“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

Our lil’ ginger punkin’s naps are getting shorter!!

In an effort to give poor little Jackson a longer nap, I spent a lot of time singing to him and rocking him this week!  Rock a Bye Baby, Jesus Loves Me, & You are My Sunshine are his favorites.

A sleeping Jackson

A sleeping Jackson

The poor little tyke does not like taking naps in the daytime!  He is an excellent sleeper at nighttime.  In fact mommy and daddy have a hard time keeping him up until 8 pm most nights…cause he’s ready for bed!  He usually sleeps until 5:30 or 6 am…sometimes longer!  But he is sure breaking Maw Maw & Paw Paw in during the day!  I think he’s afraid he’s gonna miss something!

Curious JacksonHe’s very CURIOUS….

An exploring Jackson 2

and he loves exploring the house and seeing what he can get into.  He’s learned to pull on the knobs of the entertainment center and open the doors and drawers.  He’s also discovered that if he closes it on those same little fingers that it hurts!!  🙂  When he gets a hold of the bottom drawer and pulls it open (it’s heavy because it’s full of CD’s) he starts pulling himself up so he can peer in it to see what’s inside!  Paw Paw and I spend a lot of time throughout the day grabbing him by the ankles and pulling him back away from the entertainment center to try and divert his attention to all the toys.  LOL

Jackson exploring 2He’s learned that loud sounds comes from that big black box, and that if no one sees him right away, he can crawl back in that corner next to the sofa and make that pretty lamp that sits on a pedestal end table WIGGLE and almost fall down!! “I’m not doing nothing, Maw Maw…I’m just looking around.”

014062695115327He’s such a happy, smiley boy and loves to go for rides in the stroller.  Maw Maw definately gets  her exercise when Jackson’s around.  I go for an early morning 3.5 mile walk with friends before he arrives, and then we usually go for another 2 mile walk with the stroller at some point during the day.  I’m thankful for the cooler temperatures.  (Now it’s only 80 during the day instead of 100).

2014072295135712Jackson loves his puppy…

IMG_20140724_133655388

Loves going to the park and swinging (if those darn mosquitos would leave him alone!)

Jackson floor play 3

Loves playing on the floor and reaching up at things.  He’s not trying to pull himself up yet, but he is trying to crawl.

Jackson learning to crawl

He gets around real good by scooting, but when he tries to crawl he gets up on all four and rocks back and forth.  He’s also discovered that if he crawls into the entry way where there is NO CARPET, that if he rolls over he will bonk his little head! OUCH!

Jackson sippy cup 2

At 8 months old he’s eating three meals a day now, in addition to his bottles, but he also loves his little sippy cup!  He’s a good eater and Maw Maw loves feeding her little man!  Now, if he would just take a nap!  He is the exact opposite of his cousin, Kash.  3 yr. old Kash takes a good 2-3 hr. nap in the afternoon.  It used to be a nice break for me, when I wasn’t taking care of Jackson.  I’m afraid the days of Maw Maw getting a nap are long gone!  When Jackson first returned to us in late August he would take 30 min nap twice a day.  Now he’s down to about 10 min. 2-3 times a day.  By the time mommy arrives to pick him up at 4:30 he’s exhausted!

Needless to say we are looking forward to our little trip we will be taking to Wichita Falls, TX this next week.  We leave on Wed for some Grandkitty sitting and will return the following Tuesday.  Instead of tending to two grandsons we will be tending to one female feline named Samantha while her mommy and daddy get a little downtime in the New Mexico mountains.

Samantha 2014 2

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday was back in January.  But, I am 63.  And, I am a “young” 63.  I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart.  My friends are usually younger than me.  Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me!  My mindset is not that of someone who is 63!  As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!!  I don’t understand that!  When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am.  I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen!  Nope, not this girl!  I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”.  Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare.  In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately!  The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy.  So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt   (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here.  I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here.  We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats!  It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store.  On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms.  I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.”  Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any.  Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing.  He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?”  We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also.  Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”.  Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go.  So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game.  (It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris.  Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed!  We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them!  We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!!  But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved!  These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving.  Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week!  We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon.  I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back.  Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”.  So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch.  When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening.  Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health!  LOL  But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good.  So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit.  I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

IMG_20140806_082749963

 

 

 

JURY DUTY…

Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection.  Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw).  Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more).  Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from).  Hmmmm….sounding interesting.

