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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

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Well, that was a fun night!

Something didn’t seem right.

A few weeks back our normally quiet evening took a little detour. Greg was working in the office and I was on the sofa resting in between loads of laundry. I know the sounds my washer makes and something just didn’t seem right to me. In fact, it sounded very “un-right.”

I yelled for the hubster.

Quickly jumping to my feet, I raced to the laundry room where I was met with a floor filled with water, LOTS of water. And I could see the water was coming from near the wall outlet.

Thinking the faucets had gone bad, I tried to turn them off. But no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t budget. Now, on top of everything else, I’m mad at myself for never having tested them before. Meanwhile, the flood continued so I did the next best thing. I yelled for hubby to come.

Greg to the rescue.

Greg saw right away the real problem. It had nothing to do with the faucets; it was the drain hose. It had come out of the wall outlet and was laying behind the washer dumping all the dirty rinse water onto the floor.

While he shut off the machine (I hadn’t thought of that!!!), I began gathering towels from everywhere, trying desperately to sop up the water that was now in my hallway.

But there was a lot of water so Greg remembered the shop vac up in the attic. It does a great job with water so he retrieved it would work much better than the towels. But the thing wouldn’t work. (Murphy’s law my friends, Murphy’s law.)

All is well.

So, we made do with the towels, eventually got the water cleaned up, and started doing a few loads of the dirty towels.

And really, other than a little inconvenience and a lot more laundry, the whole thing wasn’t that big a deal. I was chill throughout and could even laugh about it. And I actually felt blessed that it had happened while Greg was home as he did the lion’s share of the work.

I learned a valuable lesson.

In this particular situation, I reacted quickly to the problem but in my haste made an assumption that turned out to be wrong. Had I spent an extra moment to really look at what was happening, I might have seen the water problem was actually with the drain hose.

In this case, and with Greg’s help, we were able to quickly make the fix and get things back to normal. But I have (hopefully) learned a good lesson: that sometimes it is actually better to take an extra moment to give yourself time to make a correct assessment.

“Many times, what we perceive as an error or failure is actually a gift. And eventually we find that lessons learned from that discouraging experience prove to be of great worth.”
Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

How about you? Any stories in your lives where a lesson learned came as a result of something going wrong?

Mimi

Oh no! Not the scissors.

Aging has some fascinating aspects.

There are the typical face crinkles (wrinkles actually, but the word crinkles sounds a bit gentler), the annoying aches and pains that remind us we’re not as spry as we once were, the occasional brain fog where we tend to look for our glasses, only to discover we’re already wearing them. And a thousand other things that serve as continual reminders that though we’re not old, we are indeed aging.

But this reminder is annoying indeed.

While some reminders are mere annoyances, others seem to mock us. For example, something we all need to do but don’t necessary share with others: clipping our toenails.

Some opt for pedicures. But this frugal gal knows she can pocket $25 and do it herself, so she does. Typically, without any issues.

Of course, it is getting more difficult as each day goes by. Here’s why. I can no longer leave my feet on the ground, bend down with scissors in hand, and actually see what I’m doing. I wear progressive lenses and that very small reading or magnified portion is so small I am unable to get close enough to really see what I’m doing so I can ensure not only a straight cut across the nail but a straight cut without injury to my toe.

The solution?

Sample pedicure position minus the sock.

Glad you asked. As you can see in this picture, I lift my foot to the bathroom counter to get better access with the bright overhead lighting. This worked for years in my Orlando house, but our new house has higher counters so it’s nearly impossible to get the leg up, position the foot in the best light, and hold still long enough to make THE CUT.

This endeavor is quite the balancing act. And most times goes off without a hitch. But then this happens. As it did today. But I didn’t just drop the scissors; I yelled “Oh no!” like dropping them was the worst thing in the world. I guess at the moment it really was. Here I was, leg on the counter, ready to proceed with my own version of a pedi, but the scissors were now w-a-y down there. What to do?

Still the sock…but look down, w-a-y down on the carpet.

I had to detangle, get the foot off the counter, bend to get those pesky scissors, then figure out all over again how to get back into position to finish up.

