Happy Childhood Sparks and Awww Monday

It’s never to late to have a happy childhood.
~Berkeley Breathed

Well, I misplaced an entire two weeks out of my life with the flu and some type of lingering upper respiratory crap. I’m happy to feel a bit more human this Monday….but very far behind on lots of work. Oh well……

February has been a mixed bag of weather here in middle Missouri. This shot was taken just a few weeks ago when the temps warmed enough to play outside. Twix didn’t waste any time and covered a lot of ground……swinging, playing soccer in the yard, hitting a ball off a tee, and riding bikes, trikes and scooters! Her energy level is astounding.

Aside from a few, occasional temper tantrums, she might be one of the happiest four-year-old preschoolers I’ve ever met.

We, adults, can learn a lot from watching preschoolers. Play is their work. Wonder and discovery are their preferred method of learning. Laughing and being everyone’s friend is their measure of success.

Quite different from the “adulting” we do every day, isn’t it? Over-committment and responsibilities are our work. Worry and anxiety seem to overshadow wonder and discovery. We stop being everyone’s friend and laughter becomes elusive. The cruelty and injustice of the world can crowd out the wide-eyed amazement of what surrounds us on a daily basis.

What wonderful lessons we can learn from those precocious preschoolers. It’s never too late to recreate that happy childhood of play, amazement, laughter and friendship. It’s never to late to trust. Never too late to show kindness towards others. Never too late to discover something new.

Never too late to let out a belly laugh while swinging!

Annie at McGuffy’s Reader hosts a blog hop every Monday called Sparks. I’m finding that reading everyone’s “Sparks” is one of the highlights of my week. Her philosophy its simple:

The negative energy of the world has become thick and oppressive. Social media has become a part of this dare, negative storm. There is an obvious, universal need for more positive energy and peace. And, we can be a part of this affirmative change.

Also blog hopping with Sandee’s Awww Mondays over at Comedy Plus.

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An unconventional Valentine’s Day

Today is our one-year anniversary. Most people speak of this in terms of relationship status. But today marks a very different anniversary for Entrepreneur and me. It was one year ago today, Valentine’s Day, when he went into surgery to remove a cancer mass in his brain.  Not exactly what you would put in a Hallmark card.

One year ago today, we were waiting for him to get out of post-op recovery. With my support system at my side, the minutes drug into hours until I could lay eyes on him.

And then next 10 days in the hospital were spent getting him stable enough to begin the long, hard road to recovery. I can say, without a doubt, these were the scariest days of my life. The cognitive deficit due to post surgery swelling was disturbingly real. And there were very few reassurances those first crucial days.

Looking back, 2017 sucked. This event forever changed our lives and derailed many of the the plans we’d been formulating for our retirement years. The surgery was difficult enough, but the aftermath has presented challenges that have left me with a loss as to how to overcome.

Targeted radiation to the area of his brain affected by the tumor gave way to 6 months of Bell’s Palsy. Oral chemotherapy is taking its toll with the challenge of providing nutrition to combat the fatigue. He left the hospital with high expectations to rehab and regain his strength and abilities. And he was on track for a remarkable recovery. One year later, he most definitely has impressed his physicians and surgeons, but when the oral chemo is actively destroying any gains, being optimistic and proactive becomes harder and harder. It grates on us mentally, psychologically, physically and spiritually.

Our support group is awesome. These people are the shining light in the middle of this dark journey.

I admit, I took for granted this would simply be a bump in the road. I expected him to rally and overcome obstacles like he’s always done in the past. But, nothing is a given anymore.

One year out…..he’s still part of our lives. He’s trying hard to push through the destructive effects of chemo so he can spend as much time as possible with his daughters and granddaughters. There is so much to live for.

But, there’s been a shift in perspectives. Gone are the aspirations of us having an active, retirement lifestyle. Every day is a struggle. Every day is a gift. Many cancers can be put into remission or destroyed completely. Not renal cell cancer. There is treatment, but no cure or remission. His scans have been clear over the past year, which is a blessing and cause for hope.

Entrepreneur would like to engage and live whatever is left of his life to the fullest. I’d like to say we’re not letting this get in the way, but that would be a lie. No matter how much we say this condition is not going to get in the way of living life to the fullest, the reality is….it’s in the way. If fact, it’s set up a roadblock that seems awfully difficult to get around. As long as he’s on oral chemo, his stamina is reduced and the usual effects of the drug are ever present.

The new normal.

Entrepreneur does not like his “new normal.” This type of chronic cancer steals joy and steals hope. And I’m not sure how to deal with these feelings or help him to overcome the feelings of loss of a meaningful life. I would love nothing more than to focus on enjoying whatever life is left….it’s just so much harder to live it to rather than to say it. I pray for an advancement in the treatment of renal cell cancer…..an immunotherapy treatment that would help combat the relentless destruction of the body from oral chemo. Clinical trials are underway for new ways to manage this cancer…but….and this is the cynic in me….when the chemo pills cost the insurance company upwards of $5K per month, where exactly is the incentive to find a cure?