My name was called for the 70 member panel.  Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror.  (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected.  Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL

Oooops!  Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed?  Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end.  The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member.  Whoa!  Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me?  $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it?  Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance.  They may disqualify so many others that they may need me!  (I know – a little “grandiose”  LOL).

Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL  I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time.  Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?)  You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money.  I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out.  (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!)  Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week.  She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.

After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case.  It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”.  They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit.  At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury.  Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew!  That was out!  I was relieved.  I’d done my part. Now it was up to God.  If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it.  If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.

I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty.  I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant.  I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.

To God be the Glory!

I SURVIVED!!

Well, after taking care of FOUR grandsons this week, I’ve decided that my entire existence is for everyone else’s amusement and entertainment!!   ImageJackson didn’t quite know what to think of it all.  He is an only child and so having three other boys (cousins) to watch was very stimulating!!

He would get so excited, his little legs & arms would shake and his eyes would get big as saucers!  I had to keep shushing Ethan (6) and Kash (almost 3) cause Jackson gets scared if voices get too loud.  He doesn’t like screaming or hollering at all and you know how rowdy boys can be!!

 ImageImageEverything from watching them do puzzles, to building with blocks to wrestling – Jackson was all eyes and ears as he sat in his little Bumbo and checked it all out.

Maw Maw & Paw Paw are exhausted!! I’m thankful for all of Paw Paw’s help this past week with the boys.  Preston, (13) was also very helpful this week not only with the little ones, but also by helping Paw Paw mow the front and back lawns. Aside from trying to cook a hot meal every day, I made sure the swimming pool in the backyard was full of clean water every day…

ImageMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday the 3 older boys and I went to the park playground to play each morning while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson. ImageI’ve been promising Kash that he would learn how to ride Ethan’s “hand me down” bike this summer…so we loaded up the trunk of the car with scooters and the bike and while at the park, Kash got to practice.  He did great!  He had trouble with steering while pedaling because he wants to look around at everybody and see what’s going on rather than paying attention to the road ahead!  LOL!!  I was amazed at how quickly he grasped pedaling forward though.  Once in awhile he would pedal backwards and stomp the brake on.  I tried to explain the concept of making the bike go forward and that the bike would not go backwards, but just stop ..if he pedaled backward.  I’m not sure he’s got that down yet – but he only tipped it over once – when he went off the sidewalk onto the grass.  I was really proud of him since he has a four wheeler at home that all he has to do is press the gas pedal!  He steers it pretty crooked too, and runs into a lot of things!

ImageSo, while Kash was practicing on his bike (my back hurts!), Preston & Ethan were in the racquet ball cage; Preston riding his “rip stick” and Ethan riding his scooter. It’s a very nice park and close to home so when I don’t have a bike to haul we will walk rather than drive to the park.

The boys always tire out if we go to the park and play in the morning prior to lunch.  Paw Paw enjoys an early lunch so by 11 am while he watches Jeopardy and the boys watch the Cartoon channel I am preparing lunch.  Image Since Thursday is a busy day at the park (all the home-school kids are there) we went for a long walk in the neighborhood instead. I had promised the boys that if they were good all week, I would take them to Kid’s Station on Friday to play on the indoor slides, ball pit, arcade etc   Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and just fall through!  Suffice it to say, Maw Maw was not a happy camper!!  The boys and I were meeting friends at Kid’s Station.  We had planned to go at Noon, just after lunch, knowing that Kid’s Station’s summer hours were from 11 – 7. When we arrived at Noon – we discovered that they weren’t open.  Even though summer hours were written on the window (11-7) the sign said they would be open from 1 – 7 instead.  Needless to say, we had to think of something to do to kill some time because Maw Maw was not going to sit in an air conditioned car in the Texas heat for an hour with 3 disappointed and anxious grandsons.  So, we decided to go to the Pet Store to check out the animals.  We got back to Kid’s Station at 1:02 pm to find the friends we were meeting standing outside their car waiting for them to open.  As we watched other cars pull in and out of the parking lot we noticed that there was one lone truck parked at the back of the building, but still no lights on inside.  Myself and the other parents, grandparents waiting were getting very frustrated.  A call to Kid’s Station only resulted in a voice mail message that said their hours for the day were 1-7 pm.  Our friends had not had lunch, so they left to go grab a bite while we agreed to wait until 1:30 pm.  At 1:20 a man in that lone truck came from the back of the building, rolled down his window and proceeded to inform us that they would NOT BE OPEN AT ALL! Grrrrrrr!!  Upon conversing with the man (that’s a nice way of putting it), I found out that he was in fact, the owner – and his reason for not opening was “I have four girls graduating and so I have no one to run the place”.  OMG!!

