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!

 

December Photo Challenge: Tis the Season

photo blog challenge

Imagine my surprise when I realized December was almost over and I hadn’t written one word here since Dec. 7th! And now, it’s time again for PJ’s monthly photo challenge over at a ‘lil hoohaa. This month’s theme is, appropriately, Tis the Season.

Tis the Season for many things around here. Tis the Season for losing my mind with the holidayz…which can put a person in a daze. Tis the Season for birthdays…The Golfer and my Mama. Tis the Season for winter activities…bonfires and snowballs. And, Tis the Season for family.

So, here’s my five:

Tis the Season 1
Tis the Season for Christmas! This was the first year Twix was big enough to be the designated tree topper….much to Peanut’s dismay.
tis-the-season-1

Tis the Season 2
Tis the Season for Ho Ho Ho Hats. Last year, Twix was not very cooperative with the Santa hat….or any hat for that matter. This year, she couldn’t get enough of wearing it. Peanut is an old pro at this so capturing this shot was much easier this year.
tis-the-season-2

Tis the Season 3
Tis the Season to burn the brush pile in the backyard. This annual event usually takes place on the first snow so we don’t set the neighborhood on fire. Coincidentally, this year’s bonfire fell during the time when The Floridian golfer daughter was back in town for the holidays. Neighbors are invited so they don’t freak out when they see the flames. We try to make it a time to gather friends and family for “s’more” food and fun. 🙂
tis-the-season-3

Tis the Season 4
Tis the Season for a birthday for The Golfer from Florida. And since she was home, it was also time to try to capture both daughters and grand girls since they were all in one place.
tis-the-season-4

Tis the Season 5
And, finally, Tis the Season for family. A rare occurrence when we’re all together in one place at the same time.
tis-the-season-5

There’s my five for December. Don’t forget to visit PJ’s place on December 31st to see the other seasonal festivities.

 

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!

Dear Younger Me

If I knew then what I know now…….how often have we said that? Or, I’d go back if I could take the brain I have now with me.

Do you ever wonder how different life would be if your younger, more stupid self had been sent a letter by your older, much wiser self?

We’d be able to see what younger self was about to do and warn them, Hey dumb-@$$, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. How awesome would that be? We could avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship.

And yet, all those stupid mistakes my younger self made…and the lessons learned….has molded me into who I am today. Okay, maybe I could do without some of those aspects but, on the whole, I know all those experiences happened for a reason. They all were part of a bigger plan and served to skool me in much more than academics.

lisa1976And yet…..if I could warn my younger self about life, here’s what I would say:

Dear Younger Me,

Love yourself. Regardless of what that tag on your clothing says, love the person inside those jeans. If, in your opinion, the packaging needs work, then take measures to become a  healthier me. And remember, you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

Stop being afraid to take a risk. But what if it’s a mistake? Then, it’s a mistake. The awesome thing about life is there’s always the opportunity for a do-over when the sun rises. Don’t look back when you’re 60, 70 or 100 and say, I wish I would have done…….

Life….your career, your marriage, your children….will be a roller coaster ride most of the time. Sometimes it will all feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, and other times it will feel like an out-of-control, downhill race to the finish line. And there will be those loopy-loops in the middle that make your stomach lurch. But the good and the bad serve a purpose, even if that purpose is above your pay grade at this time. So, don’t be afraid to live, laugh and love….a lot.

Don’t obsess over the small stuff….or small people. Everything from traffic lights to idiot drivers to that five cent error in the checkbook. Life is much too short to be angry or worried over these things. And, likewise about small-minded people whose mission in life is to make you feel inferior and inadequate. These are part of those character-building experiences your parents told you about.

Don’t wish away the pain. Emotional, physical, psychological. You’re going to feel all of it more than you’d like. It sounds trite, but the pain is there to teach and, if you let it, mold you into the best version of yourself. Rarely are lessons learned from the easy, good times in life. Life lessons are mainly learned through pain, heartache, struggles, challenges, devastation and loss. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. So, embrace the pain and discover what you are supposed to learn from the experience and then move forward…not backwards.

Your faith will wax and wane like the moon. Life experiences will bring you to mountain-top epiphanies, but will also lay you flat with doubts. Through all of this, do whatever it takes to understand these are challenges designed to refine your faith and strengthen it. But even if you walk away and do unspeakable things, remember it’s never too late to turn around and come back. You are never too far gone for forgiveness and grace if you truly desire to have it. God may have just let you wander around feeling lost for a reason.

Some day it will all make sense. But, perhaps not in this life. And that’s okay. You don’t need to figure it all out. Trust that things happen for a reason and God has a specific mountain valley abyss path you need to take. Pray for guidance, and use your head and heart to make the best decisions possible. It will all get sorted out in the end.

With love,
Your Older, Much Wiser Me

And then I’d leave Younger Me with this music video.

Sharing with Life Through the Lens

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

Out of the box…all the time!

photo blog challenge

May was Out Of the Box (OOB) month over at PJ’s photo challenge. In my world, May is always May-hem so it wasn’t easy to take time to do much out of the box thinking on this one. But, here’s my best effort for the month.

OOB #1
I’m an adjunct instructor for a university strategic communications department. I work with graduating seniors on their capstone project. As student agencies, they work with “real-life” clients on designated projects requiring them to draw on knowledge learned from previous coursework. The end product is a professionally-developed strategic plan, complete with formal presentation to the client for approval. This year, one team won an award for best campaign strategy….an award they would not have won if they had not thought outside the box on their approach to the problem.
campaign toast

OOB #2
These two require out-of-the-box thinking more often than you might realize. Motherhood the first time around was a challenge….and now, my Nana Nanny skills have been honed even further by these two pocket rockets. You’ve heard necessity is the mother of invention? At our house, (grand)mother is the necessity of invention!
Peanut Twix 2016

OOB#3
This may not look like an out of the box photo, but believe me when I tell you it is. This birdbath was in desperate need of a makeover. Entrepreneur took it and had it sandblasted and then primed it for a new coat of paint. And that’s where our opinions diverged. He is more of a standard color type of guy….and I wanted it purple, which was more than a bit out of the box in his view.
purple birdbath

OOB #4
Peanut just finished first grade and what a year it was! While kindergarten was fairly easy for her, first grade pulled her out of her comfort zone and made her think outside the box in a lot of areas in order to succeed. She is good at thinking strategically to get what she wants….sometimes to her detriment.
Peanut end of school

OOB #5
Creativity at its best. Peanut’s out-of-the-box thinking about roller skating had her sister pulling her with a jumprope. This can only end one way.
roller skate idea

OOB Bonus photo
Well, what do you know!? Just when I though I was going to be a photo short on this challenge, new foto fodder came my way. When Field Day at Peanut’s school was  rainy and cool, the teachers had to think outside the box in order to entertain a couple hundred antsy children for the afternoon. Classroom stations were set up with games and activities to help make Field Day a success.
field day

There’s my selection for Out Of the Box. Please click on over to PJs and check out the other OOB thinkers as well.