My heart never knew loneliness…
until you disappeared from my arms.
My heart never knew loneliness…
until you disappeared from my arms.
I knew at age 16 that I had fallen in love with you and you with me.
I knew then that we would be together until forever.
I just didn’t know that our forever would end so soon.
The night before Thanksgiving, my mother would call and lure the grandkids into coming over to her house – for tarts. She would take her leftover pie dough (made from scratch with no recipe – some of this and a handful of that and a sprinkle of salt – roll it paper thin and brush the entire thing with Crisco. ONLY Crisco would do. She would gently fold the thin layers until there were 4 flaky layers. After cutting them into uneven squares and triangles, she would shortening up her left thumb and make a thin indent on the top of each piece and drop a spoonful of her homemade jam in the dent. On the other half she sprinkled cinnamon, sugar and a bit of nutmeg. In the oven they went.
And only AFTER all of the grandkids had torn about a dozen loaves into inch size pieces filling about 6 Dutch oven pans – would they be offered the treat of one of each of the tarts. The grown kids and grandkids carried that tradition with my Mom as long as we all were around. I think of the one and only time Bob helped out. After he got out the cutting board and electric knife and cut 6 pieces of bread at one time into perfect little squares, he was banished. The next day at dinner, Mom and Grandma Tabor both complained that the stuffing was “not quite right” because some of the bread had not been “torn”. I think he did it on purpose. In fact I am sure of it.
thoughts of thanksgiving …
Today I celebrate receiving my best birthday gift. Cuter than a puppy. Better than a new car. The gift that keeps on giving.
I had ventured to the OB ward at St. Mary’s Hospital four times previously just to meet this baby bundle. One day for 8 hours with pills shoved in between my lips and gums; small contractions here and there with no results. Returning another day for more of the same and leaving empty handed – but oh, so determined. Two days later, a 48 hour pitocin drip. Oh, I knew this would be the day. Alas…no bundle in blue. I was exhausted mentally and physically. Bob was exhausted. My doctor was at his wits end. Before being released, Dr. Mohler appeared at the door. His eyes were red and watery. He told me he was sorry, but if the next time produced no results, I would need to undergo a C section. I am a serious bleeder and hemorrhaged in previous deliveries, so a C section was a last resort. His face turned toward Bob – the already nervous daddy to be (again). I had never seen Dr. Mohler with a stern face before. He pointed at Bob. “4 weeks after she delivers, I want YOU in my office!” It was not a request. It was not a suggestion. Bob knew what that meant and so now he had a couple of worries on his mind. Poor guy. But, back to me.
On Sunday, February 5, 1984, my Grand Junction family descended on 30 Road with birthday cards and birthday gifts, cakes and wishes. I waited until the surprise gathering was almost over to reveal MY surprise. I was going back to St. Mary’s the next day on my birthday and was not leaving without a baby!
Monday, February 6th. 6 a.m. Bob was driving us back to the hospital. I am sure he was convinced by now, that this was all a hoax. I am also sure that he was replaying the doctor’s parting words to him over and over and over.
This day, the OB specialist and Dr. Mohler had come up with a new plan. After explaining that there would be no more Pitocin (an idea that I LOVED) and that there was an experimental drug in the form of a cream that would be placed (Jeffry – cover your eyes) inside my vagina that would soften the cervix and encourage contractions. Now this I could do! No needles! This was right up my alley (so to speak). We signed all kinds of forms regarding the risks and yes, yes we knew this was not an approved method yet and was still in testing stages. If it meant I would go home with a baby this time, I signed away!
A few moments later a nurse wheeled a little stainless steel tray up to my bedside with gauze and tubes and a giant syringe the width of a turkey baster with a long THICK needle at the end. Wait. WHAT?!? After pulling me back into a resting position, the nurse explained that it was used to place the right amount of the cream on to the gauze. Wiping my tears and trying to get my heart rate back under 300, I was thinking that information should be printed in large red letters on the side of the giant thing with the giant needle THIS GINORMOUS THING IS NOT GOING INSIDE OF YOU.
So, without going into the details of the actual birthing (you’re welcome), less than 9 hours later my best Birthday Present arrived. World, meet Jeffry Charles Gardner. The last Bob and Connie baby (on orders of the Doc). And he was a joy.
A few days later, we were home. The newness soon wore off for the older boys. “Do you want to hold him?” “Um, sure. Then can I go ride my bike?”
