It’s a Girl!

There is something special about the first grandchild who introduces you to the magical world of being a grandparent.

I have three wonderful grandchildren. I love all of them dearly. However, there is something special about the first grandchild who introduces you to the magical world of being a grandparent. My first grandchild is a beautiful girl, the daughter of my oldest daughter. I will call her H.

H was born in June of 2007 in a city about a five hour drive from us. The day before she was born, we were in contact with our daughter and anxiously awaiting the cue to jump in the car and head to the hospital. Our daughter had gone to her doctor earlier in the day, but had been sent home. Grandpa and I finally decided at around 7:00 pm to pack our bags and head out. On the way, we got a call that our daughter had gone to the hospital so we were glad we had made the decision to go ahead and start the trip. We arrived at the hospital at around midnight in plenty of time to sit around and wait.

After asking the nurse to let our daughter know we were at the hospital, we went to the waiting room. This waiting room was not comfortable. I was exhausted and could not find a comfortable seat. The seats were not arranged so that you could lay down, and I am not a fan of laying on the floor of a public area. I kept walking around, changing chairs, etc.

After several hours, we finally got a text from our son-in-law. “It’s a girl!” We had known she was going to be a girl, but it was nice to know that H had finally arrived. We were so impatient to see our first grandchild.

After about 45 more minutes, the nurse came to fetch the new grandparents and ushered us into the delivery room. I was floating on air. I gazed at the sweet little face peeking out from the blanket and cap, and she smiled. My daughter offered to let me hold her. I couldn’t speak or do anything at all except stare down at that beautiful little face.

It has been over 10 years. She has brought us so much joy! She is a sweet, loving, thoughtful, little lady. She has a style all her own. We have had so much fun together. She loves to have tea parties at my house and also go to a tea room for lunch. She loves to cook and bake. She loves to read just about anything. She loves to learn.

She’s talking about being an elementary teacher like her grandma (her mother teaches high schoolers). She is the perfect oldest grandchild.

New Year’s Resolutions

I think the problem is that we aren’t very resolute in keeping our resolutions.

A lot of people every year make new year’s resolutions. “This is going to be the year,” they say. The year to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking, volunteer, spend less money, spend more time with family, and so many more. Then those resolutions fall by the wayside. I think the problem is that we aren’t very resolute in keeping our resolutions. But every year, we decide that this year will be different.

I used to do it every year. I would make resolutions, and then quit before even a week would go by. I always ended up feeling like a failure. No one likes to feel like a failure so I quit making promises to myself. However, I might have been going about the business all wrong.

Maybe it would help to just focus on one important thing I would like to change instead of trying to change everything all at once. It’s hard to focus on too many things at one time. For me, I would like to focus on writing more.

Next I need to plan out how I’m going to carry out my resolve. In order to write more, I need to set aside a specific time each day to write. For example: set aside 1:00-3:00 PM on Monday through Friday, and then set an alarm if I have to. When it’s writing time, turn off the phone, TV, and any other distractions. If something gets scheduled during my writing time, carve out a different two hour block during my day. Then I need to remind myself to not get discouraged. It’s okay if I don’t write anything. If I stay consistent with my writing time, then I believe the words will come. Even if I just stare at the computer screen and my fingers are still, my mind is still working.

After I’ve tackled the problem of writing more, I can focus on other areas. The great thing is I don’t have to wait until January 1, 2019 to add another resolution.

As you look back on 2017, keep in mind that the past is gone. Focus on 2018. I wish you the best year ever. You can do it! It’s all up to you!

Christmas Memories

Christmas has always been about family.

Christmas has always been a special time of year. I have a lot of wonderful memories.

The Christmas tree is always the focal point of our holiday decorations. Decorating the tree is a cherished activity. My ornaments remind me of those who gave them to me. Many of the ornaments were crafted by family members, my daughters, or the moms of my students. As I hang the ornaments on the tree, I can relive many memories.

I remember a variety of trees as a child. My family had real trees shedding needles everywhere. However, there were times when fake trees were helpful because with my dad in the military, we sometimes had to wait for him to get home before we had our Christmas celebration. We had the iconic aluminum tree with the color changing light wheel. I still remember the crinkling sound when sliding each silver branch into its protective sleeve each year after Christmas. We also had realistic looking fake trees. All were decorated with very special ornaments, and all had a nativity scene placed underneath. The nativity scene was purchased by my parents for their first Christmas together. When we lived in Germany we visited the Nurnberg Christmas Market, and my parents bought an angel for the top of the tree. The angel adorned the tree every year after that to remind us of the angel’s message to the shepherds–tidings of great joy.

The presents were always exciting. I was so curious to find out what was in each package. The anticipation was thrilling. One year, I accidentally found out the presents I was getting. I was happy with the presents, but knowing what I was getting killed the thrill of anticipation. I also remember the year when I asked my parents for a play vanity set. I had seen it advertised on TV and really wanted it. My parents, instead, bought me a whole bedroom set of furniture which included a vanity. They hid it in an extra bedroom that I thought was full of boxes. However, my younger brother was at home when the furniture was delivered. He told me what I was getting and even took me to the room and opened the door a crack so I could peek.  When I got older, I found it much more fun to give gifts than to receive them. I especially got excited about gifts when I found something really special for someone. I loved to make gifts, also.

