New Orleans Facts and Monkey-business

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“Nana, she wants my grits!”

As I relax for a while this afternoon and relive events from the past 24 hours, I am reminded of how quickly time passes and how seasons change when we aren’t looking.  We are continually depositing memories into our life account.  When we are older and have more time to ourselves, may we all have a vast sum to draw from.

Last night this nana decided there would be a sleepover with both of my granddaughters.  My 7 yr old Ayda, who is on spring break from NC and my little local Cali, who celebrated her 1st last week.  Ayda was staying with Nana anyway and Cali’s mommy was at the point of sleep deprivation where I thought it best to intervene and give her a break.

As I knew it would be, the night was long, yet too short and both glorious and exhausting and that’s okay.  Such is life.

Our little one was nicknamed monkey-butt while still serving her time in the NICU.  This was due to her inclination towards wrapping her tiny little toes around the hospital bed bars and hanging on.  Last night, her antics were better described as monkey-business.  First she doggedly pursued her elder cousin determined to share her bowl of cheese grits.  Ayda was very patient and kind and actually enjoyed her “big cousin” role as Cali crawled after her like the energizer bunny and repeatedly stuck her fingers in the bowl.  Yes, I could have made Ayda go to the table, but what would be the fun in that?   It was an after dinner snack.

Next they played with a stiff, stuffed cat with a leash that meowed incessantly.  I honesty tried to let it go on, but the noise unfortunately wasn’t falling on deaf ears and I could only suffer for so long.  That kind of toy is supposed to be what I buy to send home with them, not the other way around.  Following my interruption of the cat game, they began to play with plastic eggs.  Ayda would roll one and Cali would chase after it only to have it slip from her slobbery little fingers so she could chase it again.  We got a few laughs out of that.

Later, Miss Cali persevered and achieved a record for her latest night ever.  She managed to keep Nana and Papa awake until after 10 pm, a first for her.  Her mommy usually has her in bed well before 7 so we aren’t sure what provoked the late night.  The way she kept eyeballing the front door, I suspect she was waiting for mommy and daddy.  Ayda snuggled up with a blanket on the couch and gave up around 9, probably tired of the tiny ones shenanigans.

Since Papa had to work bright and early, he headed off for the guest room as I had pulled the pack and play into ours.  We both knew the long night was likely just beginning and he needed to sleep.  Sure enough, she was up around midnight to polish off a bottle which Nana couldn’t heat fast enough and then up again from 4 to 5 just because.  Ayda came through right before five for a potty break and made frantic motions indicating that she needed the bathroom light on.  I did the only thing I could do.  Rocking back and forth (back aching) with a sleepy infant on my chest, I grabbed my kindle and turned it on and threw it to the end of the bed.  I whispered, “Use that for a light”.  She went in there, kindle in hand and did her business like a trooper.  I recall wondering if I would hear the kindle splash and realizing if it meant the baby stayed asleep, I didn’t care.  I would deal with that tomorrow.

When Cali sat up and made her “laughing with my binky in my mouth” sound around 6:15, I knew she was ready to roll and I was certainly ready for coffee and wondering again why I had offered to do this.

Ayda was up shortly thereafter and starving, so she needed breakfast.  Cali was hungry too so I attempted to please both of them, but not before pouring myself a nice, large, piping hot, cup of coffee.  Papa took Cali as he knew this wasn’t a job for the non-caffeinated nana.   Cali started making poop noises about this time, so I figured I better wait to feed her when she was finished making room.

As soon as Ayda was finished eating, she picked up her “new” notebook, which in reality had been MY new cute notebook, but not anymore.  She began to recite aloud all of the words she had written down to teach Cali.  I had to listen carefully to each one, or they would be repeated.  Clean diapered Cali was on my lap, trying to get to my phone and the remote controls, whichever one required more pain for Nana’s miscellaneous body parts.

About this time, Ayda decided she needed the laptop to look up facts about New Orleans and she was still hungry.  Cali was cranky due to lack of sleep and Nana was barely awake herself.  I put Cali down, which made her mad, ran to the other room and googled “facts about New Orleans”, hit submit and ran back to the living room to change Cali’s diaper again.  Ayda said, “Nana, its saying no internet found” so I picked up Cali like a football and ran the other direction to assist.

