Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Splishing and splashing

What a pleasant and unexpected surprise to receive a phone call from my granddaughter on Memorial Day in the evening. Ashley lives about 45 minutes away, and although we exchange children on a  parking lot each Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m., we are always in a rush and seldom have time for a leisurely chat. 

Years ago one of my teacher's aides used to say, "It's such a rushing world these days." She was nearing retirement, and her words didn't phase me then. NOW, I understand. 

Little mama in her third trimester, is expecting her third little boy in three months.
She asked where the sprinkler park is that Liam talks about. I gave her directions, and she and her family came  to our neighborhood for fun and games just before dusk.

 Alex loved splashing in the fountain. He was shivering and still wanted to do it again and again. What a giggler this little cutie is. He's quiet and very observant.
Daddy Justin and Ashley had fun in the sprinklers too. Ashley got soaked.
 Liam walked right up to a fountain spray and dunked his head, because he wanted to feel the hard spray on his hair. He laughed out loud! I hope he never loses his sense of wonder and discovery.
 He is such a curious little guy. He tried to catch the stream, stepped on it, sat on it. There is a button to press when the fountains stop. He frequently presses the button because he thinks he controls the flow. Oh to believe you have the power to move, catch, and control water. "That was a really good spray, buddy!" I encourage him, and he beams with pride.

When Ashley was seven, we were walking on the beach. She said, "Nana, I have a secret. I control the ocean waves. When I think slow thoughts, the waves roll in slowly. But when I think of fast things, like race cars, the waves come crashing in very fast."

"You are amazing!" I told her. And now I am telling her little boys how amazing they are. Time is flying. The sixth month of the year is upon us. It IS a rushing world.
I had the best time at the sprinkler park with my granddaughter and her family.
I am so blessed to be able to spend time with my little guys. SLOW DOWN, time.
Have YOU made any waves lately? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My heart was pounding!

Bill and I stood in the back yard yesterday morning and watched as a behemoth like this flew into our neighborhood with propellers/rotors/engine roaring. It kept descending behind our house. We were concerned there was a sick case and a neighbor was being airlifted to a hospital. We observed as the chopper headed down the block to the elementary school's open grassy area and landed.

ELEMENTARY school for goodness sake. NO! I couldn't imagine another horrific event. Not in my own neighborhood. It made me sick to think about what might be going on.

Then a police helicopter followed the same flight path. Out front a S.W.A.T. tactical vehicle, firetruck and other emergency vehicles pulled into the school parking lot. I shouted for Liam and swept Alex up and hooked him into the stroller and away we went.

I realized what it was, career day at the local elementary school. Thank God! What a fun way to end a school year. The students filed out of the building and visited the various community helpers and their vehicles, and I'm sure they learned a lot.

Liam and Alex and I sat at a picnic table and observed from afar. Quite a thrill and lots of excitement in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Honey, sweat, carpenter...they all have something in common

What a thrill to discover a honey bee flitting from flower to flower. I wish there were more, but we only found one. Bees are crucial to pollinating the tomato plants in my honey's garden. And we want a bumper crop of those luscious Big Boys.

Baby Alex is nine months old tomorrow and getting cuter by the day. He is such an easy going baby. His personality is developing, and he is becoming more vocal. His babbling is hilarious and his laughter is contagious.

I spied Liam examining the red bud tree in our front yard. Its purple flowers are now gone, and the leaves are growing. I asked him what he was doing and he replied, "I want to climb a tree." So I lifted him up to a big branch and let him cling for a moment, explaining most of the branches are too small and he would break them if he tried to climb the tree. He agreed to wait a while. 

So he investigated the ring of flowers under the tree. When he spied a tiny piece of greenery fall from the tree, he ran like crazy. He thought it was an insect. So, of course...
we had to go in search of live insects. We found ants and rolypolies, which have their exoskeleton on the outside of their bodies like many crustaceans, and that's why they need moisture. We found a smooth caterpillar which might have been a slug and `moved it to new chomping grounds far away.
To Liam's delight, we discovered a tiny sweat bee in a rose. We watched its activity and discussed what he knew about bees: they make delicious honey, and they sting. I stuck his arm with my fingernail and showed him how a sting might feel. We learned that only female sweat bees sting, and most of the time you can shoo them off your skin and they won't bother you at all.

We have carpenter bees on our patio. They like to devour wood. Someone on Facebook said they stuff a small paper bag with plastic bags and hang the small brown bag on their carport. The carpenter bees think it is a paper wasp's nest and skedaddle. Worth a try.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Everything is budding!

Longest winter ever is finally over. We had a week of spring weather, and I was so happy to get my flowers planted and see the buds on the rose bush and the purple buds on the red bud tree.

