Category: Grandmother

A Verbena Visit

August 17th, 2011 — 12:30pm

Sharing a few photos from Verbena’s visit to Nana and Papa’s last week.

Out to lunch with Mommy and Nana.

Out to lunch with mommy and nana.

Papa always has to measure her.  Verbena has grown two inches since Easter.

Two inches taller since Easter!

Some time was spent at the playground.

Time at the playground.

Verbena and Papa pick blueberries.

Picking blueberries.

Another lunch out with Mommy and Nana.  Verbena loves Mexican food!

Mexican food, yum!

Big girl haircut.

Big girl haircut.

Coloring time with Papa.

A little left-handed coloring.

Sometimes you need your shades first thing in the morning!

Shades first thing in the morning!

Papa made Bean a play house.

A cardboard play house.

Bean and Papa toasting with frozen yogurt.  Cheers!

Cheers! A frozen-yogurt toast to a great visit!

5 comments » | Grandmother

Verbena Has Her Own Style

May 3rd, 2011 — 9:24am

My granddaughter, Verbena, went with mommy and daddy to get ice cream on Friday EVENING. As with many toddlers, Bean has realized that she can choose what she wears, and she’s quite insistent once she makes her choice. Friday night’s attire was a winter hat, quilted purple jacket, and yellow, flower-shaped, sunglasses.

Great place to watch what's happening, but how much can she see with those sunglasses?

Great place to watch what's happening, but how much can she see?

With sunglasses perched perfectly on her nose, Verbena sat serenely in her car seat for the whole trip downtown.  Miss Bean and the “glasses” toddled into the shop and got comfy in a stool at the counter to wait for dessert to arrive.  When the creamy treat comes, the outfit doesn’t affect her ability to enjoy it . . . at all!

This laugh brought to you by Verbena and her patient parents. I want this in a 5x7.

This laugh brought to you by Verbena and her patient parents. I want this in a 5x7.

The shop lighting does look bright. Perhaps, it was a good idea to wear those sunglasses.  Also, very wise to keep your head warm in case you get that head rush, which is common with freezing cold ice cream. What a brilliant child!

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Verbena’s Second Ash Wednesday

March 10th, 2011 — 8:51am
Verbena waiting for mass to begin.

Verbena waiting for mass to begin.

Last year, Verbena and I attended mass on Ash Wednesday, just the two of us. Bean was about five months old. I remember the preparations before we left home to make the 8 AM mass. I remember wheeling her into church in her stroller, hoping that device would give me extra hands. I remember juggling her throughout mass trying to keep her happy, and I remember the kind and caring churchgoers that cheered us on. Ash Wednesday is a treasured tradition for me.  I felt so grateful that I was able to attend that day with my precious new granddaughter.  Getting ashes in 2010 will probably always be my most favorite.

Verbena enjoying her view of the baptismal pool.

Verbena enjoying her view of the baptismal pool.

This year, Bean attended mass with her mommy. What a difference a year makes!  She walked into church all by herself and, for a good while, sat in her pew like a “little catholic angel” (her mom’s words).  Bean enjoyed watching the school children file in, and the school children enjoyed Verbena’s giggle at a very quiet moment in the mass. Verbena refrained from swimming in the baptismal pool, but she never gave up asking if she could, from time to time. Mommy was pleasantly surprised by the ease of the whole experience.

A perfect little "Catholic" angel.

A perfect little "Catholic" angel.

Verbena’s abilities and behavior at this time are just part of a normal year’s growth and development for a toddler, but it feels phenomenal to the family that loves her. Watching Verbena become Verbena is a movie we don’t tire of. Old traditions like Ash Wednesday feel brand new when you view them through the eyes of a young person. Their reactions are not predictable, and their reactions are very honest, which adds a lot of fun to everything.

I wonder what Verbena is giving up for Lent?

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Christmas With Verbena

January 3rd, 2011 — 12:36pm
Left to Right: Grandpa Bill, Auntie Em, Uncle Andy, Aunt Emilee, Daddy, Mommy, Verbena, and Grandma Susie

Left to Right: Grandpa Bill, Auntie Em, Uncle Andy, Aunt Emilee, Daddy, Mommy, Verbena, and Grandma Susie.