A few moments later, Ayda writing down “facts” and Cali slurping drowsily on a warm bottle, her little eyes rolling back in her head from exhaustion and Papa comes in, closing the front door A LITTLE TOO LOUDLY for Nana’s liking.  Cali bolted straight up and looked around smiling and Ayda came in and said, “Nana, did you know that New Orleans was F-O-U-N-D-E-D”, “I said, “founded, honey” and she said, “Yes, founded in 1718”.  I said in my most sincere Nana voice, “Wow, what a cool fact!  That was over 200 years ago”.  She replied, “Nana, you weren’t even born yet, huh?”

I looked down and noticed that monkey butt was fast asleep.  Ayda snuggled up to me on the other side and lovingly looked up at me and said, “Nana I am still hungry, but I’m not going to eat again until you can”, thereby melting my heart for about the hundredth time since she arrived.

About that time Cali’s mommy texted and was ready to see her baby.  Nana was ready for her to see her baby too.

Oddly enough, a couple of hours later when Ayda and her Mommy and Cali and her Mommy all left on the golf cart for a ride, Nana missed them and found herself looking forward to their return so the chaos could ensue once again.  I know Ayda will be gone on Thursday and it will be a while before I see her again and of course, we are still just so thankful that Cali is with us and healthy.  I cherish the moments, good and bad, fun and frenzied because I know from experience how quickly this life is passing us by and how we never know what will happen from one moment to the next.

We have to enjoy this crazy, wonderful life and enjoy those the good Lord has blessed us with.  I can promise you it’s not always sunshine and rainbows but when there is love and appreciation, you can find the joy in the midst of the mayhem and in the stinkiest of jobs.

Hello October!

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Today is October 1, 2016 and I actually woke up a little excited about that.   Anyone who has read my past blogs or who knows me very well will recall that we have entered my favorite month.  The only thing casting a shadow on this otherwise lovely day is the horrible storm churning about in the Caribbean Sea, its sight seemingly set on Jamaica.  I pray earnestly for those in the path of this hurricane.

Somewhat selfishly, I am also vexed with the thought that the storm will interfere with my carefully laid plans to spend next weekend in North Carolina with my daughter and granddaughter.  I have been looking forward to spending a few days alone with them, taking in some Blue Ridge sights as we enjoy some of the changes of the season together.

I long to don a sweater, have my nose tickled by a blustery breeze and watch my granddaughter gracefully navigate a pumpkin patch somewhere along the way.  I am dreaming of slurping warm seasonal soups and sharing a slice of apple pie with my daughter as we catch up.  I envision us dancing along trails as we forage for adventure.

I know the trees will have already begun their dress in more vibrant hues of gold and scarlet.  They remind me of debutantes aspiring to be the belle of the ball as they slip into their fanciful attire.

The ground may not be carpeted with the crunchy relics of summer yet, but in a few short weeks, the riot of color will cover the mountains.   If I could stay for the entire month of October, I would.  Better yet, I would stay until the last leaf floated down from the place of its origin and the skeletal trees shivered in the bitter winter wind, heralding winter.

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Daily Post: Graceful

One of the best days

14333016_298730933833087_5619537209019762505_nThursday, September 22nd, 4:22am – The bright lights on my bedside clock confirm that I am up way too early for a day that I don’t have to work.  As I often do upon awakening, I let the fog dissipate for a moment and realize why I am off today.  Today is the big DAY, the day we have prayed and believed for, for over five months now.  Barring any complications, you are busting out of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for your long anticipated homecoming!  Of course after I remember all of this, there is no way I will be going back to sleep, work or not.  I might as well enjoy my favorite time of the day.

Teeth brushed, I meander to the kitchen and get a cup brewing and moments later, warm cup in hand, I settle into my chair, careful to find glasses first and crank up heating pad.  My tummy is full of butterflies as I being to pray and thank God for this day and your continued progress.

Nervous energy continues as I text a few close friends and family members.  I am having trouble deciding what to do next.  Do I go to town and buy balloons and food first?  Do I go down to your house and do some cleaning and finish organizing your room and hang the “Welcome Home” banner?

Mommy spent the night with you last night and when she facetimes me, Nana realized you are not a morning person yet.  We will see what we can do about that.  I wonder how you felt last night with Mommy in the same room, right beside you all night for the first time since you were delivered on April 13th.  I know Mommy was thrilled and so excited it was hard to sleep.

