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.”


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.

Ain’t Singing the Blues!

It’s January, a month when the blues can easily catch up with a person.  I recently received an email from a friend with pictures of real letters that children had written to God.  One was asking God to please throw in another holiday after December because things get a little bleak between Christmas and Easter.  Yes, January is when the “gales of November” become the “howls of winter” and any sane person battens down the hatches, grabs some hot cocoa, a good book, a down comforter and stays indoors.  It’s not my favorite month.  But nevertheless, this was a good week and since it is Friday and time for a “Fave Five” recap, here are my highlights.

1.  I received a shipment of glorious fiber to spin up from a very talented fiber artist. Bee Mice Elf has an Etsy shop where she sells colorful concoctions of fiber for spinning like the beauty on the right.  What is even greater is that the name of the colorway of this particular wool is Naughty Librarian.  As soon as I saw it and saw the name of it, I knew that I had to have it.  How perfect is that name for a booklover who has retired from library work?  I’m going to have fun spinning this up into yarn and even more fun knitting it into something to wear.  Just knowing the name of it will have me chuckling whatever I make out of it.

2.  Mika’s quilt is all finished. I’m particularly happy with how the blue binding just sets off the whole quilt.  I think it brightens it right up.  And the bright green backing with little swirls in the colors from the front really adds to the cheerfulness of this little quilt.  I had lots of fun when I was quilting it by quilting words on the quilt.  She’ll certainly never see them now but as she gets older, she’ll have fun trying to pick out where I quilted such words as “Meow, Moo, Yarn, Knit, Cow, Woof, Nana, PawPaw, and We Love Mika.”  I also quilted different qualities that I hope she will grow up to have on the sashes, such as “Joy”, “Compassion”, “Peace”, and “Laughter.”

3.  My new exercise hoop arrived today. If you read one of my earlier posts from several weeks ago, you’ll know that my first attempt at obtaining an exercise hoop ended in disaster when it came all folded up and when I tried to uncoil it, I ended up putting a bad kink in it.  This time, I ordered from another company and ordered a collapsible hoop that came gently coiled, not folded.  I also put it in a sunny room and let it warm up before I tried to uncoil and snap the ends together.  Voila!  I didn’t break it.  And what’s more……I can hula hoop.  Yes, despite the fact that I haven’t done any serious hula hooping since my high school years (many moons ago), I got that hoop spinning and kept it up.  I even walked around the room with it going.  Yay!  I’m telling you, it is a workout just doing that much.  Wait until I start doing hoop dancing routines.  Oh yeah, baby!

4.  I finished my Mondo Cable Shell and it fits.  It’s a miracle.  Usually when I finish a knitted top, I don’t like how it fits.  But this pattern is just right.  It doesn’t gap around the armholes, it isn’t too low at the neckline, and it isn’t clinging tightly anywhere.  I had envisioned wearing it over a t-shirt but I think I could easily wear it just like this in hot weather and it would do fine.  You can’t really see the big cables running down the center because the yarn is pretty busy but they came out nicely, too.  I’ll definitely be using this pattern again but will probably pick a different yarn in a solid or semi-solid color that would show off the textured pattern more.

5.  With my spunky new hairdo, I’m thrilled to see that my granddaughter is taking after her Nana. Actually, I did cut my hair and when my son sent me this latest pic of Mika and her lovely head of hair looking so much like my own hairdo, I couldn’t resist a little fun with my photo editing software to give her a pair of matching “specs.”  Apologies to my little sweet pea.

What were your fave fives this week?  Pop over to Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story and see what others are listing for their top five highlights this week.

Preparing the Nest

Okay, it dawned on me that I probably should have some supplies on hand for changing a baby in preparation for my granddaughter’s arrival so I gathered some boxes of wipes, earth-friendly cleaning spray safe for use around babies (and yes, I know I don’t spray it on their bottoms), deodorant capsules to go in the diaper pail, and waterproof pads to put down on the makeshift changing table.

The next thing I realized was that babies need to be bathed rather regularly so I’d best come up with something that the kids could use while here.  I know they could probably use a folded up towel in the bathtub in a pinch but this was so cute and a reasonable price so I thought, “Why not?”  Plus it folds up flat so that will be great for their cross-country drive from PA to Texas with the baby.

I figured that I’d better have some place for them to put the soiled diapers after they change the baby.  Years ago, when my mum was living with us and using diapers herself, I had bought a Diaper Genie but I had returned it pretty quickly because I couldn’t figure the darn thing out.  This version is one that I know I can handle.  And of course we have a travel bed for the baby which will also be handy as they travel around the country.

I’ve been working hard these past few days at emptying out the two dressers in the guest room and both closets so that they will have plenty of room to put their clothes and other things they might be bringing along with them.  Heaven help me when I try to find it all after they leave.  Of course it did give me a good push to go through clothes that had been in closets for several years and not worn and now those have been taken to donation centers.

The Commander has been busy taking all the old padding and upholstery off my old rocking chair and putting in new padding and new upholstery.  This old rocker was my grandmother’s and it has particular sentimental value to me.  You see, I rocked and nursed my son in this rocker.  And now his daughter will be rocked and nursed in this old chair.  Life comes around full circle, doesn’t it?

So I think I’m fairly well prepared now for the upcoming arrival of son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby.  I still have these little jolts when I get the feeling that I should be cramming , my nose buried in Dr. Spock’s manual or whatever it is they use these days.  Hopefully I haven’t forgotten whatever skills I possessed as a mother of young infants.  So what am I missing?