How could anyone resist this bundle of cuteness and joy. Jeffry was a perfectly content baby – as long as mommy was holding him. He never cried – as long as mommy was holding him. Yes, yes. Sheer perfection.
He is still perfection (save for his truck driver mouth). He has laughed and cried with me. Held me up when I thought I could not emotionally get to my feet again. Fills me with laughter and wipes my tears. He is a wonderful husband (so I am told) and a father that every man should strive to be. He is still my baby boy. He is still the best birthday gift ever and I get to relive it every year. Happy Birthday, Jeffry. I could not have imagined my life without you.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
Monday, the 24th, was a comedy of errors as far as our flight. Bob was unable to travel to Grand Junction Colorado, so Ricky remained behind to stay with his dad, while Mateo, Marluce and I headed to the airport. From before we even left home, our flight was delayed by 45 minutes. Okay – no problem as we had an almost 2 hour layover in Phoenix. So, 1:45 passes us by and then 2:15 and I am thinking, boy our layover is getting fairly short! At 2:40, we are moved to another gate to board a different flight to Phoenix. As we are landing with 7 minutes before the boarding gate is closed on our connection, the flight attendant asks everyone who is not connecting to stay seated as we are all running out of the plane to get to our gate. With one minute to spare, we make it. We taxi out to the runway and then stop and wait…and wait … and then the Captain announces that he received an error message on the plane’s computer and maintenance people are on their way so we wait and wait and 2 guys come on board and check this and that and then they leave and we are thinking “woo hoo”. Well, we woo-hoo’d way too early. After the men leave and the stairs are pulled back up and we are getting ready to take off, Captain has other ideas. He announces that we have to go back to the terminal and we will sit on the plane while some other mechanics surmised the situation. A fuse. We needed a new little fuse. A short time later, we were on our way – although, since this was the 2nd attempt at take-off, the enthusiasm had waned somewhat. As we settled in the air at 30,000 feet, Mateo and Marluce played on their iPads (Yes, the each have one and Mateo won them both at different events). Once in a while you could hear their voices and a little giggle. Just good kids having a little fun.
This smaller jet has much more engine noise than the bigger ones, so any conversations were muffled, as if they were whispering. Captain announces that he is beginning the descent into Grand Junction and clapping follows. I like a grateful crowd. Just as the first wheel touches down, Mateo, not realizing the volume of his voice after such a noisy plane ride, exclaims (okay – he yells!) PREPARE FOR LANDING!!! And then comments on how he didn’t realize that his voice got so loud. Several passengers joined me in laughter.
I will admit to the embarrassing confession that I have never rented a car myself up until age 62. The hubs always handles these things and I have not minded one bit that I have been spoiled for my many years of marriage. Off we go in a 2015 Nissan Altima with key-less ignition. Zippy little thing and if I could, I would pack it up and take it home!! So, back to our day … We arrive at the Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites in beautiful downtown Grand Junction, facing Main Street and all the beautifully lit trees ready for the holidays.
yeah yeah. I am a bit behind in my photo albums. Now, on to the last half of 2012. Stay Tuned!
Well, my promise to myself to keep up scheduled blog postings for 2013 did not come to fruition! In my defense, I have my bookkeeping business every day; grand babies 4 days a week; help the hubs daily; laundry and housework and yard work and shopping – something almost every day. So, there. I think I made my case! Have a seat. Relax. Put your feet up and get ready to be amazed at my blog postings. Okay, maybe not amazed. But, still …
Our little neighborhood has a little green patch about 30 feet by 50 feet in size. Max thinks this is the greatest park ever! Sometimes we take a ball to the “park” and kick it. Sometimes Poppa rides his bike around the perimeter while Max drives his little car around the sidewalk. Other times, Max and I kick off our shoes and run barefoot on the lawn and chase each other or have races.
Today, Max decided we should have an impromptu picnic at the neighborhood park. He decided on jello with fruit and cheesy organic bunny crackers and bottles of water. The weather was beautiful as we sat on the wall and enjoyed watching a very little boy in his glory in his great big park. My heart grew just watching him enjoy his little picnic – that face is truly priceless.
Max reminds me that I need to take time for simpler things. Thank you, Maxwell.
