Autumn memories

Just before the death of flowers and before they are buried in snow, there comes a festival season when nature is aglow.
~Author Unknown

Well, I may have missed my opportunity for this post since it SNOWED a few days ago! Middle Missouri broke her previous record of .3 inches of snow on November 8th. We clocked in at a little more than an inch of the white stuff. It was magical….and gone from most of the trees by afternoon as the temps warmed to the upper 30sF.

I have shared some of our autumn color in weeks past, but haven’t shared my most fun day of the season. Every autumn I try and take the grandgirls to one of our city parks during the cooler weather. Of course, the camera comes along with us. This year we went to a nature area before going to the traditional park setting. While I love autumn color in the trees and flowers, it just can’t compete with these two!

At ten and four and a half, these two are growing up so fast. And, I believe their personalities are growing faster! Can’t you just see the sass in both of them? Peanut is now in fourth grade and Twix is having a blast in Pre-K.

I fully realize I tend to get a bit carried away when sharing pics of our grandgirls. I would apologize, but I’m really not that sorry!

Unfortunately the trees had not yet given up their leaves for a colorful carpet, so we had to rely on some different color for these last two shots.

Now, we’re hunkering down for winter, which evidently is coming early this year since our temps are now falling into the teens at night. I’m thankful we had the opportunity to take these when we did. They warm my heart.

I hope you’re having a wonderful autumn and sharing the warmth of the holiday season with everyone around you.

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The end of an era

I’m not going to cry. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not.

Okay, yes, I cried.

Today is the first day of Pre-K for Twix. And, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit this is a bittersweet day for both Entrepreneur and me. She has been with us since the day she was born. We were at the hospital when she arrived three weeks early, one day ahead of a February snowstorm.

She came home to our house when our daughter and Peanut were living with us. We were right there with her Mama when there were concerns about health issues stemming from her premature birth.

After our daughter went back to work, I transitioned to working my job from home so she didn’t have to worry about child care. And so my journey  with our second grand girl began.

Twix’s health issues improved and she flourished with so many caregivers watching over her. I made her baby food and she went everywhere with me. She took her first steps in our home and it was here she said her first words.

Even when they bought their own home and moved out, she continued to show up Monday through Friday at 7:30am while Mama went to work and Peanut went to school. We watched her grow from an infant into an inquisitive toddler…and now into a precocious preschooler.

I know she is, technically, not my daughter, but she has become such a part of me over these past four and a half years.

And now we have to let her go. As hard as this is for me, I believe it’s going to be doubly hard on Entrepreneur. She’s been his little shadow ever since she could walk, and a shining light in the middle of a very dark time for him.

She has her new backpack, new first day of school outfit, Nana-made quiet time blanket, pillow and small luvie. She is ready.

I’m just not sure I am.

Blog hopping with Happy Tuesday from Comedy Plus and Pictorial Tuesday from Peabea’s Photos ‘n Scribbles

Blended Beginnings Part 2

Last week (or so) I shared with you all some pics from our oldest daughter’s recent wedding in June. Because of a few issues during the day, the bride and groom didn’t have the opportunity to have the traditional “formal portraits” done after the ceremony.

Add to the chaos the fact that Peanut and Twix were leaving for their six-week summer visitation with their dad the following week. Because of that schedule, we had to postpone photos until (ugh) August when they returned. Hot, sticky August in middle Missouri. Perfect.

We chose the local botanical garden and I went and scoped out backdrops a few weeks before the shoot. Because of the August heat, we decided on a 9am meet time to try and finish before the heat and humidity set in for the day.

First, we began with the bride.

Then, we added the groom.

A base of love and commitment established to begin the art of blending.

The rest of the brood is added.

Blending a family has been quite the challenge with five children. Yes, count them…..f.i.v.e. all between four and (almost) ten years old; three girls and two boys. No chaos or drama here, right?!

Getting used to the new “normal” for blended family kids can be a little unsettling. It takes a while to establish trust and stability with the new parent and situation.

So Peanut and Twix now have two brothers and another sister. Each of these children are uniquely different so finding balance in a new family situation can take some doing. Boundaries are being set as well as expectations and responsibilities.

It’s been quite an adjustment but they are working on making the transition as smooth as possible…as smooth as you can with a (almost) 10-, 9-, 8- and two 4-year-olds!

Two children is enough of a handful.  Three can be challenging. Keeping track of and up to speed with five is completely beyond my comprehension. Patience will need to multiply exponentially.

It’s estimated one third of all remarriages form blended families.

