Tag: Children

The News I Never Expected

I’m married to a man who has a genetic history of mostly male siblings. He had two brothers. His dad had only a brother. We have two sons.

This is why I expected to have only grandsons.

BUT…then they had the ultrasound today.

My first grandchild

My first grandbaby is a GIRL!

I’m still stunned.

Shocked.

In a state of wonder and disbelief.

They’re pretty happy with this news too!

After this, I’ll probably go on a retail binge to validate this unexpected news into reality.

And cute girl baby things…I mean, it’s been so many years since I could indulge in these to my heart’s content. I only have one niece, and she’s closing in on the big three-oh.

So, all you grandmothers of girls, what is the best part?

My mom had a special birthday tradition with her only granddaughter. It involved a shopping trip for only the two of them. I believe it often included a sleep-over, as well.

I like this idea.

What are some other grandmother-granddaughter traditions?

I’m looking forward to hearing ALL your fantastic ideas. I’m going to start a special folder on my computer called MY GRANDDAUGHTER. (She might have a name, but that’s not my news to share.)

This wasn’t supposed to me my regular blog post day, so I promise that Thursday’s post will be short, sweet and mostly pictures.

What Sort of Grandma Will I Be?

In April 2019, I’ll be a grandmother. *screams, jumps around room*

*Smooths hair* I’ve given up on the idea that I’m too young to be a grandma. I mean, people still gasp when I tell them the age of my kids, and as long as that continues, I think it’s safe to embrace the joy of being a grandma.

Because I had a grandma who rocked my world. I am a writer because of her encouragement. Apparently my Roman nose comes from her, and so does my strangely long second toe.

When I was six, she moved away and became my first pen pal. Yes, that used to be a thing before there was a World Wide Web that made such an idea obsolete.

I want to be involved in my grandchild’s life.

But what does that mean?

Grandma Next Door

Before we had kids, my husband and I bought our first house. It was down the block from his parents’ house and the place he’d grown up.

I was more than a little nervous about this. I wondered if he parents would be over all the time, interfering, trying to tell us how to do things.

And then I had kids. Mine weren’t the first grandchildren, but I still feared the worst.
It never came to pass.

My inlaws were respectful of our privacy and space. They rarely dropped by unannounced, and we truly didn’t see them any more frequently than we had when we lived across town.

My mom lived up the road a few miles and worked down the street. I didn’t see her at my house all the time either.

So, I tell myself that just because I live close to the grandkids doesn’t mean I will see them every day.

But, these grandparents did show up to Saturday soccer games and weeknight t-ball games. If there were school concerts, they attended. Eventually, there were high school events, and they tried to be supportive of those, too.

That’s what I want for my grandkids. I want them to know I’m proud of their accomplishments and I support their dreams.

Commuting Grandma

Can I be proud and supportive if I live an hour or more away?

I think that’s a definite YES as long as my health allows it. If my heredity plays its role, I should have at least twenty years of healthy days ahead. That sees me through their high school years, for sure.

I could drive an hour on a weeknight to attend a concert or play. It wouldn’t be a hardship to drive that far on Saturday to watch a soccer game (although I’d prefer to watch just about any other sport over soccer).

What if we moved further away? What if the “commute” was three or four hours? Would I still be available to support their activities?


Visiting Grandma’s House

The truth is, I loved visiting Grandma’s house. I loved baking with her (and it wasn’t all about licking the beaters) and playing games with her.

This is the grandmother I want to be. Oh, and the jury is still out on the special grandma name, but I’m leaning toward “Lolly” and my husband could be “Pop.” Then the kids could say, “We’re going to Lollypop’s house!”

In this day when kids are SO involved in activities, will my grandkids want to spend time at my house?

The bigger concern for me: if I live too far away, will I make it impossible for them to do so?

Yes, I think my husband and I should plan our retirement according to our dreams. But we didn’t have children so we would never see them or spend time with them.

I’ve enjoyed having the monthly game nights with my kids. I’d love to see that continue with grandkids, teaching them to play rummy and cribbage. Of course there will be Chutes and Ladders and Sorry. Some games are too classic to pass up.
I won’t see them every day. I doubt we’ll ever live “down the block.”

Friends of ours said they LOVE living three hours away because when they go to see the grandkids, it can be a special trip and devoted to total grandkid time. It makes the visits special.

Is that a truism I can count on?

Even after my grandmother moved two states away, I still considered her a loving and involved grandma. In this day of Facetime and Skype, I’m sure I could check in weekly with my grandchildren.

But will I?

We’d planned to do the same with our adult kids, but their work schedules don’t mesh with ours. And they’re busy with their lives. Will it really be different when kids come?