In reality, dropping the scissors is just a minor annoyance, though at the time it seemed a huge hurdle to overcome, hence the “Oh no!”

Two things come to mind.

First: it really was no big deal. Annoying yes. After all, it’s not easy to “un-pretzel” yourself, bend those aging knees, then get all the way back up on the counter into just the right position to finish what you started.

Second: it is indeed a mocking reminder that I am aging and need to embrace adaptations that make life more manageable, sometimes easier.

Does this mean I’m old? Of course not. But as each year marches on, my body changes. My abilities physically and mentally are different than they used to. And my perspective needs to change as well. Because how I feel about all this will set the barometer for whether I can embrace this new phase I find myself in or whether I will despair and lament what’s been lost.

Some encouragement.

The Bible, my life guide, reminds me of what God has in mind for my aging years:

  • Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. (Proverbs 16:31 NLT)
  • Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12 NIV)
  • Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
  • Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. (Proverbs 17:6 NLT)
  • I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NIV)

With promises like those above, there is never a reason to lament. I still have much to offer others. I am being renewed every single day. And God is still speaking to and through me. And that’s not the half of it! There’s so much more.

Here’s to each of us finding the “more” in our own lives. The more that God promises. And the more that He takes delight in giving us.

Mimi

A delicious bite for you.

Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Oh my, oh my

Just a quick post to share some deliciousness with you, courtesy of Gimme Some Oven.

Went to visit friends for dinner and game night. My part was to bring a little something sweet that didn’t destroy your day’s calorie count.

A quick internet search brought me this goodie: chocolate and bananas. Super easy, super-fast, super delicious. (https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/salted-chocolate-frozen-banana-bites)

Salted Chocolate Frozen Banana Bites

You’ll need: 3 ripe bananas, 1 cup chocolate chips, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, coarse sea salt, and toothpicks.

Step 1: Cut the bananas cut into 1” or 1-1/2” pieces. Place them on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Insert toothpicks in each one and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Step 2: While bananas are freezing, prepare homemade Magic Shell by microwaving (in a large bowl) the chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir, then continue in 15 second segments until melted. Set aside and let it come to room temp. (By the way, this mixture can be stored at room temperature for up to 30 days.)

Step 3: Dip banana bites into the chocolate covering all the way or part way (your choice). Sprinkle with sea salt before the shell hardens. Eat immediately or return to freezer. Remove from freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.

That’s it for this week.

Just the recipe to share this week. It was indeed an exciting week and I’ll share a little about it next Monday.

Please plan on making these soon. They look so nice and the taste is just wonderful. As an added bonus, it’s easy to keep a bunch in the freezer to have on hand anytime a little “sweet” is called for. And, these would be a great activity for when the grands are visiting.

Mimi

 

 

Medicare? No way; it can’t be!

Me, eligible for Medicare?

I turn 64-1/2 next week and my daily mail is now inundating me with offerings of various Medicare plans to consider. Many of these offers include a seminar and free meal. I figure these meal invitations could really amount to something. And I just might be able to manage a free meal each week right through the open enrollment period later this year.

Twenty short years ago my kids were out of high school by a few years, we were in our mid-40s, and Medicare seemed a long way off…and for old people! That 20 years flew by and now I’m one of those OLD people! Funny thing…(1) I don’t feel old at all and (2) it doesn’t bother me in the least to sign up.

What does being old look like anyway?

Ever wondered what old age was supposed to look like or feel like? I think I always had a fairly good idea of it. I never pictured grey-haired and wrinkled people, bent over and walking with canes. That was a caricature for sure. But I do think I pictured a wise person who had enough life experience behind them to offer sage advice to others. I pictured grandkids flocking around who thought I was great fun to hang with.

I figured an older person now had the time to pursue hobbies, volunteer experiences, and perhaps travel. I thought that person’s days were filled with things to delight and the complete flexibility to enjoy those delights as often as they liked or wherever they presented themselves. I figured for the most part that person would be happy and content knowing they had lived a full life.

What’s the reality?

Reality isn’t very far off. I’m definitely not a bent-over person walking with a cane. My hair is about 50% grey at this point, and wrinkles? Well, let’s just say I have a bunch, but I tell myself each one is a brush stroke in the portrait of my life so why would I want to remove even one.

