Archives

Fun in Safety Harbor along with a “Happy Birthday” to Linda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is a very special day. Two of my precious loved ones share a birthday: daughter Kate and sister-in-law Linda.

In celebration of Linda’s birthday, the hubster and I drove to St. Pete this past weekend where she and her hubby (Greg’s brother) have a winter residence. And part of our fun time together was spent in beautiful Safety Harbor.

This sweet little community sits right on the water. It hosts a giant oak tree estimated to be 300-500 years old as well as a very beautiful water feature. If you zoom in, you’ll see several large Florida water birds made of metal. It’s really something in person!

Walking past the fountain, we encountered a fishing pier where we watched a cormorant (snake fish) wrangling a fish for an afternoon snack.

And it got even better…

…because after our walking tour of charming Safety Harbor, we found a nearby Dairy Queen and enjoyed some of their yummy blizzards!

And this was one of those times where I didn’t think at all about carbs, sugar, calories, or the fact that it was close to supper time. Instead, I just went with it and thoroughly enjoyed my DQ visit.

Family is everything.

The older I get, the more I appreciate family time. Jim and Linda live most of the year in Ohio, so while they are here in Florida, we plan on taking full advantage of spending as much time with them as possible.

Even though Safety Harbor and Dairy Queen were great fun, it really isn’t about what we do as a family; instead it’s about who we do it with. Time with Jim and Linda is a joy. It’s a God-gift of love to us both. And it’s always a reminder of how blessed we are to be able to see each other as often as we do.

So, happy birthday sweet Sis. We sure do love you.

Mimi

p.s. As an added bonus (and surprise to Greg and me) Uncle Jim called up our Kate and invited her and the family to meet in Tampa for a fun-filled Fossil Fest. So that’s the whole gang in the photo above.

Advertisements

Happy 40th to my first born.

This week I’m writing my story on Sunday because today is my son’s 40th birthday. We got to spend a wonderful weekend with him and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness to God for this precious gift to Greg and I. So, I thought I’d share a little about him with you.

Tim made me a mom.

Tim came along when I was 25. I thought I remembered how I felt during his pregnancy and birth, but after finding my handwritten journal notes from that time, I realize my memory had faded quite a bit.

Tim was our first. My only childcare experience came from having a much younger brother and doing a little babysitting as a teenager. So, I guess I felt ready and prepared. After all, back in those days, you took classes in “prepared childbirth.” Since I took the classes, I must have been ready. But it turns out I wasn’t at all prepared.

One journal entry a month before his birth mentions we had a crib and one or two onesies but that was it. There hadn’t yet been a baby shower and I hadn’t bought anything else including diapers. My notes mention wanting to meet this little one (didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl in those days until out they came!), but they also mentioned we weren’t exactly set up for the new arrival.

And once he did arrive, the notes talk about being depressed and feeling inadequate. My heart aches for the 1979 me. I can’t remember how it was, but it must have been lonely. I know I was thoroughly in love with my new baby, but I also read about how much of a failure I felt.

Thankfully, the depression lifted and Greg and I fell into our new parental roles with great, great joy.

About Tim

Timmy, as we called him, was adventurous, fun-loving, a sweet friend and protector to his little sister, and a delight. He had his own sense of style and on any given day his over the knee sox were either pulled completely up or rolled perfectly down to his ankles.

As a man, he takes amazing care of his family, loves them fiercely, continues to enjoy a great sense of style (though his knee sox gave way to black no-see-um ones), thrives on workouts at the gym, probably knows the songs to every Disney movie as his own little princesses watch them over and over again, and all in all makes this mama very proud.

Don’t blink.

Really, don’t blink. The growing up years are so hard at times. You want to do everything right but often do it all wrong. As a mom, you lament your mistakes and hope and pray your kids will forgive you and turn out ok. Sometimes you wish ahead, wondering what they will be like in their teens or 20s. You imagine them finding a special someone to love, having a great job they like, and then having children of their own. But if you do too much of that, you can miss the special every day moments that are precious gifts from God.

