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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

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

 

 

So very thankful.

Do you like our beautiful “blessing tree?” We used it as a centerpiece on Thanksgiving Day.

 

But what makes the tree so special is that it’s a tree of thankfulness. As each guest arrived to share a Thanksgiving meal, they were given a paper leaf and asked to write down something they were thankful for.  And as each leaf was tied onto a branch the centerpiece became more and more beautiful.

 

But more than physical beauty, the true beauty was in what each leaf said. People were thankful for family, for health, and for God. Some messages were long; some were short. But the one-word message Callan wrote really said it all…”God.”

 

Truly, God is the answer to everything. And Callan got it right. Happy, close-knit family? It’s because of God. A great job? God. And your health or making it through a health scare as Greg did this past year? Yup, God.

 

So, in one word, Callan summed it all up.

 

Then as the family gathered around the table, 9-year-old Konnor read aloud each leaf as we tried to guess who said what. And together we rejoiced in our many blessings and being able to share those blessings with our family.

 

How about you? What are you thankful for this year?

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17a).

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 106:1).

 

Mimi

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

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