Looking Back…

In November, I had great plans for writing about our Thanksgiving visit with Little Man and his folks.  I took pictures and I may still use them and write about them, but, somehow, time flew by and nothing was written.

I had a wonderful holiday season.  I was so busy making memories that I did not take time to write about them.  I would not change a thing.  Sometimes it is so much more important to live in the moment and catalog each giggle, each smile, each sigh in your heart than to think of how to express those deep feelings with words.

We spent Thanksgiving with Little Man, like I mentioned.  We stayed with some dear friends and we celebrated Hubby’s birthday all in the same week.  It was a week filled with hugs, kisses, old movies, mini golf, lots of food and the comfort of being with friends who are family and family .  It couldn’t have been better.

We drove home from Thanksgiving and I dove into decorating.  I took my time and I have to say that this year’s decorations were surprisingly beautiful.  My ideas of what I would like to see actually worked!  I was amazed.

We had a couple of parties at the house and the house echoed with laughter and conversations and of course, there was plenty of food.

Christmas saw Little Man and his family here.  From the greeting with my obnoxious ugly Christmas sweater (which Little Man loved) to the tearful parting and good-bye the day after Christmas, our home and hearts were filled to the brim.  Laughter rang out and there was music and old movies and new movies, legos, games, puzzles and old stories filling our home.  These all outshined the decorations.  When your home is filled with loved ones they are the perfect decoration and make the gifts and ribbons and bows pale in comparison.

Shortly after Christmas, Hubby and I traveled to Florida to see Little Miss and her folks.  We spent ten glorious days with them.  Again, the time spent with them was time that we will cherish.  Seeing Little Miss be herself, complete with singing, dancing around, playing with her dolls and her legos, made our hearts glad.  She is full of life and she reminds us how fun it is to be three…  we laughed for ten days straight.

Looking back on this holiday season fills me with such a peace.  I was hugged and kissed by two of the most important people in my life.  Their obvious love for hubby and I melt our hearts.  Being hugged by sometimes sticky hands is the absolute best feeling in the world.  I was spoiled this year with gifts, but the two gifts I cherish most are my grandchildren.  Their smiles, their laughter, their stories, they are the things that make anytime special.

So, Happy New Year!  I hope 2018 holds the best for you all.  My year ended and started in the best possible way,  I look forward to the coming months.

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas…

A week ago, my daughter (Little Miss’ mom) and her family arrived for Christmas.  It was the first time in a decade that we were able to spend Christmas together.  I was so thrilled!  Her sister, obviously my other daughter,  was supposed to join us, but, at the last moment, couldn’t.  We were disappointed, but, understood.

The days leading up to Christmas were full.  We had fun, visiting, playing with our Little Miss, who is two and filled with giggles and two-year old conversations.   We went shopping for last-minute gifts, for groceries, for nothing in particular.  It was a lovely few days leading up to the 25th.

Christmas Eve we set out gifts and made plans for the following morning.  My daughter made a breakfast casserole in the crock pot and we planned to get up and head to church.  We each had our outfits ready to go, and it was all planned out.  Get up, have a nice breakfast, go to church, come home and open gifts and have a nice dinner.

Christmas Eve we went to bed.  All was quiet…   Hubby and I got up, showered, got ready for church.  Our daughter was getting up and Little Miss’ daddy was kind enough to discover that our guest room bath had standing water in it.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift for us!  We went to the basement and lo!  there was more standing water.

That lovely Christmas breakfast casserole stayed in the crock pot just a bit longer.  Hubby and I changed from our church clothes into work clothes.  So, for the next two hours the guys worked.  Pumping and vacuuming water from the floor.  Turning off water certain places to make certain it didn’t leak. Moving a toilet to make certain it wasn’t the cause of the water.  Discovering that our septic tank decided to be full.  Full on Christmas Day.  Not Christmas Eve…. no…. Christmas Day.  It could not wait another day… no… full on Christmas Day.

