Archive for the ‘Life and Family’ category

A New Home for the Holiday

January 2, 2020

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump

Truer words were never spoken. This year instead of hosting Christmas festivities, my daughter, her husband, and their three daughters hosted us and my son-in-law’s family – his mother, two brothers/wives and a two-year-old. For three days there were thirteen people—nine adults, two two-year-olds, and two four-year-olds—walking, running, jumping, and tumbling around my daughter and son-in-law’s home.

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On Christmas Eve we celebrated an updated Slovak meal – Oplatky (a traditional Christmas wafer), oyster stew (a New England addition), Grandma’s Katie’s fried fish, coleslaw, French fries, and Christmas cookies.

Christmas Day brought Santa gifts, a gift-wrapping mess, and some wild and crazy little ones!

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The afternoon was spent preparing for Christmas dinner, taking naps, and quiet reading time for the non-nappers.

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The dining table was readied. No kid’s table allowed. Everyone had a place at the big table set with Christmas china, shiny silverware, and red and green cloth napkins, a beautiful centerpiece, and one more surprise gift that acted as a place card.

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Dinnertime is what our family calls the “witching hour” for the little ones. Usually, no one is happy with anything. My husband and I hoped for the best as we all gathered around the table. Dinner began with a prayer said by the grandchildren. We clinked our glasses, shared delicious food, talked about our favorite part of the day, and laughed. As I looked around the table, I saw the joy of a family gathering together, and not one child asked to be excused from the table early. It was a Christmas miracle!

Behold the happy family!

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Don’t look for us there. My husband and I had returned to our home to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Christmas season!

I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2020!

 

 

 

Music to My Ears

October 24, 2019

I love a piano,
love a piano
I love to hear somebody play
Upon a piano, a grand piano
It simply carries me away

~From Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano”

I’ve always loved music – especially piano music. The downside of my love of music is I can’t carry a tune, and I never learned to play the piano well. The upside is our daughter has a talent for playing the piano.

This past Monday, our beloved piano that had a special place in our home for twenty-seven years moved out of our house and into our daughter’s new home.

Old Home

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The downside of giving the piano to our daughter is a big empty space in our great room. The upside is the piano will once again have loving hands that will make it sing.

New Home

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I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing our granddaughters follow their mother’s musical talent and learn to create sounds that will be music to my ears.

This book will put a song in your heart and be music to your ears when you read it.

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The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield is a captivating story of a bear cub who finds a piano. Over the years, he learns how to play the piano and charms his woodland friends with his music. One day a man and his daughter hear the bear playing and invite him to come to the big city. The bear had always dreamed of learning more about music and “to play bigger and better than before.” He finds leaving behind his forest friends is difficult, but the city calls to him. The bear becomes a famous pianist, winning awards and playing for crowds who give him standing ovations. But one day he realizes with all that he has accomplished, there is something missing. David Litchfield has written and beautifully illustrated this touching tale of fame and lasting friendship. It’s a must-read book.

The Power of Reading Books Together

July 18, 2019

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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One of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley, the main character in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, immediately captures the heart and soul of readers. She is an orphan with an enormous imagination and a vocabulary to match. She has a quick temper and a tendency to blurt out the first thing she thinks. But what Anne Shirley wants most is to find a loving home and a best friend – a kindred spirit. All of these characteristics make her an interesting character and an endearing heroine.

When my daughter was younger, I read this and some of my other favorite classic books to her. It was a wonderful time to bond through reading. Her love of Anne’s story led to a fabulous family vacation on Prince Edward Island where we relived Anne’s story.

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Recently, my daughter gifted me with the picture book, Goodnight, Anne written by Kallie George and illustrated by Geneviève Godbout. It’s inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. This is a sweet, heart-warming goodnight story. When Marilla tells Anne it’s time to go to bed, Anne thanks all the people, places, and things in her life that she loves. Geneviève Godbout’s illustrations done in pastels and colored pencils are whimsical and calming as a goodnight book should be. This gift was a delightful treat!

My daughter’ inscription said:  …for instilling creativity, imagination, and the happiest of memories…

It is a reminder of how powerful books and reading are when you share them with someone — especially someone you love!

 

Moving Day!

March 28, 2019

While his people move out, Eeyore has a temporary home of his own.

