Monday, July 25, 2016

When is a Family Born?

There is nothing like witnessing the birth of a baby.  I've witnessed it three time, and my full attention was on the birth, but not necessarily on the baby at the exact moment he entered the world.  Though two seconds after the fact, the baby was all that mattered.  It's a magical time, absolutely!  But is that when a family is born?

I've been to my share of weddings, too, in various capacities.  The one I might remember the least is the one in which I played a starring role.  That was a blur of happy, but the specifics are mostly in snapshots, captured by another's eye and then reproduced for my benefit.  I remember more of the feeling than the specific, and that's good enough!  Certainly that was the birth of a family, a small one that would later grow into something wild and wonderful.

But last Saturday I got to witness the birth of a family in a whole new way.  It's not that it's never been done before - it's actually quite frequent.  I might have even been present at such a celebration before, though I can't call it to mind (I'm blaming it on being a Granma, and I'll leave it at that.)  On Saturday, though, Emma became Mrs. Colin Harris, and included in the union were Bryce and Tyler gaining another Mom and Bella gaining a Dad.  The steps to being "steps" had been in the works for a couple of years, but Saturday made it official.

Amidst all the planning for flowers and photographs and food, and the wearing of white and matchy-matchy guy clothes, included in the guest list and highlighted by their position of honor at the front and center, was a new family - five strong - five hearts beating each for the other.

Now, I'm old, and sometime purposely senile (when it suits me), but I'm not such a fool as to think that the new family of five will live happily ever after with never a cross word or hurt feelings or overblown jealousy between them.  Seriously, who would want a family like that anyway - where is the sport in that?!  However, Colin, Emma, Bryce, Bella and Tyler are now tied together irrevocably, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, as long as any one of them continues to draw breath, and likely even long after that.

It's a high and holy thing to witness the birth of a family, whether twins or in this case quints appear.  And it's worthy of a celebration, which also appeared and didn't disappoint.

Happy wedding, happy new life to the newest Harris family!  Love multiplied once again - by a factor of FIVE!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Some Birthdays are Bigger than Others

Growing up!
Some things don't change in a year.  For example, this time last year I was putting in lots of miles on my bike to get ready for RAGBRAI, a week long bike ride across the state of Iowa.  My brother, Bruce, and my son, Corey, were doing the same.  And here we are again, wondering why anyone would want to ride a bike across the state of Iowa and anxiously, crazily anticipating the trip.  The difference is that Corey and Bruce actually made the trip in 2015, which might lead one to believe that they are the truly crazy for doing it again!

I, on the other hand, sent Flat Lory as my RAGBRAI representative last year, when Faith and Naomi decided to enter the world at just 24 weeks, weighing slightly more than a pound a piece.  3D Lory spent the week with their brothers Aidan, Josiah and Elijah, loving it and (realistically) longing for bedtime - theirs and mine (which coincided pretty closely).

Of course, the girlies first months of exploration where medical in nature. It was quite some time before we could even get a clear view of their precious faces.  But it was worth the wait!  After almost four months in the hospital, they came home tethered to oxygen and monitors with endless doctor's appointments and medications.  Court and Christine threw themselves into the honor of loving and caring for the girlies - oh, and their three brothers!  

Faith making it through an obstacle course 

Naomi's birthday smiles!
Now, weighing in at about 15 pounds a piece, they are exploring the reaches of the universe, or at least of their universe, and getting more bold by the day!  Faith, especially, gets herself into some pretty amazing positions trying to keep up with her brothers.  Naomi is perfecting the army crawl as well, though she can also get what she wants with her beautiful smile.  The world is wrapped around their tiny and perfectly formed and functioning fingers.

So, little girlie girls, it has been quite the year, an extra special one because of you!  This Granma can't wait for another year of loving you both!  Happy First Birthday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Just How Old do You have to Be?