What are your thoughts? What sort of relationship did you have with your grandparents? What kind of grandma do kids these days want?

My Love-Hate Relationship with Travel

It’s been a mild winter. And except for the excess of gray days, I’m dealing with it rather than dreaming about escaping to a land of blue skies, tank tops and all natural Vitamin D. Still, there are travel plans in my winter.
This time, it’s a “work” trip. I’m attending my first ever writer’s retreat, and it just happens to be in Destin, Florida. (I know, how sad to travel to Florida in February).
A couple days before my departure, Old Man Winter decides to make a visit to the Pacific Northwest. That nice guy dumped several inches of snow on the ground after teasing us with the idea several times during January and February. This storm will blow over before my flights are affected.
Or an Arctic system will drop on top of the mass of moisture, depositing more snow on my front lawn.
My husband drove through sideways snowfall to take me to the airport. It wasn’t bad enough to cancel or delay my flight, was it?

Nope.

I arrived in San Francisco (I’m taking a circuitous route to the Emerald Coast, one of the things I don’t love about traveling) early. Excellent. Plenty of time to find breakfast and lunch to take on the next flight.
There’s a funny story here about a misplaced spoon for consuming the yogurt parfait I purchased for breakfast. Punch line: I found the plastic utensil in my purse after I’d finished eating the yogurt.
Everything’s on time as we travelers board the plane heading to Houston (this is the longest flight on my trip). “All systems are go,” says the pilot (okay, he didn’t say that but that’s what he meant).
Then we sit at the gate. Alas, the plane backs up. This false hope is followed by a brief respite a few feet away from the gate.

“Our runway assignment is changed,” the pilot informs us. (Yes, he actually said that.)

He taxis the 737 away from the gates. San Francisco Bay comes into view (I didn’t realize it was so large until we flew over it earlier) to the right of the plane. My window seat offers me an impressive view of flocks of waterbirds living large in the eddies along the edge of the runways.
Blue skies mean nothing. There are gusting winds in San Francisco, forcing the Air Travel Know-alls to require all flights into SFO to use the same runway as those departing.

For once I didn’t envision a mid-air crash. I have places to be.

At some point (about 40 minutes after the stated departure time), the plane picks up speed and we’re in the air.
I won’t bore you with the mundane details.
Suffice it to say that this flight landed at Houston about 30 minutes before my final flight was supposed to depart.
It landed in Terminal C. My next flight is on a small express shuttle, and those depart from Terminal B.
I’ve never been to Houston. I have no idea how near (or far) these terminals are. My husband is texting me with details about some Sky Tram, but I see no signs for it. I do see arrows pointing to Terminal B.
So I walk. Make that a power walk (which is about 1 mph faster than my normal walk, 4 mph. Let’s face it some people don’t even jog at 5 mph, so I’m rushing through the airport, dodging slow travelers, and trying not to bowl over those people who wander like sleepwalkers.)

When I make it to the B Terminal, they haven’t announced my flight. Whew!

My shoulder throbs from the pressure of my laptop bag. My feet flame like the friction of walking ignited them.
The flight is announced. We head down stairs into another tunnel of gates. Then we stand in our respective boarding group lines for close to 30 minutes.
Waiting on a crew.
I ran through the airport for this? I’m panicking about missing my shuttle to the retreat and the CREW OF ONE meant to serve us a drink and hand us a pack of ten mini pretzels hasn’t arrived?
There are a few bags that haven’t made it either. Other people’s connecting flights arrived late. As a woman on my previous flight informed me, “If you have checked luggage, they won’t leave without it.”
Eventually, I made it to my destination. I didn’t miss the shuttle. There were four other women waiting to catch it too.


But all this heart-pounding had me thinking about my love-hate relationship with travel. What do I love about it? What do I not like?

Things I love about traveling:

  • Seeing new places
  • Escaping rain to find sunshine
  • An excuse to eat trail mix
  • Trying new food
  • Experiencing new cultures

A list of hateful travel possibilities:

  • Crowds of people
  • Late flights
  • Traffic
  • Delayed flights
  • Screaming babies and small children
  • Chatty seat mates
  • Airplane restrooms

Don’t judge me for these short lists. I really do enjoy traveling. But I’m not a huge fan of traveling by myself.
This is why I’m married to Mr. World Traveler (aka Mr. Wonderful) because he always takes care of the headache-inducing aspects of travel. And if that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is.
Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite mode of travel? What don’t you like about that mode?

Wonder Woman: Being a Warrior is a Good Thing

Perhaps you’re finished with all the Wonder Woman hype. As long as there are new thoughts popping up about this superhero, I’ll be writing about her on my blog.