Oh, that’s right!  We’re missing the baby!  But it won’t be long now.  And I can hardly wait to see all three of them.

Five Things I’m Thankful For With a Child in Labor

Here it is Friday evening and I’m just getting around to posting my Fave Friday list.  I was purposely holding off, hoping to have baby news to post but alas, our grandbaby has yet to make an appearance.  Boy, I used to drag out my own 24-hour in-hospital hard labor war story when women would be trading tales of childbirth but no longer.  Nope!  My daughter-in-law has topped that and must hold the new record.  She went into the hospital Wednesday morning to be induced.  Well, it is now Friday evening around 6:30 p.m. and she is still in labor, bless her heart.  I think that she’s up to about 66 hours or more now.   If this goes on much longer, I will not only be sleep-deprived but have eaten everything in the house from sheer nerves.  But in all this, I can list five things that I’m mighty thankful for during this.

1.  Internet in labor rooms – We didn’t have that when I was birthing babies.  Goodness, we didn’t even have cellphones back then.  But thanks to the fact that there is internet service available in the hospital where the kids are, our son has been able to send out fairly regular updates to both families.

2.  Facebook – It has been very handy to be able to give brief updates through the “status” feature on my home page so that my friends can see what is happening just as soon as I type in the update.

3.  Email – I’ve been sending out email updates for those who aren’t up on Facebook which has been keeping the phone free for that all-important call, when it finally comes.

4.  Smart phones that are web-enabled – This really ties in with the first three things.  Life has been going on out here in Pennsylvania despite the baby drama being played out on the West Coast so I’ve had to be on the road for this meeting or that class or function.  It is so nice to be able to check my email from my phone whenever I hear that little chime that means new email has arrived.  I can also post on Facebook from my phone, send email, and of course, answer the phone, should it ever ring.  And I can send and receive text messages which is also a quick way to update family and friends without tying up the phone.

5.  The many family and friends who are praying for our daughter-in-law, son, and little grandchild. Knowing that so many are bathing this little family in prayer means so much to me.  It’s easy to feel helpless being so far from the situation but that’s just when I need to remind myself that my Father, the Great Physician is right there beside them and has been all along.  He has it under control.

If you’d like to read what others are writing about for their Fave Friday posts, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.

Five Ways You Know You’re Soon Going to Be a Grandma

It’s Fave Friday once again and time for a list of “five.”  In keeping with the fact that I am going to become a grandmother for the first time any day now, I decided to come up with a list of five ways you know you’re soon going to be a grandma.  Now your symptoms might differ from mine if you, too are awaiting the birth of your first grandchild but these are five things I’ve noticed happening with me over the last week or so.

1.  Your heart skips a beat whenever the phone rings, especially at odd hours. Yes, I’ve begun the “phone watch” as I wait and wonder if each incoming call might be “the one.”  Could this call be from our son telling us that the baby has arrived?

2.  Your heart goes into overdrive when you pick up the phone and hear your child’s voice on the other end. Not only am I wondering if each phone call is from the kids but now, when I DO hear Jason or Laura on the other end, I immediately wonder if they are calling from the hospital.

3.  You greet every friend with a “baby status” before you even say “hi.” I’m discovering that most of my friends are first and foremost wanting to know if the baby has arrived yet so I’m just cutting to the chase.  “The baby’s not here yet,” I’m saying as I walk into a room of my friends.  “Laura is still doing great and the baby is starting to move down into position.”  Heads nod, conversations resume, and we all slip back into our normal routines.

4.  You find yourself getting VERY nostalgic and hence, VERY emotional. OK, maybe this is only a symptom that I am experiencing but I’m finding that as the due date is getting closer and closer, I am thinking more and more about the birth of my own children and how my own mother must have felt when I called her with the news of their arrivals.  And that gets me to thinking how quickly the years have flown and how my babies are no longer babies and by then I’m fumbling for the tissues.  Just the other day some very good friends asked me if I was getting excited about the baby, and before you knew it, there I was, tears falling down my cheeks as I was going on about missing my dad (who passed away in 1979, for Pete’s sake)  and how my mom was in the nursing home now and how I was very excited about the baby but how it was just making me very sensitive to the passing of time and the loss of loved ones, etc, etc and my friends were looking at me like I had dropped in from another planet.  Gee whiz.  You’d think I was the one with all the excess hormones and not my daughter-in-law.  I sure hope I don’t go through post-partum depression, too.

5.  You find yourself going up to complete strangers and telling them that you’re going to be a grandmother any day now. In fact, you are managing to work this tidbit of information into quite a few conversations. It doesn’t matter if folks are talking about babies or not.   For example, when a clerk at a local department store rang up my purchase recently for some sheets, I told her “I figured I’d better get them now because when my son and daughter-in-law get here with my first grandchild, which is due any day now, I’m probably not going to have as much time to shop.”   This technique usually leads the other person to make some remark back about your pending grandparent status which gives you the chance to do a little “pre-bragging.”  I consider this to be the grandparent’s equivalent of the pregnant woman’s Braxton-Hicks contractions.  The contractions prepare the mother-to-be for labor and delivery.  “Pre-bragging” prepares the grandparent-to-be to verbally tout all the virtues of their exceptional grandchild.

That’s my list of “five” for this Fave Friday.  If you’d like to read other Fave Five lists or contribute your own post, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.