I suppose that anyone who has known me for over ten minutes, most likely is knowledgeable of the fact that Halloween is not my “thing”. Even as a little girl, I did not like costumes. I did not like having my face made up and calling attention to myself. Luckily, I began dance lessons at the tender age of two, so I always had a tutu around to dress up like a ballerina. And my little black cowgirl outfit with the white fringe from “Ragtime Cowboy Joe“. Or, my blue costume from “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”, so I could dress up in my big blue bonnet and be a Dresden Doll for the holiday. I was a small child and it seemed like I always got swallowed up in a sea of huge witches capes and black hats and yards of billowy white ghosts. I did not like to look funny or scary. I had zero confidence for that type of shenanigans! I enjoyed seeing everyone else’s costumes and admired their guts to have dark paint smeared on their faces or teeth blacked out. Not for me. Imagine how mortified I was each year when my Mom dressed up for her bowling team party. She would smear honey – gooey sticky honey, on her cheeks and chin and then rub COFFEE GROUNDS into the honey so it looked like a scraggly beard. To make matters worse, she would find an old stained shirt of Daddy’s that she had used with furniture polish and wear that ugly, dirty looking, wrinkled thing over some torn pants. And then, much to my horror, she would mess up her thick black hair and then Aqua Net it to hold the entire mess in place. She would get in the car, windows rolled down, and wave to anyone who looked her way. She always came home with some sort of prize for her winning look. Apparently I was the only one who did not appreciate her “costume”.
So, when I had children of my own, I was always in a panic. I didn’t want them to be a plain Jane and not be up to par with their classmates and friends. I experimented with different looks, but always came back to a clown. I just had zero talent for any other look. We always had something around the house to make their shoes look like clown shoes or an over-sized tie and shirt. Red lipstick on the cheeks and mouth and some eyeliner tear drops and eyebrows completed the transformation. Clowns. I tried something new every year, but I admit it – they always looked like a clown.
I never decorated the house save for the pumpkins that the boys and their Dad carved – front on center on the porch of wherever we lived. Mom and Dad would turn most of their house into a haunted house with dark lighting and cold spaghetti “brains” and jello “guts” and peeled grape “eyeballs”. They took great delight in scaring the living hell out of me while working on the house for several days. They had stuff in every one of the five bedrooms and, needless to say, I had many sleepless nights until Halloween was over. I did not like scaring people and I did not like being scared. I had enough of that on a daily basis while little brothers, Mark and Larry, would hide in my closet or in the bathroom, waiting for me so they could jump out or yell and watch me have a panic attack. Yeah, those were sure fun days. My brother-in-law had great fun digging out some dirt in the front yard of his Tucson home and, laying as flat as he could, and would raise up in the dark of the night and scare the bejesus out of the neighbors. How sad it was one Halloween evening, watching little kids walk a huge arc around the front of Dan’s and Robin’s house out of fear of the crazy guy in the dark. Robin always had lots of good candy left over!
So, here it is, October, and I will be damned if Halloween is once again upon me. Now I have grandkids and have enjoyed entertaining them on Halloween from Tristan and Chase to Mateo and Marluce and now Max and Abby. I have never had the chance to spend a Halloween with Quinn, but perhaps one day. So, Max comes to spend the day last week and flatly states, Nana, you need to decorate for Halloween”. Well, I did decorate (or at least I thought I had) by displaying a cute little pumpkin from Safeway where someone had artfully drawn a cute face with red lips and long eyelashes. And, if that was not enough, voila, look at my cute Halloween owl in the front garden!
Max gave me a patronizing smile and a soft “oh”, but I could tell he was not very impressed. Then he said, “you should see our house Nana! We have skeletons and pumpkins and decorations inside the house and outside of the house.” I assumed from that statement, that the kids house had more than an “indoor” pumpkin and a tin owl stuck in the dirt. “Come on, Nana! We need to decorate!” Looking into those clear blue eyes, I had no choice but to get in the car and high-tail it to the store before Max came back the next day.
I was NOT going to spend a ton of money on a holiday that I do not even really consider a holiday. Afterall, November 1 begins “my” holiday season of Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany. THAT is my kind of holiday and I have always said that Halloween is just in the way. But, little kids and big kid enjoy the dark holiday, so who am I to quibble? I decided to make some melting witches. Some black pointy hats, black gauze, black and green and purple ribbons and hang them from the courtyard lights and presto! we have melted witches. A couple long pairs of Halloween socks filled with some squished up plastic bags made for the stylish footwear left from the melting witches. Max and Poppa found some orange and green lights in our Christmas light stash and I replaced some clear ones with the colorful ones to add a little flair! I got 5 little battery lit pumpkins which max has had a great time arranging them and rearranging them! Add two Sassy Witches to the front door, and we have the final product. Not going to win any prize, but seeing my grandson’s eyes light up and the smile on his face is my blue ribbon.