 

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“I might have known. After all, one can’t complain. Not much of a house, just right for not much of a donkey. I’d say thistles, but nobody listens to me, anyway.”  ~Eeyore

 

If you love Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends as much as our family does, check out this book that contains the original stories!

Winnie-the-Pooh written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shephard, Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017.

 

Christmas Chaos

December 13, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Actually, it’s beautiful and sunny, but the atmosphere inside is frightful.

I’m behind in my Christmas prep. This is not my normal self. I’m usually on top of things.

It’s time to make my list and check it twice.

“Deck the Halls!”

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Done!

I’m Dreaming of a “White Christmas” with every Christmas card I write!

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Done!

Christmas Cookies – Wh-a-a-a-t?

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Recipes – waiting patiently!

Presents – That’s Santa’s job!

Wrapping –  Can’t wrap without presents!

What else?

Laundry baskets full of dirty clothes.

Dust bunnies hopping in every nook and cranny of the house.

Grocery shopping – the cupboards are bare.

There is chaos in our household. Guests invited weeks ago are expected for Saturday dinner. Family will be here on Sunday –  because there’s “No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

I keep telling myself, baby steps. Oh, oh, those baby steps remind me of the three sweet girls coming on Sunday. Curiosity will get the best of them. That means to get ready for the “Jingle Bell Rock” and roll of the Christmas tree.

All of this is making me a crazy woman. If I keep this up, “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas!”

“Breathe in…breathe out,” says my husband. “You can do it.” And then he points to the tree in our backyard that he decorated with me in mind. His heart lights up my life!

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Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~Washington Irving

 

 

 

The Simple Pleasures of a Birthday

September 13, 2018

Tuesday was my birthday. My husband bought me flowers, an ice cream cake, and took me to lunch. Simple but so enjoyable.

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Lunch in Portsmouth Harbor

When I was young, every year on my birthday I wished for a pony. I never got one. Now that I’m older I understand why that wish was never granted. A horse is too big to wrap. There wasn’t enough room in a bedroom shared with my two other sisters. And a horse is definitely not a house-friendly pet when you live in a city.

While growing up, our family birthdays were never extravagant, but they were always memorable.

Birthday wishes began in the morning from my mother, father, and siblings and ended with a special homemade birthday dinner of my choice. The pièce de résistance was Angel Pie. It’s a cherished family recipe that I requested for my birthday every year. Chocolate perfection made with my mother’s magic touch!

Then there was the year our oh-so-fun next-door neighbors brought over a watermelon half with birthday candles stuck in it.

There were always cards from family and friends lined up for me to enjoy.

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Tuesday’s Flowers and Cards

On my 16th birthday, my mother prepared a party luncheon that included fresh flowers, silver, china, a delicious main dish, and Angel Pie for dessert.

On my 21st birthday, my parents took my best friend and me to a nice restaurant where we celebrated our September birthdays with champagne.

When I went away to college, my father made sure a proper birthday wish was always there for me. In the early morning hours of my birthday, and that meant in the middle of the night, he would call to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. He never ever missed a year.

The year my father passed away, I realized how much I would miss those obnoxious early-morning birthday calls. Then sometime in the middle of the night on my birthday that year, my phone rang. Being in a sleepy daze, I imagined it was a call from my father in heaven. On the other end of the phone was not my father’s voice but the voice of my daughter saying, “I’m calling to wish you a happy birthday, just like grandpa always did.” Ah, the pleasures of having a wonderful, thoughtful daughter!

At 1:32 am on Tuesday of this week, my phone rang. It was my daughter calling to say happy birthday. She is insistent on keeping up the tradition that she knows means so much to me – no matter how annoying!

It’s the simple pleasures of life that bring you happiness.

Cake anyone?

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It’s not Angel Pie but ice cream cake will do!

 

Blog Break Festivities

September 6, 2018

I’m back! The past six weeks have been busy, busy, busy!

It began with the birth of a little baby.

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After thirteen girls plus one on the way in December, a boy finally made his way into our extended family.

There were six birthdays!

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Two anniversaries

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Lots of rain and rainbows

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Babysitting, Beaches, Bonfires

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And a holiday with family and friends!

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And, of course, there was lots of reading.

My blog break vacation was fantastic, but it’s good to be back!


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