Are you serious???  And you didn’t know this before NOW????  You didn’t see this problem with staffing before today???  You mean I planned this all week, got my grandsons all fired up about going, had them do chores to earn money for it, blah, blah, blah and NOW at 20 minutes after the time you are supposed to open – you decide NADA??!!  You couldn’t put a message on your voice mail stating such?  When I called yesterday to find out the price for Friday and no one bothered to tell me you weren’t going to be open at all?? What kind of management is that??  Okay, I’ve ranted enough – you get my gist – I just wasn’t happy at all!!  The boys were calmer than I was…SHAME ON ME!  Long story short- we did get 3 free passes for another day (doesn’t solve the problem for today tho).  So, refusing to have 3 disappointed boys on my hands Preston suggested that we check out the Arcade at the Mall.  He said they also had a bounce house for all ages.  Since I go to the mall rarely, I had to take it on faith and go check it out.  ImageOn the way to the Arcade we found several other cute little rides for the boys to check out.  We had a fun afternoon blowing $50 in quarters in the Arcade and got home around 4 pm.  Kash is accustomed to taking a nap in the afternoon, but when we go to Kid’s Station he gets to skip it.  He stays wired up having fun until we get home and then this is what you will find:

ImagePoor little tyke!  He just collapsed as soon as we got home!!  Preston was on the computer, Ethan was watching Netflix (while I rested in my recliner) and Paw Paw had already handed off Jackson to his mommy who was glad to be done with another teaching year.

Today, I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a brief bible study and homemade Mexican lunch and then came promptly home to climb back into them!  Full day of two choir practices and two church services tomorrow – Monday, just 3 boys. Phew!

 

Scrapbook memories of 3 graduates!!

ESTRANGEMENT…ugh.  I hate that word!  But, more than just hating the word….I hate the fact that our family has experienced way too much estrangement.  Some may call it “separation”, but since divorce, custody battles etc; have been involved I think “estrangement” is a more appropriate word…and I have been a KEY player since I also have experienced separation, divorce and estrangement.  😦

So, you ask…what does that have to do with graduating??  Good question.  Let me begin with the oldest graduate I am commemorating in this blog.  Christian is my first born grandson…ImageHe is my daughter, Theresa’s first born child.  He was born when she was unmarried and only 18 yrs. old.  My oldest child and only son had blessed me with two granddaughters and a third was on the way,  But this was my FIRST GRANDSON!  I was with my daughter all night throughout her labor and even got to cut Christian’s cord! Christian was a precious and happy little boy and Maw Maw loved taking care of him. Since Theresa was a single mom, I remember helping her to get set up with low income housing, purchasing second hand furniture and providing diapers for Christian the first year of his life.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.  There were other needs that Theresa & Christian had that I couldn’t supply…

Once Christian was a toddler it was decided that he should live with his dad in Minnesota. His other family was in Texas!  ESTRANGEMENT had reared it’s ugly head!ImageUGH!  By this time, Christian had a little sister.  They loved playing together and so it was going to be a lonely time for them both with the separation.

Infrequent summer visitations and an occasional holiday was the extent of time spent together.  ImageSince many miles separated us (Texas/Minnesota) and finances often prohibited us from visits as often as we would have preferred, we tried to make the most out of our times together! Mommy married and more siblings were added to the mix. 1st a little brotherImagenamed Preston.  One summer while Christian was visiting we all went camping!  ImageThey loved those hot Texas beaches!  Anything to do with water was always fun; for Maw Maw too!  ImageYum! Smore’s!!!

