Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hey, Do You Wanna?

Together again!  In living color!
There are lots of things to love about a bestie - and I love my bestie LOTS!  Merry and I have been joined at the hips for almost two decades now - Yikes!!!  That sounds like a lot longer than it feels!  At any rate, one of the things I love the best is when either one of us starts a sentence with "hey, do you wanna..."  The proper response, and it never varies, is "YES!"  And off we go on some kind of adventure.

So a couple of months ago, I started the conversation with "hey, do you wanna go on a color run?"  And rather than the traditional response, she said, "hey, do you wanna bring Bryce and Ava?"  Oh, yeah!  This would, of course, mean Bryce, eldest of these Grandboy Tales, and Ava, Merry's grandgirlie-ish.  Ava's actual relational status is complicated, so we will leave it at that.

Feelin' Smurf-ish
You may remember that the four of us went to Disney World last summer.  The two events, in case you were wondering, have their similarities - scant as they are.  Both are in technicolor, much walking was involved, there were many people and a considerable amount of fairy dust floated through the air.  In other words, a color run is no match for Disney, but it is a different kind of fun.

Fairy Dust in the Air
After stopping for donuts at six o'clock in the morning. we headed down to the "run".  I put that in quotes since a considerable amount of the early morning conversation revolved around the fact that there would, indeed, be no running.  We intended to walk among the colors.  Arriving in time for the pre-party, the air was filled with multi-colored fairy dust and some un-Disney-like music to drum the assembled into a frenzy.  So it was that when it came our time to start the walk, Ava took off like shot.  Maybe it was the donuts.  We didn't try to keep up, and we didn't see her again until the finish line.

Bryce, Merry and I enjoyed our 5K stroll along the Fox River, pausing only to photo-document along the way.  Not surprisingly, we did not set a course record, though it might have been a personal record for each of us.  After meeting up with Ava again, the younger half of us found their way to the mosh pit by the stage.  The older and wiser among us kept an eye on water bottles and a park bench.  What a morning!

You know, it occurs to me that when Bryce discusses his Granma with his friends, I hope he tells the tale in glowing technicolor detail!  Because that's the kind of memories I hope he always has of me.  I do make cookies, but I don't knit.  And as you can see from the picture above, Bryce has the blue hair, not me.  Hmmm - wonder what kind of memories we can dream up with next!  "Hey, do you wanna...."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hop, Skip and a Jump

Christopher Robin with brother Bruce and me. Circa 1964
Some things, they say, skip a generation.  Twins are an often sited example of that phenomenon.  That being the case, I don't expect to live to see my great, great grandtwins, so I'll just have to continue to enjoy the little girlies now!  What an odd thought that someday they might play with grandtwins of their own...

In my family, quilting skipped two generations.  Neither my mother nor my grandmothers were quilters, but my great grandmother was!  I have a couple of her quilts and I cherish them.  I hope the next generation of quilters in the family will still look on them with love and honor for a woman they never met (I never met her either).  And, not so secretly, I hope it won't skip a generation.  I would love to see the birth of a quilter in my lifetime.  Time will tell.

Other things skip a generation, all within one lifetime.  I think that is the joy of being Granma - happily skipping back past parenting to being a kid again.  Some might call that jumping back, or even reverting.  Be that as it may, I did and then I didn't and now I do again.  And if a generation is 20 years (more or less), then mathematically, I did indeed skip a generation within my own lifetime.

For example, I have fond memories of playing London Bridges and Ring Around the Rosy on the playground with my friends.  When you got caught in the "take the key and lock them up" phase, you might be tossed around like a towel in a washing machine - and there is no place you would rather be!  I don't specifically remember singing those action songs with my sons.  However, I love the recent memory of playing them with my grandboys (no girlies present at that time).  I made a pretty good bridge, holding hands with a five-year old.  We caught and shook up a couple other grandboys, with giggles all around.  Fortunately, no pictures exist of my turn to be caught by the bridge of four and five year old extended and interlocked fingers!  And my knees thanked me for carpeting.  We won't even talk about Ring Around the Rosy, except to say that the ground is a lot further down than it used to be.  And the up is further yet, especially after a couple of dizzy rounds.

Of course, some of the very best stuff doesn't skip a generation: bedtime stories and ice cream snacking (not necessarily in that order), soccer games and t-ball, sillies and snuggles.  That is awesome stuff that no generation should miss out on.  But whether it's really skipping a generation or just hopping back, there is nothing liking sharing a world of discovery with little eyes and hands and hearts.  Much love to my fellow adventurers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gimme S'more!

Warmer weather when family gathers: there are so many reasons to love that!  First of all, with apologies to the neighbors, the action tends to move outside - and the voices.  No longer is heard the admonishment, "Inside voices."  Ironically, those two words are exclusively issued by those over 5' tall while using their outside voices.  Those directions must be in the parenting handbook, because we have all done it at one time or a hundred.
Happy Tyler, sticky fingers

I know Memorial Day is still a couple of weeks away, but the beautiful late spring weather has also brought with it the summer menu: hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and watermelon.  Even after eating to our heart's content and our bellies bulging, there is always room for s'mores!  

