Not ANOTHER Snowstorm!

Holy Moly!  The Commander told me this morning that another snowstorm is headed our way.  Snow is to begin this afternoon and then get heavier tomorrow with 4-6 inches expected on our side of the river and 6-12 inches expected on the other side of the river.  What always makes it tricky is that we live less than a mile from the river (the mighty Susquehanna River) so it could go either way where we are.  That being said, the logs are stacked in the fireplace and we’re ready to gather around with hot cocoa and watch the snow fall.  Actually, that’s our gas fireplace so the logs are fake but the effect is still lovely.  I can’t say as much for the snow at this point.  We were just starting to see some grass in spots here.  Oy!

In the meantime, I’ll console myself with the fact that my new spinning wheel, a Schacht Matchless DT is scheduled to be delivered today.  I’ve checked the UPS tracking and it made it to the distribution center right across the river yesterday so it should be on the truck today.  I’ve been busy spinning, in the meantime, on the Louet Victoria.  The more I spin on that little beauty, the more I am enjoying it.  For some reason, the height and angle of the orifice is just perfect for me.  I am finding the Lendrum, with it’s downward angle of the orifice, is harder on my back if I’ve been spinning for long periods of time.  Maybe it’s the osteoporosis and the fact that I’m starting to angle downward more now (drat) but there you have it.  With the Victoria, I can comfortably sit back in a variety of different chairs without slouching and still comfortably spin.  Just to give you a physical comparison, I’m around 5 ft. 5 inches tall but my legs are pretty long,  if you are considering buying a Victoria and wondering how it might work for you.

In knitting news, I finished the Julie H. Levy square of the Great American Aran Afghan.  I am almost finished with the Marian Tabler square, which I am knitting in a light brown heathered color.  Tonight I have another class where we will be beginning the Meredith Morioka square.  So slowly but surely our class is working through the squares of this somewhat intimidating afghan.  The trick is definitely to take it one square at a time (and getting pointers in a group setting is a definite plus).

I’ll leave you with a picture of me “entertaining” my little Mika.  I call it “Me and Grumpy.”  I still have the uncanny ability to put my granddaughter into a less than happy mood.  Someone said that this was God’s way of making it easier for me to say “goodbye” to her soon.  It would be so much harder if she were snuggling up to me at every turn and clinging to me.  Right?  Hmmm, I don’t know about that.  I think it’s going to be hard either way.

Well, hopefully tomorrow I’ll have pictures of my new Schacht to show you.  In the meantime, somebody out there has to be enjoying warm, Spring-like weather.  Enjoy it for me.

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Fave Five Yummies and Honeys

Another week has whizzed by and it’s time for my list of Fave Five events of the week.  It was hard to limit myself to five things this week.  I had quite a few good things to report which is always a good thing.  Better to have an abundance of blessings to choose from than to have to make some up, eh?   But I narrowed it down to five so here is my list of Fave Fives for the week.

1.  My little Mika turned 2 months old. This little honey of a grandbaby is growing and changing so quickly.  To celebrate her “big girl” status, her mommy and I went out and bought her some headbands and hairbows and then she had to model them for us.  There should be no doubt now that she is a girl.

2.  Mika met her Aunt Laura for the first time. To celebrate the occasion, our daughter Laura presented Mika with a t-shirt that says “My Aunt Rocks.”  Too cute.  I don’t think Mika looks very impressed in this picture but she really did have a good time giving her aunt the once-over and being held by Laura.  Judging by the smile, I’d say that Aunt Laura enjoyed the time with her niece as well.

3.  I spun some wool today at our spinning guild from the nicest wool I’ve ever had the fun of spinning. This is from the fiber artist BeeMiceElf and the fiber is Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester.  You’ll never believe what the name of the colorway is.  It’s called “Naughty Librarian.”  Isn’t that a hoot?  The fiber comes in a braid that is shown at the bottom of the picture and you can see how it is spinning up.  I can honestly say that this is the easiest wool I’ve ever spun.  It has really been a dream to spin.