So, to other young parents, be careful about wishing time away. Treasure “the now” each day. Love hard on your kids. Forgive yourself, knowing your kids have a great capacity to forgive, too. Enjoy their sticky hands and artwork…even on the walls. Be understanding and sympathetic. Enjoy silly times with them dancing like no one’s watching, telling stories in bed at night or making shadow shapes on the ceiling.

Go to their ball games and listen to them make music, even when they choose drums and play loudly! Smile at first dates and give plenty of limits when they learn to drive. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and have high expectations. But don’t let those expectations keep you from enjoying the smaller successes along the way.

There are no do-overs.

This mother, at times, wishes she could have raised her kids with the knowledge and experience she now possesses. But there are no do-overs…until you have grandkids. Then you have that opportunity to shower all your “I-love-you-no-matter-what” kind of love on them and on your adult kids as they navigate parenting.

Tim is one of my great joys in life and I’m cherishing the opportunity to spend his 40th birthday weekend with him. To hear about one of my other great joys, stay tuned…because my No. 2 turns 40 next year!

Love to all,

Mimi

The big 4-0 has arrived.

Well, the first 40th birthday has nearly arrived. Son-in-law Chris turns 40 on Tuesday and son Tim will follow two weeks later.

So far, I think Chris is enjoying the celebration.

This weekend he got to play paintball and have an evening on the town. Then his parents took he and his twin (along with their families) to dinner.

And on Sunday, his boys presented their gifts. Each had made something for him. Callan went to a ceramic studio and painted a football helmet in Florida Gator colors and Konnor created a broken-glass picture frame. Using a hammer (which was a HUGE hit…pun intended), he smashed up some colored glass tile, then glued the pieces on the frame. A little grout, and a carefully chosen picture and voila! A gift for his dad.

Best of all…

But most fun for the boys was planning a treasure hunt for their dad so he could find his goodies. They wrapped and hid their gifts along with ours around the house, then wrote clues for Chris to follow. Both boys were proud not only of their gifts but in the enjoyable time they created for their Dad in finding his gifts.

Chris came into our family in 2003. And though I call him my son-in-law, long ago my heart welcomed him as another son. Our family wouldn’t be complete without him!

Happy 40th Chris. We sure do love you. Here’s to a wonderful, wonderful year.

Mimi

New uses for old things.

Ever cry “do over” when growing up? Or perhaps called out “mulligan” when playing golf?

Who couldn’t use a bit of a makeover from time to time. (I think I see a few hands being raised out there.)

A few years back when I was first introduced to Pinterest, I was fascinated by the many ways people “upcycled” items to look better or to serve a new purpose; especially old stuff. Even without being particular creative or crafty, I started pinning those links for future use.

And while I’ve only tried a few things, I have to say they’ve brought great results.

I found some great ideas.

Shower hooks: I had a bunch of plain ones I had just tossed when I read about using them in your closet to hold jewelry, purses, scarves, etc. Out of the trash they came and all 12 are evenly divided between my closets, all serving purposes other than what they were originally designed for.

Wooden pallets: Being a rather frugally minded individual, I get a kick out of seeing what people throw away and what others are willing to rescue and reuse. Pallets are now used for all sorts of crafts, even furniture. It’s basically free wood, so why not!

Pinecones: And dropped pinecones are all the rage. I made a wreath out of painted pinecone “crowns” as well as miniature Christmas trees. Free, plentiful, and going to waste, they became a coveted commodity in my crafting closet.

I’m becoming more aware.

I have personally become more aware of waste and in a few small ways have jumped on the bandwagon. The picture above? That was a half a loaf of bread that I put in the freezer months ago when hubby and I started cutting down on our carbs. On my way to tossing it out, the light bulb went off and voila! With a little olive oil and seasoning they became croutons.