Happy Halloween, everyone. I am going to start getting my Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany decorations ready. November 1 will be here before you know it!
Hard to believe that this tiny mite who bounced into my life at the age of two, is now a 21-year-old, married, self-sufficient young adult. And, oh, the adventures we have shared.
Here she is in 1998 taking inventory of all of her Halloween bounty! Tristan first Trick or Treated in her neighborhood, and then Trick or Treated around our neighborhood; and Gramps drove her to some surrounding neighborhoods, so it could be assured that her treats were a-plenty!
The Summer of 2001, after one of our annual School Supply Shopping excursions. Many years ago when Tristan, was just a little girl, I began a new tradition of school supply shopping. Since we lived in the same city, I would pick Tristan up and off we headed to Target to find just the perfect school supplies. We would pick some items from the list send home by the school, and we added some other things just for fun. Everyone needs paper and pencils and erasers and such. But it is much more fun to have pink pencils with silly erasers and fun characters on homework folders. Works just the same, but puts a smile on your face when you are working on a math problem!
Tristan commandeers Gramps computer to play games in 2002. He never lets anyone else do that!
A 2004 portrait with two of the most important ladies who have shaped my life.
I enjoyed an after Christmas dinner with Tristan in 2005 at yet another fun-filled Granddaughter weekend.
Just one of our special 2006 weekends with a Butterflied Granddaughter, Our special weekends were always filled with dining out, game night and spoiling! Oh yeah, shopping. Lots of shopping.
a 2007 trip to Costco during one of our Granddaughter Weekends where Gramps and Tristan grazed their way thru all the food samples!
In the summer of 2011, a very grown-up Granddaughter drove to Leesburg Virginia to bid farewell to Grandparents making their way back to Arizona.
And the little girl has blossomed into a young married lady. Happy Birthday, Sassy Marie. I love you more than words can say. Be Happy!
For this new adventure, we ventured out to Purple Heart Park on Rita Road in the Rita Ranch subdivision. The day was cloud covered for the most part so it seemed a bit cooler than the 98 degrees it actually was.
Purple Heart Park is another one of those parks nestled within a neighborhood. It is quite a pretty little area with a baseball field, playground, swim center, and benches under the shade of huge trees. Not sure where the rest of the acreage is, but I can only assume that if we had gotten onto the walking path,we would have seen a lot more than we did. However, 3-year-old Max is more concerned with the playground and drawing circles in the dirt with found branches from the ground.
This is a really peaceful little area for reflection and remembrance. Notice the purple tiles inset into the stone in the shape of a heart. Nice and simple and beautifully thoughtful.
We need to revisit this quiet little park and explore the undeveloped nature as well. This is a great place for family get togethers as the playground is close to benches and BBQ grilles – so the little ones could be in your sight while enjoying the day. Good amount of shade for the Tucson desert. Max and I both give Purple Heart Park a thumbs up!
Finally, Ricky, Mateo and Marluce were about to land in Tucson for a week-long vacation. I had Abby for the day, so Poppa picked up Maxwell and headed to the airport. Soon after, I heard the garage door open and Abby and I ventured out to greet our Virginia family. And, this would be the first time that Abby was introduced to her cousins.
Relaxing and visiting and listening to tales of a grand kid’s life!
Marluce works with Maxwell while creating a masterpiece!
Max likes to make a good impression on his cousins by dressing up for the occasion!
For dinner, we had a huge spread of salad bar, sandwich bar, Mexican dip, chips of all kinds and teriyaki meatballs! There was something for everyone and the leftovers would serve us well later in the week for snacks and lunches. The Virginia kids left with the Pantano Edge kids to retire for the night. More tomorrow.
