Virginia – Day 12

Waking up in Northern Virginia to five and one half inches of snow on the ground.  Brrrr.  Back in Arizona, this is our Springtime!  I had forgotten how the northeast cold can sting.  I heard the grandkids getting ready to play out in the snow.  Mateo and his Abuela, Gloria, made a snowman in the backyard and then safely transported it on a sled all the while gingerly maneuvering the gentle “hill”.  Once safely in place at the front of the house, the sled was removed and the little guy stood to greet all who passed by.

Since this was the beginning of Spring break, I was hoping to spend the day packing and playing with the grandkids.  Before I could engage them, they were packed up in the truck and whisked off to places unknown – probably to enjoy the day sledding or making snowballs.  I guess this would be the time to mention that not all was quiet on the Virginia front.  Ricky and Katia are in the beginnings of divorce proceedings.  My stay was not always welcome by my daughter in law.  There were biting comments and hurt feelings.  There had been several times over the past 14 years when a darker side had spewed ugly and mean words my way, but this was different.  This time there was a sort of finality.  I have never been  accustomed to a child screaming at a parent – no matter the age.  Being chastised and degraded by a child whom you have loved is not an easy thing to face.  And, frankly, it was never attempted in my childhood – let alone tolerated!  But, there it was.  And the sting of the words burned in a way that the icy weather never could.

I spent my last day working on some accounting issues and folding and picking up.  The curtains were open and the bright snow under the sun spilled a soul cleansing brightness over the room.

Rick picked me up after work and we headed to a home cooked meal graciously offered by Isabel and a welcome reprieve from the tension.  The children were entertaining, and after watching half of their beloved “the Voice”, they performed a dance routine for the grown-ups.

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Ricky and I returned to his house where he succumbed to sleep.  I had chosen to stay awake and work on my accounting.  We were leaving the house at 3 a.m. and I could sleep on the plane.  But not before venturing upstairs to kiss my grandkids goodnight and good-bye “until next time”.  Mateo is a philosophical child when it comes to good-byes and a tender one at heart.  Both of our eyes filled as we said our farewells and hugged and kissed and vowed that it would not be long before we spent time together again.  Marluce is my tough “I am a wanna be tomboy who loves to dress like a princess” mini-me (although I never wanted to be a tomboy!).  But her good-bye hugs are heartwarming and her words of wishing I did not have to leave her, are heartfelt.  Again with the tears and hugs and kisses and I had to tear myself away from her before I could not.

Virginia Day THREE

I have not felt as social in a very long time!  Up and ready – set – go!  To Mateo’s belated birthday party at Cyber Club!  11 a.m. until 1 pm and 15 kids are thrilled to be dancing to Wii games, playing Mario Bros. and challenging each other to air hockey.  Nice alternative for a 9 year old’s

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Mateo tries his hand at air hockey and is quite successful.

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Marluce and Abuela Gloria show off their dancing finesse.

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After blowing out the candle on his Angry Birds Cake,  he is officially NINE years old.

Playing and teamwork and comradery and laughter rated this party an A+ event.

2:30 pm and we are now attending party number 2 of the day.  Valeria is turning five years old and we have all been invited to her birthday blowout, complete with a puppet show,  DJ, Dancers, Goofy and Minnie and Mickey Mouse!  Very fun party; Valeria was adorable, Estevan was funny and Nydia, Carlos and Carolina were as charming as ever.  So nice to see their family again.

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Nydia, Carolina, Estevan, Valeria & Carlos

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Dancers and Bubbles and Games and Prizes!


Ricky, Minnie, Marluce, Mateo, Mickey & Me


Group photo with the mouses!

Oh, you think the day was over?  Au contraire!  To dinner with Ricky and the grand kids at Blue Ridge Grille.  The prime rib was phenomenal, Ricky said his steak was the same, Marluce enjoyed her chicken tenders and sautéed Portobello mushrooms while Mateo dined on his ala carte grilled cheese, sliced apples and milk!  Wonderful day ending with a relaxing dinner listening to grand kids talk about school and friends and parties.

Blue Ridge Grille

Virginia Day ONE

Ricky went to work.  Katia went to work.  Mateo & Marluce went to school.  I worked on accounting and visited with Gloria and generally just got settled.03 15 2013 2

Nearing evening time, Gloria and I left to pick up the kids at their after school program at Majest Martial Arts studio here in Ashburn.  Each day they are picked up by a limo,(Yes, I said limo) from their elementary school and transported to the studio, where they do their homework and then have Taekwondo lessons. Back Camera

The studio is immaculate and there are tables to use for homework and different classes for all ages.  Here are my two little almost black belts (Okay, they are white belts but they have stripes!) getting ready to come home with us.