We all know how quickly Saturday and Sunday disappear - in a single blink!  Conversely, Monday thru Friday can last an eternity.  I have my own personal galloping hours - the ones between "oh good the blog is done for another week" and "why do I wait until Monday night to write the next one."  Generally I at least have something simmering in the back of my brain for Monday night to chew on and spit out.  Alas, this week I find myself following the Yellow Pages slogan - for those of you who are old enough to remember the Yellow Pages that came in book form - I'm letting my fingers do the walking.  Of course, I'm not perusing those colorful pages, but rather, wandering across my keyboard.

Meandering #1:  I love seeing the shock on people's faces when I tell them I have eight grandbabies.  Invariably you can see the mental math cogs turning.  Thanks to good genetics and a great hairstylist, I don't necessarily look old enough enjoy the love of so many a couple of generations descended.  It also helps that I got married at 19 and had my babies at 20, 21 and 24.  I am now reaping the benefits of having been young and foolish - and lived to tell.

Meandering #2:  Having eight grandbabies is, in fact, keeping me young!  They teach me how to use my iPhone, including how to play Crossy Roads.  They take me on roller coasters, or perhaps we just egg each other onto them.  They get me to sit on the floor and help them turn somersaults, or lay on my back and hoist them up on my legs to fly.  They want me to teach them how to whistle (Does anyone have advice on that?  It's a very hard concept to explain.)  They also keep me foolish, thinking I can actually join them in their fort or fit through a tunnel or climb on the playground equipment.  I'm a fool in love and happily so!

Meandering #3:  As seen on Facebook, "Children need at least one person in their life who thinks the sun rises and sets on them, someone who delights in their existence and loves them unconditionally." -(credit Pam Leo).  How true is that!  And I am that person, eight times over!

So to sum up the meanderings:  I can, with barely any provocation, be a fool.  I'm actually quite good at it.  And people tell me all the time that I can't possibly be a Granma, but I am.  The secret is that I am a child, too, and I have not one but eight persons who delight in me almost as much as I delight in them, assuming that is even possible.  And I know they love me unconditionally, because even when I haven't secured enough advanced critters in Crossy Roads, they still let me play.

I love being a "young" old.  I love being Granma!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Friends and Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears!

Naomi - with room to grow
Faith - Pretty in Pink
With all good intentions, I promise this will be the last Disney post.  Meaning - I will not be held responsible if sentence #1 turns out to be an outright lie...  But this post is a must, cuz there is much cuteness to be displayed!

Before leaving to Florida, I spent some time mulling over what gift to bring Illinois bound grandbabies from the land of Mickey.  The possibilities are endless, of course, in the land of the world's largest souvenir stand:  t-shirts, toys, stuffed animals, to name the most conventional.  The mouse, of course, doesn't stop there, but I did - until...  Merry suggested bringing back ears for all the mini-folk!  Perfect!
Bella - My Bell!

Aidan - Lightening McQueen
So between Space Mountain and Soarin' we four travelers embarked on the great ear hunt.  Finding ears was not the problem - they were EVERYWHERE, including the heads of most of our new best friends and mouseketeers.  Total non-sequitur: while trying to figure out how to spell mouseketeers it occurred to my typing fingers that it could be "mouse-cat-ears" - a shout out to Tom and Jerry, I suppose.

Anyway, mouse ears come with glitz and glitter and in Army drab.  There are bride and groom ears, princess ears, Star Wars ears, Winnie-the-Pooh ears (which kind of defied imagination),  Lightening McQueen ears, under the sea ears...  You get the drift.

Tyler - Scorcerer
Josiah - Goofy
Not feeling the need to start collections of our own, Merry and I brought our "vintage" ears from a previous trip and paraded them around.  Bryce chose the R2D2 ears for himself and Ava's ears lit up - and flashed in time to the music at various attractions as well as being timed to the fireworks.

But really, how adorable are the Illinois mouseketeers!  It would have been nice to get all those ears in one picture.  It was suggested.  However, we all know how mice tend to scatter when you try to catch them.  I would say that Mickey has that affect on the mini ones.  In truth, it's also the nature of grandbabies.  I am settling for assembling them in this blog.  It's the easiest way to get them to sit still!

Elijah - Mickey!
Thank you to Mickey for the additional set of ears each.  I'm sure it will have a great affect on their listening skills, too!  As long as they can hear "I love you" - that's all that really matters!