Tristan came to visit us all the way from Tennessee. Since we had an earlier invitation to attend Samantha Sherman’s Bat Mitzvah, Jay & Jackie graciously added her to the guest list. Of course, NO visit from my granddaughter is complete without the traditional let’s shop for something new for you to wear spilling from my mouth. Tristan picked out the perfect little brown and white cotton dress to wear to the festivities. Our day began at the breathtaking historic Stone Avenue Temple in Tucson. This was my first time visit to this temple, and I was in for a real treat. As soon as we entered, I could feel the history coursing through my veins. I was truly in awe. The service was inspiring and Sammy’s tender voice did not waver as she recited the words from the Torah. After the service, Gramps, Tristan and I retreated to our local breakfast place and had a late breakfast/early lunch. Conversations with this fourteen year old teenager were always interesting as she shuffled between being a little girl to an old soul. The same evening, Tristan changed from her dress to a new skirt and blouse, pulled her hair back and got ready for the night of dinner and dancing and celebration at the Hawaiian themed party.
I love this photo of her. Tristan and her Grandpa Bob (and later on, Gramps) have always had a special relationship. They know how to make each other laugh. And isn’t that so important in life?
I am getting way too familiar with all the wings at Tucson Medical Center. I know how to get to each ward, the emergency room and (very important here) the cafeteria. Not for their food as I compare all hospital food to my days at St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where you could get mashed potatoes (real ones) a fried chicken leg (so yummy) and a regular old piece of Holsum bread with real butter for a buck something and it was like having dinner at home. This was a staple of mine during my employment as a nurse’s aide and later on working in the nursing office. Nowadays in hospitals, there is always a conglomeration of some type of casserole, Not my cup of tea. So, no, it is not for the food. It is because it has big tables and I know which ones have outlets near them so I can spread out my accounting and work while Bob is sleeping or in surgery. It helps to have numbers bumping back and forth in my brain to counteract the medical jargon and talk of transplants and heart stents and blood sugars and more. Numbers make sense to me. Medicine, not so much. So another 30 days with ambulances and 3 hospitalizations and surgery and waiting. Hubs is home from the various hospital visits now and for the time being, is doing well.
Saturday I open the freezer door and see that the ice in the ice tray is melting. WHAT? I listen with ear pressed against the refrigerator door. Nothing. Not the usual compressor noise kicking on and off. Must be the breaker. Move everything away from the door to the fuse box. All breakers are in their proper place. Well, that can’t be good. I hear something … is it a bird? Is it a plane?? NO – it’s SUPERSONS! And a brand new refrigerator is delivered on the morning of Mother’s Day. My boys saved me and what a relief having someone take care of me while Bob is in the hospital. I am forever in their debt.
Mothers Day Brunch for Kerri, Maggie and me at the University Marriott, where we were treated to a yummy buffet, a box of chocolates, Abby singing but also to watching Max riding in the glass elevator with Mahmaw waving until his little arm almost fell off! Then, up to the Mundle’s room for Mimosa’s. Yummy!
In the meantime, we are having our Friday Family Dinners and Abby visits on Monday and Tuesday while Max maintains his Thursday-Friday routine at Nana’s and Poppa’s house.
Max pulls his shirt up over the back of his head and reminds me of those elves on JibJab! He is proud of this new accomplishment and demonstrates various versions of this feat, shirt over the back of the head and the shirt over his face. This goes on for much of the afternoon. Amazing!
I announce the annual Camp NANA in chalk on the back patio. Max is impressed. Max is so impressed that shortly after he sees it, I hear the unmistakable sound of hose water and see that he has entirely washed my promo away. Fame is so fleeting.
Friends and family have been so supportive during this very trying past couple of weeks. My gratitude to everyone!
Meanwhile … back east in Virginia, swimming lessons for Mateo and Marluce! And they are flourishing in the water! Cannot wait to watch them swim in person! Love you kids!
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!
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!
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.
|Max signed his own card!|
On the television show, Blue Bloods, the entire tv family enjoys (or not) a family dinner each Sunday after attending Mass.
Emily Gilmore required the attendance of her daughter and granddaughter every Friday evening for dinner.
When I was young, it was understood that Sunday dinner attendance was not just expected, but mandatory. Not in a bad way – just a fact that Sunday dinner was at 2 pm and we all knew to gather around the table at that time. Sunday dinners were always the best dinners. Not only the roast beef or the traditional fried chicken or ham with the skin covered with cloves; but the conversations were lighter and school grades and homework were not mentioned. Oh sure, the kids still always cleaned up after the big dinners, but, for some reason, we didn’t seem to mind. And later, around 7 when our stomachs would begin to rumble, the leftovers were almost as good as Thanksgiving.
