Posted tagged ‘Family’

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

Love Is…

July 22, 2021

This past weekend our youngest grandchild was baptized. He wore a 140-year-old family baptismal gown. I’m sure our Irish relatives were looking down from heaven with happiness and pride.

Including our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, there were thirteen people under one roof for the weekend. Six of those were children – ages five and younger. On Sunday, more people arrived for the baptismal celebration. It was a happy day with a bit of chaos sprinkled in. During all of the goings-on, these two found a quiet space to share a book.

Love is faith, family, and friends!

Thoughts of the 2020 Fiasco

December 17, 2020

2020 began as a promising year, but before we knew it – BAM!

COVID-19 burrowed into every part of our lives.

March of this year COVID rules separated us from family and friends. April: The Easter Bunny came, but the family didn’t. May:  Mother’s Day – another day of COVID rules. June:  Father’s Day – a repeat of Mother’s Day.

Then came a reality check. The pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Boredom took over as my husband and I settled into uninspiring daily tasks. Breakfast conversations revolved around what to have for dinner. Weekly grocery shopping shifted to early morning once every three weeks. COVID words slipped into our vocabulary – social distancing, herd immunity, super spreader, surge. Hairstyles and clothes morphed into “THE COVID LOOK” – not pretty!

Toward the end of June – cabin fever struck! We had to get out!

Wearing masks and carrying a cache of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, we ventured out to see our daughter and family. No hugs. No kisses. But a welcome sight!

By July we formed our family bubble. Hugs and kisses allowed. Masks and social distancing be damned!  In August, September, and October we were on a high with babysitting and family get-togethers. Then…

BAM! A second surge!

Back to stay-at-home rules with no travel between our respective states. In November, my husband and I ate our tiny turkey gobbler in our ultra-quiet dining room. And now it’s December and COVID-19 is once again interfering with our precious family gatherings. Yesterday we did a socially distanced stop & drop and exchanged Christmas gifts at the parking lot where my daughter works. Once again our holiday plans are dinner for two at home. Santa, where are you?

Maybe someday I will get a professional haircut, buy some new clothes, and break out of this house to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors without all the COVID rules. Maybe someday that vaccine will be available for everyone. Maybe someday we can call our lives normal once again.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!

For those of you who have had to deal with COVID-19 or other illnesses during this year, I send you healing thoughts and prayers. May 2021 bring all of us joy, good health, and happiness – a Christmas miracle!

The last thought…

As some of you may have noticed, there was no post from me last Thursday. Blame it on a busy day and COVID-19 fatigue!

Happy Holidays!

PB Review: THE BOY and the GORILLA

December 3, 2020

The Boy and the Gorilla written by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Cindy Derby, Candlewick, 2020.

The Boy and the Gorilla took me by surprise. This touching story written by Jackie Azúa Kramer with illustrations by Cindy Derby brought tears to my eyes. After the death of his mother, a young boy is consumed with grief. Not knowing who to turn to, he finds comfort in a gorilla that happens to appear. The gorilla stays with the boy and patiently answers questions about the loss of his mother. The gorilla offers friendship and empathy as the boy goes through the stages of mourning. When the boy sees his dad is sad, too, he finds the courage to reach out to his dad and tell him how he feels. The two come together to share their grief, and the gorilla fades into the distance. Cindy Derby’s use of soft muted colors with sprinkles of brighter colors perfectly capture the essence of the story. Derby’s art and the simplicity of Jackie Azúa Kramer’s heartrending story are perfect for a child who has loved and lost someone special in their life. This is a beautiful book to have when the need comes.

Behind the Scene Superheroes

October 1, 2020

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, each day is a challenge for numerous reasons. As a retired educator and grandparent to three active girls, I worry about the education of our young children.

How often have we heard that too much screen time is not healthy for our children? Quality versus quantity does make a difference, but how much should a five-year-old be exposed to the screen in a remote school versus an in-school learning situation? What about socialization?

Parents have a huge job – working, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and creating a healthy family environment. With the arrival of the pandemic, a new job has been added to the family dynamics – teaching. Along came the need for remote learning workspaces, guidance to keep young children on task, and help with completing assigned work. Because of social distancing on buses, some parents now have to get their kids to and from school on in-school days.

At-home Projects
Workspaces
Lunches
Backpacks and Masks
Drop Off/Pick Up

I’ve seen my daughter and son-in-law stressed not only with work but also by the new rules for my twin granddaughters’ kindergarten in the hybrid learning situation. I’ve seen my youngest granddaughter thrilled to go back to preschool only to have it closed until further notice because a teacher was exposed to COVID-19. I’ve seen the endless emails that pop up daily that parents must read and follow.

My twin granddaughters are in two different kindergarten classrooms. That means double emails Other parents with children in different schools have different rules and different starting times. The list is endless. It takes a superhero to handle it all!

Our superheroes are parents, extended family, and teachers who have families of their own to deal with. I want to applaud all those who strive to help children to be the best they can be – especially during this pandemic. All is not well with the world right now, but with hope, our superheroes will make the world a better place for our children!

Postscript:

Please don’t ask me how my granddaughters and I fared on the first day of remote learning. I think I flunked kindergarten!

Be gone COVID-19! Let the school doors open and stay open – full time.