Making candy and cookies became family traditions. My dad’s contribution to Christmas was to make peanut brittle. I can still picture him standing at the stove stirring the brittle. He knew just how to make it turn out perfectly. We also made candy balls dipped in chocolate, and fudge. I loved to make pressed cookies and decorate them with sprinkles. My daughters and I would make sugar cookies every year. My daughters loved to decorate. My kitchen may have been small, but there was always room to make cookies. Now I love to bake and decorate gingerbread houses with my grandchildren. I love the smell of cinnamon and cloves.

What would Christmas be without music? I loved the Christmas programs in which my children and grandchildren have participated. I love to have Christmas music playing while working in the kitchen, around the house, or riding in the car.

When I got married and had a family of my own, we began celebrating at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. Then we would go either to my mother’s parents’ house on Christmas Day or my in-laws’ house. My grandmother and mother-in-law always fixed turkey and/or ham for Christmas dinner. So my husband and I started making an oven baked brisket for Christmas Eve dinner. That tradition still continues today, and every year the house smells like brisket and onions.

Something I always liked to do as a teenager was to bundle up next to the fire and watch “White Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Sometimes the movie would come on late, and I would be the only one awake to watch it. I still remember my mother yelling at me to turn the volume down. Soon the volume would be barely above a whisper.

Santa was always the magical part of Christmas for me even after I was grown. There is something magical about going to sleep on Christmas Eve and then Santa would have been there by the time we got up on Christmas Day. One of my favorite Christmas memories was the time when my husband and I got up on Christmas morning and found our younger daughter asleep on the living room floor. I still smile when I remember the kids jumping up and down when they got something they were really wanting.

Christmas has always been about family. Spending time with my family is better than any gift that can be wrapped and placed under the tree. However, I have received some special gifts. My younger daughter and her husband one year made a Texas with a heart in the middle with nails and thread. I’m sure it took a lot of time to hammer all those tiny nails and wrap the thread just right. My older daughter made me a beautiful quilt for the master bed. One year I got a book made with scanned art work by my older two grandchildren. My daughters have told me that it’s difficult to buy something for me. Little do they know, I cherish the time we have together.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. My the holiday bring you peace, love, and joy.

Getting Older

Getting older is not for the weak.

I have decided that getting older is not for the weak or fainthearted. It seems that each year I see a few more new wrinkles and experience a few more aches and pains.

I went for an eye exam a few days ago. The eye doctor told me that I’m getting cataracts, but they aren’t “ripe,” or ready to remove. The idea of having surgery on my eyes scares me to death. I don’t even like to put eye drops in my eyes. They will have to sedate me when it comes to cataract surgery.

I have also noticed the last few years my increasing use of the “shuffle.” When I first get up in the morning or when I have ridden a while in the car (anything over half an hour), I shuffle until I can get rid of my stiffness. I used to laugh at Tim Conway when he would imitate an elderly person by shuffling his feet. I guess the last laugh is on me.

Osteoporosis runs in my family, so I’m trying to not add that to my list. Osteoarthritis is also stalking me. And when did my skin start looking so crepey? The Poise commercial with Brooke Burke-Charvet would make me laugh except it wouldn’t be a little leak, more like a gush, and believe me, that is no laughing matter. For me to go see a comedian, like Jeanne Robertson, takes preparation–if you know what I mean!

I’m also seeing doctors more often than when I was younger. I now have an ophthalmologist, dentist, gynecologist, surgeon, oncologist, and physical therapist in addition to my primary care doctor. Hopefully the physical therapist is only for a few weeks. No wonder you need to retire when you reach a certain age. You have to spend your time going to doctors.

I have also found that my brain is aging, too. It is much harder for me to remember things than it used to be. I will get in the car and start driving. Then I panic for a few minutes when I can’t remember where I’m going. So I have to think hard about where I am going and how I’m going to get there.  If an appointment is not in my calendar on my phone, then it doesn’t exist. I figure I’m doing pretty well, though. I can still remember the names of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. I can also remember the names of their pets.

Getting older also has some bright spots, too. You are much too wise to fret over the insignificant stuff, and most stuff in life is hardly worth noticing much less stewing over. You don’t worry about what people think because you finally realize that they are not really thinking about you as much as they are thinking about themselves. You learn that friends and family are more important than anything else. People can lose their homes and everything in it, but as long as they have their family and friends, the rest is just “stuff.”

So all you young whipper-snappers out there should never laugh about old people. Don’t forget that your day will come.

Being a Writer

Through writing I can create my own adventure or fantasy, or share information.

I have always been a writer. Ever since I learned to hold a pencil and form words, I have loved using words to express myself. I have always loved to read books, also. There are many reasons why writing is so helpful to me. Have you ever thought about a conversation you had and wish you had said this or said that? That is me. When I write, I can keep looking over what I’m saying and edit it to make sure it says exactly what I want to say. I can also make sure I don’t leave anything out.

Through the pages of a book, I can visit places I have never been, experience history, or become a part of someone’s adventure. Through writing I can create my own adventure or fantasy, or share information.

Writing is a solitary journey. I don’t mind being alone. In fact, I enjoy the opportunity to just let my mind soar and explore. I love to daydream. You may not think I’m accomplishing very much, but in reality my mind is creating a story or reviewing knowledge.