So, we called and got an appointment for the next morning to have the tank pumped.  That was good.  It was going to happen soon.  We had water to drink that did not need to be run through the sink.  So, that was great.  But… cooking.  I just could not think about doing that in my kitchen.   This will be in part 2…

We ate some breakfast, although the guys did not have much appetite after clearing the rooms.  I had the fumes of disinfectant lingering in my nose as I scrubbed the floors where the water had been and where the men had walked.  We ate, not truly enjoying the casserole that was delicious.

We read the Christmas story.  Little Miss was a bit distracted, but hubby was trying to salvage something of the day.  The story ended.  I went to the kitchen and decided that mimosas were in order.   And then we opened gifts.  Christmas, as it is spoken of in  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  did come.  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more.”   Christmas came even though the tank overflowed…

Christmas came.  We laughed with one another as we sat in our stinky work clothes.  We hugged and thanked each other even though only half of us managed to shower that morning.  We had each other and the cares and weight of the messy morning did not ruin what happens when family sit around a tree on Christmas morning and share with one another.

Christmas came as it did centuries ago.  Christmas came quietly that day long ago.  That day when our Savior was born.  Christmas came without ribbons, it came without tags.  It continues to come even when the morning is filled with shop vacs and buckets and scrubbing.    I hope your Christmas was special like ours, but, not as eventful as ours turned out.   Cathi

 

Reminders and Echoes…

This past week we celebrated Little Man’s fourth birthday here.  The pool was ready, the weather was wonderful and it was a great celebration.

Little Miss arrived before Little Man and the time with these two wonderful, lively human beings went much too fast.

Little Miss left just a few hours ago. The house is now quiet.  I have picked up the living room of the remaining things lying around.  Up the stairs went the books and balls and crayons and coloring books.  A few stuffed animals went up the stairs also.

I put the things carried up into the guest area upstairs.  I dared not go into the toy room, at least not yet.  I was in there earlier this morning with Little Miss and the echoes resounding in there were deafening.  The puzzle Little Man put together was still together on the floor.  The paper he was painting on still laying there where he put it.  The trucks are all crashed in disarray and there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout the room.  Little Miss was in there copying how she had seen her cousin playing earlier this week.  She was his shadow, mimicking everything he did.

They became cousins this week, I think.  They no longer just stared at one another.  She followed him closer than his shadow did.  She was under his feet studying his each move.  If he played with the ball, so did she.  Of course this led to the normal stance of most young cousins, throwing things, pushing each other and grabbing things out of each other’s hands.  It was delightful to see!  I could picture them in years to come, chasing one another, challenging each other and having talks that only cousins can have.  It made my heart swell and now, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Yes, it is quieter without the grandchildren here.  We are lonely for them.  We dislike when they leave, our lives are just a bit duller and there is not enough laughter resounding between the two of us.

This visit, though, I realized it was not just the little kids that made leaving so hard.  I have missed ‘my’ kids.  My girls.  Tell-tale signs that they were home make me stop and wipe a tear from my eye.  Seeing towels put into the washer so I didn’t have to put them there.  Reading a note in my guest room guest book.  Seeing a guest room put back together and knowing she did it.  Seeing a favorite coffee cup out and being hesitant to put it away into the dishwasher, knowing that she was the last one to hold it.  Yes, all of these things make me wish for one more hug, one more laugh.

Times go by too fast.  Times that we mostly take for granted.  This week cemented in me that this house is a house we have dreamed of for years.  It is a place where my kids and their kids can let their hair down.  A place where they can relax and not worry about fingerprints on windows or sticky floors or bringing crayons into a livingroom.  It is a place where you can bounce a ball or yourself down the stairs while laughing and screaming ‘boom’ or ‘bump’.  A place to blow bubbles inside. This is the house I always wanted.  A place with a screen door that slams.  A place where there is adventure and fun.  A place to jump off the side of a pool or from the ladder.  This is home, this is where family come to be family, loud, noisy, laughing, talking, remembering and even being annoyed or frustrated.  I am so thankful for my girls and their families.  We may not be wealthy or have a pristine home, but, we are rich in being able to be a family.  I have waited too many years for this and at long last it feels like my dreams have come true.  A family that can come home, and relax. taking naps or finding a room to just sit and get caught up with one another.