4.  Mika and her Great-Grandma Toots were able to spend more time together. I was able to bring my 96-year-old mom home from the nursing home for a visit with the help of my son.  She had a fun reunion with the dog (my previous post) and got to hold Mika for some fun bonding time.  We had a nice lunch of pancakes and bacon which she polished off and we capped off the day with a sing-a-long and an impromptu piano concert.  It was a full day for all of us but a good one.

5.  Mika was dedicated at our church and then thrown a potluck/shower by our church family. Bless her heart, she slept through the whole thing.  She even slept through all the folks who wanted to hold her during the potluck.  It was such a blessing to share our joy at Mika’s safe arrival with our church fellowship.

That was my week.  If you’d like to read the Fave Five’s of others, visit Susanne’s blog at Living to Tell the Story.

It’s Friday and I’m Loving It

Did you notice the new Fave Five logo that Susanne made up for February?  Here I sit, looking out my window at over 20 inches of snow which is still on the ground here in south-central PA and yet it will be Valentine’s Day this weekend.  The sky is blue today and the sun is melting this snow slowly and steadily so Spring surely must be on the way.  So I’m feeling the love today for my five Fave Friday musings.

1.  I’m enjoying reading the Facebook entries today telling how couples first met. I guess because this is Valentine’s weekend, a lot of folks have been posting pictures of themselves early on in their relationships and telling how they met their spouses.  The Commander and I met on the island of Crete over Labor Day weekend in 1978.  I had flown over there with a friend from our base on the Greek mainland to enjoy some sightseeing and we were staying in the officer quarters on the Commander’s base while in Crete.  He had heard that two single female officers had arrived on his base and he sauntered over to check us out.  You see, there were no single female officers stationed there.  Well, there were no single male officers stationed on my base so I was kind of in the same boat, so to speak.  Neither of us had anyone we could easily date.  Guess he liked what he saw because less than a year later, we were married at my base and we’ve been together now for over 30 years.

2.  I’m loving watching Mika’s fascination with Mr. Owl. She is loving sitting in her bouncy chair and for some reason, out of all the little animals that hang down from the bar over her chair, she adores Mr. Owl.  She is absolutely mesmerized by him and breaks out into big smiles as she gazes at his face.  He’s the blue fellow in the middle, by the way.

3.  I’m praising God for a “good report” from my annual cancer check-up today. It’s always a stressful time each year when I have to go in for my annual follow-up after having breast cancer almost 20 years ago.  Yet God is faithful and has blessed me with another good report so I’m not scheduled to go back for another year, as long as my chest xray and further blood tests all come back normal.

4.  I’m thrilled that Mika already enjoys being read to so much. I love books and it just warms my heart to see our son read to her and to watch her respond  with such interest and enthusiasm to the pages.  I think we have a miniature “Booklassie” here.

5.  I’m getting a little better at learning to soothe Mika when she’s fussy. We seem to be reaching an understanding.  I’ve discovered that she’ll usually quiet down if I swing her back and forth as I sing “Rock-a-Bye, Baby”.  I’ve perfected the bent leg, bendable baby tummy maneuver that my son showed me.   She’s not totally freaking out anymore whenever she turns around and sees me.  So I think there may be hope for this Nana yet.

What are your “fave five” things from this past week?  To read about what others are writing about, visit Susanne’s site at “Living to Tell the Story.”

Nana’s Fave Fives

It’s Friday already and I can’t believe how the time has flown.  My goodness, who knew that having a baby in the house would accelerate the clock so.  And yet, here it is time for the Fave Five list already and I just looked up at the clock and saw that it was almost suppertime and I hadn’t even posted yet today.  Yikes.  So guess I’d better get busy.  Here are the Fave Five events from “Hot-Flashed Nana’s” house today:

1.  Our son and family arrived safely from Canada this week. Yes, Nana got to hold little Mikayla for the first time late Monday evening.  As you can see from the picture, I was certainly excited and Mika wasn’t too sure what to make of this strange lady.  Let the fun begin!

2.  Mika got to meet her great-grandmother for the first time (and vice versa). It’s not every day that a six week old little girl and a 96-year-old whippersnapper get to bond together.  It was truly a special moment.  Mika managed to sleep through the entire meeting, even when Mom’s hold almost ended up with Mika’s feet pointing north and her head pointing south.