 And then a week later, summer weather nudged out spring, or rather elbowed it hard! The temperature climbed into the 90s. The warmer it got the more buds I saw on the rose bush. I whispered into the bush, "Please bloom on Mother's Day." And I woke up to this!
 Everything is growing and blossoming, even Liam and Alex's mama. Baby Colton will be here in August, scheduled C section two days before Alex's birthday. My daughter Tracey is Ashley's mama.
Look how big Alex is getting. He loves Nicole and especially her long hair. He reached up and grabbed it and giggled. My Mother's Day was fantastic. Almost all of our kids were here, and the house was crowded, and the food was yummy, and all the women made over Alex. 
Life is coming up roses! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

You still have time...

I babysit Liam and Alex on Tuesdays. Since they will be at their other grandma's on Mother's Day, I helped Liam make a gift for his mommy. We took it to her work and surprised her. 
The "girls" loved it.

When I did these with my students I used larger paper, and they prattled on and on telling family secrets. With Liam, I used a piece of  the 8"x11" stationery which my friend Lynn gifted me.

My students' perceptions often made me and their moms laugh or cry. I gave verbal directions to
those who didn't draw yet. "Make mommy a round circle face. Give her eyes, nose, mouth, and does she have ears or a neck? Hair? You can make a dress by making a triangle. Want to try? Young children usually draw arms coming out of heads because that's their perception from their eye level. They look up from our legs and see arms and head. It's a developmental stage of art.

So I asked, "Can you put sleeves in the dress so Mommy's arms can come out?" Then I asked probing questions: "Who is this? Is she young or old, and what number is she? How does she look? What does she do? What kind of mom is she? Do you do anything special with her?" Sometimes I didn't have to lead them at all. The highly verbal children prattled on and on, and often I couldn't write fast enough. Oh the things I heard!

A few years ago, the mom of one of my students loved her portrait and said, "My mom has one of these that I made for her twenty years ago." We made the connection through that unique little gift, that I had also been her teacher. Not many teachers spent so much time on such projects, but I had the foresight to realize they would one day be TREASURES. Since my granddaughter posted these photos on Facebook, I have heard from several of my former students and parents who still display their Mommy (or daddy) portraits, even though their kids are grown. That makes me so happy.

This is the simplest kid craft, and they look so beautiful. Materials used: a paper towel tube, two paper plates (painted green, I used a green bingo dabber) because the plate thickness works better than green construction paper, and 4"x4" tissue paper squares.

Cut paper plates in half, then slice strips 1/2 inch apart about 3/4 way down from the ruffled plate edge. Wrap with the straight edge down, and hot glue around towel tube in four tiers. Fold the strips downward, scrunch and glue on the tissue paper.

I used to collect plastic liquid detergent lids that came in all colors to use as the base, then hot glued the flower "stem" in. But I happened to have an old vase. A spritz of perfume scented the "flowers" and amazed the students. Mommies loved these. They make great gifts for grandma's too. For younger children, use toilet tissue tube and one plate, not so much scrunching for those little hands.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Mothers of Angels, Special price, pre-publication sale

My story is included in this anthology collection. Forty-six years ago I lost a fetus after the birth of my daughter and before the birth of my son. Writing about losing my middle child was difficult as I relived the moments, but it was also cathartic.   

May's Book of the Month Sale - a pre-publication special for Mothers of Angels, due out at the end of the month.
One book for $9.99 - Save $6!
Or...two books for $19.98 - one for you and one to donate to a newly grieving parent.
Sale price only available through the author's web site. Books will be available on Amazon after June 1st.

Mothers of Angels
Regular $15.99
Sale price $9.99

Mothers of Angels is an anthology with reflections about living through the grief of losing a child. Twenty four authors open their hearts as they share the pain, loss, and grief that was thrust upon them. They also share the navigation process as they learn to love again and live life with a new normal.

The stories are meant to encourage and inspire other mothers of angels, and fathers and other loved ones, while also honoring the child whose loss forced us on this difficult and undesired road. As I and many of my friends that have lost children often say, “It’s a club none of us ever asked to join.”

Along with the stories and poems, various resources and tips are included to help comfort and guide grieving parents. We don’t want to be in this club, but we also want to be available to those that need a shoulder during the most horrific of life’s experiences.

Join us as we celebrate the lives of the children that left this earth too early. They left, taking chunks of our hearts with them, yet the love and their memories remain engraved on our hearts.

Mothers of Angels will be available at the end of the month. Take advantage of this Pre-Publication Sale and save $6. Regularly priced at $15.99, you can get your copy during May for only $9.99. (Plus $3.50 shipping)

We’re also giving away books to different organizations, as support for newly grieving parents. You can get your copy – and donate a copy for a grieving parent  - two books for only $19.98. (Plus $3.50 shipping.)

Books will ship at the end of the month, when received from the publisher.

 This sale is good only through the author's web site and doesn't apply to Amazon listings.