I have had a great week.  I sit here a little more tired, and a lot more lonely, but my heart is full when I listen to the echoes that are still bouncing around the room.  My heart is full when I see remnants of toys and towels and floats for the pool.    So, thank you to my girls and their families making this Grammy a happy one, albeit a very teary-eyed one today.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

Anticipation…

I am excited!  In two days, Little Miss will be here.  I cannot wait to see their car pull into the driveway, knowing who is sitting in the backseat waiting to be freed from her car seat.   I will be anxious to scoop her up and know that after a long drive her mama will be ready to get out of the car herself.  As it most likely goes, Little Miss will be ready to be changed or sticky or drenched from pouring water on herself.  That is always the case with children, you prepare for them to be perfect to see their grandparents and then on the way reality strikes and the end product is never what you think and dream it will be.  (Speaking from experience here with two little girls that I always wanted to look ‘just so’ when seeing their grandparents for the first time of a visit.  I always looked like I just put my finger in a socket and they looked like  street hooligans who hadn’t been fed or bathed in six years of their four years of life.)

Little Miss is coming for a party.  Not a huge party, just a family celebration.  The celebration was moved here since Grampy is confined to small areas still.  He can go to local places to eat as long as he can put his leg up, but, he still cannot travel well.  So, we are having a family pool party at our home.  I am so excited!

The honoree for the party?  Why, that is Little Man!  He is going to be four years old.  Yes, that is right, he is no longer a toddler, but a little boy.  He will be arriving on Monday and I cannot wait to scoop him up and continue our ongoing conversation.   This conversation started four years ago and each time we see each other that conversation continues.

So, yes, the anticipation of having both Little Miss and Little Man here is killing me.  I keep wishing the time would pass more quickly.  I impatiently look at the hour and look outside wishing it was one day closer.  I know it will be a short visit for both of them, but, even spending a few hours with them is like Christmas morning for  me. The greatest gifts that have ever been given to me, wrapped up in little arms and hands and giggles.  Hearing stories and seeing their faces makes my heart full of health and well-being.

After these past few weeks hubby and I need a dose of healing and laughter.  We need a time to see these precious gifts and most of all we need a day to celebrate our Little Man, who has blessed our life with his.  His curiosity is boundless and his ability to carry on a conversation and ask wonderful questions gives us joy.  So, an early Happy Birthday Little Man.  I can’t believe you are four already.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF (Cathi)

Baby Yawns…

Our daughter and granddaughter are still with us.  They have narrowed down the house and an offer is about to be put in, but, Little Miss and her mom are with us until it closes.

It has been a fun visit and I have been busy chasing and catching Little Miss.  When she first got here, her steps were a bit wobbly.  Now she is running.  Fast.  Very fast.  Giggling while she runs.  It is wonderful.

I have loved being with her.  Getting to see her personality develop.  Hear her language skills develop.  Most of all, I love hearing her laughter.  She is full of life and fun to be with.

She is just now waking up from her nap.  She comes over to see what I am doing on my laptop.  I panic for just a moment as her favorite past time is pushing the buttons on my computer.  I am rushing to finish this thought.

Life has been hectic.  There are times when my daughter and I look at each other in dismay that it is only 5 p.m. and not 11 p.m. that we feel like it is.

All of this is so worthwhile.  I say this especially, because just a few minutes ago I watched Little Miss stretch out on Mommy’s lap and give a big yawn as she finally woke up.  Baby yawns are the very best.    Thanks for stopping by.   DAF

 

Bucket List…

Our oldest daughter is staying with us while she is in transition to their new place.  We have had her and Little Miss with us for almost two weeks now.  It has been a wonderful visit.