Well, now we have family dinner night and tonight was our very first one. And so Poppa grilled chicken on the barby and I made yummy cheesy potatoes and the requisite mac ‘n cheese for Max. Bob and Jeffry and Kerri and Maxwell found a seat at the table as I got drinks for all. Abby cooed at her Daddy. Conversations were varied and peppered with a little voice “excuse me excuse me excuse me” so Max could update us on the latest idea that had popped into his amazing mind. Afterwards, Max thanks me for making a family dinner! he melts my heart. Maybe next Friday will be Italian food!!
This is gonna be fun.
Before bedtime, Poppa and Max shared a relaxing read.
Mateo’s 8th Birthday Adventure! Mateo has a passion for all things weather and absolutely loves watching the weather channel and learning about tornadoes and hurricanes and anything else to do with the weather. So, we thought this would be an ideal birthday adventure for him.
In March, Maxwell turned 2 and his mommy and daddy threw a huge birthday bash with lots of guests and food and a bazillion balloons. Safe to say that all of us had a wonderful time, but none more than the Birthday Boy himself.
Marluce and Mateo always enjoy getting packages in the mail – and Grandma here always enjoys sending them. Happy Easter with lots of Love!
Marluce turned 6 years old on March 30th, and her birthday adventure was customized just for her!
On April 5th, we quietly celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. We didn’t need a big hoopla. Just each other. (an excerpt from my life story)
Mother’s Day was celebrated at the Doubletree Sunday Buffet with the Mundle Family and the lil Gardners. After the scrumptious buffet, Maxwell and I took a walk on the beautiful green grounds to work off a few calories.
In June, Max got to show off his computer savvy while Poppa was not around!
Max receives July mail in his very own mailbox! And he shows off his bounty!
Max continues his culinary career with his signature dish of milk, crackers, cereal grapes and strawberries. I think we all see, the Next Iron Chef.
Early September, Bob and I worked on laying a laminate maple flooring in the kitchen/dining area of the little house. Max decided to assist us placing the planks the way he thought they should go. After a hard days work, he relaxed in a livingroom tent.
Mid September was a great getaway to Oceanside California for the beach wedding of Kyle Harvey & Megan Mundle. Lots of fun activities, a beautiful wedding and a surprise baby shower for Kerri filled the entire week and I enjoyed every moment of the time. We shared a condo with the lil Gardners which was a little piece of heaven compared to staying in a hotel room. And the additional time playing with Max was just an added bonus.
We spent a day in October at the Agua Linda Farm. Went thru the pumpkin patch and climbed on the hay bales. We had a picnic and watched Max ride a horse for the very first time. We walked thru the petting zoo and made friends with the billy goats. A perfect way to kick off the fall season.
November brought the most amazing reason to give thanks … she is petite and opinionated and loved and her name is Abigail Anne; Abby to us. The sweetest little bundle ever.
Thanksgiving in Virginia has Marluce slaving away in the kitchen making her first pumpkin pie.
Family and Friends enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Chris & Maggie’s with beautiful Tucson weather in their gorgeous and inviting backyard.
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!
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!!
When Max got here this morning, I told him that we were going to make popcorn and get on our jammies and drive around to look at lights tonight.
|pjs – check
jacket – check
crocs – check
No – when the sky gets darker.
Well, when it is dark, the lights are prettier and we can see them better.
Later in the day …
Nana! Ready to go and see the Christmas lights? I’m so excited!
Well, it is only lunchtime, buddy. Still have to wait until the sky gets dark.
Well, when it is dark, the lights are prettier and we can see them better.
At the dinner table …
The sky is getting dark, Nana! Are you ready to go and see the lights?
Well, we have to finish eating dinner first and then clean up and then we can go.
Why? I love Christmas lights Nana!
Popcorn is popped. Car seat is buckled. Christmas music is on the radio. Poppa is behind the wheel.
We drive to Mamaws neighborhood and I hear Max say “this is Oh Canada Poppa’s house”. We turn the corner on to the next block and I ask “Max, what lights do you see now?” The only response is a gentle baby-ish snoring coming from the back seat.
So much for driving around and seeing Christmas Lights!
Hey, are you gonna eat that?
|Oct 2003 Kerri & Connie at a Halloween Concert in Tucson|
|We picked up a couple of Wizards after the concert.|
|Oct 1998 a 6 year old Tristan sans costume sorts out her bounty at our dining table.|
|October 2004 baby Mateo visits his first ever Pumpkin Patch and tries a taste of straw!
|October 2007 Katia and little princess Marluce|
|Jeffry inherited his mother’s talent for costumes.|
|October 2003 at the Dunham halloween Spooktacular Dinner|
Sometimes life is planned out and sometimes those plans don’t work. Bob met with his potential kidney donor this morning and the donor is unable to participate in the transplant. His doctors have advised against it and his family was uncomfortable with the procedure. Completely understandable.
