Photo Blogging Challenge: Four

PJ, over at A ‘lil HooHaa has been hosting a photo blogging challenge for four years this month. And, in honor of that momentous occasion, this month’s challenge is centered around……you guess it….Four.

I thought this would be a slam dunk this month. But I would have been misinformed. This was a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. On one hand, I’m still dealing with Entrepreneur’s post-brain surgery adjustment. He’s doing well…I’m the one who seems to be struggling.

So, you all will need to give me a little bit of latitude on some of these selections. 🙂

#1 Four
Included in this row of Bradford Pear trees are FOUR trees in full bloom. They lasted all of about four days before a late spring hard freeze turned all those lovely white blossoms brown..

#2 Four
Bridget is one of FOUR kittens that came to live with members of our family 12 years ago. The no-kill shelter nicknamed them the “Irish Kittens” because they found them on or around St. Patrick’s Day. Three are from one litter, the fourth was found somewhere else, but was assimilated in with the others. All four assimilated together nicely into the bed.

#3  Four
My grandfather’s violin (or is it a fiddle?) still has all FOUR strings in tact. Circa early to mid 1900s, I really don’t know its story other than he owned it. Wish I knew more.

#4 Four
Twix has a puzzle with FOUR separate puzzle scenes in one, which may be a little confusing when you’re only three years old. 🙂

#5 Four
Here’s where I need a bit more latitude. Since March is the month to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, what better way than to look for FOUR-leaf clovers. What? You don’t see any in this shot? Neither do I. But, there may be one hiding in there so I think it should count. 🙂

Bonus FOUR foto!
Twix turned three years old in February. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, she was not able to have her “official” party until this month. So, here is the ONE-YEAR-LESS-THAN-FOUR-year-old birthday girl with FOUR presents. I thought it only fitting to include this since PJ’s photo challenge is celebrating FOUR years old this month.

Whew….Be sure to visit PJ’s place to see how others interpreted the prompt this month.

Fiercely Independent Snuggle Bug

Twix monitoredYesterday, Twix turned THREE! Can you even believe it? To look at her now, you’d never know she was three weeks early. Today, she is a happy, healthy almost preschooler who teeters between fierce independence and being a big snuggle bug.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Twix is a precocious child that never ceases to amaze me. Her problem-solving skills and deductive reasoning are almost scary. As smart as Peanut is, I believe Twix just might supersede her.

She is perpetual motion from the time she hits the door at 7:50am. Except for (mercifully) her afternoon nap, our days are filled with continual conversation that mainly center around answering her “Why?” questions. She loves everything Dora and putting things together….from Legos to blocks to assembling geometric shapes into different forms. She is mastering preschool academic skills with her Leapstart book and calls it her “laptop.”

twix-3yrs

Mama (aka The Recruiter), Peanut, Nana and Papa are her world right now. We are here to support, comfort, encourage, teach and, yes, discipline during these years that have been filled with more than a few changes. From the anxious newborn nights when she slept on a bili blanket to her first toddler steps, she knew we were there. From those unsteady first steps, she’s growing into a confident preschooler with a “there-is-no-place-I-can’t-climb-to” attitude. Really, nothing is safe. And don’t even think about leaving her alone for more than…oh, about two minutes.

Memories in the making. Our home is full of them. And their significance is not lost on us, even when the days seem impossibly long waiting for The Recruiter to finish with work. Entrepreneur and I know we’re blessed to have this opportunity to be such an integral part of Peanut and Twix’s lives. Nobody knows what the future holds, so we really try and take those good and not-so-good days and file them away under the heading of “thankful for every moment”….even the bad ones! With Entrepreneur’s cancer scare in 2014, we are keenly aware of how precious these moments are. I know it sounds fatalistic, but we are praying, if cancer returns, it won’t be until all our grands are old enough to really remember just how special and strong this bond is between us.

So, Happy Birth Day Twix! May you continue to become fiercely independent, yet always have a snuggle bug heart. Nana and Papa love you to the moon….and back!