The other day she mentioned my bucket list.  We had been talking about how I turned down seeing Barry Manilow in concert when hubby and I were in Vegas a few years ago.  I actually caught pneumonia on the first day of our visit there and spent almost the entire stay in the hotel room coughing and feeling like I was dying and getting upset because I did not die.  I felt that horrible.  Anyhow, trying to cheer me up, hubby offered to take me to see Barry Manilow.  I felt so horrible I turned him down and continued to hack my lungs out.   I then told my daughter that the following week in Vegas Paul McCartney and Elton John performed and I would have dragged myself to see them no matter what.  We continued to talk about how seeing at least one of the Beatles perform before I die is on my bucket list.

Since then I started to think about my bucket list.  I remember it used to be a long list.  Filled with many things.  Seeing the Kremlin was on the list, as was running a marathon (that will NEVER happen), going to Austria, seeing Ireland and Scotland.  Also on the list was writing that novel (hopefully that will happen), and speaking to conferences of women.

My bucket list now is something I do not think of.  I pondered on this fact on the way home from the grocery store today.  I wondered if I was just lazy and had no drive to do things.  I realized I was content.  Content with my world the way it is.  Yes, it would be wonderful to travel, seeing the sights I have only looked at in pictures.  It would be exhilerating to write that novel and have sell out conferences.  It would be such a blessing to know I had touched lives and possibly helped people make changes in their lives.

The one occurring sight in my mind while thinking of all of this is the feeling I have when I remember holding Little Man’s hand and Little Miss’ hand.  Having them lift thier arms for me to pick them up.  Reading to them books that rhyme and playing cars with them.  Seeing the beauty of my daughters reflected in their children’s faces.  That is contentment and joy.

I am certain the castles of Austria are breath taking.  I know the green of Ireland is something that my heart would rejoice in seeing.  I know having my feet land in Scotland where my grandfather walked would give me a peace I have never known.

But, if I never get there, my life will be fulfilled in knowing that I have laughed with my Little Man and Little Miss and that laughter will echo through eternity in my heart.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF……………

A Time Honored Tradition….

It is almost daylight here.  I sit here wide awake, thoughts flooding my mind.

Hubby, who is in San Diego, texted me about an hour ago asking me to pray for Little Miss’ daddy.  I immediately began to pray.  It was nothing serious, but it was a request given out of love for his future son-in-law and I understood.

I understood because thirty-one years ago tonight I prayed the same prayers for my hubby.

Thirty one years ago tomorrow I was part of a ceremony that hubby and my daughter will take part in tomorrow.

Little Miss’ daddy has been promoted in the Navy.  This is a special promotion, for he will become a Navy Chief.  Technically, it is just another enlisted grade in all the other services, but, in the Navy, it has special meaning.

A Navy Chief is an awesome achievement.  In hubby’s day there was hazing.  A lot of it.  But, it was what made you a chief.  These days the initiation process is different, but, the result is the same.  It is a tiring process, a long process and it wears you down physically, mentally, emotionally.  But, when it is all said and done that is what happens when you are a chief.  You wear many hats and a normal response to most sailors with questions is, “Go ask the Chief”.

Hubby was asked to pin one of the collar devices on his uniform tomorrow.  Our daughter will pin the other device on.  Hubby was honored when he was asked, and, of course he wanted to be there.

Hubby spent the day today with all the new chief selectees.  He stayed there for the entire process, and I know this has forged a bond between hubby and LIttle Miss’ daddy.

So, after praying for him, my mind became overwhelmed with memories and thoughts.  We have almost been out of the Navy longer than we were in now.  Hubby retired at 21 years in service.  That time sped by and was just one chapter of our lives.  But, that chapter was filled with traditions that have always been a part of the U.S. Navy.   I am proud of the time we were part of the Navy.

