Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Moving to the Middle

There is nothing like being the baby of the family.  I was for 2 1/2 years, not that I remember any of it except in stories that have taken on a life of their own over the years.  From what I've heard, I was pretty good at the youngest child thing - getting my two elder brother in trouble when they hit back.  I cried like the perfect, innocent little girl I was.  To this day, I'm sure I was framed!  Besides, older brother are supposed to be tough, and I was just doing them a favor.

All too soon my sister arrived, displacing me from my coveted position, and a couple of years after that my baby brother made his appearance, moving me to absolute middle - where I have remained to this day.  It's not such a bad spot, I guess. Everyone gets a shot at being the baby once in their life - the eldest gets both the top and bottom simultaneously.  No fun!  What is the purpose of being the baby if there is no one older to get into trouble?  But only the very special get center stage/place for the rest of their lives!

See that little angel playing with the pinwheel?  Is he so cute or what!  In subsequent pictures, he attempted to eat the pinwheel, which was not nearly as photogenic.  Elijah will turn one this week.  And what a year it has been!  He has learned the joy of both eating and wearing food.  He can moved liked greased lightening when you put him down, and is thrilled to pig pile on his brothers when they are wrestling on the floor.  (Why is the pile of children in the middle of the floor no longer called a "pig pile"?  Or was that just an Iowa phrase?  Or did the swine object and we acquiesced to piggy political correctness?)

As with all babies, it has been a year of firsts - smiles and giggles, bumps and bruises, teeth and words.  And at least one notable last - at the ripe old age of 326 days, Elijah spent his few final hours as baby of the family.  He then moved to the absolute middle of five with the birth of his sisters.

Happy birthday, big brother!  Go easy on your little sisters, but make sure your brothers know you are now one of the big boys!  I love you, Eli!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pink to Red and all Shades Inbetween

I got married at 19 (which might explain why by the age of "39" I now have 8 grandbabies, one of whom will be 10 in a couple of months).  My first son was born when I was 20, the second at 21, and the third when I was a matronly 24.  We moved during my first pregnancy, and actually during the second one, too.  As a result, my belly was never the object of a baby shower - and who gives a shower for a third child, especially when he makes three of a kind?  It was never a deep longing of my heart, just one of those little known oddities that contributes to my...  You know what I mean.

Last week, my bestie, Merry, had a Granma shower for me - a PINK shower, to be exact!  She reasoned that after 3 sons and 5 grandboys, there was not a stitch of pink, nor a doll or princess item in the house.  She knows me well!  I wore my one pink item, which, true to form, borders on fuchsia.  Pastel is a very new addition to my vocabulary, and still a foreign one.  The card from a fellow quilter, was soft and sweet and advised me to keep and use it as a pastel guide in the future.  Thanks, Nancy, it will certainly come in handy!

I received preemie sized clothes, bibs, blankets, toys, books, flowers, candles, bath items, and more - all in various shades of pink!  There was nary a spot of blue to be found.  Even the margaritas we shared were pink!

Some things became evident regarding showers from the other side of the wrapping paper.  First, it's kind of like Christmas, sans the red and green (especially the green) - except that no one else was opening gifts.  I might surmise that all of my friends were on Santa's naughty list.  However, it is not even remotely possible that we would be on opposite sides of that divide, so skip the Christmas reference.  (Lower right corner of the picture is a pink flask, especially designed for a long day of Granma-ing.  Though it will never hold any liquid stronger than milk, it is proof positive that we definitely stick together on the naughty/nice split.)

Secondly, even besides the obvious color difference, grandgirlies' necessities are very different from grandboy fodder.  I'm kind of curious to see how the latter plays with a cuddly pink piggy, or what adventures they can think up for Barbie.  I am equally curious to see how the girls will play with them.  Bella will have to demonstrate.

Finally, the best gift of all:  my friends!!!  With greater frequency than I care to admit, I wonder if I'm good enough, worthy enough, likable enough.  Granma that I am, I'm little more than an insecure teenager - though we have established that I left that decade "at least" 20 years ago...  Maybe that's why I love being a Granma so much:  the midgets don't even question if I'm "all that"!  I'm big enough, strong enough, smart enough, sucker enough, childish enough to be their hero, their playmate, their champion.  Oh how I would love for them never to see the real me: insecure, fumbling, doubting - and even on occasion exhausted and frustrated by their antics.

But my friends see with adult eyes:  my shortcomings, flaws and over-extension, but also my hope, my love and my desires.

