The little present that can … I think

January 1, 2014



P1140807This present should have been in Chicago a day or two ago, but it’s still here, four hours away.

We couldn’t make it up there for our granddaughter, Mimi’s, 10th birthday on the day, but we were planning to go up on Friday to take it to her and have a belated celebration for her big “one zero”.

But did you notice, or can you see, the weather outside the windows behind the gift?  (Yes, and behind the Christmas tree that we haven’t taken down yet.  Don’t rush me!)  It has been snowing here more and more all afternoon and the weather map shows us getting a big snow storm tomorrow, Friday and possibly Saturday.

So, we (Papa, the present and me) are coming, Mimi …. we just don’t know when.  Luckily it’s not one of those fresh fruit arrangements that I know any 10 year old would love to receive (right), so it won’t spoil.

We love you babe, and promise we’ll keep trying until we get there.

And we’re so glad she had some close-by gift givers too, so that not all her birthday presents depended on good weather and grandparents to get them there.


Making Memories with Mimi!

February 9, 2012

Hubby and I recently spent a long weekend at DD’s house.  And DD had set one of the days we were there aside for her and me to take Mimi shopping.  She needed to buy Mimi’s first communion dress and I wanted to buy Mimi a belated birthday present (Because we couldn’t be there, I had sent a card with a “gift certificate” for one shopping trip with Nana in it.)

The first store we went to, looking for the special dress, had one Mimi liked, but DD wisely suggested we have that dress held and go to at least one other store to make sure we didn’t find something Mimi liked better.

Boy, was DD’s suggestion the right one!  The second store had a huge selection of first communion dresses and all of them were beautiful.  We picked about six for Mimi to try on and the fun began.  I had no idea that spinning would be part of the test to find the perfect dress.  In every dress Mimi twirled to check its fullness and well, I guess, its overall “twirlability”.  Hubby and I are Lutheran, so I had never taken a little girl to buy a beautiful white dress with a veil before, so this was a new and fun experience for me.

After we found the “perfect” dress (yes, it twirls beautifully!), DD had promised to get Mimi’s ears pierced.  So she suggested that while they went to Claire’s to get Mimi’s ears pierced, I go to the restaurant a couple doors down and put our name in for a table. So we parted ways and I did my part … I put my name in at the restaurant then sat down in the waiting area to wait for DD and Mimi to join me.

I had no idea how long it would take to get ears pierced, but I was thinking it would be a pretty simple procedure and only take a few minutes.  Wrong.  I would guess I waited 15 or 20 minutes.  In fact, I was told our table was ready, but because they weren’t there yet, the hostess said to let her know when they got there and she would seat us then.

Okay … I was getting a little nervous now.  I was wishing it wasn’t so noisy in the restaurant lobby, because I wouldn’t have been able to hear Mimi screaming, even if she did it very loudly.  Luckily, not too long after I had that thought, DD and the newly pierced Mimi showed up.  Mission accomplished!

Mimi was soooo proud of her little flower earrings.  Every few minutes, all through lunch, she would say, “I can’t believe I got my ears pierced!” (btw, one improvement since the days when I and her mother had our ears pierced — two people do it now so that they can do both ears at the same time.  Verrrry smart.)

After lunch, our last stop was the build-a-bear store.  That is where Mimi wanted to spend her birthday money.  I have bought build-a-bears before but I never get tired of looking at all the fun stuffed animal choices and the clothes to put on them.  Also, they have added one new dimension since the last time I bought one — Mimi was able to pick a song by her favorite singer (Justin Bieber) and have it recorded on a chip inside her bear so that she could push a certain spot and hear the song.

It was time to go home after that.  But on the way home, Mimi told DD and me that this had been one of her best days ever.  And, of course,  “I can’t  believe I have pierced ears now!”

Because we don’t live in the same town with any of our grandchildren, shopping trips like this are something I don’t often get to be part of … but I’m so glad I got to be part of it this time.

