Tuesday, October 29, 2013

happy national oatmeal day!

I understand today is National Oatmeal Day, so eat up! Don't like it, you say? Neither did my little campers at Girl Scout camp years ago. I made it my mission to teach them how to dress up oatmeal and enjoy it. Here you go:

Put 1/2 cup oats in microwave-safe bowl. (I like old-fashioned but quick work too)
Toss in craisins and/or raisins
Add 1 cup water and microwave for 2 minutes.

Add any or all:
brown sugar
nuts of any sort: pecans, cashews, almonds
a scoop of crunchy peanut butter or almond butter
bananas would be ok; I don't prefer
chopped apple
(my granddaughters eat plain yogurt on theirs. I can't do it.)

Mix until cool enough to eat. Add more milk if too thick. Who wants it thick as wallpaper paste??

Friends, this is a CHEAP, quick and nutritious breakfast. Eat up and let me know how you liked your oatmeal!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a wet weekend to meet Ethan

I promised a post on our latest travels, but the past week filled right up. So here goes.

We drove east two weeks ago, pulling in at our son Mark and wife Jill's place late Wednesday afternoon. A light rain fell, just the beginning of a very wet weekend.

Since Mark and Jill live very close to the National Mall, we would have made a trip to see a monument, museum or the like .... however the government shut-down nixed that completely. Crazy timing. We went to a mall on Saturday, but a not-quite-two-year-old will have only so much shopping, ya know. (Playground under construction!)

So we read lots of books.
And colored. Lily's a whiz with flash cards, too!
This was our first time to see Ethan, born September 8.
So special! He's a super sweet, calm little guy.
Ethan also likes to hang his head back and stare up or out.
I'm sad I didn't get better photos of him.
Rain/darkness/naps worked against me. )-:
The rain kept us in much of the weekend, but
on Saturday we did get to a little pumpkin market
which Lily enjoyed.
Found it!
After church, lunch and a brief nap for Lily on Sunday,
we walked down to a small playground with Lily.
She just loves it and I love to see her play.
Mark snapped this!
And Lily snapped this!
Way to go, Lily - a budding photographer?
Swinging with "Dada."
A favorite ... what an angel.
Headed home!
Sometimes I still can't believe we have five grandchildren under age 4!
Thank you, Lord, for these sweet blessings and for my kids
who are amazing parents!
In the years to come, Ethan's birthday week will be a reminder of losing my dad, who died just 5 days after Ethan's birth. God gave me an incredible mix of hard loss of Dad and sweet gain of precious Ethan.
"He gives and takes away."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy birthday, Jenny!

Many years ago I began praying for the people my children would marry. It was a new idea for me, but some special friends prayed for their children and I thought, why not?

And isn't God amazing? He brought two wonderful young women to our family to marry two of our sons. The first was Jenny, who met my son Dan at college. They married right after they graduated in 2007.

In a few short years Jenny has gone from the girl Dan brought home from college to his devoted wife, mother of 3 sweet little ones, beginning homeschooler, fantastic cook and gardener. She's our "let's play a game!" cheerleader. She's also relaxing into this tough season of motherhood, trying to enjoy them, guide them, love them.

You're a blessing to me, Jenny. You teach me things and listen to me and make me laugh. You challenge my thinking and inspire me. I love you and (because your birthday today has been a bit of a challenge) wish you a happy birthday week!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

the ups and downs

When I stop to think about it, this year has been one of incredible ups and downs.

In March we learned that Bill needed spinal fusion surgery, which he had in April. It changed our lives for weeks. In May our first grandson, Noah, was born in Charlotte. Our second grandson, Ethan, arrived Sunday, September 8 and my dad died Friday, September 13. Our beloved cabin in Michigan is up for sale, too.

Birth, death, serious surgery: it's all a part of life. The older I get, the more I am able to keep perspective. Parents will die. Our children will move away as they make their own lives. Circumstances change and plans do, too.

This year our church is working through a book called The Story. It is the entire Bible, mostly scripture, but presented in chronological order so it reads more like a novel. What we're learning is God's "upper story" of His great love for us and how He wants to redeem us will win out over the "lower story" of our lives here on earth. This study has reminded me to keep a proper perspective as I go through life's challenges.   

We have been in Virginia since Wednesday night, finally getting to meet little Ethan! I hope he understands that his Baba and Popsy love him so much, but life's ups and downs have kept us from getting there sooner.

Be back soon, with some photos of a very soggy weekend near D.C.!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I raised no punks, officer

When it comes to sports, our culture has tipped into insanity, if you ask me. After last night's wild card game in Cleveland, which the Tampa Bay Rays won 4-0, Bill and I had a conversation with a police officer. In hindsight, I wish it had lasted longer.