Our pyrotechnic heroes
So it was that Bryce and I found ourselves at the grocery store the other day to purchase the final ingredients for a well-rounded  and complete summer meal.  As we walked across the front of the store, I had my eyes up reading the aisle labels for candy, marshmallows and graham crackers.  Bryce, on the other hand, looked straight ahead and pointed out the end-cap display with all three items from our list.  I love that kid!  BTW, marshmallow and graham cracker packaging both come with directions for making s'mores.  We, the Harrises, contend, however, that if you need directions to make the gooiest of all summer treats, you skipped too many years of childhood to ever recover the true joy of the process.

Grampa got the fire going with help from Bryce and Bella. Lessons in Fire 101.  As you can see, everyone was taking is seriously - or seriously enough not to be a danger to themselves or the neighbors or the house - a successful blaze.

Next came the age old debate: light the fluffy sugar and burn it to a cinder or carefully coax it to the perfect golden brown.  You may be able to guess which side of the debate registers my vote.  But among the gathered, it was a draw.  I contend that the cinder people are just too impatient to do it properly.  But what do I care, mine are perfectly roasted, melted goodness.  I don't allow anyone else to prepare my marshmallows.  In case you were wondering, none of the packaging weighed in on the correct proportions of fire to sugar.  One more reason a recipe is absolutely unnecessary.

There is only one thing that would have made those messy harbingers of summer even better: homemade marshmallows.  Oh, yes, it is possible to make your own marshmallows and they are truly amazing!  I have promised them for our next batch of s'mores!  Oh, YUM!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stepping Out!

Faith & Naomi - taking the world by storm!
Little fingers, little toes.  It is not possible to be a parent and not count your newborn's fingers and toes, as if you can't tell at a glance how many of each there are.  Still, you marvel at them, so miniature and so perfectly formed.  Those are the same appendages that attempted to spread their mother's ribs such a short time earlier.  They thought they could - and sometimes, mom was pretty sure they did!

Over the next months, you are hardly aware that those precious digits are growing and changing.  They still seem so delicate and miraculous.  I felt like that with all my sons, and with each of my grandbabies, as well.

My youngest grands - the twin girlies, are fast approaching two years.  It doesn't seem possible it has been that long, and yet, it doesn't seem possible that they haven't always been part of the family.  We have marveled at each step of their development, not taking anything for granted:  their birth - impossible early, their size - less than 2 1/2 pounds between them!, their fragile bodies - fearfully and wonderfully made.  We hardly dared to hope, but couldn't bear to do otherwise.

Recently, I was out of town and hadn't seen Hope and Naomi for a couple of weeks.  It's not possible, of course, that they actually changed immeasurably in that period of time, but my eyes don't believe what my head is telling me.  They seem to have grow inches and pounds in that short time!  And where their tentative steps had to be coaxed before, now they were on the move!  Their next steps turned out to be, well, steps!

From humble beginnings
How is it possible that from hands and feet stretching to span an inch came beautiful little girlies covering distances in the blink of an eye?

Thank you, God, for miracles and blessing that stretch and grow.  Thank you, God, for Faith and Naomi!  Once, again, I am the most blessed Granma I know.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Words and Slime: The Perfect Combination

GRANMA:  Slime - the stuff of (grand)boys!  When I got a text from my oldest grandboy asking if I wanted to make slime with him, he knew the answer to that as well as I did:  bring it on!!!

BRYCE:  Recently we made slime.

GRANMA:  The ingredients are few, but they vary some.  Elmer's Glue is a staple in all of the recipes.  The other main ingredient is either Borax or Liquid Starch or Contact Solution.

BRYCE:  Note To Everyone, NO ONE NEEDS BORAX IN SLIME!!! If you haven't seen on the news, one little girl of the age of about 9 was a slime making machine! But she used borax in all of her slime making career then when she woke up on a day, her hands were on fire from the borax. She also needed a cast. The ingredients we used were Elmer's Glue, Contact Solution, Baking Soda and Paint.

GRANMA:  Does anyone shop at Woodman's?  You need roller skates to make it from one end to the other!  That place is huge!!!  So certainly, I could find the needed ingredients there.  Liquid Starch, check!  Glue?  Not so much.  Three small bottles was all I could find.  With fingers crossed, I brought the sticky stuff home with me.  BTW - if you need any liquid starch, I am happy to donate, free of charge.  But if you are making slime, I highly recommend the contact solution!  Great slime and minimal mess...

BRYCE:  We were making slime for three kids, Bryce, Tyler and Bella. Bryce made a sky blue colored slime. Tyler made a red colored slime. But Bella, the two of us had to give her some because we ran out of glue. We sent my Dad to pick some up, but they were all out. Apparently schools are buying glue to make green slime! He went to two other stores, but they had the same explanation.

GRANMA:  Who knew we were just part of a bigger parade?  Elmer's has to be loving this trend!

BRYCE:  Then we got awesome slime at the end of it.

GRANMA:  What he said!  The slime was fun to make and so boyish to play with.  Bryce stretched it into a thin sheet over the counter top.  He then carefully folded it up before maliciously squeezing it.  Next came farting sounds closely followed by giggles.  Boys and slime.  Gotta love it!

And what do I love even more?  Sharing this blog with my grandboy and guest blogger - at his request and insistence!  Slime will forever be one of my favorite memories!  Thanks for the assist, Bryce!  I love you!