After all, in the realm of “holding out for a hero,” Wonder Woman has been worth the wait.

Last week, I wrote about Wonder Woman’s pure motives and how that makes her a better kind of superhero than most of the Marvel and DC creations.

When my Social Media Jedi shared an article on my Facebook timeline, I realized there was another reason to give Diana Prince accolades. She isn’t the original female warrior, that would be Eve.

Yes, I do mean Eve, the mother of all living. The one who God made to be a helper for Adam and who Satan convinced wasn’t living up to her full potential without the Fruit.

Woman as Warrior

As Ms. Sanchez pointed out in the article mentioned above, the very word translated “helper” is the same word used to describe God as a help during battle.

God created women to fight alongside their man (or their friends or family or whoever).

In another famous passage about women, Proverbs 31, several of the words used are generally used to describe soldier or battle. Even the word translated “virtuous” in Proverbs 31:10 is translated at “valiant” everywhere else in the Old Testament. And refers to warriors, men of valor, strong and might men.

Apparently, that seemed a little unfeminine for the translators. Shame on them for not seeing women as the warriors they were created to be.

Other words in the Proverbs 31 description of this woman also refer to soldiers. Like bringing her food from afar which refers to hunting (31:14) and girding up her loins (31:17) which is military terminology for suiting up for battle.

Women were never created as weaker or less than man. God intended for them to fight alongside others, helping win the battle against sin and evil.

Warrior with a Cause

It only takes once to get between a mother bear and her cub for an ignorant soul to learn a lesson. If they survive.

Women have many causes worth fighting for. Not the least of these is their marriage and their children. The world will try to weaken a marriage with everything from career promotions that take a spouse away to office romances.

And children arrive in our world helpless. Their mothers step up to provide everything the child needs for survival: food, drink, clothing, shelter and love. (And yes, people do need love as much as they need the physical necessities.)

When the child is sick, she fights the fever. When the child is in danger, she jumps to protect and shield him.

Women look on others with compassion and it gives them a passion to fight for the rights of the downtrodden. I love that Sanchez points out that shedding tears is not a weakness, but is a sign of having a heart closer to Christ’s.

The best part about a woman warrior is that her weapon doesn’t generally shed blood (but she will pick up that kind and use it when necessary). It cuts a conscience to the quick or snips through the BS and to the heart of the matter.

What are some other causes women fight for? Do you feel like a warrior in your life?

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On the Job Heroics

Heroes are everywhere. Your mail carrier might be the next one to make the news for an act of heroism. Segment two of the Everyday Heroes spotlight is all about on the job heroics.

In fact, this week’s hero fills a special place in my heart because of her ordinary job. Because I’m here to tell you, there is no career so mundane to keep an opportunity for heroism at bay.

I also admire her because you wouldn’t catch me doing her job. Why would you trap yourself in a moving vehicle with small children? Or teenagers? Or anyone?

And driving a big old bus under those stressful conditions is doubly admirable.

Once again, I found this story courtesy of A Mighty Girl.

Just Another Day on the Bus

Renita Smith drives a school bus in Maryland. Every morning she picks up kids and drops them at school. In the afternoon, she returns to the school and runs the route again to see the children safely home.

One afternoon, her bus caught on fire.

When her glance in the rear view mirror revealed flames at the back of her bus, Smith went into action.

She didn’t panic. Or stop to wonder what the protocols were for situation.

“I undid my seat belt, jumped up, got my babies and got off.”

To be sure every 4 to 9-year-old on her bus was indeed safe, Smith climbed back into a smoke-filled bus and checked every seat.

“By the time I got to the last step on the bus, it just went up in smoke.”

Not your average day at work.

Not your average bus driver.

Needles to say, parents of the twenty children riding the bus that afternoon are calling Smith a hero. And those kids have a new-found respect for the duties of a bus driver.

Smith doesn’t think her actions were heroic at all. “I have to handle each child with care, as a mommy would. That’s what I hope any human being would do for any child.”

We can hope that every person would respond in a similar fashion. Smith’s quick thinking and brave actions renew our faith in humankind.

Read more here.

Do you know any everyday heroes? If you’d like to see them featured here, leave me a comment. It’s about time some positive stories flooded the Internet.


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Meet Some Everyday Heroes

My fascination with heroes has only been strengthened by the current comics-into-movies craze. What’s even more inspiring? There are heroes around us dressed in the guise of an ordinary person.

This month on my blog, the midweek posts (I will be changing from Thursday to Wednesday halfway through) are dedicated to these individuals.