I have had several texts in the past hour.  The last came from LIttle Miss’ daddy thanking me and telling me to get some sleep.  When I finish this cup of tea and this post I will try to get some sleep.  I will think to myself  something that I taught my girls when they were little and heading to bed.

I see the moon and the moon sees me.  God bless the sailors on the sea.”   Yes, there are still parts of this great country that continues time-honored traditions, and I am proud to have been a part of that.

The third verse of Anchors Aweigh says,

Blue of the mighty deep:
Gold of God’s great sun.
Let these our colors be
Till all of time be done, done, done, done.
On seven seas we learn
Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true,
With honor, over honor, over all.”

So, I close this post with hearty congratulations to our LIttle Miss’ daddy, you done good kid, thank you for your service.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

A Time to Look Back…

Today felt like fall.  There was a crispness in the air that made it seem like fall arrived.  It was wonderful.  The sun shone through the trees and it looked different than it did even yesterday.  Fall is making it’s appearance and I am excited.

This afternoon and into this evening, as I sat watching the sun makes it’s journey through the trees, I sat and watched old videos of Little Man.  He starts back to preschool tomorrow, an old pro now, going into the “big” kids class for the three-year olds.

I watched videos of him playing with his play-dough.  Looking at the shapes and telling me the numbers and letters he picked up.  There were videos of him eating, covered with berry juice, and one of him signing and asking for more “bluey’s”… his name for blueberries for a short while.

Earlier, I talked with hubby who is visiting Little Miss this week.  He held her while she was crying, trying not to go down for a nap.  Putting me on speaker, we both talked with her to extend her ‘awake’ time.

All of this made me realize how quickly time passes.  The seasons of the year fly by.  Soon, the leaves will be off the trees.  The sky will be gray.  Snow may fall.

Just as quickly, Little Man and Little Miss will grow even more.  Already Little Man talks to me about the presidents, their first ladies, and tells me about the countries that are on his map of the world.  His world expands daily.

Little Miss grins a toothy smile now.  She pulls herself up and will be walking within weeks.  Soon she will be like Little Man and telling me things she is learning.

A part of me wants time to slow down.  I want to cherish each moment.  But, I can’t slow things down, and honestly, I don’t want it to slow down.  Each season is an adventure, whether it is the changing weather outdoors, or the seasons of a toddler’s life.

I am grateful today.  Today I have spent the day in memories and thoughts of what is to come.  This I have thought all day, I am blessed.  God has been and continues to be good to me.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

The ABC’s of Moving…

Thought I would try a different approach to writing about the past few weeks…

A ~ auto accident while showing our oldest daughter around our new area… nothing serious, a fender bender for them, a dented passenger door for us.

B ~ broken ribs (five of them) for a good friend of ours who was trying to help us get ready to move in…  he fell off a ladder and is now recovering…

C~ Carpeting that still isn’t ordered as we had planned…. this reminds me of the saying, “We make plans and God laughs”

D ~ Discovering new areas where we live, new shops, new restaurants, new roads to travel

E ~ Energy that is eluding hubby and I.  It’s a hot summer, but, the humidity isn’t near what it was in Charleston.

F ~ Finding things packed in odd boxes, and forgetting that I really thought I was organized a few months ago.

G ~ Grocery shopping in new places and finding that familiar things aren’t always where we expect them.

H ~ Heavy boxes are always the ones that are in the way of the boxes you need to get to.  The heavy boxes move from one place to another and you find that you have to shove them out-of-the-way no matter how many times you move them.

I ~ Insurance agents that you are getting to know quickly after the broken ribs and the fender bender… They are very nice and accommodating…

J ~ Junk drawers… I never thought I had so much useless stuff that I really will need at some point in my life….

K ~ Killing bugs that think they belong in this house… they don’t.

L ~ Little Miss visiting us and making us laugh often.  She is a sweetie.

M ~ Memories that have already started to accumulate in our new home.  I have a happy heart thinking of the people who have already seen this place and I dream of the time when others can be here with us.