 

To the moon…and back

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…He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.
“I love you right up to the MOON,” he said, and closed his eyes.
“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.”That’s is very far.”

Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. 

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,
“I love you right up to the moon-AND BACK.”

~Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

My third quote for the 3 Quote Challenge is more of a passage from a well-loved children’s book titled Guess How Much I Love You. And last month’s super moon was more than happy to help me out with this one.

Guess how much I love you?….in the literal sense of the book it’s a conversation between a child and a parent; a question and answer to reinforce the bond that happens between those that genuinely care for each other.

But what does loving someone to the moon and back really mean? The distance between the earth and moon is almost 500,000 miles. If I wanted to really convey my love, wouldn’t I say I love them “to infinity and beyond”? Yeah, I could and it would probably more accurately represent my feelings.

And why to the moon and not the sun or stars or other planets? Seems a bit short-sighted.

It does until you really stop and think about it. The closest planet to our earthly home, the moon has always been romanticized and the subject of deep mystery and intrigue. Waxing and waning…new and full…the moon’s cycles represent eternity and an endless cycle of life. She lights up the sky, yet not by her own power….but great power she has upon ocean tides that can wield unparalleled force in nature.

And to a wee one who doesn’t understand the logical or statistical nuances of the distance to the moon, “to the moon” is an unimaginable distance to travel.

So the phrase now takes on a new meaning….I love you more than you can possibly imagine, with great power, and endlessly for my whole life!

Mystery solved.

The value of a moment

sisters-2014-16-72

Sometimes you don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
~Dr. Seuss

Wow. Talk about a huge FAIL. Carol challenged me to a 3 Quote Challenge back in November. I got one in on Nov. 22 and then………oops. So, here is my second quote post. In my defense, I did mention I probably wouldn’t post consecutive days. 🙂

These two shots capture why I drive everyone insane taking photos. Entrepreneur rolls his eyes and others drag their feet when I mention “family photo time.” But let them gripe and complain. I think it’s important to capture as much as possible as often as possible. Most of those complaining are under the age of 35, so they haven’t hit that time in their life when looking back is just as important as looking ahead.

Precious memories. That’s what looking back provides. And that’s all they are now….memories. So often, we’re so caught up in life’s stresses and interruptions that we fail to really take in those fleeting moments. Photos capture those times when we, perhaps, were too busy to notice or care.

It’s only when your children are grown and gone that photos from their childhood take on a newfound importance.

It’s only when your spouse is no longer with you that those photos become cherished memories of a life together.

It’s only when you’ve had to say goodbye to those that now wait at the Rainbow Bridge that you realize how special those muddy paws were on your clean floor.

No, we rarely realize the value of a moment until it’s past and all that remains is a memory.

So, as we all enter the holiday season…get those cameras ready!

The month in photos: June

June 2016

How did it get so late so soon? 
Its night before its afternoon. 
December is here before its June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss 

So, add June to the list of months that sped by without slowing down. I’m getting a little tired of looking backwards at the calendar, wondering where the time went.

June began easy enough with pool time and popsicles with the grandbabykins. The Recruiter finalized the purchase of a house and interior demo began the day after signing. As with any older home, a few unexpected surprises have surfaced that was not anticipated. Welcome to home ownership! But, she is excited to finally be out of our lower level and can unpack all her “stuff.”

We anticipated a visit from The Golfer who flew in for our godson’s (her cousin’s) wedding…which provided a rare photo of all of us together. Peanut and Twix were super excited to see her and KW. Unfortunately, their visit lasted only four days.

We celebrated Dad’s Day with Entrepreneur’s family a week early since we were scheduled to take the grandbabykins to Alabama for their summer visit with their dad. Peanut’s visitation is supposed to last 6 weeks, but since Twix was only to stay two weeks, we drove on to Florida to see The Golfer again. Coincidentally, our stay coincided with some outdoor projects that needed to be done, and help with a junior golf camp. I ate entirely too much food during those two weeks and am now paying for it. Florida has some excellent restaurants!

