Posted tagged ‘Family’

Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2018

FullSizeRender (38)

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!”

IMG_4542

Done!

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

IMG_4543

Done!

Christmas Cookies – Wh-a-a-a-t?

IMG_4544

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!

IMG_4490

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.

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.

IMG_4139

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.

IMG_4144

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?

IMG_4145

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

 

The Relatives Came

February 8, 2018

“One of the things that binds us as a family is a shared sense of humor.” ~Ralph Finnes

We came from California, from Texas, from New Hampshire, from Massachusetts, from Florida, from Washington state, and from Washington D.C.  The core group: A brother and his wife. Three sisters and their husbands. Along with us came our daughters, their husbands, and their children. Three generations of the family were together again. We hugged. We kissed. We laughed. We cried. We’re a small family with big hearts. In all, there were nineteen of us plus one on the way. We were missing only two who were unable to attend. While the children played, the adults gabbed, ate, drank, and laughed some more. For one long weekend, we were a wild and crazy family again.

IMG_4551

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss your family until you come together, and the love that surrounds you is magical.

 

“You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family.” ~ Rod Stewart

One of my favorite books is The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.  It’s a Caldecott Honor book filled with charming illustrations and a story with heart.

relatives

Embrace your family!

“I think the family is the place where the most ridiculous and least respectable things in the world go on.” ~ Ugo Betti

 

 

 

 

 

Let There Be Light

January 25, 2018

When we moved to a new state and a new home in a new housing development, everything was … new. Meeting our neighbors helped us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, and as we cultivated new friends, smiles lit up our faces.

Sometimes you find neighbors don’t always agree with everything happening in a community, but when the developer of our neighborhood put a new “street light” at the entrance to our development, we all came together. The decision was unanimous. The light must go.

It’s wasn’t a street light. It was a  light pole that belonged in front of someone’s house to light up a driveway or walkway. If you blinked, you’d miss the tiny glow it cast. I kiddingly said, “Maybe the snowplow will take care of it for us.”

It did.

IMG_3214

As of now, the light post lies face down in a puddle of slush. It’s a sad ending to the tale of the little light that didn’t shine brightly enough. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the light with a genuine street light that has a luminosity that will guide all those who enter our community.

Speaking of light …

Here are two sparkling books that will throw light on the subject of light.

Rabbit

The Way Home in the Night written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2017

windows

Windows  is written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, Candlewick, 2017

Both of these books take place in the evening when lights illuminate the inside of neighborhood homes and businesses. Those looking in from the outside can catch a glimpse of what is happening on the inside. These slice of life images inspire curiosity, imagination, and a safe feeling of home and community. I especially love the lyrical language in The Way Home in the Night. The charming illustrations and text in both of these books make them a must read. And once you do,  I know you’ll agree with me.

Now, if you’re in the dark like we were this week because of a power outage, you might like this book.

blackout

Blackout is written and illustrated by John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, 2011

When the lights go out, what’s a family to do? With the electronics down and out, a family learns how to reconnect with one another. Appealing text and illustrations show how family time can turn into quality time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting Christmas Away

January 4, 2018

Ah… The Christmas Season! I love it! Decorations. Lights. Family. Friends. Festive foods. It’s like no other time of year. Our home is decorated to the nines. In every nook and cranny, there is something special. It’s been said our house throws up Christmas!

The holidays are over, and all I can say is – THANK GOODNESS! Yup, this is me, Mrs. Christmas saying, Bah Humbug!

The arrival of my daughter, favorite (and only) son-in-law, and three granddaughters on the day before Christmas Eve was the inciting incident. We were totally excited about celebrating Christmas with a four-month-old, and two-year-old twins. Yay! Fun times!

But wait! An unexpected Christmas gift came along with them. From the moment they walked through the door, the nasty flu bug was on their heels. Illness permeated the house. Suddenly, the happy family gathering became one of cranky little ones and cranky big ones, dealing with ear infections, coughs, and fevers.

On Christmas morning, I walked into the kitchen to be greeted by one of my granddaughters throwing up at the kitchen table. Fast action by my son-in-law caught the mess in his hands. (Merry Christmas, Mimi!)

The kitchen emptied out quickly, and I was the only one to remain. I spent the rest of the day there, carrying on a conversation with myself and preparing our Christmas dinner. (Hello, is anyone there? I could use some help!) No one listened to my call. They were busy napping or taking care of the sick. By the time six o’clock rolled around, everyone managed to present themselves at the dinner table. A champagne toast was made, and, as my granddaughters say, “we clinked glasses.” That one glass of champagne was the best Christmas present ever! (More, please!)

After our daughter’s family left, my husband and I took time to enjoy the peace and quiet after the chaos and recuperate. On Tuesday of this week, we began the task of “putting Christmas away.” This ritual always makes me sad. All the preparations and anticipation that go into the holidays disappear (poof!) just like that.

Well, almost. These are the last remnants of our holiday decorations. I’m sending them down to the dungeon to think about how they can make next year’s holiday season a more joyous and healthy one. Or better yet, I think my husband and I will spend Christmas at my daughter’s house and sit and enjoy whatever the holiday brings.

img_3188-e1515077317417.jpg

Now, with a squeaky clean and disinfected house, it’s time to dive into 2018 with gusto. I have high hopes for a great year for everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: