!

Liam's paternal grandma, Shannon was as excited as I was. I bought a pink soft sleeper, but to be safe, also bought two, blue, newborn sack sleepers with drawstrings. My daughter, Nana Tracey, bought the cutest little dress, and of course baby boy outfit. Great-grandma Dot was prepared for a bundle of pink, too.

Justin's mom said he came over to her house one day and saw her working on a pink baby quilt. She asked if she should change the quilt colors. Told her to keep working on it. She assumed it was a girl. 

And then... we saw this!!!

They kept us waiting until after the delicious meal. 

 I am the cake maker in the family but can't take credit for this one. They ordered it from a new bakery in town. The owner used to be a plumber, and changed course in life. He said he was scared as could be, but stepped out in faith, and has not been happier since changing professions. I hear the yummy cinnamon rolls are as big as plates. That just goes to prove, one should follow their dreams.

Lemon fondant frosting, blueberry filling, real flowers, and sugar bees decorated the yummy cake. Liam absolutely loved the bees, I caught him sneaking them to eat.

As you can see, the cake was blue.  The new baby will be named Alexander Scott. Mama says he will be called Alex. But his daddy seems to think Lex and Liam sounds cute. We shall see what mama thinks, because everyone knows if a new mom isn't happy, ain't no one happy.

When Ashley opened her gifts, she held them up and said, "These are for the new baby."

Liam stopped in his tracks, looked all around and asked, "Where IS he?!"

I took the cutest video of him, but cannot figure out how to post it. If I do, I will post it later, otherwise, you can find it on my Facebook page.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Happy Puppy Day

You never forget your first. This little girl was my first baby in 1968. She was leading a great escape,  a jail break if you will, at a department store called Arlan's in south city which had a pet department. She had opened the cage and led her littler mates to freedom, or I should say, to the kibble buffet. She ripped into the bag and invited her brothers and sisters. I knew I had to buy her for seven dollars or risk having her be in BIG TROUBLE when the young male clerk came back from break. So I did. She was my girl for fifteen years.  

The year was 1969. My friend, Sheila and I, both expectant mothers in Alaska, were walking through the woods when we came upon a tractor tire on its side. It served as a pen for half a dozen puppies. The owner was not thrilled with them. Seems a Husky hooked up with his sweet white poodle. He begged us to to take a pup. So I did. Buffy Marie was my baby girl and not much bigger than the size of her own head when I chose her when she was eight weeks old. 

If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see Willy, my ex husband's puppy. He weighed sixty pounds at three months old. Buffy was such a smart girl, and Willy was a playful goofus who swiped things all around town. One day it might be a kid's winter cap and the next a large size bra he snatched off the clothesline up the road.

These two always frolicked freely in the woods. Buffy almost always had to drag Willy home in the evening. She was always ahead of him yapping for him to "Come on!"

One time my wonderful husband Bill, sometimes called Willy by my late friend, Sheila woke me after I had gone to bed. He was on the computer and saw I had received an acceptance.

"Wake up, honey. That story you wrote about me has been accepted."

In my sleepy fog, I wracked my brain for the story. I asked the title.

"Oh you know, the one you wrote about me titled, Goofy Willy."

You guessed it before he did! I had to let him down gently. "Honey, Goofy Willy was a dog I had forty years ago."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My great escape, a cultural lesson

We took pictures of various buildings in Progreso, Mexico. This is an elementary school. Preschool is mandatory. The children wear uniforms and attend for three years. The third year is similar to our kindergartens. There are 35-50 students in a class. OH MY GOODNESS! Recess is unsupervised. Children are expected to work out their own problems. Can you imagine? 

Actually, to some extent I used that approach when I taught Pre-K, 4s&5s. Children usually resolve their own conflicts if adults stand back and step in only to prevent injury. It is true.

Primary schools are grades 1-5, and secondary schools are grades 6-12. They sometimes share the same building and attend half days. It was an interesting concept. Also, after school there are street vendors outside the schools selling snacks etc. 

Our tour guide told us how the Catholic church had a very special wooden cross: the biggest and heaviest. People were gathering for a funeral in this open air church. The guide named all the religions in his town, then turned to look at us and said, "No worry. No Muslims."

That made me sad, and I wanted to say, "Not all Americans dislike Muslims." But I didn't speak up. I'm sure he has his stereotyped ideas, just as we have ours. It is good to learn about other cultures. After all, we are all human with the same basic needs.

This is comparable to the Colonel's chicken in the U.S., and they are all throughout town.
Many Americans travel to Mexico to purchase their prescribed drugs at a reduced price. There seems to be a pharmacy on every corner.
Mexican people are very friendly. Everyone shouted and exchanged  greetings with our bus driver.

He said many Americans retire there, and those who have set up businesses are well-respected in the community.

He tried to persuade us to move there. "You see? Very safe here. You retire, leave America in winter and come here. Maybe you stay, then fly your family in for holiday and send them back home. You have beach every day and have lunch on the beach with locals. Si?"

If that sweet man only knew how much I would love to take him up on his offer. See, reality set in the moment we left the open air double-decker bus and headed back to the ship on a motor coach. That will never happen.