3.  Taking turns holding our granddaughter – Proud PawPaw couldn’t get enough of looking at that darling little girl asleep in his arms.  Nana, on the other hand, has been the official waker-upper.  It seems if I hold her, she wakes up and starts fussing a lot of the time.  I think it must be because I am just too exciting for a newborn, eh?  Although, she does seem to enjoy me marching around the house with her, swaying her back and forth and singing “Rock-a-bye, Mika” and other arrangements.  I’m also having a lot of fun when we put her in the bouncy seat and I get to do the “voices” of the three little stuffed animals that are hanging from the handle.  Rocky Raccoon, Olly the Owl, and Howie the Hedgehog have quite a rivalry going trying to vie for Mika’s attentions.

4.  I’m relieved that I still remember how to change a baby. After all, it’s been about 24 years since I changed a diaper.  But today I changed Mika’s dirty diaper and we both survived.  Although I will admit that I was a tad puzzled as to why the tabs seemed to be going from the front to the back until I realized that I had the diaper reversed and needed to turn it around.  Well, I still remembered the one-handed leg lift so I made short order of lifting that little bum and getting the diaper set to rights.  Mika seemed none the worse for wear and I would have given myself a pat on the back but I decided that perhaps it would be wiser to wash my hands instead.

5.  Celebrating Christmas for the third time with Jason, Laura and Mika – It was so much fun to watch the kids unwrap the things I had knit or sewn for Mika.  And then there were the felted mice slippers.  I didn’t make these.  I purchased them from a very talented lady on Etsy.  I’ve been just dying to see them on Mikayla.  Last evening, when we opened presents, we  got to snap a picture of them on Mika.  I know that she doesn’t look too impressed in this photo but trust me, they are as cute as can be and just perfect for such a cute little munchkin.  Someday she’ll thank her Nana for such an “Awwww” moment.

And that’s the news from our home.  What are your fave five moments from this past week?  To share yours or to read what others are writing, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.  And now we’re going to go sit by the fire and enjoy the lights of the Christmas tree while the snow falls outside (which is #6 technically, but there’s nothing like a good blizzard to get this Midwesterner smiling).

Calming That Cranky Baby

Yesterday I mentioned that my initial tries at helping Jason and Laura soothe Mikayla and settle her to sleep were anything but successful.  No matter what I tried, it wasn’t working.  In the past, I’ve been pretty good at distracting children out of a funk but now that I think about it, I have to admit that these have been children who are toddlers and are easily captivated by someone who is super animated, a bit over-the-top, and who easily slips into the world of make-believe.  A six-week-old just wasn’t quite seeing the vision here.  The “Richard Simmons” approach just wasn’t working.  My grandmotherly morale was sinking faster than the thermometer outside.

That was when I decided to turn to Plan B.  Several weeks earlier, I had been mentioning to the members of our Sunday School class that my granddaughter was  having trouble sleeping for any length of time and seemed to be having problems with gas. Of course, one does need to keep in mind that there’s a reason that her Great-Grandma Loose is called “Grandma Toots.”  I’m not exactly ADMITTING the condition is hereditary, but there’s a strong possibility.  Anyway, after class, another new grandma came up to me and told me about a book that her daughter had purchased that she now raved about for calming babies.  It was called “The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer” by Harvey Karp.  My friend said that once her daughter started using the techniques in the book, her baby had begun to sleep for long periods during the night.  I was intrigued.

I went up on Amazon and read the reviews of the book and boy, were they positive.  That was all I needed.  I ordered the book, DVD, AND the CD with soothing sounds right on the spot.  So I had all three things here once the kids arrived.  After that first cranky night, my daughter-in-law suggested we watch the DVD and we all trooped downstairs to view it.  I had told them ahead of time that when I had briefly flipped through the book, I’d seen that one of the doctor’s recommendations was to swaddle your baby.

“Oh, Mikayla won’t go for that,” my son said.  “She hates to be swaddled.  If I try to cover up her arms, she starts to scream.”

