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Rush, rush…rushing to history!

As grandparents, we are often on the lookout for creative ways to be more involved in the lives of our grands. Recently, I’ve embarked on an adventure that’s both creative and enables me to spend more time with my grandsons. Reading a book each night using my Facetime app.

This isn’t necessarily an original idea, but it’s been so much fun I thought I’d share it with you.

Our first book is Book 1 in the Rush Limbaugh history series for kids, “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.” From his forward: “(This country) is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty and it defends both around the world. The role of the United States is to encourage individuals to be the best that they can be, to try to improve their lives, reach their goals, and make their dreams come true.”

What a great way to teach history and the truth of our country’s foundation, through historical fiction with adventurous kids, an amazing current day history teacher, a talking horse, and the ability to time travel (which is always preceded by the words “Rush, rush…rushing to history”).

The chapters are long, so I divide them into 2-3 readable segments of 15-20 minutes each. Konnor typically initiates the Facetime call and while holding the phone in one hand, and the book in the other I begin reading.

To make it as enjoyable as possible, I use acting skills to try to create memorable characters. Along the way I’ll stop and ask for word definitions or I’ll explain things I believe the boys might not understand such as the difference between a wharf and a pier (I had to look it up). At the beginning of each reading, I either review what happened previously or ask Konnor for the recap.

While reading, I’ll also be sure to point the camera on the many pictures in the book which are both real photos as well as illustrations, just like you would if I were reading a book to them in person.

Our typical time to read is bedtime which is just perfect! What kid doesn’t want a bedtime story. And what grandma doesn’t love that she’s not only sharing a story but history as well.

It’s just another way to connect with my boys. And when I see the girls this weekend, I’ll see if they would like to do something similar, although I’m sure it will be more along the lines of princesses or Disney characters.

I love finding creative ways to connect with and be involved in the lives of my sweet grandkids. Have any of your own thoughts? Feel free to share them by replying to this post.

Mimi

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So very thankful!

While many of you already know this, Greg recently experienced a very serious health incident. The result could have been horrid but instead we are rejoicing in God’s provision, and so very thankful for all He’s done.

Apparently, it began a few months ago with some unrelated symptoms. Never at the same time. A little dizziness (in the past this was due to blood pressure medication), some minor shortness of breath (Greg had a cold), an ache in the back of the leg that went away the next day (Greg is 66—aches and pains are a part of life), a cough that had been with him over four weeks following a cold (we went to the doctor for this and she advised this could be quite normal as the lungs are irritated and the older we are the longer they take to heal). And finally, very high pulse and lower oxygen levels (these were the triggers to finally figuring out what was going on).

Had they been present at the same time, they would have easily led us to the actual diagnosis: extensive blood clots in one leg and both lungs. EXTENSIVE!

It was our wonderful doctor who put the pieces together and when she did, she sent us from her office to the hospital for leg and lung scans, after which Greg was immediately admitted.

An EKOS* procedure was done a few days later which was successful and the other day a follow-up ECHO of the heart was performed to be sure the heart strain is going away. We assume it is as his pulse, BP, and oxygen levels are all normal now. (*During catheter-assisted thrombolysis treatment, a catheter is guided through blood vessels to the location of the blood clot. The catheter will deliver special clot dissolving medicine called thrombolytics to help dissolve the clot. This new device, called Ekos, will also deliver simultaneously ultrasound energy to mechanically dislodge and loosen up the clot to enable lower and safer doses of the thrombolytic drugs to be used.)

Greg has been home for nearly two weeks and the recovery will be slow. Though he feels okay and has no restrictions, his breathing is impaired for now, especially in the Florida heat. And his body is weak and energy level low. The cough remains due to lung irritation but seems to get a little better every day. We understand it may take months to feel “normal” but that is no big deal.

My man is going to be fine and God has been merciful to us. We feel blessed to have such a wonderful, caring doctor, too. She was surely God’s instrument in catching this before it got even worse. The statistics are not very good for people getting the help they need in time for treatment. Many don’t even make it to the hospital.

All of this is a powerful reminder that life is fragile and things can change very quickly. We need to learn to not take our health for granted. We also need to learn to take care of our bodies and to be more aware when things are not quite right. We should have been more proactive. We will be in the future.

Over and over we found God’s presence to be our lifeline. We had great peace and felt completely taken care of by Him. Joshua 1:9 reminds us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So today, as I began, I sign off with the following:

Mimi and Greg…so very thankful!

Love Addie Style

Love Addie Style

When our daughter-in-law asked us a few months back to have Addison (who will turn 6 in another month) come stay with us several days this summer, I thought we were doing their family a favor. Little did I realize that the favor was to us and brought with it unbelievable joy.