So, today, Valentine’s Day, is especially poignant this year. It not only marks the one-year anniversary of brain surgery (two thoughts that should never, ever be combined), but also serves as a reminder that nothing in life is a given. Stop letting trivial arguments get in the way of spending time with those you love. Put aside those family disagreements and ask yourself….if you were in my shoes…just how important those petty irritations and grudges really are.

Happy Heart Day and may those your love know how much you care about them today and always.

Monday Grand Girl Spark

Grandkids bring you into a sweeter, slower present. They show you the future at a time when a lot of your friends are thinking about the past. And they take you back to childhood–theirs, the Parent’s, your own: a three-time admittance to wonderland. ~Adair Lara

Peanut and Twix….our grand girls! Peanut is 9 years old and Twix just turned 4 years old. And not a day goes by where I don’t look at them and feel deeply thankful they are in my life.

Over these 9 years, neither of these girls have experienced a day care facility outside of a Pre-K program. Peanut and her Mama moved in with us when she was 4 months old while then-husband was deployed overseas. Upon his return, they moved to an out-of-state Army base, but were back under our roof when he decided to try college, and Peanut’s Mama took on the role of breadwinner. Peanut went happily to preschool and spent time after school at Entrepreneur and my office about a quarter mile from the school. Twix arrived in 2014, but a divorce disrupted plans and Peanut, Twix and their Mama continued to live with us for another 2 years while regrouping their life direction. Once Mama was stable in a better job, they moved into their own home. Entrepreneur and I moved our office into our home and Twix assimilated into our routine from the day she was born. An arrangement that continues to this day. Preschool is on the horizon for her in a few months, but until then, she is with us five days a week from 7:50am until 5pm.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t come without challenges. But, I’m not sure I’d want it any other way. To, essentially, have the opportunity to co-parent with our daughter in raising our grand girls has been an experience many grandparents will never have. Granted, some may never want this experience! But, we’re gluttons for punishment looking at it as a rare opportunity to create a tie that binds us to them for the rest of their lives.

Some day in the near future, Twix will spend her days in preschool and then off to kindergarten. Entrepreneur and I will be more free to come and go without worrying about car seats and nap schedules. Our interactions will be limited to occasional family meals, special events, holidays and the periodic sleep-over at Nana and Papa’s house. And, of course, whenever school is not in session! But we will always believe we gave them both the best possible start in life by being spoiled loved and nurtured by family on a daily basis during those developing years before heading off to school.

Annie at McGuffy’s Reader hosts a blog hop every Monday called Sparks. I’m finding that reading everyone’s “Sparks” is one of the highlights of my week. Her philosophy its simple:

The negative energy of the world has become thick and oppressive. Social media has become a part of this dare, negative storm. There is an obvious, universal need for more positive energy and peace. And, we can be a part of this affirmative change.

Also blog hopping with Sandee’s Awww Mondays over at Comedy Plus.

It’s my birth day!

Yep, today is the day my mom brought me into this world. And this year’s birthday is a big one. How big? Well, I’ll leave that to you to try and figure out, but I’ll leave you a few clues a little later.

First, I’ll share a four generation photo from waaaay back when with Great-Grandma Olive, Grandma Maida, Mom Thelma and…Me! Sadly, my GG passed in November of the year I was born so I never really knew her at all.

The year I was born was a busy year. Here’s just a few noteworthy events….besides my entrance. 🙂
* Super Glue was invented
* NASA….National Aeronautics and Space Administration was formed
* Explorer 1 was sent into space to measure radiation in earth’s orbit. It orbited earth more than 58,000 times before it re-entered the atmosphere in 1970
* The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institute
* Bobby Fischer won the United States Chess Championship at only 14 years old
* Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army
* The Hula Hoop was invented

My first birthday

A few other tidbits of info:
* The average cost of new house was $12,750.00
The top song for January of that year was At The Hop by Danny & The Juniors
* A new, 8 cu ft RCA Whirlpool refrigerator cost $118.00
* A gallon of gas  cost 25 cents

It’s strange what I remember about my early years. I still remember the address of the house I lived in until 2nd grade….6202 E. 96th Street. One of my first memories is one of me and my cousins watching The Wizard of Oz on the TV; that would be the black and white version on a black and white set.

Have you figured it out yet? If so, you know it’s sorta a big one. One that I’m having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around!

Looking back at my life fills me with a lot of emotions. Are there things I regret doing or not doing? You bet. Were there aspirations that never materialized? Yes. Would I do things differently, given another chance. I’m not sure…maybe. What I am certain of is that my life has turned out pretty good so far even though it was not the road I saw myself traveling. Besides, I’ll drive myself crazy playing should of, world of, could of at this point in time.