Verbena with her Daddy and Mommy.

Verbena with her Daddy and Mommy.

Verbena with Auntie Em.

Verbena with Auntie Em.

Verbena practicing being a mommy.

Verbena practicing being a mommy.

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December 2nd, 2010 — 10:50am
Our Nativity awaiting the arrival of Christmas Eve and Verbena. Notice anything unusual?

Our Nativity where Mary and Joseph are waiting for baby Jesus to be delivered by Verbena on Christmas Eve. Notice anything unusual in the scene?

I’m stuck. Winter came early in eastern Washington. It started snowing the Monday before Thanksgiving, then came freezing rain, more snow, more freezing rain, and on and on.  With a week of freezing temperatures to boot, I’m keeping my new hip far away from icy sidewalks and streets. So, I’ve started Christmas stuff.

I set up our Nativity yesterday. The baby Jesus is missing because He arrives on Christmas Eve. This year, Verbena will be the person that places Him in the manger, and you can’t imagine how excited I am to see that happen. We take a little license with our manger set up to make it more personal. Thought the scene might give you a chuckle.

Children do make the holidays extra special. Every year, at this time, I read daily meditations from an Advent book written by Lutheran women in 1946. One of my favorites is about how God loved little children and desired that all people become like them because “children are still capable of getting bigger, growing. Children are always achieving, always on the way.”  That is a part of childhood we can keep forever. I love the phrase the Lutheran ladies use to describe older children, “Wizened children, wrinkled children, gray-bearded children, any kind of children you can name.” Hoping that you find their words as inspiring as I do. Let the holidays begin!

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Verbena and Her Buddies

October 15th, 2010 — 8:22am
Verbena and her school buddies.

Verbena in her hat arriving at "The Office."

Verbena attends a wonderful little school, now that mommy is teaching again and Grandma Susie is back home. Verbena’s daddy sometimes takes a photo of Verbena, when he drops her off, and emails them to me. I live for every photo that comes my way.

This morning’s picture is hilarious! Looks like a mini version of “The Office.” Don’t they look happy to see each other? Imagine the conversation . . .

“Can you believe it’s already Friday?”

“No way?”

“Verbena – What are you doing this weekend?”

“I’m going to visit my nana and grandpa. It’s a long ride in the carseat.”

“Will you get to take your toys with you?”

“Nah, nana and grandpa have my mommy and Auntie Em’s old toys. Old toys are cool.”

“Let’s hit the sandbox . . . . .”

Verbena’s own unique personality emerges more each day. Although influenced by her family, her expressions, preferences, abilities, and movements are very different than those she is related to. Sometimes we ask her, “Who are you?”

Nana and grandpa can’t wait for you to get here, Verbena. We’ve already got the old toys out :)

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One Year Old Verbena!

September 23rd, 2010 — 10:08am
Happy Birthday, Verbena!

Happy Birthday, Verbena!

On Sunday, September 19th, friends and family gathered to celebrate Verbena’s first birthday. Amazingly, Verbena appeared to enjoy the festivities and she LOVED her new toys! Long after most guests had gone home, Verbena entertained us by playing with her new stuff. A human’s first year of growth is phenomenal. Barely able to suck milk in the beginning, they grow to eating independently, drinking out of a cup, crawling, walking, speaking a few distinguishable words, and understanding much of what is spoken to them.

When I hang out with Verbena these days, she’s more like a buddy. I call her, she comes to me. I ask for something, she usually gives it to me. When she eats, she wants to feed me too (not my favorite – but still cute). She brings books to me when she wants to be read to and raises her arms to be picked up on my lap. We play games like “Door” where she hides behind a door and when she opens it, my face is right there and she screams and laughs and tries to push my face away. She’s always on the look out for an unattended cell phone. She grabbed my phone this weekend, and ran from room to room carrying the phone above her head, laughing while I tried to catch her. To get the phone away, I traded her the TV remote.  She took the remote, walked back into the family room, and pointed it at the TV like she was trying to change a channel.

Verbena has only been with us a year, yet it seems like there was never a time when she wasn’t with us. That’s what love does, expands to encompass more, and makes the more such a part of you, it’s as familiar as your own hand. We love you, Verbena.