For those who follow my Facebook or Instagram account, you saw the numerous pictures I enjoyed posting. Our adventures were varied and so much fun. We made 3-D paper fish origami style, we baked cupcakes from scratch, made pizza from scratch that we cooked outside on the grill, enjoyed a sleepover with the boy cousins, rode bikes, collected numerous snails from the huge amounts eating my hibiscus, played nighttime putt-putt, visited the Clermont splash pad (so much fun), played on the beachfront next to the splashpad, swam every single day for hours, did some shopping with Auntie Kate, visited with Poppy (my dad) where we swam and ate ice cream, played many games of Uno (and may I just say she’s definitely a card shark!), collected palm fronds and painted them to look like boats complete with cardboard smoke stacks, learned tongue twisters…oh, and did I mention many movies including Little Mermaid TWICE!

Every minute of it was precious. Addison is so smart and would amaze us with her conversational skills as well as her understanding of innuendo. She’s funny and could crack jokes with the best of them.

And while I loved it all, most of all I enjoyed making multiple trips into her bedroom each night just to watch her sleep. There’s just something about a sleeping child that warms your heart. You see the complete trust in being able to fall asleep at a place she’s never stayed at by herself. And you look at your granddaughter and see all the promise and possibility of what is to come. Sleep came easily to me those five nights she was here because my heart was so full.

And such a special thank you to my precious daughter who thought to take such a nice picture of me and Addison. I’m usually the one snapping the pics so to have a picture of the two of us, and one that’s just so good…well, that, too, is a gift from the heart.

The Bible reminds us that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). Which means with my own grown children and spouses, and my four grands, I’m very richly rewarded indeed.

Mimi

Grandpa Love

Relationships are fascinating. While most people love their family members equally, at times some of those relationships seem to have a little something extra, something special. It’s hard to explain but precious to see.

Case in point my niece Jacquie and my dad, her grandpa. My dad has six grandkids and he loves them all deeply but there’s always been just a little something extra special with Jacquie. And recently it was so clearly demonstrated by the photo above.

As we prepared to fly home from New York, I was busy in the kitchen making sandwiches for both the lunch and dinner we would be having while flying back. Jacquie joined me in the prep but said she wanted to make the sandwich for her grandpa…a special sandwich. And she certainly did.

My dad loves liverwurst. And while it makes my skin crawl to think about eating it, I’ll happily make him a sandwich with it. But no, Jacquie wanted to do it herself. She wanted to make a special sandwich for her grandpa that would have one of his favorite ingredients on it. So, she did. And to top it off, she labeled the baggie with her pet name for him. And added the heart!

Looking at that photo means a lot to me and it meant a lot to him on our travel day. That labeled bag brings a smile and expresses love. She took the time, chose the right ingredient, made it on the bread he likes with the mayo he likes, and went the extra step to write his name and include the heart. Doesn’t that say love to you?

Such a simple thing really. It didn’t take a lot of time and cost nothing but it was a gift of love, a gift of great value because it came from her heart.

Jacquie’s gift to her Geepa is a great example for us to follow. Sometimes the smallest gesture can have this most impact.

Today’s challenge is to look around and see who you can bless, who you can share your love with. Doesn’t need to be showy or expensive or take a lot of time…just something that comes from your heart.

Mimi

Pomp and Circumstance

It was just a year ago we were celebrating Callan’s pre-school graduation. Now we have another preschool graduate in the family: Addison Reid.

We had the best time honoring Addie last week and reveling in her accomplishments. As part of the presentation, each child was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Addie’s response? “A rock star!”

And to this Mimi, she already is.

This is just the first of many academic milestones to come into her life. And we will look forward to each one and join in the celebration of hard work and achievement.

To Addison:  We thank God for you, Addie. You bring great joy to your family and make our lives so full. You are precious in God’s sight and precious in ours as well.

Congratulations on your graduation. We know how very excited you are about entering Kindergarten. You really are a rock star!

We love you to Heaven and back!

Mimi

Callan Turns 6

This week it’s my delight to talk about my sweet grandson, Callan, who just turned 6 a few days ago.

This little fellow has brought joy since he was born. He’s just so amiable. So sweet. So happy.

Case in point. I offered to make him cupcakes for his birthday party. He chose the flavors and then we talked about the decorations. At first he mentioned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I said that sounds difficult, I’m not sure I can do that. He replied OK. Then he made another suggestion and I stated that also sounded a bit difficult. He came up with a third option for me which I also felt too hard to do. And at that point, still happy, he said, “Just do what you want Mimi.” And he meant it. He would be content no matter what I designed.

