Category: Grandmother

Thanksgiving 2012

November 28th, 2012 — 12:59pm
Luella, Verbena, and Dixon.

Luella (Lulu), Verbena, and Dixon.

Last Thanksgiving, our family was expecting two new babies. This Thanksgiving, we’re all grateful to be on the other side of that expectation. The eleven-month old little people added lots of fun to our gathering, and they also created a little cheerful chaos.

No, my chin is not on fire, but I hope this photo makes you laugh!

Dinnertime: Emily, Andy, Bill, Sue (on fire), Austin, Verbena, and Biz.

Dixon and Lulu politely napped during their first turkey dinner. We missed them and would have loved a whole-group photo, but it was awfully nice for their parents to eat a meal uninterrupted.

A drumstick for Bill from the 19-pound bird.

A drumstick for Bill from the 19-pound bird.

Austin and Biz brought a nineteen-pound Heritage turkey to the feast.  It was our first Heritage bird and we enjoyed it.  The taste was a bit gamey, but naturally very flavorful and we liked thinking of our turkey enjoying its own good life before contributing to our good life.  As Em and Andy always say, when you eat an animal that has been treated well, you absorb their good energy.

Another interesting photo. I wonder if Andy ever eats a warm meal?

Interesting photo. Does Andy ever eat a warm meal?

Son-in-law, Andy, is our family photographer and the capturer of most of our memories. Our times together pass quickly. After everyone leaves, Bill and I are able to revisit them through Andy’s photos. I feel like I’m seeing it all for the first time and yet reliving it again as well!

Verbena helping herself.

Verbena was the first to dig in.

Verbena turned three this past September. She is pretty independent and loves the feeling that she is a “big girl” compared to her brother and cousin. Andy captured Verbena’s independence and her taking charge of her own life in this photo.

Good times that we will always be thankful for.

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April 26th, 2012 — 7:26pm
Verbena's pedicure kit.

Verbena's pedicure kit.

Our two-year-old granddaughter, Verbena, has already been exposed to the world of pedicures. Her mommy and daddy get haircuts at a salon that offers the service, and when Bean goes with them, the lovely Vietnamese ladies whisk her away, sit her on the edge of a chair, and decorate those baby toes. Bean sits patiently, watches intently, and stays in-place through the entire process, including the time it takes for her toes to dry – a miracle!

Because of Verbena’s fascination with pedicures, her mommy made her a pretend nail kit for her Easter basket. Mommy bought eye-catching colors of real nail polish, then she cleaned the brush applicators with polish remover and emptied the liquid polish out of the bottles. The bottles still look like they are filled, because the polish coats the inside of the bottle as it empties and dries. Mommy found a cute tote bag and filled it with the pretend polish, plus some fun accessories.

Verbena brought her new nail kit to church on Easter morning. About midway through the service, she pulled out one of her bottles, opened it, and started to “pretend” paint her fingernails. A woman sitting behind us freaked out and quickly tapped mommy on the shoulder to call attention to what was happening. Mommy assured the nice lady that all was well, and we had a good laugh.

I wondered if Bean would tire of the nail kit because her fingers and toes don’t change color when she uses it, but she hasn’t. She loves playing “grown-up” in all kinds of ways. I loved playing grown-up when I was a child too. My younger brother was the father of my baby dolls, my friends and I played “house,” and I had Barbie marathons with a favorite cousin (just like Bean’s mommy did with one of her friends). It was extremely fun to pretend – a perfect world where every baby was easily soothed, every cake rose, and every Barbie got a date with the handsomest guy, who also happened to be very good and kind.

I don’t know what effect “pretending” has on our development, but the fact that I can remember doing it, must make it important. Perhaps I was acting out inner hopes and wishes for my future? Considering that possibility, I’ll be watching my grandchildren’s play much more closely.

I wish every child many, many care-free days of pretending, because it just doesn’t work when you are an adult.

I think I need a pedicure :)

3 comments » | Grandmother, Thoughts on Life


April 21st, 2012 — 10:17am


On Easter morning, we usually open Easter baskets, have breakfast, zip to church, dash home for a special dinner, do a photo shoot, hunt for eggs, and then our kids pack and get started on their three+ hour rides to Seattle and Portland. Even writing about that schedule makes me out of breath. I was very grateful for suggestions from my girls to change things a bit this year. Duh?