Nana is so emotional today and I heard that your Grammy is too.  I think of your sweet face all situated in your car seat, or imagine the goodbyes of the doctors and nurses that have taken such good care of you, or what you will think of sunlight and grass and flowers and how mom and dad will feel driving away with you settled securely in the car with them, and I cry.

I remember the beginning of your journey and your tiny body being wheeled away and loaded into a helicopter and friends and family holding hands in a circle and praying and I cry again.

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I think about the surgeries and the complications and the good days and bad days and the crazy roller coaster ride of the past few months.  Emotional doesn’t even seem to describe it, I feel overwhelmed with joy and thanks.  I feel like dancing and singing and doing cartwheels, all while praising God.  So I do all of these things, except the cartwheels.  I do want to be here well and uninjured when you arrive.

Throughout the day, Mommy calls and Nana helps her call pediatricians; we have to find one that can get you in on Monday in order for you to be released.  What a feat, but it’s done.  We will do anything to get you home!

After going to town and getting a Welcome Home cake that you can’t even eat yet, Nana arrives at your house to finish what Mommy had started in your room.  Did you know that you have been so blessed by friends and family that you have too many clothes and shoes and bows?  Nana spends a lot of time just looking at all of your cute stuff.

Oh Cali, you are so loved!  People follow the reports on your progress and pray for you daily.  They have been more than generous with donations to help mom and dad spend more time with you and pay for gas and hotels and food.  They have offered words of hope and advice and encouragement to all of us who call you our own.  We have been abundantly blessed and we are all so overwhelmed and grateful.

As the last ray of the afternoon sun casts a warm glow through your bedroom window, I got the text I had been dying for all day long; you were on your way!  Mommy posted a picture on Facebook of you nestled in your car seat with a big smile so she could share the news with all of the people who love you.  You looked like you knew exactly what was going on.14370075_300102760362571_281185968660978266_n.jpg

After that, the hardest part of the day began; the waiting.  Nana paced and checked my phone over and over again for the latest report of where you were on your journey.  Mommy and Daddy hit the 5 o’clock Miami traffic and then had to stop and feed you along the way.  Oh, would you ever arrive?

When Papa and I got the message that you were close, we went outside to wait on the porch.  My stomach did flip flops when I saw the headlights come around the corner.  You were finally home!  Papa was concerned you might get a bug bite so he reminded your daddy to rush you up the stairs.    The time had finally arrived and not one moment too soon.

We were all exhausted at the end of the day, but it was a good kind of tired and our hearts were filled with joy.  We are anxious to watch you grow and learn and thrive.  Cali girl, you are our little miracle and such a strong little girl.  We love you ❤

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Just give me my binky

When life throws a curve ball

Rain or shine

Storms never last

It was a muggy Sunday afternoon and the steam rose up from the pavement as I traveled towards Miami to visit my granddaughter in the hospital.

Thankfully, I was nice and chilly thanks to my Explorer’s air conditioning unit.  As I took in the beauty around me and prayed for our little Cali and other needs, I remember becoming very aware of a Florida weather phenomenon if you will.

One minute it was raining, pelting down all around me, wipers rushing side to side on high speed, struggling to keep up with the falling drops.  The next minute, the sun was peeking out, I caught glimpses of that steam rising, and I could see blue skies ahead.  Then again suddenly, the clouds overhead would fight to shed their moisture, seemingly all on in one area and then I would burst forth out of the deluge again and readjust the wipers.  As soon as I thought we were down to that low intermittent speed, the skies would open up again.

If you are from Florida or traveled Florida much in the summer, you are likely shaking your head in agreement, as the same thing has happened to you.  Maybe it happens in other places too, but I’ve only experienced it in my home state.  Rain is pouring down on my neighbor and my grass and foliage is begging for a drop.

Anyway, all of this is occurring as I am fervently praying for answers and help with all of the complicated little vignettes of drama in my life.  The same thing occurs 4 or 5 times, and I was beginning to think it was getting a little creepy like I was in the twilight zone.   Finally I go through what was to be the last storm and I see the light…the sunlight and no more clouds.  I see perfectly beautiful, clear skies with no rain in sight.   I feel like God is showing me that there will be days of rain and days of sunshine, there will be storms, there will be times when you aren’t sure what to expect but in the end you will make it through.  There will be days of bright sunshine again.

Then I feel that peace, that wonderful peace that always assures me He has heard my cries.  And I know that he will continue to give me strength for the journey.