So we’re back from traveling, sans one Peanut, and back into house reno mode again.

I did find time to get re-acquainted with my camera…now I just need time to do something with them.

I hope June was a good month for everyone. Can you believe the year is already half finished?! I should probably start thinking about Christmas shopping. 😉

Participating with others over at Mona’s Picturesque and her Month in Photos.

The months keep rolling by

April came and April left. Then it was May. And now it’s June!!

Honestly, I have no idea how the months seem to fly by. Obviously, I’m way behind on the calendar thing. Thinking back, April was sort of a blur. The weather warmed just enough to tease us into thinking winter was gone. But we were misinformed. I was still running the furnace for much of the month. But there were a few stellar days, as shown in the collage below; just enough kite-flying, flower-budding, tree-climbing, kick-up-your-heels-and-run-across-the-grass days to keep our spirits hopeful.

April 2016

If April was a blur, May was a watercolor caught in the rain of events and activities. Mother’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings. You name it and we probably went to it. Oh, yeah, add in the end of school paper blizzard and Memorial Day celebrations. The irises a friend shared with me bloomed (much to my surprise) after being thrown into the dirt last autumn. I thought there’d be time to catch a breath once May was finished, but we now are preparing for a visit from The Golfer and our godson’s wedding this weekend. Then, on to Kid’s Club, our church’s version of vacation bible school with 600-700 kids and almost as many volunteers. Not sure June will slow down at all. Maybe July?

May 2016

Hope you all are doing well in your respective worlds, and your summer is warm and wonderful.

Sharing with others over at Mona’s Picturesque, A Month in Photos

And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.

Twix-two 72

And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
~Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Teach Your Children

Twix monitoredTwix is TWO! It just doesn’t seem possible that just two short years ago she made her debut….right before a winter storm blanketed the area with seven inches of snow. Three weeks early, she gave us all a bit of a scare but to look at her now, you’d never know she had a bit of a rough start.

And now….now she’s perpetual motion and a non-stop talker! And, I’m not so sure she won’t surpass her sister in resourcefulness and intelligence. Noooooo, I’m not partial in any way. 🙂 And, I fully realize every grandparent believes their grandbabykins to be precocious. We have two pocket rockets and they show no signs of slowing down.

I think I’ve got this grandparent thing down pretty well. It does help when you’re immersed in the role 24/7 because they’re under roof. I felt fortunate when Peanut lived with us for the first two years of her life. Now, I feel doubly blessed to have the same bond with Twix. When she tugs on my hand and says, “C’mon Nana,” my heart melts. I never experienced that closeness with my grandparents…they were those old people we visited a couple times a year. I never really had the chance to become what I consider “close.” Fortunately, our children have had many opportunities to get to know their grandparents. As a grandparent now, I understand the emotions and feelings that go along with that title.

Ours is an unconventional arrangement, and Entrepreneur and I have yet to experience much of an empty nest. Life’s circumstances have brought our children back home for various reasons. We’re fortunate to have had the means to help their circumstances and provide stability in their lives, and have enjoyed many unexpected blessings in return. The Investigator’s current situation will be changing in the foreseeable future and we’ll all, once again, be adjusting.

But back to two-year-old Twix. Her discoveries, vocabulary and abilities amaze me on a weekly basis. And we are definitely in the throws of the “terrible twos” where redirection can cause emotional eruptions of epic proportions. “Me do it” is a common mantra, and she definitely has a little, mischievous sense of humor. But for all the challenges that come with being two, Twix is a joy to be around.

Helping raise this second generation has been an emotional roller coaster. I’m sure, at times, Peanut and Twix think they have too many parents. We’re blessed to be allowed to watch, first hand, these precious grandchildren discover, learn and grow. And I’m not sure I would trade this experience for all the empty nest perks in the world.

Today, as we celebrate Twix’s birthday, we listen to her run around the house chanting “happy birthday,” and are reminded how unpredictable life is….and how “failed” plans can turn out to be the biggest of blessings.

Happy Birth Day Twix!

two Twix

Linking up with Songography and LTTL