Well, there we sat, watching the doctor in action in a room full of young mothers with their new babies.  And there were some corkers in that room who were anything but placid babes.  Yet, with each one, he would demonstrate his recommended techniques and they would calm down just like magic.  Before you knew it, their eyes would be closing and no more screaming!  Wow!  And the beauty of his methods are that they are simple, logical and easily followed.  And they work!  As the credits rolled, my son turned to his wife and said, “We’re trying this tonight.”

I’m here to tell you that Dr. Karp’s techniques worked on Mika.  We followed what he suggested and she calmed right down AND she slept.  It was nothing short of amazing.  I’m not going to write here what each of the steps are because that wouldn’t be fair to the author.   But I will say that if you or your adult child has a newborn baby who is cranky or seems to be colicky, buy his book or DVD.  The DVD will give you a quick enough demonstration of the techniques that you will be able to do them that same day.  The book goes into a deeper explanation of why the techniques work.  You can read the reviews of the CD to see if you might find it useful.  My kids are using it when they have Mika down sleeping.  This is one new grandmother who, along with Mika’s parents, says “Thank you, Dr. Karp, from the bottom of our hearts.

Look Who’s Here!

Look who arrived the other day!  Our granddaughter, Mikayla and our son and daughter-in-law.  Isn’t that just grand?  They flew in late Monday evening and we were waiting at the airport to pick them up.  Mika was a great little traveler.  In fact, she slept most of the way from the West Coast to the East Coast.  Unfortunately, that was during the daytime which meant that she was ready to be up and at ‘em during the wee hours.

I tried to be of help that first night.  I really did.  But Mika wasn’t having any of it.  Our son tried to show me her favorite positions to be comforted but despite my best jiggling and juggling and shussing and hugging, she’d take one look at me and contort that pretty little face and we’d be off to the races.  I flashed back to those early weeks with our first baby.  She was a really fussy one and the Commander would say to me, “Just relax.  She can sense that you are tense.”  Oh, boy!  “Just relax.”  Those have got to be two of the most useless words in the English language.  They’ve only had the reverse effect on me.

So when I finally crawled off to bed around 3:15 a.m., I wasn’t feeling too confident in my grandmothering skills.  I had really hoped that I’d be able to give Jason and Laura some relief by entertaining the baby so that they could relax and restore their energy banks.  Instead, here was my son telling ME to head off to bed because I looked exhausted and I needed some sleep.  Oy!

Well, he was beat, too so he finally did what all good dads do…..turned Mika over to her mother to be nursed and finally put down for a bit of sleep.  Thank goodness that they all got a little bit of rest.

Our first full day together dawned and up I popped, determined to be a much better helper on my second attempt.  Strike Two!  I tried the “over the shoulder,” the “walk and sway,” the “football hold,” nursery songs, and was even contemplating breaking out into some Broadway tunes but nothing doing.  About the only thing I was successful in was identifying when she had a dirty diaper.  At least there was some consolation.  We were all pretty much striking out at calming her down except for her feeding times (and she wouldn’t be related to me if she didn’t like to eat).

So last evening, we decided to watch a DVD that I had purchased before the kids arrived, on the recommendation of a fellow new grandmother.  It’s called “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp, M.D.  It contains soothing techniques that are supposed to be almost magical yet simple.  We watched the whole thing in astonishment.  The DVD featured actual new mothers with their babies and by golly, these techniques were working right in front of our eyes.  When I went to bed last night, Jason and Laura were going to give the techniques a try, including the white noise from the accompanying CD I had purchased.  You’ll have to catch my blog tomorrow to read what happened.

Our Little Canadian

It looks like everything is on track for the arrival of our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, Mika.  Mika’s birth certificate finally arrived so that the passports could be applied for and received.  That means, Lord willing, I’ll be hugging Jason and Laura and holding that precious grandchild tomorrow night.  But who would have thought that my little sweet pea would already be showing activist tendencies at such a young age?  She must have inherited it from me, a child of the Sixties.  I admit that I never actually participated in a protest during the Sixties although I did once sit out on the Student Commons and cheer on some students who had taken over the university’s president’s office.  And I’ve participated in boycotts over the years but that’s about as radical as I get.  Quirky?  Now that’s another story.  But here’s our newest little Canadian holding her own passport.  May it see you safely on many grand adventures, little Mika!