it is late

The kitchen is clean. The dishwasher is gently humming while water spills into the washing machine over the dozen cloths used as napkins and the many towels used for the meal prep. The wood scraps used as some type of Barbie yoga retreat have been returned to the wood bin. The patio and sidewalks are still alive with the vibrant chalk art of two little girls. The house is quiet as another Sunday family dinner is done.

I so love these times. The prep and cooking take a large part of the day. The patio tables are set with simple place settings and chairs are scattered between the two tables. As the house fills with greetings and conversation and baby squeals, plates are filled and drinks are poured as the house empties on to the patio. Conversation quiets for a bit except the clang of the silverware against the plates. (Yeah – we mostly use regular dinnerware out there. I can’t help myself.)

As dinner comes to an end and dessert has been served, kids are playing; guests are loading the dishwasher and we settle down for some evening conversation before everyone begins to head home.

Another evening of family time and my heart is full.

say cheese

group photo

Morning photo shoot with Kerri’s big Canadian Family (and a couple of American’s tossed in for good measure) at her Aunt Arlene’s home.  Afterwards, an old fashioned BBQ picnic at Aunt Linda’s.  I must say that the family was wonderful and the food was great.  But, oh … the amazing gorgeous outdoor area was a whole other story!  I cannot really call it her yard because it was so huge!


This carrot cake was scrumptious – just a side note!

Doesn’t matter which country, Abby has Papa wrapped around her little little finger.

She knows it and he relishes it.

Chris Mundle rented a jumping castle for the day and kids of all ages enjoyed it.

Best idea ever.

There were lots of introductions and how are you related and great food.  There was water balloon fights between the cousins – a tradition as I understand it.  Lots of photography and clean up and long walks on a beautiful property with some really good people.  So happy to be invited along on this trip to our neighbor up north.

Camp Nana Kick-Off 2016

Max and Abby were raring to go at 8:30!  They were delighted with new Camp Nana shirts as we sat down to paint and design birdhouses.  Of course they each had to have their own paper plate with chosen dots of paints.  Abby chose mostly pastels while Max goes for the bright and vibrant colors.  The birdhouses are left alone to dry while O Canada Papa picks Abby up for her swim lesson.  Max plays with Legos until she returns.  They have carefully chosen some dried leaves from the back yard to adorn their birdhouses because “sometimes the birdhouses will be in the trees and leaves always die so new ones can grow and then the old leaves stick to the birdhouses and the birds don’t care”.   After adding the leaves to the roofs and a couple of birdies move in to each house, the glue is drying – on to the next project …

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With some rolls and deli meats and cheeses in front of them, Max and Abby are left to make their own lunches.  Listening to their chatter always brightens my day – no matter the content.

 “Abby, why did you break my giant chip?  Why, Abby.  Why?”

 “Oh Maxie.  It’s just a chip.” (insert heavy sigh)20160602_112856 20160602_112845









to be continued …

(… later that day …)

Max wants a nap.  It is Abby’s nap time anyway, so i put them both in my bed.  Abby is caught dancing around on the bed several times while Max just lays in the same position and place).  Max says he cannot sleep there.  I tell him he can lie on the sofa while I work.  From the bedroom, I hear the soft sobs of a 3-year-old, and I cannot let that pass.  “Why are you crying, Abby?”  The response breaks my heart and nearly brings me to tears.  “Brover left me and I want to cuddle with him while I nap.  He is my best friend ever.”  I then query Max on whether he might like to give this another chance.  He flatly states “no, thank you.”  Abby looks and me and softly asks if Max said no. and I barely nod my head.  The tears come easily as she literally falls into my arms.  What choice do I have but to carry her to the sofa to nap near her brother.

In the meantime, the birdhouses are dry and ready for their first showing to the awaiting public.  And so, without further adieu, I give you …THE BIRDHOUSE(S).

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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!

bday 3 bday 2 bday 1

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.

2012 in retrospect …

in January I received a video of my beautiful granddaughter, Marluce in her ballerina glory.
and my handsome grandson, Mateo,  on keyboard!
My hubby survived another back surgery – not without some scary issues during his hospital stay, causing Jeffry and I to panic a bit and making unscheduled trips to TMC.  We even brought home a small plastic container of now unnecessary hardware and bolts and screws and rods which still reside in one of his tool boxes as a souvenir, I guess.  5 weeks later, Bob was admitted to UMC to remove one of his kidneys for cancer.  We were lucky as the cancer was completely enclosed inside the failed kidney and there was no need for any further treatment.  Once again, there were breathing and heart rate complications which had Jeffry and I running back and forth again.  I cannot describe how that feels to be summoned by the hospital while a nurse matter of factly states “I think you should come here now”.  Scared is way too mild of a word.
Bob and I retrieved the old 1969 Rahleigh Robin Hood side by side tandem bike and put it back together.  Our plans are to restore  refurbish these and paint one black and paint one white for engagement/wedding/anniversary photo shoots.  Of course, here it is, December 31st and we haven’t even started.  But, we still have plans!


In February, I was able to steal a couple of photos of my Grandson, Cristopher Chase and Granddaughter, Quinn Ariana from my ex daughter in law’s facebook site.  Then she blocked me, but not before I stole a few more.  I would love to spend time with them and include them in family events, but that is not to be, so I take what I can steal er, get!  Chase is 15 in this photo and Quinn is 5.  Chase looks like his dad and Quinn looks so much like Tristan did at that same age.
Marluce recreated Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman” as she pumps gas in the car in Virginia.
 Hey, is that even legal??





