Monday, November 30, 2015

Out-Gobbled - a Bonus Blog

The Thanksgiving eat-fest has come and gone.  Well, not really gone since we are still enjoying turkey sandwiches and turkey pie and all manner of other things turkey.  But the pies are gone and the dressing and the crowds at the dining room table.  The thought of all of them make me smile.

There was more food than a small village could reasonably be expected to eat - Colin and Elijah, notwithstanding.  But in this bonus blog, I thought you would like to know how the contest turned out between the two.  First, it should be noted that at 15 months, manners are still optional for Elijah.  Therefore, while Colin was forced to cut his food and eat by the fork-full, his competition's food was inhaled more like a contestant in a hot dog eating contest - fist-fulls at a time.  But the wee one's real advantage was his speed out of the starting gate.  Colin, being forced to wait until grace was said, was already one round behind before he took his first bite.  Elijah exploited that advantage.

When dessert was presented, Bella opted for pumpkin pie.  She has had my cherry pie before, and she knows it comes with potential pits.  Her fear was my gain!  And by the way, NO pits!  Which is probably a first in this household.  In our traditional cherry pie pit contest, the winner generally places 2-5 seeds onto their plate.  That was a total non-sequitur, but again, it makes me smile.

When we all rolled away from the table, I believe the count was three helpings a piece for Colin and Elijah.  Both of them went down for the count.  Here is Colin and Corey sleeping off dinner.  Elijah was also in a food coma, but cuter in his slumber, though no picture exists.  You will just have to take my word for it.

You might think the day ended in a tie, but it didn't.  Roused from their slumber, both Colin and Elijah returned to the scene of the competition.  Colin played a board game with his brothers - where again, he did not prevail.  Elijah used the location for its more traditional use - he ate again.  Colin gave him one look and admitted defeat. Elijah just kept happily munching away.

All hail the winner of Thanksgiving-fest 2015.  Elijah!!  I love that kid!

Advent 2015!

Here we go, another year!

This year Lory and I have decided to spend
Advent looking for
The Christ
in the symbols, traditions and
sometimes trappings of what can so easily
become a Christ-less time of year.

Somethings will be no-brainers,

Others will take a bit of creativity,
yule logs,
and a certain red-nosed reindeer.

Lory and I are up to the challenge.
Kind of.
Sort of.

Really? Rudolph?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gobble, Gobble

Uncle Colin and Elijah
The Contenders!
I don't need to tell you that this Thursday is Thanksgiving - unless you are reading this after the fact or you are a citizen of a different, non-turkey-obsessed country.  In which case, it gives you a frame of reference.  In two short days, we will each eat three days worth of calories in the span of a few hours and then lull around in a food coma for the rest of the day.  I do love Thanksgiving!

Thirteen of us will gather around the table.  Actually, the two tiniest will not be at the table, nor will they dine with the same type of caloric intake.  If tradition holds, and it generally does, my son, Colin, will make a valiant effort to make sure there will be no left overs.  He will not succeed.  Either he will admit defeat, or his father and I will point that fact out to him.  However, despite his gastronomic efforts, Colin will not be crowned the biggest eater of the day.  Most assuredly, pound for pound, that title will go to Elijah.  

Eli is the happiest little bundle of energy - until he sees or senses food.  Once anticipated, this grandboy insists upon filling his tummy immediately!  There is not time to finish preparations; there is no point to reasoning with his rumbly tumbly.  Give the child FOOD!  Rest assured, whatever stopgap provisions you give him will not suffice until everyone else is seated.  Keep seconds at the ready.

That is the glee-filled gobbler in his orange bib.  In front of him are four chicken tenders and a handful of fries.  Fifteen minutes and a third of a muffin later, his tray was empty of anything large enough for toddler fingers to grasp.  His smile was as winning at end as it was at the start.  Meanwhile, his elder brothers completed their own few fries and one or two tenders each - and a third of a muffin.  It was necessary to interrupt their chattering every couple of minutes to remind them to use their mouths for other purposes.  Elijah never needs such a reminder.

At a recent birthday party, our youngest grandboy topped off a full belly with cake, of course.  Not even those who blew out the candles enjoyed the sugar as much!  Note to Granmas everywhere:  purple frosting is not necessarily the best color choice when dining in a more formal room in the house, but it does make for great photo ops!

Happy Thanksgiving from this extremely blessed and thankfilled Granma!  I can't wait to see what he will do with pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Universally True

I grew up in a family where there was always room for one more.  I don't exactly remember my parents saying that, but I never remember being denied when I asked if a friend could come over for dinner.  There were already seven of us gathered around the table, but eight had a good ring to it.  One year we had a foreign exchange student, so adding a friend stretched us to nine.  There was always enough.

When my eldest, Colin, was a whole three months old, we discovered that our family would be growing again.  I remember watching my baby sleep and wondering if I could love another one as much as I loved him.  But the moment Corey was born, all doubt disappeared.  Love is not a static quantity that must be divided among the interested parties.  It is elastic.  Even that doesn't describe how love works.  Elastic can be confining.  It gets stretched and sometimes breaks.  Love just keeps expanding - like the universe, or so I'm told.  I haven't measured the heavens lately, nor have I figured out how to measure love.  Maybe there is no reason to measure either...

Universally speaking, grandbabies are a black hole of a whole different kind - the best kind!  Whether the black hole is blue or pink, the gravitational pull is so strong that it sucks you right in and never lets you go.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

In my experience, babies have come home within a couple of days of their birth day.  The excitement of the birth hasn't worn off - seeing the 10 fingers and toes for myself, kissing their peach fuzzy heads, even changing a diaper is confirmation of new life.  "This is real," it shouts.