We are blessed in just knowing that this man has been poked and prodded and questioned for the past year – all to help a friend. Yes, there ARE people like that in the world. Bob knows one!
And so we go on with life and work and family and friends. Bob is able to complete his daily dialysis routine through the night right in our home. We can pick up the machine and travel (the airlines HAVE to allow the machine on board and CANNOT charge you for the additional carry on!!). Bob is back to work at a less stressful job (Ventana tire on Sunrise & Kolb) has already been promoted to Manager and has made such a financial impact on the company that their CPA and Owner have called him several times to congratulate him on sales. We have a new grand baby on the way for Thanksgiving and healthy grand babies back east.
I am busy with work and fixing up the little house and accounting clients and Camp Nana with Max two days a week. He spends the night and I can count on waking up with a mini-flash lite shining in one eye and a little voice saying “wake up Nana – it’s morning time”.
We are planning on way more family/friend get togethers overflowing the tiny house! Already planning one for September! Also excited to attend megan and Kyle’s Wedding in Oceanside mid-September. We have extended our trip for a week long stay and will meet up with more family to enjoy.
The kitchen island top re-do is almost done. Not perfect – but what an improvement! Granite tile and many times of removing some tiles and re-installing some of the trim – we have some touch ups, one corner, and caulking between the wood trim and the tiles – but it is still really nice.
So looking forward to hosting an Easter dinner for friends and family!
Max spent Thursday and Friday with us again this week. Today, he helped Nana shop for Easter dinner – even brought his own cart!
In Virginia, Marluce and Mateo show off their Easter treats I sent to them. Apparently the calendar is different in Virginia and they are on Easter Treat savings time!! Max has not been introduced to a lot of candy, etc. I needed some large plastic eggs to hide for him on Easter Sunday Dinner, and the only ones I could find were ones holding lots of candies. I bought the eggs. Dumped all of the candy into the Easter box I was sending to Ashburn, and I got no complaints from the Virginia Gardners!
Max spends Thursday and Thursday nights with us during the kids kickball season. Daddy picks him up on Friday afternoons. Never a dull moment with Maxwell!
me: oh, don’t say that word.
Max: Dammit Dammit Dammit
(Nana & Poppa decide to ignore, thinking it will stop)
Bob: Call me Poppa or Poppy. You do not call me Bob
Max: Ahhhh Dammit Bob!
Meanwhile, back in Virginia, Marluce Andrea turns 6 years old and is treated to a tiara, feather boa, and a pedicure and manicure. Nothing like a day of beauty! Me? Well, I spent my days and evenings working on my client accounting, and trying to finish the kitchen island tile work before Easter dinner!
We celebrated her birthday early with a Sunday brunch at our house. I got to decorate in pinks and yellows and lavendars and greens – all pastel girly colors. It was a beautiful day and wonderful family time.
In the evening, hubby and I had a date to see the Broadway Show “RENT”. The voices were wonderful. I will have to say, that I missed a lot of what the show was about, and then when I heard that one of the characters would die of aids in the show, we made our way out. I didn’t want to end such a great day on a sad note.
While Ricky and Katia took a weekend trip to California, the grand babies spent the weekend with Grandma & Grandpa. We spent a lot of time in the backyard since the weather was perfect. Marluce was fed in her booster seat on the back patio while she squealed with delight every time her big brother ran past her. She thinks he is just there to entertain her and she absolutely adores him. She did not like to touch the grass, so she played in her play yard with her toys and watched the birds and listened to the outdoor noises. It was fun to watch her reaction to a dog bark or a plane fly over. Mateo was on the go every minute of the day, and kept me on my toes. When he wasn’t hopping and jumping and running and turning on and off the water outside, he was conversing in new “Mateo-isms” … when I said it was time for a nap, he replied “don’t say that, Grandma!” … when he couldn’t get me to do what he wanted, he would start asking in Spanish, apparently thinking I did not understand English. At the end of the day, Grandpa came home from work and he and Mateo relaxed on the back yard swing as Mateo looked in the sky and exclaimed in hushed tones “beautiful stars in the sky!”