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Stopped at the store on the way home.  Gloria rented the kids a movie, which we all enjoyed, before the kids had their bedtime.

and the time WHOOSHES by …

Days fly by so fast that I can barely keep up!  Trying to get ready for my 2 week long trip to Virginia and a birthday moustache bash and still working my accounting and housework and laundry, OH MY!  Well, the 3rd birthday part for Mr Max was quite a success.  Moustaches and balloons were everywhere.  Kids were laughing and playing and Bob and Tom and Jeffry and Jamie were all kibitzing.  Mahmaw and O Canada Poppa were running back and forth making sure all of the guests were fed and recycle items picked up and in general, making the entire affaire seamless!  Kerri had everything so well thought out and executed.  Such a clever young lady!  Just look!

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complete with PB&J moustache sandwiches, Root Beer Floats and Warm Popcorn!  Max was a perfect gentleman, thanking each person for their gift and hugs all around!  On Monday, Miss Abigail came to visit and was charming as ever.  We strolled around the neighborhood and she was not shy about telling Nana what she thought when I had to stop to do something or wait for a car!

abbyCarriage 1While shopping for a snack to take on my plane trip to Virginia – I found this HUGE bag of carrots.  Just why  would someone need a 25 pound bag of carrots??  Have to think on that one.  really big carrots

My flights to Virginia were great!  Each leg I had a window seat and each leg, the aisle seat and I had the middle seat open so we could share it to hold our stuff  Bonus!  I could have sworn the guy on the 2nd leg of the flight was Anderson Cooper –  until he mentioned that he worked for Hilton Hotels!  Glad I did not ask for his autograph.

Landed at DCA Regan and Ricky was right there waiting for me.  Very late dinner at Amphora Diner and then home to hugs from Katia and Gloria and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

what a nice way to spend CHRISTMAS eve

Finishing a midnight shower, I emerge in a towel wrap and my wet hair upon my head only to come face to face with …Mateo?  I honestly could not speak and finally, after staring at the poor kid for what seemed like minutes, I was able to spit out “how did you get here?”  “Hi Grandma!  We drove here.”

I look over on the sofa and there sits a very travel weary Katia and her mom, Gloria.  Katia explained that she and her mom had left northern Virginia on Friday and had been switching driving back and forth allowing one of them to relax and catch a bit of sleep.  Nevertheless, they set aside their physical discomfort and allowed us a good memory of a most special Christmas Eve!

Thus began excited conversations about do you know what grades we are in, Grandma?” and about how long it takes to drive through the huge state of Texas.  In the meantime, Mateo makes himself a peanut butter and JAM (not jelly) sandwich to enjoy with a big glass of cold milk.  Over an hour passed so very quickly and it was difficult not to hold them and hug them every second of the visit.
Marluce always gets smiley faces from her first grade teacher, Mr Meehan.  When asked if she ever gets in trouble for talking in class she offended-ly replies absolutely not because then I would lose points!  Tears pool in my eyes and my heart thumps a bit when she tells me “sometimes I will be somewhere and I will think, I wish Grandma was with me”.
Mateo is quite excited to be getting taller and talks about being in the “upper grade levels” , which, by the way, is third grade!  He is such a sweet and gentle boy and quite demonstrative when he relays stories and thoughts.  He tells me about weather events telling me about the earthquake a year ago in the DC area that they felt “clear over in Ashburn.  I was in the basement and Mom was in the middle floor and I felt shaking and thought that Mom had fallen down.”  We all grin as Katia has never been overweight and Katia states that perhaps she was heavier then – an inside joke for the grownups.  Again I get hugs and heartfelt “I love you Grandma.  I miss you.”   Snacks eaten.  Conversations ended.  And about 1:30 a.m., Katia and Gloria need to get driving to get to California in time to have even just a bit of Christmas Eve. 

 Hugs and Kisses and more hugs before walking them to the truck.  Driving off I hear their still little kid voices “I love you Grandma.  Good-bye.  Until next time!”  My heart is so full that I can barely sleep for a few hours.  Thank you Gloria.  Thank you Katia.  Best Christmas Eve ever!!

After a few hours sleep, a few more hours of accounting and a bit of relaxing, we are off to meet Maxwell and family so Max and Abby can receive their Christmas Eve packages from Nana and Poppa.   Max was more than happy to open his package of pj’s, and Mickey Mouse and new book and then happily opens Abby’s!  Mommy read both kids books to them before they donned snuggly pajamas and went to bed to await the arrival of Santa.  So much fun to share this tradition with Max and the newest addition – little miss Abby!
Back home after enjoying some Christmas Lights.  Tomorrow is Christmas!
 Happy birthday to baby Jesus.