Conflicted

Well, they are on their way to stay with their dad for a month. The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix left this afternoon to make the trek to Nashville for the hand off for the second leg of their trip to Alabama.

And I’m oddly conflicted.

On one hand, with all that’s happened since February, Entrepreneur and I need a break from the endless energy and incessant “whys” of a three year old. And, having both of them since mid-May when the after-school sitter left college for summer break has been both a joy and a challenge. AND, add the fur baby that arrived the beginning of June and…..well…are you tired yet? We are. We really do need this time to regroup and Entrepreneur needs this time to rest due to chemo fatigue. So, we’re down two children….but training a fur baby.

But, on the other hand, each time they leave, the relief is replaced with worry and concern. Call it parental paranoia or whatever. I’m counting the days until their return. When they hit the door again in mid-July, there won’t be much summer left before those back-to-school and after-school activities begin again. In the meantime, my house will be void of munchkin-size clothing lying around, half-drank beverages in the frig, books, crayons, pencils and toys on every surface in every room. Gone will be the bath toys in my soaker tub, and luvies within arms reach of every bed.

I feel guilty about looking forward to the break…knowing the time we have with them is a gift not afforded to every grandparent. Am I ungrateful for that gift if I’m relieved to be relieved of those child care responsibilities? What if something happens to them while they are gone? I would be devastated knowing I was looking forward to time in the empty nest…even if it was only temporarily.

Such is the life of long-distance visitation.

So we try to pack as much as we can into the few weeks of summer before they have to leave. We did picnics and playgrounds; pool time and popsicles; Peanut and I visited a museum and took in a movie; went to our church’s version of VBS (on steroids); and scheduled horseback riding lessons. Plus, we made sure there were times for just hanging out with nothing organized so the mind could wander uninterrupted.

Please enjoy a few early summer childhood captures of our grandbabykins.


A nosefull of posies.


Yes, she is that high. Zoom lens required.


Picnic pupper and his pal.


The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology; artifacts and art ranging from circa 1550 BCE to the 20th century.


Pool time with Papa.


Sittin’ pretty in the saddle.


He loves me……..


An uninterrupted afternoon.


Mermaids do exist!


She was a little uncontrollable at the sprayground!


The epitome of summer relaxation.


Litter mates.

I think I got a little carried away with my pics. But, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. ūüôā I hope everyone’s summer is off to a wonderful start.

xoxo

Pardon me while I brag a bit

Caution: this post contains shameless and excessive grandparent bragging.

Last week we went to Peanut’s school for the end-of-semester awards ceremony. Now, normally, non-eduction types don’t voluntarily attend these ceremonies…unless given the heads up that their child is one of the recipients.

A little background info: Peanut started a new school this year after moving into their renovated house in August. She was filled with all the anxiety an 8 year old can feel about walking into the unknown. Peanut is not a fan of change and this was a major one in her young life. Slowly, she came out of her shell, made friends and did very well academically. Her teacher was a perfect match for what she needed this year.

Throughout the year, Peanut was recognized for a reading challenge where she read more than 600 pages in a week’s time. Last week, she was chosen as one of the Students of the 4th Quarter for academic excellence. She was also chosen to participate in a second grade STEM program.

 

So that’s the back story. Now, we’re sitting in the awards ceremony listening to all the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers announce their selections for various academic awards…..and Peanut’s name is not one of them. Okay, perhaps she’ll be recognized¬†for Citizenship, Art, Music or PE? Nope. I was beginning to think there’d been a mistake.

I scan the program to see if I missed a category but the only one left is something called the¬†Glory of Missouri.¬†This is a¬†proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives. The Glory of Missouri is awarded to 14 students in¬†participating schools, each student representing one of 14 virtues;¬†Knowledge, Liberty, Equality, Law, Justice, Fraternity,¬†Education, Progress, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Temperance, Enterprise, and Charity.¬†Peanut’s award was for Knowledge.¬†The virtues were engraved in the House of Representative Chamber between 1922 and 1924 when the capitol building was rebuilt due to a fire.

Surely not.

But I would have been surely incorrect! As her name was called to receive the award for Knowledge, it was one of those elusive Joy moments I’m trying to find in the middle of all the chaos of our lives. I honestly didn’t see this one coming. Her teacher said there was no question whose name she would be submitting.

Knowledge
Qualifications:  The student qualified for the Knowledge virtue is one whom exemplifies this definition.  The student who receives recognition for this award must not only be book smart, but be aware of the state of information.

Example:  A student who possesses intellectual capabilities beyond his or her years, a student who has demonstrated aware behavior such as a potential valedictorian or a strong student leader. 

We are all so thrilled Peanut seemed to assimilate seamlessly into her new school. And, evidently, she never missed a beat when it came to the love of learning.

And…..we now have a third grader on our hands!

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. ūüôā

#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. ūüôā

#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. ūüôā

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

to-the-moon-72

…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. ūüôā

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. ūüėČ

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