Sibling rivalry, attention issues, discipline challenges will all be things these parents will deal with as they present a unified front and lead by example. Bonds won’t grow strong overnight, but as they do more things as a “family,” relationships will strengthen over time.

Expect conflicts. Extend grace. I hope and pray this is the attitude adopted by everyone as they experience these growing pains.

The only steps in this house
is the staircase, and
the only half in this house
is the half&half creamer.

~Al Hodson

Thankful Thursday

Trying out a new blog hop today called Thankful Thursday. I probably need this hop to actively remind myself to look for the positive things in life since so much of my last few months have been spent in the company of anxiousness, stressfulness, irritation and frustration. They are really not good company and even worse influences on others.

But, semester is (mercifully) finished, grades are recorded and school is officially out! All my college seniors are scattered to the wind to take on the world…God help them AND the world!

So now, I’m thankful for time spent with our two grand girls before they leave to visit their dad 12 hours away for the majority of the summer. At nine and four, they are handfuls, and they can test the patience of Job….but for Entrepreneur and I to be an integral part of their lives is a blessing we simply cannot overlook.

So, today I’m linking up with others for Thankful Thursday.  A big thank you to Sandee at Comedy Plus for introducing me to this worthwhile weekly opportunity.

I hope life settles a bit so I can participate in more of these hops in the future!

Dear Granddaughter…..

In September, we celebrated Peanut’s 9th birthday. NINE! It’s hard to comprehend it was nine years ago I was promoted to being a Nana. A lot has been packed into those nine years…sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago she was placed in my arms, but at other times, nine years seems to have flown by at warp speed.

I put together Peanut’s school photos from Pre-K to her current 3rd grade shot. While they are not drastically different, the person behind the face has transformed in hundreds of ways in just nine short years.

Since time is a fleeting illusion, I want to take a few moments and pass on some Nana wisdom to my first grandbabykin.

Dear Peanut,

You have always been and always will be loved. I loved you before you were even put in my arms as a swaddled baby burrito. That is not to say you don’t do unloveable things….and I may not like you at times….but I always love you and will always be here for you. You can bet on that and be sure to win every time.

To steal a line from the 2016 Cinderella remake, Be kind and have courage. Both are difficult to do. Kindness may be becoming a lost art in our “me first” culture. It takes a lot of work to be kind to people, especially when you don’t like them, are mad at them, or see them as different from you. Extending kindness to family members is sometimes especially hard because there are times we make more of an effort to be nice to people outside our family and save the worst for those closest to us…who love us always!

Have courage. It’s scary to try new things. It’s scary to step out of our comfort zones in the way we think and act. I know this from experience. it was scary moving to a new house and school when I was in 3rd grade. It was scary to move to a new town after Papa and I got married….a town where I didn’t know anyone. It was scary when Papa and I moved to Columbia…a town where I didn’t know anyone either. It was really scary when Papa was told he had cancer. It’s also scary to do the right thing when you think others will look at you differently or not like you anymore. This is especially hard when your friends are doing things you know aren’t right, but you want them to like you so you’re tempted to do those things anyway. Don’t. Have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

Keep your faith strong. So many people walk away from their beliefs when they get older, thinking faith is something only for children. Our culture doesn’t encourage strong faith in God. It does encourage strong faith in doing whatever we think will make us happy…or is convenient…or easy. Being an authentic Christian is hard work. It requires we believe and do the right things even when we don’t understand or see the reason. Many times you will be tempted to not make your faith a priority in your life. But, dearest Peanut, your faith will sustain you in those scary moments when the storms of life roll in and tear your life to pieces.

Trust. Trust those of us who love you that the things we do are to help grow you into someone others will respect; someone YOU can respect. Growing up is hard, and there are many times when you’ll think you know what’s best….but you won’t. I ask you trust even when you don’t agree; even when you don’t understand. It’s related to believing and trusting God has a plan for your life….a good plan….even though many times you’ll feel like you don’t agree or don’t understand why things are happening the way they are.

Love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but love yourself as a person of worth. It’s easy to feel like we can never measure up to our culture’s ideas and expectations. I want you to always love who you are, flaws and all. That is NOT to say you shouldn’t try to change areas of your life that need improvement. And, this is not reason to excuse bad attitudes or behavior. You are a child of the King….who loves you unconditionally. If you can love your imperfect self, you can love others despite their imperfections too.

Peanut, you are strong-willed and incredibly talented in many areas. I encourage you to use that strong will and those talents in positive, constructive ways…and never be ashamed of the things you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.

In the years to come, you will face many challenges and ride the roller coaster of emotions. I hope by keeping these things in mind, life will be a bit smoother….for everyone involved!

Love always,
Nana