When was the last time you gathered together will all of your extended family to honor a special member? Often times, it seems like it is at a funeral. I remember when my grandfather died many years ago, it was the first time I had seen my cousins in years. We decided at that time, we should make it a point to see one another in happy times. That is hard to do when people are spread out across the country. If you are married, then you have two families to try to keep up with. Despite the hurdles, we’ve kept to our promise and gathered together (Indiana to California) for vacations and weddings.
This year, Dan’s family came to California to celebrate their mother’s 89th birthday. Believe it or not, every living member of her family came for the event. With her husband, four grown children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there were 24 in attendance! That was a lot of people to gather not for a one day event, but for a week of activities leading up to the party. In this one week we celebrated 5 actual birthdays: July 4th, 5th, 7th, and two on the 8th! The grand finale party, Grandma’s 89th, was on the 8th.
Everyone did their own touristy things during the day, but those who could, rallied at our home for dinner, swimming and great conversation. A special “kid station” was set up outside so the little girls had shade and were pool safe. We brought out the play kitchen, tiny table and chairs, the easel, and other “girly toys.” The two 3 year old’s became fast friends despite just meeting one another.
Nothing is more special than being with family. We are so abundantly blessed to be able to have family to share the good times with. Glad we are retired so we could do all the fun things with everyone and still be able to plan meals at our home for everyone to share in. This was a great summer to remember. I hope it will be possible to do something similar with my side of the family soon!
This is the beginning of a series intended to share some of the funny and thought provoking sayings. Living down the street from the grand kids, we get to see them frequently and have the rare opportunity of watching them grow up. That means we hear some of the funniest things. So, here is the first in this installment…
Setting: Daddy is dropping off little D for the day and then heading out to drop big sister off at preschool. Grandpa came out to the car to say good morning. With great enthusiasm, C proclaimed,
“Grandpa, I was on point this morning!”
I texted our son later in the day and asked, “So, what does that mean?” His response:
get herself dressed (pre- chosen clothes)
brush her hair (I’ve seen this…I redo it!)
brush her teeth (pretty good job)
finish eating breakfast
If you get this done by 7 am, you get to watch 15 min of Mickey Mouse Club Playhouse!
It’s Friday and that means, I get to watch our youngest granddaughter, D. She has a delightful, vibrant personality that continues to unfold week by week. On this particular day, she managed to get a hold of her sister’s dolls and the fun began.
Apparently you first had to love Baby and smother her face in kisses. Lots of slobber was required. Once Baby knew she was loved, D tossed her aside and grabbed the other doll. Attention span is short with a 10 month old!
In no time at all, the new Baby was placed on the ground and D began pushing on the doll, just like when giving CPR. Funny thing was, she placed her other hand over the dolls face, effectively smothering the victim! I think D needs a refresher course in life saving techniques!
It is always an adventure spending time on the floor playing with little D. Retirement is such a blessing. I can’t imagine not being able to spend these unique and special moments with her.
Retirement and Road Trip seem to go together, don’t they? This past spring we had the opportunity to head for the Grand Canyon with our son, Brian and his wife, Jenny. Dan and Brian shared the driving and it seemed like the long trek went quickly.
Judging by all the creature comforts we packed into the car you would have thought we were going for a week instead of 4 days! But we had a great time taking pictures, tasting beers from local brewery’s and sharing family stories. New memories were made like Brian bringing a hammock and stringing it between 2 trees so we could lookout over the canyon! Can you imagine how beautiful it was? It was a bit scary too!
Three of the four of us are NOT morning people, but we were all up and headed for the park at 4:15 to see the sunrise beam light over the red canyon. Dan drove and parked the car inside the park. By moonlight we hiked in to find the “perfect spot” to watch the day begin. My pictures don’t do justice to the magnificence of the Canyon, but I did manage to capture a few good shots.
And yes, later in the day as we were hiking, an elk wandered up to a public drinking fountain to have a sip of water. A park visitor was happy to give this big animal a slurp before moving on.
We had a great time traveling with our grown children. Now we have our free “lifetime” National Park pass. As senior citizens it cost us a big ten bucks. Who knows where we will go next…
“Grandma, your game doesn’t have a trapezoid shape.”
“There’s another tricky shape I know. It has a point at the top and then another one on the side (she drew this in the air).” It’s umm, it’s umm, it’s a hexagon.”
OK, how does a grandma respond to this? This conversation was so casual and matter of fact. She and I occasionally play Cookie Jam on my phone. She likes to help me match the shapes. I am certain that back in the “olden days,” we learned about a trapezoid in 7th grade geometry. What do they learn in preschool these days?
She quickly moved on to talk about her dolls, Woodzees, bubbles, and all the other things that drift through a three year old’s mind.
At long last I get to begin watching the youngest grandchild, better known as ‘Little D” every Friday. She is the happiest baby and an absolute delight. She’s now almost 7 months old now and embraces life with gusto. She’s always up for a walk at the bay or to simply watch the pinwheels go round and round in the backyard. Like all babies, if it fits in her mouth it is her new favorite toy.
Forget the bottle, she just wants food. She loves it all; homemade, store-bought, or a combo. But you do have to be prepared, because once she’s in the high chair, you had better be ready to start feeding and have plenty on hand. She loves eating.
Retirement is so great. I love my tutoring days, I love my golfing days (well, when I get back to it), but this is my favorite day of the week. I call it Little D Day. I’m sure there will be many more posts about my adventures with Little D.
Is this not a face to just spend endless hours staring at?
When your grown children call and ask you to watch the grandchildren, you jump at the chance and say, “Well, of course!” Perhaps you are more seasoned at watching two kids at a time than we are, but at first it seemed a bit daunting.
Turned out to be a great evening for Grandpa. He really dug in and started his new retired life with energy and enthusiasm. First job, re-learn how to play Candy Land. “C” had just learned the game, but was eager to teach Grandpa how to move the Gingerbread Man. The conversation went something like this, “Now Grandpa, see first you get a card and see the color. Then you move your man, just like this!” Not bad for a 3 year old!! Of course, grandpa had to carefully watch just how many green squares she moved through! It was great fun to be in the other room and over hear and watch this precious interaction.
As the evening went on Dan settled in to watch TV. Ha! Not without a kid. Grandpa and little “D” got comfy and watch football. Good times had by all!
Dan also had the privilege of reading the bedtime story (Jungle Book) and helping with bedtime routines. The girls were asleep by 7:15 and Grandpa was snoring by 7:45. Babysitting can be so grueling! What a blessing to live right down the street so we can share in these sweet moments. Grandma Katie waited up for mama and papa to arrive at 9:30. Retirement is grand 🙂