Another time Christian got to take a ride in Uncle Rob’s boat…ImageThere were only a few Christmases that Christian got to be in Texas with his mom, his siblings or Maw Maw and Paw Paw, but we tried to make the most of them when he was…ImageI remember even once when Christian flew to TX alone and I met him at DFW to pick him up for his visitation.  He was a brave young man to travel alone by plane to see his Texas family.  ImageThis awesome young man has 6 siblings!!  His mom has had four more children since he was born and his dad and wife have had 2 other children!!  It’s no wonder that Christian is an awesome big brother and even works as a babysitter for two young boys!  As Christian got older and more involved in sportsImage  his visits to Texas became less frequent and more sporadic.  I cherish the pictures his Minnesota family would provide us…

It helped me to feel as though I was a part of his life when in reality I wasn’t!  We were growing less and lessImagefamiliar with each other.  I hated that!  I remember traveling up North for a family wedding and picking Christian up for an overnight stay in a motel where he could spend time with cousins and we could try to re-connect.  ESTRANGEMENT! Ugh!  Once you’ve been estranged, it’s so difficult to re-connect!!  I struggled to KNOW my grandson.  He was a good boy, but I didn’t really know him.  That being said, it didn’t change the love a grandmother has for her grandson.  It didn’t change the desire you have for their well being and happiness.  

Well, just this past week I received confirmation of Christian’s well being and happiness when my two daughter’s (his mother and aunt) were able to attend Christian’s high school graduation ceremony.  Christian’s dad and mom (the one that raised him) received my daughter (his birth mom) into their home warmly.  I believe it was life-changing for all after more than a four year ESTRANGEMENT.  ImageCongratulations, Grandson!  I am so very happy to hear how you’ve turned out and so grateful to your Minnesota family for taking good care of you and providing you with a life you deserve.  After talking with you on the phone, I anticipate a visit from you before you begin college…but if it doesn’t happen I am at peace knowing you are well and that you got to re-connect with your mom a little.

Christian was born in February of 1996…My third grandaughter (his cousin) was born in August of the same year.  Rain is another grandchild that I don’t know very well.  ImageMy son and Rain’s mother were divorced by the time she was two years old.  Here we go again…ESTRANGEMENT!!  Shortly thereafter, Rain, her older sister, Skyler and her mother moved to Colorado.  More separation! ImageThis is a picture of them in our motel room after we made a trip to Colorado to see them. If was a brief visit, but we spent time eating out and playing in the motel pool.  ImageI have pictures to prove that we made efforts to see our grandchildren and have quality time together… so why do I feel so bad??  I just feel so sad when I think of how much I’ve missed of them growing up because we have lived so far apart! ImageFor a short while Skyler and Rain’s cousin, Hannah lived in Colorado and so they got to spend some time with her.  That was 10 or more years ago and they haven’t seen each other since!  Ugh! ESTRANGEMENT!! I hate it!  I know it’s a fact of life and some families are closer than others…but it doesn’t change my feelings on this lack of closeness that many in my family share.  I want it to be different!

Rain is such a precious and sweet girl!  For a couple of years her dad and step-mom lived just 40 miles from us.  AlthoughImagedad didn’t have custody Maw Maw and Paw Paw reaped the benefit of summer visitations and remember taking Rain shopping for some school clothes before she left to go back to Colorado.  ImageWhenever we had the opportunity to see Rain we would try to spend quality time together.  I recall one summer when we were up North for a wedding we celebrated Rain’s birthday early just so we could be together for it.  

ImageAll grown up now but back in Minnesota…Rain is once again living closer to her dad, step-mom and little brother.  I just wish I was closer as well!  I miss her so much!  The last time I saw her was in 2007!! That’s 7 long years!  Cards and gifts on birthdays and Christmases just aren’t sufficient enough for a grandchild to know they are loved.  Maybe they do know…maybe I’m just feeling guilty for the lack of time I’ve spent with some of them.  In my opinion, no amount of money can replace lost moments together.  Unfortunately, when families separate, move, divorce, have hard feelings & misunderstandings….ugh, there it is again – ESTRANGEMENT! Isn’t that an ugly word?  It’s even and uglier fact of life!  Did I mention, I hate it?  My youngest daughter, Tanya got to see Rain this week and got to celebrate a little bit with her.  ImageAuntie Tanya is always game for a little clowning around!  I smiled when she sent me this pic.  So, congratulations Rain!  Maw Maw wishes she could be present for your graduation next week but some much smaller grandchildren here in Texas are needing my time and attention.