As most of you know, I watched the boys one day a week from the time they were born until they went to school. What a delight! One of the things that fascinated me was how they each saw the world. Konnor began talking early and had no problem sharing his observations about…well, about everything. Callan, on the other hand, was on the quiet side, like his PopPop. Content to let others do the talking while he listened and observed. Oh, he talked, but lengthy conversations were not his thing.

This went on for a while and I grew to enjoy our time together even without long conversations. Then one day, he just started talking…and talking…and talking. And singing, too. Loudly. Car rides became noisy and entertaining. The house seemed to be filled with twice as much activity and fun. His enthusiasm was contagious as it continues to be today.

Callan seems to find great delight in life and wants to share that with the world. And I think the world needs more people like Callan. Enough with the Debby Downers and Sour Susans. Give me a parcel full of Happy Callans and life will be very good indeed.

One of Callan’s big thrills this year (the biggest being getting an X-Box from Santa) has been in learning. He seems to really enjoy discovering new things and takes great pride in his academic accomplishments. Often, for fun, he just gets out a math workbook and completes page after page. (Yup, I said he does math for fun!)

His sense of humor is also expanding. When I ask occasionally about his homework, he states “Mimi, I’m in Kindergarten; I don’t have homework.” Then he rolls his eyes as if to say “Gee Mimi, you should know that.”

It’s also fun to watch him work the controls of that coveted X-Box. It doesn’t seem that long ago when he was content to push buttons and pull levers that had nothing to do with the on-screen action. Now, he’s like all the other big kids. Without needing instruction, he pushes and pulls, breezes through menus and just figures things out for himself.

Like his cousin Addie, he’s growing up. Much too fast. But I’m trying hard not to rush things and to just enjoy him for today. It’s easy to find myself wondering about his future endeavors but for now, this Mimi is content watching T-ball games, seeing him play in the rain with his brother, enjoying his interactions with his cousins (my sweet granddaughters). In short, I’m completely happy just watching him as he grows up. And I’m completely blessed.

My friend Karen recently posted a picture of her blessing wall…a wall with photos of her grandkids. Isn’t that perfect! My grandkids are my blessings as well. And I thank the Lord daily for the joy they bring to my life.

Happy 6th birthday, dear Callan. I love you…to Heaven and back!

Mimi

Kindergarten Here I Come

Just look at this sweet patoot. Turning 6 in September, Addie is going to be entering Kindergarten this year. And by the look of her expression, she’s as excited as can be.

For this Mimi, it is hard indeed to believe how quickly time has passed since her birth. Our elders are always telling us to appreciate each day because time flies by…but they say it because that’s exactly what happens!

I remember holding that sweet, tiny one dressed head-to-toe in pink. She was a delicate gift of promise and possibility; a blessing from God.

What kind of personality would she have? Who would she look like? Would she be tall? Would she be a dancer? Would she play sports? Would she be a Daddy’s girl? Would she be fiercely independent?

You find yourself asking endless questions as you look at that bundle of love in your arms, not having any idea of what is to come.

And then she grows and you begin to see hints of just who this little one is going to be. Each day becomes a joy and adventure as you watch this precious young girl learn about the world and develop her individual personality. And since I don’t get to see her often enough, it seems as if each time I do see my eldest granddaughter, there’s something new to discover about her.

Addie is not only a beautiful little girl she is smart, sensitive, deliberate, and thoughtful.

As big sister to Zoe, Addie gladly shares all she knows about the world such as the correct way to do things, or at least the Addison-way to do things. (wink-wink) She loves Zoe deeply and can be so tender with her it can bring a tear to this Mimi’s eye.

Addie also feels things deeply which is such a wonderful trait. She was nearly 5 when her Gigi (great grandmother) passed away last year and it made her very sad for a period of time. It hurt us to know how sad she was but we also knew that it was a clear demonstration of just how much she had loved my mom. As she experiences life, Addie will no doubt encounter more sadness and disappointment but her joys…oh they will be exquisite! She will love well, experience great delight, and truly and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate life all the more.

I mentioned that Addie is smart but even more important than that is that she enjoys learning and the thrill of discovery. And those traits will open the world to her. That excites me tremendously.

So I look at this picture of her and see pride that she’s such a big girl, big enough to go to Kindergarten; I see joy as she’s about to embark on a new journey. But most of all, I see the face of someone I love so very much that it makes me cry out in thanksgiving to my heavenly Father that He is so good and so kind to have brought Addie into our lives.

Mimi