Ever feel like you’re that old thing?

I turn 65 in a few months and for weeks the Medicare sign-ups have been arriving almost daily in my mailbox. To some, they can be reminders of getting older much like your grey hairs, wrinkles, and muscle aches.

Maybe we, too, need to think about some new uses for our older selves. Ways to challenge or reinvent our brains. Ways to use our experience and knowledge to help others. Establishing new traditions or learning new things.

If nearly stale bread can be repurposed into delicious croutons, I think there is some hope for this slightly worn out Medicare-eligible body to be refreshed and repurposed.

  • I’m just starting on this quest but so far, since I’m musically inclined, I sang for a season in our community choir and even bought a recorder so I could learn a new instrument and make music. Sadly, it’s not yet in use but at least it’s now in the house. And it IS on my to-do list.
  • Greg and I took a long car trip. We haven’t done that in years and wondered if our older bodies could handle thousands of miles over a two-week period. I’m happy to report we did just fine and look forward to future car trips as well.
  • Recently, I joined Bible Study Fellowship. This may not seem like a big deal, but after being retired three years, it’s not always easy for me to make a long-term commitment. This study is for the entire school year and requires 6 days of homework each week.
  • I also tried (and failed) to start of ladies Bible study in my home. This was definitely outside of my comfort zone because while I enjoy being a participant, I didn’t necessarily want the leadership role. The Bible study fizzled out but I made a terrific new friend!

How about you?

How have you been reinventing yourself? Tried anything new lately? Online courses? A part time job? Volunteer experiences? Hobbies?

Please comment below. Your new thing might turn out to be the very next new thing I want to try!

Be encouraged.

Even if you decide the old is fine, remember there’s one sure re-creation awaiting you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Mimi

Somebody’s Turning 10

Special Birthday Right Around the Corner

August 8, 2008—the date Greg and I became grandparents.

Nearly ten years ago, we were given the privilege to be with our daughter and son-in-law as our first grandchild was born.

I remember the thrill of finding out we were going to become grandparents the prior Christmas when we opened gifts of infant clothing that had a checklist of favorite things “Grandma, Hugs, Kisses.” The instant realization that a new life had begun, followed by tears of joy. Those same joy-filled tears flowed again eight months later when Konnor arrived.

And the joy just continues.

And as sweet as the anticipation was of Konnor’s impending birth, nothing compares to the increased sweetness of life once he arrived. Each grandchild brings more joy, more fun, more awe, more noise, more good times than you think anyone should be allowed to enjoy. And we enjoy and love it all!

Who is Konnor Finn?

Until a child is born, you have no idea what they will look like or what kind of personality they will have. Part of our joy is simply to watch as that child grows and develops over time.

We’ve loved watching Konnor experience life. He is curious, intelligent, funny, loving. He is determined and will spend hours figuring something out. He’s inventive as well, able to figure out a work-around if something isn’t going as planned. Konnor is also musical. And it brought great happiness to this Mimi when she first realized he could definitely carry a tune and stay on pitch.

Konnor began talking early. As a Mimi who babysat Konnor every week, one of the highlights of time spent in the car was having all sorts of conversations about absolutely everything as we drove around. Those conversations with him back then and now continue to be treasured.

Double Digits

So, what’s the significance of recognizing the 10th birthday as something special? To me, it’s just a realization that the child is growing up. He or she is starting to leave behind his young childhood and enter into a new phase of growth. Physical growth for sure. But growth in other important areas as well.

A ten-year-old begins to see themselves as a separate entity. An individual. Still very much dependent on parents and other important people in his or her life, but able to form opinions and learn to make wise choices. Able to recognize their value. Able to begin forward-thinking and planning.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s in the works.

But besides the child starting to figure out these things, the adults in that child’s life begin seeing it as well.

So, turning 10 to me is very important; indeed, something to be celebrated.