We moved the egg hunt and special dinner to Saturday. Not a big change, but it was great to relax and visit over ham and cheesy potatoes on Saturday evening, enjoying family. Also, I got to be a part of the egg hunt because I wasn’t in the kitchen scrambling to put a meal together. Sunday breakfast was simply frittata and fruit, then we tried a new church which was low key and less crowded. Perhaps feeding off of our calmness, Verbena was a toddler angel through the whole mass, and Dixon napped. Bean joined the church’s egg hunt, and happily shared her candy with a wheelchair-bound young girl. A quick lunch on leftovers (need to work on making that more special) and the kids were on their way home.

I get caught up in doing things the way we have always done them. We have more people in our family now, of varied ages, we don’t all live in the same house/town anymore – things have changed and I have to change. I’m ready for it, especially if it gives me more fun times with those I love. Learning how to be a grandma is tough stuff!

Dixon's first Easter egg hunt.

Dixon's first Easter egg hunt.

Verbena's a pro at egg hunting now!

Verbena - our egg-hunting pro!

Easter morning.

Yum - chocolate for breakfast!

Our family gathering this Easter. Emily, Andy, and Lulu couldn't make it, but they'll have a smoother holiday when they join us next year.

Our family gathering this Easter. (Emily, Andy, and Lulu couldn't make it, but they'll have a smoother holiday when they join us next year.)

1 comment » | Grandmother

Grandma Heaven

February 26th, 2012 — 4:05pm

“Grandma Heaven” is when all your grandchildren are in one place and you are with them. For me, that happened for the first time the weekend before Valentine’s Day.  Two-year old Verbena, her brother, seven-week-old Dixon, and five-week old Lulu rendezvoused at Nana and Papa’s. Burp rags, diapers, and Elmo cups were everywhere, as were mommies, daddies, and babies nursing under tents. Very grateful for the gathering.

The mommies dressed up their babies and chose Nana and Papa’s bed for a photo session. Everyone agreed to abort the picture project if the subjects became unhappy, however, when one baby and then another began screaming, it was rather hilarious. If these pictures had audio, you would not only hear babies crying, but adults laughing too.

Lulu and Dixon singing??

Lulu and Dixon singing??

Verbena joins them, and Lulu gets it together to act like her older cousin.

Verbena joins in and Lulu notices.



The "mommies" jump in at the end.

Mommies and their babies.

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January 29th, 2012 — 11:51am
Lulu and some of her faces.

Lulu and some of her faces.

Our newest granddaughter, Luella Jane, arrived at 7:14 PM on January 5th, six days later than her December 30th due date. Lulu was a solid 8.1 pounds (exactly what her mom weighed at birth) and 21 inches long. Papa and I heard her first cry and her parents’ overwhelming joy at finally seeing the daughter they had been waiting for. Mommy and daddy chose the beautiful names, Luella Jane, because beautiful women in daddy’s family also had those names. However, until she can decide for herself what she wants to be called, they are calling her Lulu.

Lulu is the perfect nickname for her. At three weeks, her expressions already seem filled with mischief. Lulu faces are captured primarily by her daddy, a photographer, and even though she can’t see very clearly at this age, she appears to know that the big dark blob and it’s occasional “flash” mean at least one of her parents are near and she’s okay with it.

Holding new life is holding a miracle, and I’ve been privileged to hold two miracles since the end of December. While in my arms, I explored every crease, curve, and crevice of their faces, and I watched their every move and reaction. What was I looking for? I was searching for a glimpse of the people they will become, hints of their future selves, whom I am eager to know. However, just like everyone else, I’ll have to wait for that.

All three grandchildren will come to Nana and Papa’s the middle of February – a friend of mine refers to this phenomenon as “grandma heaven.” I love the phrase! It will be our first time hosting three grandchildren and their mommies and daddies. I’ll let you know how it goes.

6 comments » | Grandmother

Verbena Gets a Brother

December 30th, 2011 — 11:04am
Verbena and her new baby brother, Dixon Joseph.

Verbena and her new baby brother, Dixon.

On December 20th, Verbena officially became a big sister. Dixon Joseph joined the family at 9.12 pounds, 21 inches long. When he is not sleeping, Dixon calmly looks around, assessing his new environment, with a piercing focus. He doesn’t flinch a bit when his whirlwind sister runs up to tickle his chin, kiss his cheek, or grab a quick hug.  He’s a strong little guy and mostly silent, except when he wants to eat or burp.  His parents hope this demeanor hangs around for a while.