Blessings!

When life throws a curve ball

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It has been over a month since I’ve shared anything I have written and when I saw today’s prompt, “Curve”, I knew it was time.

When life throws a curve ball, we can back away in fear, freeze up and hope it flies by quickly with no pain, or we can plant our feet firmly, bend those knees and get ready to knock it out of the park.  I am certainly no baseball expert, but you get my point.

With that said, let’s back up to the end of March when my youngest daughter’s pregnancy was going along smoothly.   We had big plans for purchasing must have items, getting the baby room ready; you know… the normal things you do at this part of the journey.

Early April, she went for an ultrasound that indicated a problem with baby’s tummy, so she went to a specialist and found out she would likely be having a planned C-section and her baby would be having surgery to correct whatever the “bowel problem” was.  The goal was to have her reach at least 36-38 weeks.   This was our first curve ball and we all braced ourselves, thanked God that it wasn’t anything worse and re-evaluated plans.

As her little belly grew substantially due to the increase in amniotic fluid, she looked as though she would burst, and that she did at 32 weeks.  Well, I guess burst is a strong word but I got a call in the wee hours of April 13th, where her calm voice said, “Mom, my water broke, I guess we should go to the hospital”.   Second curve ball here, and I was a little concerned because the specialist had just said the day before, “What we don’t want to happen is for her water to break and cause a placental abruption (tearing placenta away from uterus), as this will cause more complications”.   Need I tell you exactly what happened?

Little Cali was born sporting a distended little belly not even an hour after arriving at the hospital via an emergency cesarean.  Hours later, I stood with friends and family and watched a helicopter lift off taking her to Miami Children’s Hospital as my daughter, having lost 4 units of blood, was receiving transfusions and already lamenting being apart from her firstborn.   The following day Cali had surgery and we breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God again when we received the news that she had done great.

Our daughter was having issues getting blood pressure down although she had never had a moment’s trouble with it before, more blood was needed and no one could see Cali except her mom or her dad.  There were times when I felt like I was on a spinning ride at the fair, nauseous and needing to get off, but there was no end in sight.  However, most of the time, I felt peace; wonderful, beautiful peace.

You see, I believe the entire bible and I know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  I know that God has a plan, whether I can see it or understand it and I have faith that He will be with me through the storms of life.  He has been for years.  Specific storms may cease, but storms in general will continue to show up in this life.  We all anxiously await a time when everything is comfy, cozy and peaceful forevermore and that won’t happen this side of heaven.  The sooner we realize that and come to terms with it; we will stop waiting for tomorrow and live in the present.

With God on my side, I can brace up against the storms of life, knowing I have an advocate.  Don’t bother questioning me about His faithfulness because I am a lifelong fan.  With Him on my side, I can face any curve ball that life throws me with the confidence that He will never leave me or forsake me.  Like my favorite song says, “Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm”.

We have felt the love and hand of God in so many ways in the past few weeks.  We felt it as we held hands with our loyal and faithful Pastor as she led us in prayer, we felt it in the love expressed by family, friends and community, we felt it when doctors used the word “miracle”.  We have received monetary donations, cards, gifts, phone calls, messages, fundraisers lovingly set up by friends, hotel bookings, decals for our cars, flowers, food, house cleaning, baby crib and room finishing and most importantly lots of prayers!  I have probably forgotten something and if I have, I ask for mercy.  The outpouring of love has been overwhelming and our families will never forget it.

So, batter up – face that pitch – Thank you for your prayers for our baby Cali.  She is doing very well and we are trusting God for His will.

 

The pitcher has got only a ball. I’ve got a bat. So the percentage of weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting.

— Hank Aaron

Twist it again, Nana

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Staring at the shiny orb filled with snowmen sporting colorful hats and scarves and painted on smiles Ayda exclaimed, “Nana, make the music play again!”  She sat there balancing on her knees, fascinated by We Wish You a Merry Christmas accompanied by the make believe snow settling down around the frozen friends.

I handed her another one, and with a few quick twists, we heard the strains of Silent Night as glittering snow fell upon the scene of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. I admonished her to be very gentle with this one, as it is Nana’s favorite.

As she flittered from one decoration to another, I thought about the beautiful snow globes and how they present a moment in time so beautifully. Thoughtfully, I began to imagine the really special moments of my life, captured as a scene in a snow globe. Pictures of memories flooded my mind as I began to take a stroll down memory lane.