Now that you have come of age, maybe you can make a trip to Texas to see us.  You would be welcomed with open arms!Image

Last but not least is my third graduate, Ethan! Ethan is Christian’s younger brother and 6 yrs. old. In Texas they make a big deal out of Kindergarten graduations…and so when my daughter asked me if I could attend the ceremony this past Tuesday I was all in! I took care of Ethan here in my home along with his younger brother, Kash until Ethan began school. Technically, I guess you could say I was his “Pre-K” teacher. We had lots of fun and I taught him how to read, spell, write, count etc;2013-01-03_10-18-35_563
Now, Ethan will be entering the first grade! Fortunately, I can say I’ve not been ESTRANGED from Ethan like I have some of my other grandchildren. Since he only lives 20 miles from me, I’ve been able to be a part of his life since he was born! Ethan is my 13th grandchild. We’ve love to build forts from blankets, play card games, build tall towers from the Jenga blocks and play with Legos.IMG_20130529_124131_325 Here Ethan is having fun with Play Doh.

I’m so proud of little Ethan!

Look at that grin!

Look at that grin!

Now that school is out I will see more of Ethan. In fact he and his brother Preston will be coming along with Kash on Monday to stay at Maw Maw’s house while mommy works. This is our last week to take care of Jackson…but next week will be crazy with four grandsons here! I will have to snap a picture so you can all see proof of four that I do get to spend lots of time with!

Ethan with his certificate

Ethan with his certificate

I’m not shy…so I hooped and hollered for Ethan as he was receiving his certificate. In fact, another grandma commented as I was leaving that I gave her courage to holler as well. LOL

A parting shot of us….

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

Milestones of a “Ginger”

Do young mothers still keep baby books?  The three baby books I kept for my three children went to year 7 and then quit.  I was devoted to keeping them up to date, complete with pictures…noting every milestone from when they cut their first tooth to when they had their first haircut.  Is it my imagination or is this an almost entirely lost endeavor?  Once I became a scrapbooker, I transferred the information and destroyed the old yellowed pages of those baby books to make scrapbooks for each of my grown children all the way into adulthood, including jobs, spouses, their children etc;

Now, I am enjoying the milestones of grandchildren – up close and personal.  Our youngest and 15th grandchild (I have 10, my husband has 5)..is Jackson, our little “ginger”.

ImageHe is just over 3 months old and has begun to hold his head up in bed and check us out! How about that for a cute shot!!  So, low and behold I wasn’t at all surprised when I came into the bedroom to get him from his crib the other day to discover he had rolled over from his tummy to his back!!  I didn’t see it, but we always put him on his tummy for sleep (I know all the controversy and debate), but when he awoke he was on his back!!  LOL 

Jackson’s parents are first time parents, needless to say he is spoiled!  I think mommy and daddy think that if he lets out a peep he must be picked up!  It’s made it a bit more challenging for Maw Maw and Paw Paw because we get very little “down time” when he’s awake!!  He’s not real good at entertaining himself yet.  ImageHere he is being talked to.  He loves it when you talk to him.  His sweet personality is really beginning to show.  Just as equally his red-headed temperament is also often present!  LOL  Oh, how we love this little toot!!  He is such a joy to have around.

 

He has such a cute, high pitched wail…and when he decides he’s mad – there’s nothing a person can do but let him wail. He just decides – “I’m done being entertained!” Usually that means he’s either very tired, needs to be fed or needs to be changed. Sometimes tho, it just means “change my position”!! In other words…”walk around the house with me, so I can look around, or go outside and sit on the patio with me for awhile, or take me for a stroll in my stroller.”

Our big boy

Our big boy

Needless to say, we are enjoying taking care of “little” Jackson and will miss him when mommy is done teaching school in 2 weeks. He will return to us in the fall half grown I’m sure. It’s not that we won’t see him this summer…(of course, we will), but it won’t be the same as enjoying and appreciating all those milestones on a daily basis like we have.Jackson 4 This last shot is Jackson flirting with our Pastor’s wife at church. Love it!