Papa and I cared for Verbena while mommy and daddy welcomed Dixon at the hospital.  When we told 27 month-old Bean that she had a new brother, she cupped her hands in front of her mouth, got wide-eyed, and squealed with excitement.  A couple hours later, all dressed up, Verbena met the little guy that was going to change her life for the better.  Dixon has a big job . . . he will help Bean learn that everyone is important in teeny-tiny, fairly-painless increments through the sharing, caring, and loving that comes with being a sibling. The good news for Verbena is that she has one more person in her life who thinks she is important too.

God bless this little family.

1 comment » | Grandmother

Thanksgiving Weekend

November 29th, 2011 — 10:23am

Here are a few photos from our Thanksgiving weekend. Very grateful that everyone made the trip to Nana and Papa’s.

Verbena made turkey name cards for the table.

Verbena made turkey name cards for the table.

Soooo pretty!

Soooo pretty!

Uncle Andy and Verbena practicing for the dinner-time photo.

Uncle Andy and Verbena practicing for the dinner-time photo.

It's finally time to eat.

Finally time to eat.

Mommy-to-be, Emily, relaxing after dinner.

Mommy-to-be, Emily, relaxing after dinner.

Momma Biz relaxing after dinner.

Momma Biz also relaxing.

Verbena and her Papa.

Verbena and her Papa.

Verbena and her Dada.

Verbena and her Dada.

Emily and Andy.

Emily and Andy.

Biz, Austin, Verbena, and Otis-the-dog.

Biz, Austin, Verbena, and Otis-the-dog.

My favorite outtake of our family photo.

My favorite outtake of our family photo.

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Thanksgiving Prep – Dixon Style, Day #3

November 24th, 2011 — 8:29am
Sweet dough, pecan pie, and cranberry relish done.

Sweet dough, pecan pie, and cranberry relish.

Bill found some flowers and greens in our yard for the table.

Bill found flowers and greens in the yard.

Table is set.

Table set.

Cinnamon rolls ready for Thanksgiving breakfast.

Cinnamon rolls ready for breakfast.

A margarita while waiting for our kids to arrive.

Waiting for our kids to arrive.

Look organized, don’t we?  I’m shocked we pulled it off.  We’ve had our mishaps . . . and a few intense conversations. For the last three days it’s been all about Thanksgiving and we feel ready. Of course, there were two of us working on it this year.  Waiting for Verbena to get up, so the fun can begin!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

1 comment » | Grandmother

Thanksgiving Prep – Dixon Style, Day #2

November 22nd, 2011 — 7:47pm
The turkey and tofurky are thawing.

Turkey and tofurky thawing.

We cleaned out and Bill took a load to Goodwill.

Donated to Goodwill.

Cleaned up a bit.

Cleaned up.

Day #2 brandy and egg nog toast.

Another brandy and egg nog toast.

So far, the brandy and egg nog toasts are the favorite part of the day :) Visited with my hospice patient today and met with an old treasured friend. A bit more cleaning to do and lots of cooking planned for tomorrow. Grateful for Bill’s help.  Can’t wait for family to arrive . . . even if we aren’t ready.

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Thanksgiving Prep – Dixon Style, Day #1

November 21st, 2011 — 7:38pm
Make a menu.

Menu planning.

Bentley visits the groomer.

Bentley visits the groomer.

Hit the grocery store!

Hitting the grocery store!

Shopping complete!

Shopping complete!

Retrieving our Camry from the Toyota mechanics.

Retrieving our Camry from the mechanics. Bill broke down right in front of the dealership while I was out of town.

Bentley is all set for the holiday :)

Bentley is ready for some turkey!

A brandy and egg nog toast to a productive first day of Thanksgiving preparations!

Toasting day's end and preparation progress with brandy and egg nog!

I’ve been out of town for almost a month. Woke up this morning freaked that I couldn’t make Thanksgiving happen for my family by Thursday. Decided to invite my old friend “Humor” to help with preparations. Met the nicest people today.  As we attempted to take our own picture in front of the grocery store, a helpful lady offered to do it for us.  WinCo was super busy! It cracks me up that you can’t see a car or another patron in that picture. Relying on “Humor” to get us through day two, as well.

2 comments » | Grandmother

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