The Big Celebration

With Konnor, Greg and I began the tradition of taking each 10-year old grandchild on a mini-vaca to someplace we know they will love. For Konnor that was easy: the beach and Kennedy Space Center. And neither disappointed!

We had great fun at Cocoa Beach where the water was 85 degrees—the same as the air! There was an afternoon swim and beach play, but even better was the evening swim as twilight approached. Gorgeous hues of pink and orange filled the sky as Konnor enjoyed the waves. It was so peaceful and quiet. And my heart was at rest watching my “first” as he frolicked.

Day 2 found us at the Kennedy Space Center. What a wonderful place to visit. There’s something for everyone. And so much of it is hands-on and interactive. Not only will you learn a thing or two, but you’ll have great fun, too.

Happy Birthday My Sweet Grandson

To Konnor: your Mimi and PopPop love you to heaven and back! We love you more than you will ever know. We love you fully and completely. You bring such happiness to our lives and fill us with joy unspeakable. Our hearts burst with love for you. And we delight in who you are right now and who you are becoming.

So glad we got to celebrate this very important, very special “turning double digits” day with you. Happy, happy 10th birthday, Konnor!

Mimi

A little rain doesn’t bother this family.

A little rain doesn’t bother this family.

This Memorial Weekend was predicted to be nothing more than rain, rain, and more rain from Tropical Storm Alberto. But we were pleasantly surprised that other than a few passing showers, it was basically a non-event.

The Lynch-Turner-Dougherty family was able to get together and enjoy a combo birthday party for my dad as well as a Memorial Day celebration.

While the kids played with bubbles out on the lanai, the adults toasted the family’s patriarch with their own delicious Proseco bubbles.

The rain held off while Greg grilled some chicken and after lunch the men, boys, and Addison hit the pool while the ladies and Addie stayed behind to play wiffle ball. Of course, that’s just about the time it decided to finally begin raining so swimming and ball playing were both done in the drizzle. No matter to any of us; it was still great fun.

Then it was time for the birthday celebration but instead of cake, it was homemade ice cream sandwiches for everyone. Ah, chocolate chip mint sandwiched between two homemade chocolate chip cookies. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a muggy, hot day.

But even better than ice cream, was hanging in the garage. Since we were unsure if the rain would get heavier, we had set up cornhole in there and provided a table for the kids to play games. Gathered together for the big cornhole championship, we watched Tim beat player after player while the kids enjoyed some screen time.

Simple and easy. And not letting the rain dictate our fun. It was a wonderful day wrapped in the joy of being with family. Happy 92nd Dad! And Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Mimi

Now that was some party!

Ever heard of a game truck? It’s a mobile gaming center that comes to you. Check out those pictures.

For Callan’s 7th birthday, a game truck came for the afternoon offering all sorts of fun for a bunch of his friends as they duked it out for a few hours playing the latest and greatest video games.

Back in the day…

Birthday parties are so different today, aren’t they? Back in the day, when I was a wee one, birthday parties were spent in a blow-up pool in someone’s backyard, or by playing games such as dropping clothespins into a bottle or pin the tail on the donkey. And we thought it was a blast.

Things began changing.

When my kids were young, things began to change. Themed parties and destination parties began. We would go to Burger King or perhaps the park. Kate had an aerobics party one year and when she was 10 she and her friends went to the salon to have their nails done. For me, these were a bit easier because I never quite felt creative enough to host a really fun party at home.

Today’s parties offer even more choices.

Now the party can come to you. Bounce houses, fun water slides, game trucks…you name it, and I bet it’s available. This is such a help for today’s busy parents. I have a feeling the kids at Callan’s party today will be talking about this for a long time. (I almost wish I was there…but then, I don’t do very well with today’s gaming. However, a great game of Pong or Pac Man would be enticing indeed!)

What are some of the fun birthday parties you remember as a kid or that you threw for your own children?

Mimi