Aside

A typical day at Maw Maw’s house

No two days are alike, but many of our activities are repeated from day to day. The reason for my blog is because yesterday was the last day I will have the youngest four of my oldest daughter’s five children in my home to care for. Beginning Monday I will only have Kash (almost 2) and unfortunately I’m afraid he’s gonna be a lonely little fella for awhile without his 5 yr. old sibling and playmate, Ethan to wrestle with.

Ethan & Kash

Ethan & Kash

The kids arrive around 7:20 in the morning and I am just finishing up with Granny’s morning routine. Kash has to give “Ganny” a kiss and touch her face…

Granny, Kash & Linda

Granny, Kash & Linda

The “face touching” just started recently, but it amazes me that Kash just knows instinctively to be gentle. I didn’t tell him to be gentle or worry that he would slap or grab at her, but he just reaches over and ever so gently strokes her cheek. It is so sweet!!

He and Granny’s birthdays are only one day apart in September and his arrival two years ago coincides with Granny’s arrival from the nursing home two years ago.

Two years ago

Two years ago

With exception of July when the kids were with their dad, this summer I’ve enjoyed the company of Hannah, 15, Preston, 12, and of course Ethan and Kash. Just like my mom, one of the things I enjoy the most is feeding them! I love to cook a hot meal for them, especially if they like what I’m fixing!

Hannah, Preston & Ethan a couple years ago pre-Kash

Hannah, Preston & Ethan a couple years ago pre-Kash

Our large hot meal occurs around 11:30 in the morning with a mid-afternoon snack around 2 pm right before naptime. I would like to tell you that everything they eat is healthy and nutritious but that would be a lie. It’s not uncommon for me to have home baked sweets in the house or at least some candy and chips available. My big boy, Preston, 12 can put away some groceries, but sweets aren’t really his thing. He will choose trail mix over a cookie any day and likes “puff corn” and string cheese the best. Ethan (5), on the other hand, is a choc-o-holic and will be quite disappointed if there isn’t any chocolate in the house. Chocolate #1, Sugar #2. Yesterday, for example – I had no chocolate. He chose a bowl full of marshmallows. 🙂

Some misc activities you might find us involved in on any given day:

On a trek thru the neighborhood or walking on the trail at the bottom of the hill. This week our walks were taken early in the morning, right after breakfast before the temp hit 90’s. Ethan or Preston will often be on their scooter, Kash in the stroller while Hannah is home “sleeping in” or helping Paw Paw mow the lawn. Kash has lately gotten to where he likes to walk the trail rather than ride in the stroller. On one of our hot afternoon walks this week I snapped this pose under an overpass that goes over the trail..

The H G Mosley Hooligans

The H G Mosley Hooligans

Kash looks sunburned, but actually he just “flushes” really bad in the heat. He walked about a half a mile when this pic was taken and we had to walk another half a mile back to the car. He’s a very independent, outdoorsy little fella and absolutely loved the freedom of being able to walk. The trail has workout stations and so Preston enjoyed trying out all the cool equipment while Ethan rode his scooter.

Burning some calories

Burning some calories

Water play! Whether it’s a bath we are taking, playing in the swimming pool out on the patio or playing in the sink and “pretending” to wash the dishes – all my boys love the water!!

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I also took the kids to “Kid’s Station” three or four times this summer. It’s one of those air conditioned indoor playgrounds that rough and tumble boys enjoy especially.

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Many hours were spent at Lois Jackson Park which is connected to the trail that we walk. They have a nice little playground that is walking distance from our house.

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Mind you, all of these activities have to take place while Paw Paw is at home, because otherwise there is no one to stay with Granny! So, there is alot of indoor stuff we do such as building forts, school work, reading books, legos etc;

There’s never a dull moment – with 3 boys and one 15 yr. old girl. I try to do something special with Hannah once in awhile so she doesn’t feel left out. One of those “Hannah” days was spent getting pedicures.

Pedicure time

Pedicure time

We left the boys home with Paw Paw, and went out for lunch, a little shopping and a mani/pedi. Good girl time!

So much more I could say about the things we do at Maw Maw’s but suffice it to say, it’s going to be a lot quieter and less busy with a 2 yr. old and a 93 yr. old to tend to. I have mixed emotions. Maybe it’s time to start back on tending to me…but that’s another blog post.