Family Life With COVID-19

May 21, 2020

I’ve added many new words and phrases to my vocabulary in the last few months.

COVID-19, Coronavirus, Flattening the Curve, Community Spread, Stay-At-Home Advisory, Safer at Home, Social Distancing, the New Normal…

These are not words or phrases I choose to make a part of my everyday conversation. I’m tired of hearing them.

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My husband and I follow the rules and do what we need do to keep healthy — Clorox® Wipes and masks are new items in our household. I’d love to have color-coordinated masks like Nancy Pelosi wears, but my COVID outfit is old blue jeans. I guess my masks would always have some hue of blue. Never mind.

The whole pandemic is so overwhelming and exhausting! After three months of being cooped up with each other, away from our family, friends, and people in general, my husband and I decided it was time to see our daughter, son-in-law, and three little granddaughters. We loaded up my van with Easter gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, a Father’s Day wheelbarrow, gardening tools and equipment, plants, and, yes — toilet paper.

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Off we went, making sure we drove safely, kept our vehicle distance, and stayed away from the crazies on the road. I texted my daughter to tell her we were almost there. As we drove up the driveway, this is what we saw.

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Our sweet family was in the front yard waving to us. A beautiful sight to behold! We kept our social distance, blew kisses from behind our masks and gave everyone long-distance hugs. We unpacked the van and then were ushered into the living room which was gated off from the family room. Besides the gifts we had, I also brought some books to read to the girls who were eager to hear them.

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Notice the Clorox® wipes and mask next to me and the two four-year-olds in front of me. The two-year-old wanted to cross the boundary line and come and sit with me. When I told her she couldn’t, she put on her oh-so-cute Shirley Temple pout and disappeared.

We had conversations, snacks, and exchanged long overdue gifts — goodies for the girls and a book of Family Holiday Traditons I have been working on for my daughter — plus that wheelbarrow for Father’s Day.

 Specially made gifts for us…

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A masterpiece for our refrigerator.

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A teacup fairy garden made by my daughter and all the girls, using natural materials found in their yard.

When it was time to go, we once again blew kisses from behind our masks and gave everyone long-distance hugs. We got into our empty van. A couple of tears slipped down my cheeks as we headed home. Okay, it was more than a couple of tears. Where are the tissues when you need them? If this is the new normal, I don’t like it one bit!

I look forward to better days when we can breathe in fresh air without masks strapped across our faces. More importantly, I want to be able to reach out and touch someone without being afraid of contracting or passing along a deadly virus. I want to freely hug, kiss, and cuddle my loved ones once again!

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Sea Glass Summer

December 12, 2019

If you’re like many of us who have been inundated with snow, sleet, wind, and rain, this may be the book that will lift your winter spirits.

sea glass

Sea Glass Summer written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline tells a story of how a young boy called Thomas spends the summer at his grandmother’s island cottage. She gifts Thomas with a magnifying glass that was his grandfather’s. Each day, Thomas and his grandmother search the beach for treasures left behind by the sea. His grandmother finds a piece of sea glass which she hands to Thomas, saying “…after being broken, tossed in the saltwater and sand, the pieces turn smooth and cloudy.” She adds, “…your grandfather used to say that each piece of sea glass has a story all its own.” That night, with his sea glass nearby, Thomas dreams of a ship from long ago as seen in Ibatoullines’ realistic illustrations. As the ship is christened with a bottle of champagne, pieces of the bottle fall into the ocean. Sea glass days and sea glass night dreams make up Thomas’ summer. At the end of the summer as Thomas and his grandmother are ferrying off the island, Thomas drops his grandfather’s magnifying glass and pieces fall into the sea. The story fast forwards to many years later when a young girl who is visiting a family island cottage shows her Papaw Tom a piece of sea glass she found. He carefully examines it and says, “…each piece of sea glass has a story of its own.” That night with her sea glass nearby, she dreams of a boy named Thomas.

I’m fascinated by this story because our family loves hunting for sea glass on the beaches of New England. Bagram Ibatoulline’s realistic illustrations are beautifully rendered, and Michelle Houts’ story inspires imaginative thinking. The author and illustrator weave a story of family, history, and the art of sea glass. Make sure to check this out!

Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2018

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In this season of hope and goodwill, may your heart and home be filled with the joys of love, family, and friends.

Merry Christmas!

 

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

 

 

 

Time

November 8, 2018

“…it can come and go and you never even notice it was there.”

forever

In Forever or a Day, Sarah Jacoby’s poetic text refers to something that is elusive. The first two pages depict a young child staring out a window as the sun rises. In the almost deserted street with skyscrapers in the background, there is a newspaper truck with Times written on the side. This is the first hint of what that elusive something is. Throughout the book, readers see a family as they move through the day. They pack suitcases, ride on a train, visit family and spend a day with them at the beach followed by an evening campfire. All too soon, their visit is over, and they retrace their steps back to their city home. Sarah Jacoby‘s illustrations are rendered in watercolors, color sticks, and mixed media. Page turns reveal bright and colorful daytime scenes and dark and sparkly nighttime scenes. Within the beautiful illustrations and text, there are layers to this story. It’s about family, love, mindfulness, and the passage of time –  time that can be elusive. This is a book you need to read slowly. Enjoy it. Appreciate it – especially with someone you love.


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