But wait! This wasn’t the time to get caught up in the past; I needed to enjoy the right now with this precious angel beside me. Then, lo and behold, I visualized a scene with a little girl sitting up on her knees holding a snow globe, looking up lovingly at her Nana with her brown eyes sparkling with the joy of Christmas.

Enjoy the leftovers

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As I looked in despair at the remaining Ziploc bags and plastic containers of left-overs in my refrigerator today, I thought about just throwing them away. Some of it looks like it’s starting to congeal and we are all to the point where if we never see another green bean casserole that would be fine. The economical side of me won out for now….or was it sheer laziness? So, the leftovers will survive another day and tomorrow the ham will probably find itself floating in some kind of bean soup.

I thought about the other things “left over” from the holidays that won’t ever spoil. The memories of hugs that say “I’m not sure when I see you again so I am holding you especially tight” or the ones where a mama hopes her child can feel the love that she is overcome with when she holds them. The laughter shared when Granny comes back with something unexpected when a child is playfully picking on her. The smile and perfectly executed wink unexpectedly returned from a precious grandchild. Yes, there are all of those warm left over memories that we will revisit time after time over the coming weeks.

My eldest and granddaughter left yesterday and I remember the ache that I had to push back down as I told my baby girl, “Don’t be sad. Remember it’s not goodbye; it’s see you later”. I told her that it wouldn’t be long before Nana found a way to see her again, which is true. But in the meantime, I’m thankful for the leftovers.

Another grey hair

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Anyone who knows me at all or reads my blog very often will understand that I loathe snakes of any kind.  Real ones, plastic ones, stuffed ones; it doesn’t matter.  Pictures of snakes, branches that are shaped similar to snakes and even the dead vines in my fence that resemble snakes, all receive mutual disdain.

You can suggest it is a phobia or an irrational fear, you can say I’m being ridiculous, call it what you like, but you won’t change the fact that I abhor snakes.  My husband made the mistake shortly after we were married of thinking it might be cute to bring one in the house to “show me”.  He quickly learned, in the best interest of our marriage, not to ever try such a thing again.

I don’t live in the best area for snake hate, since I have probably seen four outside in the past 3 months.  My husband rarely sees them and sometimes I wonder if they just come out when I’m around to torment me.  He always insists that the ones I describe (and send him photos of) are not harmful and will keep the bad ones away.  He can’t seem to understand that it doesn’t matter if they are venomous or not; if I ever step on one, one crosses my path, or touches me in any way, I will likely die anyway.

My mother was the same way and so is my eldest, so I am sure our critics would say my mom passed down her irrational fears to me, and I did the same to my daughter.  My granddaughter is well aware of this, so she likes to tell her mom she is a slithering snake and slither across the floor and hiss.  She is a little stinker.

She was in the living room playing earlier with my husband and she came into another room where I was reading and said, “Nana, can I have a hug?”  I said, “Of course you can honey” and put my book down and made room for her on my lap.  She is a little snuggle bug so she does this often and any grandparent will tell you that those hugs are a precious gift.  Little hands patting my back and those bouncy curls grazing my face; ahh, one of the best feelings in the world!!  She got up into my lap and out of the corner of my eye she snatched something from behind her back and said “SSSSSSSSS!!!” Dangling from her hand was a snake made from the silly putty that I had bought her, crafted into an instrument of torture.  When I yelped, she threw back her head and giggled and I grabbed her little snake and squashed it.  She found that to be even funnier.  After a tickling session, I sent her back in there with her papa to make something sensible.

Tonight as I was covering the grey in my hair, I remembered that I have heard quotes about our grandchildren keeping us young, but some of their antics can also age you prematurely.  But, oh they so are worth it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story

It was a warm, sunshine kissed day in south Florida and I was especially happy as I was surrounded by my children and my granddaughter.  I snapped this photo when my husband had waded out to get something from the boat.  My granddaughter couldn’t decide what she thought about that.  She wanted Papa to come back to shore with the rest of us.

Don't leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

The Weekly Photo Challenge, was to share your interpretation of “on the move.”

As I watched my granddaughter on her first bike, it seemed like just yesterday that it was her mother….Wow, time flies!  Enjoy them every minute that you can!

 

I've got this!

I’ve got this!

 

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