I do have aches and pains and tend to grunt out loud when getting up after sitting awhile. But I’m fairly healthy and still able to do most things I want to do.

Hmm, the part about doling out sage advice. You’ll have to ask others. I try really hard (really, really hard—not always successfully), to keep my opinions to myself unless asked…especially with my grown children in mind. But sometimes…oh yes, sometimes, I do wish they’d ask. Because I certainly have learned a thing or two I would love to share. Advice that could save heartache. Advice that could make some things easier. Advice that could possibly reassure them that when they feel as if they’ve failed at something, they are not alone. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another and it’s just a feeling, not necessarily the truth of the situation.

My personal reality is that I look in the mirror and still see me but it’s definitely a me who has experienced a little more wear and tear. It’s a me who still has dreams to change the world or to simply make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a me who despite knowing there are way fewer years ahead than behind, still wants to make something of those years.

Some of my thanks…

  • I am crazy in love with my family! And I so enjoy the adult relationships I now share with my kids. I’m blessed beyond measure with my grandchildren and I love being called Mimi. It’s one of my favorite words at the moment. And the fact that my dad is still such an integral part of our lives is beyond amazing. Blessed, blessed, blessed am I.
  • Through the years I’ve always had a group of women in my life about 10-15 years ahead of me. They have lovingly shared themselves with me…their wisdom, their experience, their unconditional love. What a difference that’s made. And I’m so very grateful for them. What they have poured into my life cannot be described with words. They are my friends but more than that…they are my treasures.
  • I am so very grateful that I am at this point healthy. It’s something that can definitely be taken for granted. I can play ball with my grands, walk a few miles at a time, bike for pleasure, clean my house (occasionally), and have enough strength to accomplish most of the things I find important.

Your own experience.

There is so much more to be thankful for, but maybe I’ll leave that for you. Please comment below and let me know what you are thankful for. Or just let me know about your own experience with the aging process…what you thought vs. your reality.

Thanks for sharing part of your Monday with me. I appreciate each one of you.

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

Is my whole life “pending?”

Sitting down to do some computer work this morning, I found myself opening various file folders where I had stored items for a future looksee.

First up were two different iPhone dumps. This is where I temporarily store iPhone pictures every so often so I can get them off my phone. Sitting in a labeled file folder on my desktop, I know right where they are and can easily access them when ready. And when I am “at the ready” I delete most, rename the ones I’m keeping, then store them in the appropriate file folder in another location. Easy peasy.

Most of my other file folders have very specific functions as well. But then there’s my PENDING folder. This is truly a dump folder. Upon opening it today, I discovered recipes I want to try, research on a water filtration system I no longer need, a sweet note I kept from my daughter-in-law, a craft idea I hope to work on in the future, some ideas for a future Florida drive vacation, the drawing course I downloaded from Great Courses, and a host of other items too diverse to properly file at this point, but nevertheless things I want to hold on to.

Looking through that folder made me realize I have a lot of other pending items in my life. And it’s time to work on them. Greg and I really do need a get-away and a driving trip is probably the easiest to plan and the quickest to execute. So why haven’t I done anything about it?

And those recipes are calling out to me as I so often find myself preparing the “same old” stuff night after night and it’s as boring to eat as it is to prepare.

And the craft idea? Oh please. I have way too many hopes of turning trash into treasure and receiving accolades galore at my creativity.

Have I done anything at all from my pending list? Well, yes, I have. I made two blanket ladders as Mother’s Day gifts to my girls. I have tried a recipe or two. And I have the start of a Florida driving trip planned out.

So, I’m not condemning myself, I’m just realizing, I have fewer years ahead than I have behind me. And to-lists and bucket list items are great, but now is the time to put them into action.

So, the immediate course of action is to review the pending file often and start making plans I intend to follow through on. That means new meals for Greg (I think I hear a big cheer from him), hopefully a fun road trip to explore new places in the next month or two, and time put aside to finally learn to draw something other than stick figures.

How about you? What’s on your to-do list or in your own pending file?

Mimi