Pink entered through the door - overwhelmingly so!  But when friends gather to celebrate PINK, it's really all about RED - the same color as LOVE!  I love all of you, too!!  You are the best!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Perfect in Pink

There are a several words I would use to describe myself besides Granma.  There is wife and mother, of course, but also biker (of the pedal variety), blogger and quilter.  There are also words I don't use, like cook, gardener and golfer.  Fortunately I married someone who is really good at those, but that's material for a blog of a different name.

I have made quilts for each of my grandboys when they were born.  There were woodland critters and circus animals, monsters and farm animals, bugs and more.  Besides the fact that I seem to be fixated on creepy crawly things, all the quilts had a good blue representation in them.  That's kind of funny since my quilting friends will tell you I don't like blue - or some specific shades of blue, anyway.  My quilting friends know me long and well.

Generally when I make a quilt, I shop first in my stash.  It's cheaper that way.  The first picture is of the majority of my stash.  See that bit of pink in the upper left corner - the stuff mixed in with the red and orange?  That's it.  There has been little call for pink heretofore.  And those pinks tend to be of the florescent variety, not soft and sweet and baby girlish.  Still, I thought I would find something there, kind of like a sour dough starter - something for a beginning inspiration.  Yeah - no...

So it was off to the quilt store for me to walk among all the colors and feel them vibrate in my hands and heart.  I am a fabroholic and proud of it!  I knew the colors I was looking for:  pink, of course, and aqua, Faith and Naomi's Mama's favorite color.  I found the perfect fabric with an aqua background!  I thought long and hard about including it, covered as it was with really adorable monsters.  Sigh...I put it back.  And there was one that had a rainbow of colors that would have tied the aquas and pinks together.  It had crocodiles on it.  This was turning out to be much more difficult than I first suspected!

In the end, I had to discipline myself to look at a whole different section of the fabric store.  I didn't quite end up with soft and sweet, but it is aqua and pink.  Oh, the other thing  my quilt friends will tell you is I don't do pastel. This is also true, if you use the most common understanding of the word "pastel".

These are going to be wonderfully girly, pastel-ish quilts, stitched together with immeasurable love!

Maybe they will fade after a washing - or 50.

GRANDGIRL UPDATE:  Faith and Naomi are holding their own for being such bitty bits.  (The quilts are California king sized plus to their perfect and tiny little bodies.)  They are three weeks old today and back up to roughly their birth weights.  Please pray for their continued health and development.  And please pray for their parents, Court and Christine.  The road is long and hard, but it is there is no other road they would rather be on.  Such is the dichotomy when your heart beats outside your own body.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa!

Last year, my family had a reunion in Door County, Wisconsin.  My parents, siblings, spouses, nieces and nephews, and even most of my parent's great-grands were in attendance.  It was an amazing week that none of us will forget any time soon.

Colin was not able to attend owning to his new job, but we brought Bryce along with us.  It was not always 100% obvious that he was having the time of his life.  Eight was a rather moody year for him, owing to factors beyond his control.  Bryce really didn't fit in with the rest of the great grands, being six or more years older than most of them.  But he was ten plus years younger than the next grouping.  Something I LOVE about my family: Bryce was included as one of the "big" kids.  They went swimming in Lake Michigan in the rain (no thunder or lightening), watched movies and played DS together.  He stayed up late with them while Grampa and Granma went to bed.

This past Spring, I asked Bryce if he would like to join me on a trip to Iowa: water parks and amusement parks and visit with several relatives.  He answer was emphatic:  No, he wanted to go to Wisconsin.  Ok, so moody didn't exactly end at age eight.  Granmas are wise enough to ignore moody when it bears no resemblance to reality.

A couple of weeks ago, four of us piled in the car for the trip to a neighboring state that was NOT Wisconsin.  (More info is available in the June 30th blog, but you, my loyal readers, already know that!)  There were a few snafus along the way, but the corn encrusted state of Iowa treated us well.  It was nothing like the Wisconsin trip, but equally amazing!

At the end of our time, Bryce asked me what state I would take him to next year.  I have learned after years of successes and failures, that sometimes it is best to answer a question with a question.  So I asked him what state he would like to go to.  His answer:  Iowa!  (This would be a good time to say that I was born and raised in Iowa - I'm a small town girl at heart.)  Perfect answer, though it might or might not be our destination in 2016.

Perhaps I should have just smiled and let it go, but sometimes I can't keep the "I told you so" in.  "Bryce, remember when I told you we were going to Iowa and you said you only wanted to go to Wisconsin?"

"Yes," he replied, "but I didn't know Iowa was so much fun!"

Most people don't, Bryce.  What a pity for them.