Today, I’m dumping some links to videos and articles that will give you a glimpse at the sort of people who we don’t see in the news.

Why do they tell us all the bad news? Shouldn’t they always follow it up with some good news?

While mainstream news shows protests and property damage, another kind of television station focuses on the goodness birthed from tragedy. Here is a video that shows how the fury of nature brings out the best in some people.

I’ve seen people hanging from a bridge in protest. I’ve seen others standing on an overpass threatening to jump and end their lives.

Would you have the courage to stop someone from jumping? In this next video, you’ll also see heroes reaching out to rescue those who are falling.

I had mixed feelings about the last story. When I saw the headline, I immediately thought, “Here’s an everyday hero.”

Hero mom dies rescuing son from Oklahoma fire

And then I read the story.

Every mother would hope to have the same courage to enter their burning home when they realized their young child is still inside. That’s what this woman did, after escaping with her two infant sons, too young to walk out on their own.

But then I read on. Rescue crews were on site. Trained professionals were there to do the job. She didn’t listen to them.

In the end, both she and the four-year-old she tried to rescue perished from injuries sustained in the fire. Now her other children our motherless.

Would the fire personnel have been able to pull her son out in time if they weren’t trying to rescue her too?

We’ll never know. While I admire her self-sacrifice, part of me feels the loss was unnecessary.

What’s your idea of an everyday hero? Do you have some stories for me?


Like what you read here? Would you like a Hero Delivery directly to your email inbox? It can be on the way in a few clicks.

Check out Poet Inspired and  my other books. Already read one or more of them? Your honest review is a golden nugget in this writer’s world.

Happy Birthday to The Man

Happy birthday to the man…

Born June 27, 1965
Born June 27, 1965
  • of the hour
  • I’m married to
  • of my dreams
  • who puts up with me day after day
  • who proposed to me 29 years ago and married me 28 years ago
  • who is the best father my boys could have
  • who I’m glad to grow old with
  • who spoils me
  • I love…still…after all this time
  • who looks at me with awestruck eyes
  • who loves me…still…after living with me for nearly three decades

Okay, the man’s a saint! I admit it. I’m the one who calls him “Mr. Wonderful” after all.

Back in 1982 when two cute seniors flirted with me the day before school started, I never would have imagined one of them would be my husband. And it wasn’t the one I dated first, either.

P4300107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a man who stood beside me through the births of two sons (well, there were those few moments he was nearly passing out, but I hardly remember that).

After the birth of son #1
After the birth of son #1

This is the man who taught our sons to shoot hoops, ride a bike and drive a car.

tanner_0019

Yes, he’s an amazing father. My boys are blessed.

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He spoils me with great trips

Caribbean 2016
Caribbean 2016

And I let him spoil himself with Mustang convertibles

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He has a sense of adventure that parallels mine

Ziplining 2016
Ziplining 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention a sense of humor

Thanksgiving 2012 -085

And didn’t he help me make handsome children?

Now we’re blessed with daughters, and our family is complete.

Thad & Kacy Wedding 2016 - 0627

Happy birthday, Mr. Wonderful. I’m glad you let me talk you into dating me and then trick you into marrying me. I hope I make you half as happy as you’ve made me.

Here’s to another 50-some years, right?

 

Happy 27 Years of Marriage

You guessed it. Today is my 27th wedding anniversary.

And they said it would never last? Little did they know I have more sticking power than a starving leech (nice visual, right?).

How about a little walk down memory lane?

Once upon a time, a sophomore dated a senior. Later, she befriended with that guy’s best friend. They went on a few dates. He went away to college. She went into the army.

Regardless of the separation, they decided they loved each other and wanted to spend eternity together.

So, they got married.

May 27, 1988 - My sister, me, my husband, and his brother
May 27, 1988 – My sister, me, my husband, and his brother

They bought a house, had two kids and life got crazy. After a few rough years, they decided to renew their marriage vows. They wouldn’t go the way of so many; they would stick it out.

Forever. Together.

Renewing our vows - May 2001
Renewing our vows – May 2001

More time passed. Their little boys grew and grew until they became young men.

Mr. and Mrs. felt extreme pride in the successes of their sons. Life was good.

Oldest Graduates high school - June 2009
Oldest Graduates high school – June 2009

 

 

 

Happy Silver Anniversary - May 27, 2013
Happy Silver Anniversary – May 27, 2013

Boys went to college. So did the Mrs. It was time to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer.

A month before she finished college, the couple celebrated 25 years of marriage. Sorry there aren’t many pictures of the occasion. The usual photographer needed to be present in FRONT of the camera. The back-up cameraman was too fast for the old Nikon.