As we waited for the stadium to clear, the officer came by and asked if we were traveling with the Rays. No, just family waiting go home. Oh, who do you have with the team, he asked. Our son: he works in the Rays' communications department.

He zeroed in on me. "You're a fan of your son, not the team," the officer declared. He baited me, saying it repeatedly, as if being "a fan of my son" somehow ranked below being a sports fan. I didn't apologize and I tried not to defend. But I wish I'd said more. Here's how it would've gone ...

Darn right I'm a fan of my son and my other three children, too. Through the years, I chose not to spend money on expensive team sweatshirts or Ohio State football tickets. Instead, I sat in the rain and wind at tennis matches, baseball and soccer games. I hauled lawn chairs and coolers across muddy fields. The son who now works for the Rays sat the bench for most of his high school baseball career. I could never understand it, but managed to keep my mouth shut and go to games because baseball was his passion.

I don't even like sports very much, but I love my kids and support them in what they love. I made it my business to be at nearly every game and figured out how to feed a family of six when we were at the ball field every night. I washed their stinky uniforms, bought countless cleats and shin guards, made gallons of Gatorade (powdered saved money), listened to their heartache over a missed goal, and encouraged them to stay in the game even when I saw no point. I didn't scream at the refs or chew out the coaches, ever, because my responsibility was to model good sportsmanship and character to my kids.

I'd point out to the officer that he has four fewer punks to deal with because I did my job "being their fan." If every sports team on the planet flew to Mars, it would have less consequence than my accomplishments as a mother. My kids are obeying the law, working, paying taxes, raising families, and pursuing God. If that is less important than supporting a sports team, then God help us all.

Thank a mom today. Thank your own mom if you can. No mom is perfect. We are frazzled and frustrated and fallen, but most of us have our priorities straight, officer. I don't find my worth in being a sports fan, no apologies needed.

All this said, go Rays!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

where's David?

Thirty years ago tonight I gave birth to our first child in West Palm Beach Florida: a beautiful, healthy boy we named David. Bill cradled him in his arms at Good Samaritan Hospital and watched some baseball.

It's as apropos as it gets, David being born at the end of the regular season and the start of the post season. Because, well, those who know David know he's been crazy about baseball since he was a boy, and now he works for a major league team, the Tampa Bay Rays. David's blessed to truly love his job and he's thankful for it. That blesses me!

So, why the title of this post? The team left for New York last Monday and they're still on the road. Three games in New York, then three more in Toronto. Next came a tie-breaker game in Texas for a wild card spot (won Monday night) and they flew to Cleveland yesterday to play the Indians tonight for THE wild card. If the Rays win, it's on to Boston to begin the play-offs against the Red Sox.

Right now it's a very cool ride for David and the Rays. Bill and I are super excited to go to the game tonight. But especially, we're hoping to have David for about an hour and celebrate his birthday over lunch.

Where's David? Traveling all over the country with his team. But amazingly, he landed two hours from us right on his birthday. How cool is that?

Happy birthday, David! Love you so much.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

3 grandchildren come to town

What a wonderful houseful over the weekend! Our son Dan and his family drove up from North Carolina to visit. Driving 450+ miles with three children ages 3 and under deserves an award, don't you think?! We visited the Columbus Zoo, Bill's 97-year-old mom "GG", Mingo Park here in town (big hit with the girls), Dairy Depot for ice cream, and Dan and Jenny went to the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game with friends on Saturday night!

Meeting Noah.

Little Ashlyn would have none of GG's lap.

There are things I forget about toddlers until I'm with them again,
and then I instantly remember and adjust my thinking accordingly.
A two or three-year-old has a hard time focusing on animals, even large ones,
that are in the distance ... and especially those that blend in
with their surroundings. So the gray rhinos way over there by the gray rocks
were lost on Ari and Ashlyn.
The aquarium was another story. The fish are up close, colorful,
and move constantly. The children were mesmerized, even 4-month-old Noah.
Oh, their precious faces!

It was the same with the penguins; Ari watched this
guy swim back and forth for some time.

On Saturday morning we played at Mingo Park here in town. Our boys (and girl) played baseball and soccer for years at Mingo. The playground is way better now!

Come on, could this be any cuter??

Sisters ready for take-off.

Popsy spotting Ari.

Studious Mr. Noah chillin' with Baba

I love that this slide, where my kids played, is still in use!

They didn't need to read the menu ... "I want an ice cream cone with sprinkles please!"

Dan and his girls.
Not many pics of Jenny ... sorry! It was a busy weekend and super fun.
Thanks, Dan and Jenny, for making the long trip!
And now for the finale ... a photo caught by Katie at the zoo ...
I'm certain this will become one of my treasured photos!