Meet Samantha

caption id=”attachment_541″ align=”alignnone” width=”535″]RIP - Horse Snout RIP – Horse Snout[/caption]

This is Horse Snout aka “Pony”. She was my loveable, but “cattish” grandkitty. We lost her this year quite suddenly of a heart attack. My daughter and son-in-law were devastated to say the least. Although my husband and I aren’t cat lovers and never have been, we grew to love Pony. She was funny – especially so, when she “led” my husband head first right into my daughter’s sliding plate glass door. But, she was still a CAT. She was also an outdoor cat – so when we visited we seldom saw her.

The grief was so great that my daughter felt the only way for she and her husband to heal was to find a new kitty to love. Enter Samantha…

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This is in the car on the way home from being rescued. They had been told that she was very “prissy” and would not tolerate another pet in the home, especially another cat. They discovered very quickly that Samantha loved her mommy’s quilt. The one that grandma (me) made for her this past Christmas.

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So, my daughter Tanya asked if I would make Samantha a mini quilt just like hers. She wasn’t sure if it was the color or the fabric or my smell on the quilt – but she didn’t want to chance it! All I heard was “make it just like mine, mom”. So, using the scraps from the quilt I made my baby girl – I made this one for my girlie grandkitty. Isn’t she the most adoreable thing you’ve ever seen?

Pets on Quilts 3

Pets on Quilts 4

The irony in all this …is that I love this sweet kitty as if she were my own and I haven’t even had a chance to meet her yet! Unlike Pony, she is an “inside” kitty. From all that my daughter has shared, I’m of the mindset that Samantha thinks she’s a dog, even down to walking on a leash! She’s not stuck up or as independent as most cats and loves lots to cuddle! My daughter has included me in so many of the joyful times she’s experienced since Samantha joined their family that I can’t wait to meet her!

Unfortunately, we live 5 hours apart and lead very busy lives. So although I did get to see my daughter and son-in-law just last week in Fort Worth for dinner, meeting my lovely Samantha has had to be put on hold for awhile. Here’s a parting shot of Samantha on her quilt basking in the Texas sunshine.

Pets on Quilts

I hope you’ve enjoyed my entry for the “Pets on Quilts” competition. Check it out at: http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1424767893&group=0&frame_type=a&blog=3387541&link=aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRwcm94eS5nb29nbGUuY29tL35yL0NyYWZ0eVNld2luZ1F1aWx0aW5nL34zL1lWbVluVERMMFE0L2ktd3JhcHBlZC11cC1pbi1teS1mYXZvcml0ZS1xdWlsdC5odG1s&frame=1&click=0&user=3409577

Kittys like quilts too, ya know!

My last day of freedom

Ethan and Kash are the two grandsons that I have been taking care of for the past 18 months. They are a joy! They have spent the last month with their dad and so I have had the month of July off. Guess what tomorrow is? August 1st! That means today was my last day of “freedom” 🙂

Playing in the sink

Playing in the sink

So, to celebrate my last day with no children I told my hubby I was going to spend my day playing on the computer and sewing. So, when I wasn’t tending to Granny’s needs that’s exactly what I did.

Look at what I made today:

Scrappy 9 patch quilted pillow cover - front

Scrappy 9 patch quilted pillow cover – front

It has an “envelope opening” in the back so it can be removed and washed:

The back

The back

It took me about 3-4 hours (with interruptions) to complete. I am so pleased with the way it turned out. It was just an experiment made from fabric scraps. Several of my friends have told me I should try to sell some of my quilts etc; I’ve never felt like they were good enough to sell. I always make them for friends and family and give them as gifts. So, I thought I would try a small project and put it on E-bay. I listed this pillow tonight.
I have an Etsy account, but the one time I really tried to get into understanding their rules and regs it just didn’t seem as user friendly as E-bay. Does anyone have an opinion or advice?

Fair warning…now that the boys will be back at my house Mon-Fri, I probably won’t be blogging quite as often and my sewing will have to be reserved for the evenings and weekends. Mind you, I’m not complaining…love my boys. Just gotta take my Geritol and get my running shoes out! LOL

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