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)

If memory serves, September 5, 1967 was the first day of high school and the first time we met. You were a tough looking street kid with a smart-assed attitude. I am not sure just why I was drawn to you at the time, but I was. I was modest and not at all street-wise and obviously reared in an entirely different environment than you experienced. You clearly showed an interest in me with your playful glances and funny comments. My older brother, Jay, put it this way: “here you were, Miss Polly Pure Heart and along came this James Dean wanna be with cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve and a beer in hand. Of course you were going to fall for him.”
To say you did not always attend first hour geometry class would be an understatement of immense proportion. To put it in plain speak, you rarely attended most classes. I found myself distracted when you were not in Geometry class. It was the only class we ever had together and even though geometry was a difficult subject for me to grasp (and still is), I felt more confident and at ease when you actually did show up for class. I guess even then, barely knowing each other, you somehow made me feel comfortable and protected. I tried not to let you see that side of me, but I think you had it all figured out. And, yes, I did know that you stared at my legs most of the class time.
I often wondered why you never finished your sophomore year. I know you did not experience the support of a family at home. Looking back, I think you were lost and possibly felt you had nothing to offer high school and high school had nothing to offer your life. You worked. You drank way too much. You dated the wrong girls (well, of course I would say that) and you wandered. I never even realized in my naiveté, there was even a choice on attending school. It was a given in my life and I never thought of it any other way. You, like geometry, were a foreign concept. I am not sure that I have ever figured you out completely.   (more)    gdovin girl






 Easter was such a fun day as we entertained family and friends.  Guests were on the back patio and in the house and on the front yard swing – eating, laughing and playing with the little ones.


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.

My first grandchild, Tristan Lee became engaged to Drake Shumaker in Farmville Virginia.  So happy for them both and looking forward to meeting a new grandson in law.  This little girl (yes, she is still a little girl to me) deserves all of the love and happiness that comes her way.  I love you so much, Sassy Marie!

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!






I wish I could have attended Marluce’s first official Yard Sale in August in the backyard of her home in Ashburn Virginia.  I am sure I would have found something that I needed to purchase.







Katia and Kiddies –  smiles and hugs.
And the be all and end all of the month of August …

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.


While my retro Flair oven contributed to Thanksgiving dinner at the Mundle home.

Family and Friends enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Chris & Maggie’s with beautiful Tucson weather in their gorgeous and inviting backyard.





After returning to Tucson, we finally resumed our annual Holiday Open House hosting around 26-30 guests during an early evening.  Food was aplenty and catching up with people we love and rarely get the time to see.  Got caught up so much in our guests, totally forgot to take any photos.  Now THAT is a first for us.  We so enjoyed all of the company and conversation and funny stories. Next year – lots of photos!
I won’t repost my recent Christmas Eve events since I just posted, but suffice it to say it goes down in my holiday history as one of the best ever.  I am still smiling.   Christmas Day was a relaxing day of early morning visits with the kids and Mundles and Max and Abby while Maggie served scrumptious french toast and Max opened gifts.  Max, taking some time to show his gifts to his audience, enjoyed each and every moment.   Received a really nice phone call from Ricky which is always a treat.  Later on, a yummy honey baked ham dinner at Chris and Maggie’s with Matt and the kids and grandbabies topped off a wonderful Christmas 2012.






 And now, as 2013 is almost upon us, we hope for a healthier New Year for Bob and friends and family needing hope.  We wish to be able to reconnect with family members in the summer in Colorado.  And most of all, we wish for a gentler world this coming year.  It could happen.

POPCORN & Christmas Lights

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

When?  Now?
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?

deLIGHTfully MAX

Abby is settling in her new home with Mommy on leave from work for a couple more months.  Keeping Max on his normal schedule is his parent’s priority.  They are so smart!  So, Monday and Tuesday, Max will continue to spend quality time with Oh Canada Poppa (or Chris Mundle as we know him).  Wednesday, Max attends Catalina Methodist Day School in the 2 year old class.  Poppa (Bob) picks Max up from his home on Thursday mornings and he spends all day Thursday, Thursday night and all day Friday at Nana’s and Poppa’s house.
Some highlights from this week:
Max, let’s get your underwear changed before bedtime.
  he immediately whips off his big boy underwear and tosses them on the floor.
Nana, first let’s do the naked baby dance!
  Max was supposed to be napping, but I kept hearing thuds and bumps.  Max is wide-eyed and innocent as I walk into the room, almost catching him in mid-air as he was jumping on his bed.
What’s going on in here, Max?
Hi, Nana.  ummmm, why are you in here, Nana
I had to pick up some things at Target and Max wanted to be my trusty assistant.  We piled his personal shopping cart into the back of the Hyundai, secured Max in his car seat and off we went to get some groceries and household items.  The ooohs and the ahhhhhs were in abundance, and I will admit that I was the hero of the shopping grandma’s for letting Max push his own cart and fill it to the brim with items from the shopping list and not.  When we got to the checkout, Max insisted on piling his cart items on the black belt slowly moving toward the cashier.  I notice a package of cheese and chicken chimichungas go past me into the hands of the cashier and deposited into my shopping bag.  Hmmm.  Odd.  I did not remember picking that package, but no matter.  Hmmmmm.  A Sesame Street Coloring and Activity book.moving past me on the black belt.  All of the sudden, a familiar little voice proudly announces to the cashier directly behind us “Look what I bought for myself!”
And while taking him home to Abby, he directs Poppa while driving, turn here – on Fon du Lac.  This kid is TWO.  And Fon du Lac is NOT the street where he resides, rather the street LEADING to the street of his address.  Maxwell never ceases to amaze me!