2 moms. 3 kids. 1 amazing adventure.

Archive for December, 2011

2011 Holiday Craft Exchange

I came home a few days ago to a package with gorgeous handwriting that I didn’t recognize. I suspected it might be my holiday craft exchange gift, so I dumped–literally, it fell off the edge of the table!–the rest of the mail and tore open my envelope. I tipped the open end and out slid this beautiful pendant from Sky Minded and Ever Growing:

It’s lovely, isn’t it? I wore it the next day. Olivia had her eye on it and asked to wear it the following day. I obliged and she’s been wearing it every day since. She says it brightens up her school uniform. I’m inclined to agree. ūüôā

This is the second year I’ve participated in the craft exchange organized by S over at An Offering of Love. It has been tremendous fun both times…I hope it becomes a long-lasting tradition. If you’d like to see the other beautiful crafts being delivered this holiday, you can find them here. They are all wonderful, thoughful projects from an awesome group of women.


{Two Turtle Doves}

Todays blog challenge topic is loved ones.

I have a multitude of wonderful childhood memories about my paternal grandparents.  Just to tell a few:

When I was 4 and 5 years old, I lived down a country road.¬† My grandparents owned a “river lot” with a little clubhouse that required them to travel past my house to get to.¬† If they would see me playing outside, they’d always stop, send me inside for permission, and then take me along.¬† My grandma was always ready¬†for the possibility¬†of my joining them.¬† She always had an extra sandwich–thuringer¬†and muenster¬†cheese spread thick with mayonnaise–at the ready.¬† At the lot, she always found little tasks for me to complete.¬† Sometimes I’d wipe down the counters in the clubhouse.¬† Other times, I would pull weeds on the patio area.¬† I’m sure I did a questionable job, but she always praised my hard work.¬† My grandpa would “need” my help on the riding lawn mower or would¬†send me into the woods on some task or another.¬† I remember him offering me a nickel for every¬†snake-skin I could find.¬† We never ended a trip without one of them pushing me on the airplane glider.

My parents divorced¬†before I was 2 years old, so my mom would always drop me off at my grandparents house on holiday afternoons.¬†¬†Instead of it being an awkward situation, my grandma always invited my mom inside to visit.¬† She’d make her a plate of delicious food and spend some time talking and catching up.¬†¬†I remember her always ending the visit with a hug for my mom¬†and an invitation to stop by anytime.¬† Her generosity and kindness were genuine.

My grandpa¬†always had the same picture on his bedroom dresser.¬† It was a hand-tinted photograph taken of my grandma in the mid 1940s.¬† My cousins and I would just stare at that picture, mesmerized¬†by her beauty.¬†¬† Dark hair done up in an upsweep.¬† Green eyes sparkling with some unknown secret.¬† Full red lips smiling broadly.¬† Whenever my grandpa would see us looking at the picture, he’d join us.¬† He was a stoic man, but I swear he had tears in his eyes every time we saw him look at that photo.¬† He’d always say the same thing:¬† That’s how your grandma looked when I first met her.¬† I knew right then and there I wanted to marry her.¬† She’s beautiful, yes, but she has a spunky personality and a kind heart that make her more than just beautiful.¬† They make her radiant.¬† Surely I’m the luckiest man alive.¬† When he died about seven years ago, my cousin held up this photo and retold that story as he eulogized him.

After mid-day holiday dinners, the table was always cleared for a game of cards.¬†¬† I’m not even sure the name of the game we played but it involved trying to get close to 21, knocking when you felt ready to show your hand so everyone knew they had one last play, and gambling with quarters.¬†¬†The kids would all crawl into the adult’s¬†laps so we could “help”.¬† If you were really lucky, you got grandma’s lap.¬† She would teach you how to count cards.¬† I guess that’s part of that spunky personality my grandpa talked about! ūüôā

As I mentioned, by grandpa passed away seven years ago.¬† My grandma is still here–81 and as spunky as ever.¬† She¬†plays cards on Tuesdays, bowls¬†on Thursdays, and goes to Mass every Saturday evening.¬† I had the pleasure of spending a little extra time with her when I was visiting over Thanksgiving.¬† We snuck into a side room and had a private “catch-up” conversation.¬† We relived a few of the good old days and then she got very serious.¬† Shelly-Belly (a nickname only she is allowed), thank you for giving me such wonderful memories.¬† Thank you for the honor of being Amelia’s namesake (Amelia’s middle name is Ruth, after my grandma).¬† I’m proud of the person you are and I love you.¬† (pause).¬† Now, if your Dad will show me how to use his computer, I’m going to figure out how to use Skype and dial you up!¬†



Something New

We tried something new this Thanksgiving.

Nope.  Not a recipe.  Not a new game.  Not shopping on Black Friday.  Not even something REALLY fun like sleeping in.

Olivia and I took a trip.  To the Emergency Room.  Where we discovered (much to my surprise, actually) that she had broken her wrist.

Oh, and to make it even better, she had to¬†have a¬†HUGE splint on to immobilize it for¬†6 (!!!!) days.¬† We¬†were out of state when it happened and they wouldn’t cast it immediately to accomodate swelling (of which she had none).¬† Then it was the weekend and orthopedic doctors don’t have office hours, which was¬†too bad because Olivia was VERY intrigued by the idea of getting a cast from the same doctor that casted me several times as a teenager.¬† ūüôā¬† Then we¬†weren’t able to get¬†an appointment here at home until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

I think I just about lost my mind trying to follow the emergency room orders of “don’t let it get bumped around at all until it’s casted”.¬† Uhhh, she’s an eight year old kid.¬† With two younger siblings.¬† And an hours-long car ride home in which she sits at the very back of the mini-van where I cannot keep the closest eye on her.

But it gets even better.¬† At her appointment last Tuesday, I learned that the location of her break is a prime spot for “bone slipping”–when the bone shifts and causes it to heal unevenly aligned.¬† Nice.¬† That earned Olivia an above-the-elbow cast and weekly appointments for x-rays to check alignment.¬† After three weeks, we get to move to a shorter cast and xrays for 3 more weeks.

Perhaps you’re asking what happens if they discover, at any point, that the bone has slipped.¬† I sure did.¬† Well, it turns out that they’d sedate her, re-break the bone, and start the process all over again.¬† Gah.¬† It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.

Luckily, things look good so far.¬† She was just xrayed today and everything looks perfect.¬† I did tell Olivia that she is NOT ALLOWED to break any more bones, though.¬† She also had a major to-do about 3 years ago when she fell off a chair, dislocated her elbow, and came very close to severing a nerve.¬† That particular incident also happens to be one of my most horrible “bad mother” stories, so I’ll just save it for another day.

Needless to say, this year’s something new is not a Thanksgiving tradition I hope to continue!

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