 

 

 

 

Now they live in a wonderful single-level home, making preparations to move to the next phase of life: grand-parenting.

Looks like a Happily Ever After ending to me!
Looks like a Happily Ever After ending to me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having fun in Cabo, Mexico - December 2014
Having fun in Cabo, Mexico – December 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s what happily married for more than a quarter-century looks like.

 

 

A Daughter – Finally!

I have two handsome sons. In December 2015 January 2016, I will finally get a daughter!

No, this isn’t the longest pregnancy in the history of womankind. It doesn’t involve childbirth at ALL.

My youngest son is getting married.

I love my new daughter-to-be. Besides making my son happy (which is important to Mama Bear), she’s a wonderful person.

Everyone who knows me has heard me loudly give thanks that I had two boys. Dodging the epic drama caused by residing in proximity to a teenage girl is reason enough. Not that all drama was dodged – have you met my youngest son? – but it was nothing compared to what a daughter would have brought home.

Now, however, I’m ready to have a daughter (or two, if only my other son would pop the question to his long-time girlfriend). There are so many things to share with a daughter that sons don’t care about.

You know what I mean, right? Things like:

  • Shopping
  • Baking
  • Home décor
  • Color schemes
  • Holiday planning
  • Discussion of many topics

What’s even more humbling for me is: she wants to include me in the wedding planning process.

I love weddings. I think every wedding should be unique and reflect the personalities and values of the couple being united.

My own wedding was a fiasco, of sorts. Well, not the actual wedding, although it wouldn’t be a wedding if there weren’t a few unexpected occurrences. It was the planning phase of my wedding that caused more fallout than a nuclear blast.

It’s not worth rehashing. Suffice it to say, I decided right then that I was NOT GOING TO BE THAT MOTHER. If asked, I would offer my opinion, but my financial aid would not be contingent upon getting me way.

Whose wedding is it anyway?

It’s not my wedding. It is my son and daughter’s (*smiling just saying this*) special day. It should be where they want, including who they ask. Decorations, attire, food choices and anything else should be their choice.

Later this month, I get to go on the first wedding dress shopping trip. I’m so honored to be asked to join in with her mom and girlfriends.

Now, to practice buttoning my lip and seasoning my opinions with grace…

Do you have sons or daughters? Any wedding stories you want to share?

Successful Parenting Outcomes

Daddy and newborn son
Daddy and newborn son

Recently, four women sat around discussing childbirth. Once you’ve experienced that moment (or those long, arduous hours), there is no going back to the forgetful bliss of beforehand.

Not one of us would willingly exchange our children to avoid the pain. Little did we know, the delivery suite adventure was not the peak of our pain. It was only the beginning.

The real work begins when you have a dependent bundle of tears, wails and excrement that relies on you for everything. A deep sigh of relief doesn’t come when they can finally walk and feed themselves. No, there is more they need to learn. And you are the teacher.

I would have never made it past the first three years of my sons’ lives without the wisdom of my sister. She was a walking talking parenting manual. Later, I would be thankful that my husband had the patience to teach our Velcro-reliant son to tie his shoes and both of those boys to drive (yeah, I gasp and grip the door handle when my husband’s driving so I didn’t have the capacity for that stress).

Only now am I fully able to look at my sons and reflect upon my parenting successes. In the midst of it, the failures immediately announce themselves. We hustle to adjust and change our strategy. If it doesn’t seem to fall apart, perhaps we’re heading our children in the right direction.

Hours of Labor - All Grown Up
Hours of Labor – All Grown Up

The truth of this desire to see our children succeed in more than athletics and scholarship became apparent to me recently.

First, I read this great article by Karen Schelhaas, who restricted unnecessary spending for one year. “The unexpected highlight of the experiment came when I offered to buy my 12-year-old daughter a black shirt at a store, and she responded with “Mom, I already have a black shirt. I don’t need another one.”   That’s right, babe. You don’t.”

My eldest son graduated college but has only landed a couple interviews which netted no job offers. I realize that our emphasis on education placed him in this position, but the ugly state of the economy keeps him from shining forth.

Did we fail him? I don’t think so. Life is ugly at times. We can make all the right choices and still end up unemployed.

Our opportunities to teach don’t end once our kids graduate and move away. Our example,  a megaphone, announces our ideals and convictions.

Hard work pays off. Keep working to find a job and eventually you will land one. Don’t expect your first job to be your dream job; see how many jobs Dad and I have had?

How do you judge the success of your parenting? Is it even right to have a barometer in this arena? Maybe you think it puts too much pressure on the kids. Let’s talk about it.