N ~ Naps desired… but not many taken.

O ~ Opening box upon box upon box and still not finding the legs to my table that goes on my side of the bed.

P ~ Pool cleaning… poor hubby…. we have had a pool of many colors.  He is becoming well-known at the local pool supply store…  But, it’s getting closer to being the right color….

Q ~ A new quilt bought for our guest room, it is lovely and looks perfect in the guest room.

R ~ Reminders of friends and family fill our new place with reminders of sweet presents we have received through the years.

S ~ A dead scorpion in the guest bathroom… couldn’t figure out why my puppy was growling and lunging until we saw the dead insect on the floor.  Found out they are common in the area, but their sting is no worse than a wasp sting…. I really hope it was the only one I see and that I never experience their sting.

T ~ Tinkering… seeing hubby move from one project to another, happy as can be.  This blesses me.

U ~ Unearthing  gems of landscaping under fall leaves that were never picked up.

V ~ Visiting  local places and seeing whether they will become popular haunts to revisit.

W ~ Wishing that this place was more organized and settled.

X ~  eXcited to be in our own home.  Feeling giddy each time I pull into the driveway.

Y ~ Yearning to be settled.  To be able to walk in each room and find it ready.  I know it will come, I am just anxious for it to be finished.

Z ~ Zeal to be here.  To be home.

The past few weeks have been crazy busy.  But, I have loved each moment spent here.  Hot, sweaty, frustrated, perplexed, giddy with excitement and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of chores ahead of us.  This home is truly a gift for us and we want to prove worthy stewards of this place.  A lot has happened, but, that is truly what makes a house a home.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Some Days Just Hit You…

Today I had an interesting day.  It started out pretty normal, making fresh juice and coffee.

Hubby has been working on his car, his baby, for the past couple of weeks.  From what he is talking about, I expect it will act like a brand new car and drive incredibly well and be fast.  Of course, it was fast before, and there are claw marks in the dash from me trying to drag my feet, but that is another story.

Hubby went to the shop to work on his car and I proceeded to pack some more boxes and go about my day.  I did manage to get a few more things packed and realized I am very close to being done.  A great feeling for me.

But, what is interesting for me today is the scope of things and people I have talked with today, either on phone, or via Skype or via Facebook.  It was a day that, when it is over, you go, “hmm, what a good time I have had today.”

I had someone talk to me about some issues pressing in on them.  Minor things, but, nevertheless, even minor things can weigh heavy on hearts.  I was blessed that they thought of me to talk with.  I am hoping I, in turn, blessed them.

A friend of mine became a grandparent for the first time.  I am so happy for her and we somehow ended up not fully connecting, but I was able to let her know how thrilled I am for her.  I know this child will be so loved by this woman.  This child will learn much from my friend, she will learn to laugh, to explore, and to love.  This child is so fortunate to be able to call my friend grandma.

Another friend just needed to vent.  I love our venting conversations.  They are honest and full of opinions and laughter and tears.  We talk for long times together, it just works out that way, and even though this conversation was filled with the frustration of the past couple of days, I hung up feeling better in just hearing her voice.

I was able to see Little Man and Little Miss via Skype today.  They make my heart glad.  I love my conversations with Little Man and when he tells me to have a good rest of the day and tells me he loves me, well, that’s the best thing in the entire world for me.

By this time, it was evening, actually night-time.  I answered a couple of more messages and thought over the day.

Throughout this day I also thought of my sister and her family.  Tomorrow marks the anniversary of my brother in law’s death. She mentioned on Facebook tonight about how she feels about the day today and tomorrow.  I admire her in so many ways.  I shed tears in thinking of all she has gone through and yet, she remains the encourager and strength for her family and me.

Days filled like today are few.  So often we go about our days not noticing the life that surrounds us.  I do that often.  Today, lives touched mine.  My heart is full as I write this, and my mind is filled with memories.    I just had to share that.

Thanks for stopping by…. DAF