There was an added bonus to this side excursion. As we were driving across the narrow bridge, I was gazing out the window into the turquoise sea, saying a little thank you prayer. A large sea turtle surfaced for a few moments, and I swear our eyes met! It was magical.

Well, now the trip to Mexico is a memory. A fond one, but my toes need sand and sea, not memories.

Heading to a family reunion today. Yes my people are in America, and I could never leave my Liam.

 He went to the doctor with me and his mama to listen to his sibling's heartbeat this week. After the exam, he asked the OB, "Where's your suckahs?"

She said, "My patient's don't get suckers, but I have stickers." That thrilled him.

When I show him beach photos he begs me to take him to the ocean. I hope one day I can.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

His nurse got a handful

My big guy went to the cardiologist for a stress test. He has always had a large heart, not enlarged, and so his resting pulse is about 50 or less, and he has to work hard to get his heart rate up.

He was on the tread mill doing fine, when the technician elevated it a little, then a little more, and before he knew it, my honey felt like he was climbing to the top of a mountain.

Sort of like when we were in our 40's hiking in Colorado to the top of St. Mary's to see the glacier. He'd warned me about the wild boars. We remained vigilant and on high alert. I had a lot of stamina when I was young and thin. I was ahead of him when I was attacked. I screamed, turned to run, watched him reverse course and trip over a fallen log, scramble to get back up and regain his footing. He shouted, "What?! What is it? A wild boar? What did you see?!"

Huffing and puffing, I barreled to the trail head, and stopped. My honey arrived and breathlessly wanted to know what was chasing me.

Bent over, hands on my knees, I panted, "A big insect, big as a saucer flew right at my head!" My eyes were as wide as saucers.

His eyes narrowed.

Through clenched teeth he gasped, "You mean it was NOT a wild boar?!"

"It was humongous," I cried.

I have never lived that down.

Yesterday he had an equivalent experience where he found it hard to catch his breath.

The female technician said he had less than five minutes more to walk on the treadmill, and asked if he was feeling any chest pain.

"No ma'am, but I think my legs are going to give out before my heart. I can hardly finish this."

She cheered him on. "Only three more minutes."

He shook his head, ready to give up. She shouted for the nurse who shouted to him, "Hold on, you only need less than two minutes. I can help you out here."

She came up behind him and grabbed the back of his jogging pants, got a handful of the top of his Fruit of the Looms and gave him a wedgie like he'd never had in his life, not even from his brothers when they were kids.

"I ran like hell on that treadmill trying to get away."

Results pending. If he has to go back for follow up, he says he is not letting the nurse near him.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

City of the dead and underwater Jenga

We discovered this activity in Cozumel Mexico. The cost is just under $70. We were spectators.

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You’ll enter Clear Lounge via a vertical ladder. As you descend the ladder, a high-tech Sea TREK® helmet will be placed on your shoulders. The helmet keeps you dry from the shoulders up, and provides a constant flow of cool, refreshing air enriched with oxygen and an aromatherapy scent of your choice. Once you have entered the underwater lounge, you’ll have a chance to:
·    Shoot targets with a high-powered bubble gun
·    Play a custom underwater version of jenga
·    Write and draw messages for your friends on the outside of the lounge
There were lots of young participants.

I am always amazed to find Mother Nature's surprises growing out of a crack in a vertical wall. 
 On our way home, passing through New Orleans, I snapped photos of scenes that captured my interest. I just like the way the trees seem to grow out of Lake Ponchatrain.
 And this picture does not begin to capture the giant wing span of this bird. Six feet, at least.

Cemeteries always fascinate me, and while I have always wanted to take a tour of one in  New Orleans, time constraints prevented our doing so. Cemeteries there are known as Cities of the Dead because of the elaborate sculptures, decorative art work, architecture, and tomb embellishments. New Orleans is built on a swamp, so burials are all above ground. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

The sea calls to me

In case you were wondering, we cruised to Cozumel and Progreso Mexico last week. 

 We toured the town of Progreso in a double-decker bus and saw all sorts of interesting sights.
 I begged the bus driver to stop when we passed the beach. He said,"Only cinco minutes!"
 That was enough for me to stroll the beach, sink my toes in the surf and collect a few shells.
 Then we did a shore excursion. We swam with the sting rays and snorkeled in the sea.
 Their barbs are cut periodically, but I still wasn't that thrilled.  I mean kids have rapid growth spurts, and I thought it would have been my luck I'd feed a ray whose barb had regenerated. We held fish in our hands and put our hand on the bottom of the sea, then the sting rays swam over our outstretched hands and took the fish from us.

We also saw babies in an aquarium. They were so cute and felt like the softest velvet.

The tour guide warned us about the aggressive thieving pelican who tries to get a fish from tourists.
Bill is ever friendly and walked closer to make friends with this monster bird. It nearly snatched his nose off! You never saw a big man move so fast! I laughed and laughed. All in all, except for the last day, when Miami, Florida news reported the angry sea was tossing fifteen feet waves, and the ship was rocking, and the stage show canceled, we had an enjoyable vacation.