So, I’ll now focus on trying to make the best of the next 365 days…knowing I’m not promised one more day, much less an entire year’s worth of days.

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.
~Ecclesiastes 11:8

First Spark for 2018

Over the holidays, I missed a couple Sparks and Awww Mondays with Annie and Sandee, but hope to get back into  a routine now. That said, I’m already a day late to both link-up parties for this week! 😀

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a grand start. Let’s all try to do our part to spark some positivity in our world.


It’s not what we have in life,
but who we have in our lives
that matters.
~J.M. Laurence

Linking up with the bog hops for Sparks at McGuffy’s Reader, and Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.
  

Big dog; puppy brain

Hello everyone, it’s me (Cabo) again. Mom seems to be really busy with stuff….I think it’s something called the “holidays.” So, I’m taking this opportunity to post for her.

I’m officially 8 months old today! It seems like furever ago when I joined my family. And, as you can see, a lot of changes have been going on! I went to see my friends at the doctor’s office and they told Mom I weighed 48 pounds. And….then gave me two treats! It’s always fun when I walk in the door and meet other furry friends.

Summer was a blast. Mom got me a baby pool! And there’s these water spouts that pop up out of the ground in the yard that are soooooo fun to run through. One of my favorite things to do on a summer night was to make Mom wait outside while I jumped to catch fireflies in the air. She laughed a couple of times, but I think she got tired of waiting on me to do my “business.”

I have TWO girlfriends. One of either side of my house. Ellie is a shepherd/boxer mix and she can keep up with me. But, she came over one day and tried to run off. So, we don’t get to play with each other much anymore. Good thing everyone likes to throw the ball for me.

I’m trying to be a good pupper…really, I am. But, to be honest, I had a few fails the past couple of months. Mom planted some really great-smelling flowers in September and I just couldn’t help myself. In fact, I helped myself to them all over the patio…dirt and all. That didn’t go too well for me.

A couple days ago a tree appeared in the house. I’m not sure what to do with it since every time I sniff it, I hear that word, “No.” And now it’s all lit up and doesn’t much look like a tree anymore. Mom has found me a couple of times with a pine cone in my mouth. I honestly thought the basket of smelly pine cones were free for the taking. Evidently not.

Oh well, happy 8 month birthday to me! I hope everyone has warm and wonderful holidays….whatever those are.

Before I get back to chewing my sticks in the yard, Mom told me about a blog hop called Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus. Just thought I’d pick a photo for her and add it to the fun.

The Threenager

She’ll be four in February so I thought I’d better get this posted while she’s still, technically, a Threenager!

For those of you who don’t know what this is….a threenager is a three year old who has the energy level of a preschooler, with the attitude of a teenager. As you can see from many of the expressions in the above collage, Twix has mastered covering a variety of teenage attitudes. This covers a range which includes, but is not limited to, sweet, sassy and obstinance.

Things we enjoy while in the presence of a threenager are answering incessant “why” questions…..and I do mean in.cess.ant. The most fun time to do this is in the car…especially while I’m driving in traffic. She can arrive in the morning wearing a combination of spring, summer and winter clothing. Individualism runs deep in a threenager. And I know Mama has let her select her outfit because she has other things to do rather than fight with a threenager over wardrobe choices.

With the attention span of a gnat, she flits from activity to activity to activity to activity……….covering at least 10 activities all before lunchtime! Some days it’s all I can do to keep up with her until nap time…that coveted two-hour time span when I don’t have to respond to minute-by-minute questions and commentary!

And the tantrums have risen to epic proportions. It could be because she was told she cannot eat candy before noon…regardless of how adept she thinks she is at negotiating a compromise. And who would have thought choosing sock color could be so stressful? Or that my selection of the Rapunzel cup over the Arial cup might end life as we know it. And, heaven forbid I pour apple juice in it instead of grape juice. In fact, while I’m writing this, we’re having a power struggle…complete with a full-blown whinefest…over being hungry despite the fact she’s had breakfast and a snacks already…and it’s barely 10:00am.

But, I’ve discovered over the decades of raising children that meeting rage with rage simply doesn’t solve anything in the long run. Continually raising the decibel level of my voice when responding to chaos isn’t good for anyone…especially me. That’s not to say Twix is not disciplined when her insistence and rage is inappropriate. Establishing boundaries for a threenager are essential….or that threenager just might grow into something toxic you really don’t want to deal with in a few years.

So, I carefully choose which mountains to die on with my battles. I embrace this time, knowing time is an illusion and fleeting, and she will not be young forever. I’ll look at her when she’s falling asleep for her nap and see a beautiful child without flaws. I will encourage her to celebrate her curiosity, sense of wonder and accomplishments. I will try to nurture her spirit as well as her mind.

And then we’ll send her to preschool!