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Thank God and Dolley Madison

August 24th, 2010 — 11:06am
Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison

This morning grandpa Bill entered the kitchen and announced “Today is the day God and Dolley Madison saved our country!” He was referring to the event we all learned about in grade school where Dolley, wife of President James Madison, gathered artifacts, documents, and the famed Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, and fled as British troops invaded during the War of 1812. The Queen’s army eventually burned the Capital building, Treasury building, White House, and more. God comes into play because high winds, rain, and a freak tornado, forced the Brits to flee the city. The date and event is embedded in grandpa Bill’s brain because he is a history buff, and had also done a paper on the subject in school.

Finding the story interesting, I did a little research. With a little variance in detail, it does appear that Dolley did supervise the loading of wagons with important historic artifacts and even planned ahead for preserving the portrait. In her own letter to her sister the day before Washington was burned, Dolly ordered that the painting be removed: “Our kind friend Mr. Carroll has come to hasten my departure, and is in a very bad humor with me, because I insist on waiting until the large picture of General Washington is secured . . .”

There’s also proof of the weather.  An online excerpt from the book “Washington Weather” by authors Kevin Ambrose, Dan Henry and Andy Weiss, says this: ”The tornado tore through the center of Washington and directly into the British occupation. Buildings were lifted off of their foundations and dashed to bits. Other buildings were blown down or lost their roofs. Feather beds were sucked out of homes and scattered about. . . British troops wasted no time in abandoning Washington after the storm hit.”

Dolley was so much more than than a wagon-loader. Several sites credit her with a shrewd political sense. She hosted weekly receptions where anyone and everyone was invited. Elijah Mills, a senator from Massachusetts, complained that she mixed “all classes of people…greasy boots and silk stockings.” She worked to unite her husbands enemies as well as his friends. When President Madison dismissed his secretary of state, Robert Smith, she invited him to dinner; when he failed to accept she went and called on him personally.  The Madisons had a very happy marriage for about 42 years.

Unfortunately, Dolley’s son from her first marriage (she was widowed), John Payne Todd, was a gambler and his debts depleted the family’s resources. Congress appropriated $30,000 and later an additional $25,000 to purchase the Madison papers to help Dolley out after James Madison passed away. Dolley died in 1849.

So that’s what I did today.

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The Many Faces of Verbena!

August 19th, 2010 — 7:35am

Here are some photos of Verbena just being Verbena. Hope that you enjoy them. Eleven months old today!

Verbena's big smile!

"My biggest smile!'

I know exactly where the camera is!

"I know exactly where the camera is!"

"I'm having fun!"

"Get this shot, grandpa!"

"Life is good!"

"This is fun!"

"I need to rest and grandma loves to snuggle."

"I need some snuggle time, now."

2 comments » | Grandmother

Inherited Traits?

August 17th, 2010 — 9:18am
Verbena's grump look.  Notice the eyebrow action.

Verbena's grump look. Notice the eyebrow action.

Verbena visited grandpa and I a couple of weekends ago and she brought with her the “grump” face. If life wasn’t going her way, we got the look, no tears just a very cute and definite scowl, mostly defined by severely scrunched eyebrows. It was a familiar look that I had seen before, but couldn’t quite place until Verbena’s daddy labeled it the “grandpa Bill” look.  (Thank goodness I wasn’t the first to notice the similarity.)

There’s no guessing when grandpa Bill is unhappy. We’ve all experienced the “eyebrows” and it’s possible Verbena has inherited them. Bean might have more of grandpa Bill in her, too. She is very safety conscious for an eleven-month old.  She doesn’t entirely trust your grasp when you carry her, she clings tightly on her own. Like grandpa Bill, she appears to be thinking about possible risks and prepares for them. Where did this awareness come from?

Grandpa Bill's eyebrows in action. (Isn't he a good sport to let me do this?)

Grandpa Bill's eyebrows in action. (He's a very good sport about this.)

It’s a little early to tell if Verbena’s use of her eyebrows to communicate displeasure and her tendency to be safe is permanent. However, if the life motto she chooses for her high school yearbook is “Safety doesn’t take a vacation,” we’ll know for certain that Bean is grandpa Bill’s kindred spirit.

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