Last week, two little bundles of pink came home.  It was a long anticipated homecoming, and well worth the wait.  To hold Faith and Naomi together, nearly four months after they first made their appearance. well, it made them real, too.  It's like a child waiting for summer vacation.  Just when you give up that it will ever happen, it arrives, and all the pent up excitement and anticipation does not disappoint.

The Harris universe has expanded.  It is not at all an uncomfortable stretch nor does anything about it diminish another's share.  It just got bigger to accommodate two wee little baby girls. We are all standing in line waiting our turn to shower Faith and Naomi with four months worth of kisses:  their parents, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, Granma and, as you can see, Grampa, too.

Welcome home, love bugs, and welcome to the family.  We love you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Taking it to the Next Level

For the past thirty five years, I have had the privilege of working the second best job ever - being a Mom.  There have been tears - I have kissed away a few and shed a few, and when I'm honest, I've caused a few, too - not always as justified as I willed myself to believe at the time.  There has been laughter - from chuckles to belly laughs to milk-running-out-the-nose-falling-off-the-chair laughter.  There has been loud - from turn-down-the-music to I-heard-that-get-out-of-the-cookie-jar.  And there has been quiet - like watching the even breathing of a sleeping toddler to why-is-it-so-quiet-what-are-you-doing.  There have been agreements, disagreements, because-I-told-you-sos and I'll-agree-with-you-until-I'm-out-of-view. Toddlers and Teenagers both begin with "T" - a coincidence?  I think not.

Ten years ago I got a promotion to the best job ever - Granma!  (You knew that was coming.)  Granma entails all of the good stuff of being a mom but only about 25% of the not-so-much-fun stuff.  And that 25% is so ingrained that I couldn't not do it, no matter how hard I tried.  Grabbing a toddler's hand when crossing a street is automatic.  Poopy diapers haven't changed that much, nor have the other bodily functions that involve elimination.  On the plus side, I'm treated to far fewer of those events.  Finally, after so many years of it, what would I do in a bathroom my myself, anyway?  Actually, we have two small dogs and a master bath door that doesn't latch properly.  The puppies kept me in practice in anticipation of grandbabies.  I might get lonely in there all by myself.

But just the other day, I discovered a brand new level of be-still-my-heart and I-could-die-happy-right-now and live-doesn't-get-better-than-this.  It actually arrived wrapped in jealousy, which is kind of an odd delivery for something so valuable.  I was out of town for Halloween, so didn't get to exclaim in person about how my grand ones had the best costumes that absolutely fit their personality.  In fact, I had to leave it to others (gasp) to sugar the love bugs up - and I understand you all did admirably.  Thank you very much.

What really sent me over the top was that those who call me "Mom" arranged a gathering to include with those who call me "Granma" - without me!  Hence the jealousy part (I wanted to be there!) - and the exact reason for the nirvana part!  Apparently it is no longer up to my husband and me to gather the troops.  Maybe it hasn't been for awhile, but to open up Facebook and see an Instagram of these six goofballs dining together.  Well, it made my toes tap and my heart sing!!!

Fortunately there are no pictures of me playing the part of Fred Astaire - for which both you and I are grateful.  But there is photographic evidence of the cause, complete with faces that this Granma finds irresistible!  Happy Halloween, all over again.  And happy Family!!! (Grateful sigh...)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Our First Decade is in the Books

It's hard for me to believe, but the one who started me on this wonderful Granma journey will be 10 this week.  Wasn't it just yesterday that you used to sit on the counter and play with soap bubbles in the kitchen sink?  I can never wash dishes without smiling at the memory.  I would put a finger-full of bubbles on your nose, and we would laugh.  You would return the favor with a toddler-sized fist-full of bubbles and put them somewhere near my face.  You would laugh.  Well, I would, too, for the joy of it all, but not until the bubbles were cleared from my mouth and eyes as needed.

Did you know that when your Daddy was born, Grampa and I set forth our favorite names:  Colin and Bryce.  Your dad got them both, and in that order.  I didn't know I just had to wait another generation for my choice to get top billing.  You were most definitely worth the wait, Bryce!

Do you remember coming in the door and threading your way through as many bodies as necessary to run and jump into my arms?  There was one Thanksgiving when everyone arrived at the same time.  It was quite the obstacle course, but you were up for the challenge.  When I close my eyes, I can see it all again and again.  You were doing exactly what I wanted to do, though your low center of gravity and agility were far superior for the task.  That, and it's so much cuter and more socially acceptable for an adorable midget to elbow elders out of the way.  Such behavior from Granmas is frowned upon.

The Bryce and Granma duo have seen much joy, and shed a tear or two together as well.  We have had the greatest of adventures.  Some that we discuss often and with great fondness, like the trips to Door County and to Iowa.  There are others that live in infamy, like when you dropped the rock on your toe at the Arboretum and I carried you on my back the rest of the trip - poor, dejected toenail.  My back felt your pain.

As we move in to our second decade of loving each other, this is my prayer:  That you may remain young enough to glimpse the wonder of us, and that I can be old enough to grow up with you.  I'm plenty willing to elbow my way through the crowds to wrap my arms around you.  And I'll keep bubbles at the ready for more good, clean fun.

'I love you' doesn't really say how deeply you reside in my heart - how the tentacles of you wind through me, surrounding and supporting my heart.  Three small words cannot be expected to say what you  mean to me.  But they give you a starting point and a reminder.

Happy Birthday, Bryce!  I absolutely do love you - now and forever!