I think it was a day we will all remember fondly, but especially Mimi.

“Like trying to put ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag! …

January 15, 2012

… that’s a saying my mother had for a tight squeeze.

And that’s what I think of when I look at this picture of Jay (17 years old and about 6′ tall) in the third row seat of Hubby’s new SUV.  When we were visiting them in Tulsa recently it was the first time anyone has ridden back there and it’s now obvious that it is a seat best suited for small children.  Jay didn’t mind riding back there for the short trip to and from a restaurant, but I’m sure much longer would have been uncomfortable.

If it isn’t obvious, his head is against the ceiling.

We really like the new SUV, but it’s good to recognize this limitation early on!


November 5, 2011
Jay and his shark tooth.
Our grandson Jay has been named the best defensive player of the week for two weeks in a row on his high school football team.  He is a junior and has just recently been made the starting middle linebacker.
We are, of course, very proud of how well he is playing, but are even prouder of how humbly he is handling his success as well as all the hard work, without much playing time to show for it, he had put in during his freshman and sophomore years, preparing for this opportunity.
Good work, Jay.  We are very happy for you and proud of your perseverance.

Long Distance Fans

September 7, 2011

Gunny’s son, Jay plays high school football 12 hours away.  We always go to visit them in October at the time of his sister Nikki’s birthday, so we get to see one of his games while we are there … and get to see Nikki cheerlead at the same time.  And when we go for Jay’s birthday in January, we get to see him wrestle.  Only twice a year … wayyyy less than we would wish for.

We do get to attend DD’s children’s activities a little more often because they only live four hours away, but it’s still just an occasional treat because of the distance.

It is sad for me that I know of grandparents who live in the same town with grandchildren but never attend their activities.  It would be heaven for us if we were close enough to watch our grandchildren perform regularly.

So, may this be a reminder to grandparents who have maybe always lived close to their grandchildren and might be a little blase about going to their grandchildren’s games or plays.  I encourage you to recognize the opportunity you have and take advantage of it.

Life is short and we need to constantly re-evaluate our priorities.  Being as involved as possible in our grandchildren’s lives is an investment in their future, creating closer relationships with them and making memories for them that will last long after we’re gone.

An Important Call

September 2, 2011

I had an interesting phone call today:


“Hi, Nana!”

“Hi, Mimi”!

“Nana, would you please bring Sorry and Go Fish when you come here tomorrow?”

“Yes I’ll bring those and tell Mommy that I’m bringing baked beans and cake for the cook-out.”

“Okay…. and Nana, will you drive?”

“You mean you want me to drive the car when we come up there?”

“Yeah…., Papa drives too slow.”

Old and New Easter Memories

April 25, 2011

We spent Easter with DD and her girls in Chicago.

We attended a beautiful service at their church.  The music was especially beautiful, as it always is at Easter.  Once again we have been reminded that Christ died for our sins so that, even though we are all sinners and not worthy of Heaven on our own merit, His sacrifice assures us that we can one day live with Him in Heaven.

As we had the traditional, at least in our family, ham dinner, Hubby and I told them stories about our memories of Easters in our childhood.  The girls were a little incredulous that when I was a little girl, I always not only had an Easter dress, but also a hat and sometimes even gloves!  Now you don’t even see grown women in hats on Easter very often.  I miss the hats.

This picture with its obvious cracks is the only picture I could find on my computer where I am wearing a hat.  It was Easter 1967 and I was expecting Gunny in August.  I’ve always loved hats and am really sorry for their demise for both men and women!  (and, no, ball caps don’t count as far as I’m concerned)

So, anyway, it’s always fun for me to try to think of some project or craft I can do with DD’s girls when we are together.  So I took two dozen store-bought sugar cookies and lots of frosting, peeps, and all kinds of sprinkles for us to do some cookie decorating on Saturday afternoon.

It was fun but it was also messy!

All three of the girls really got into the cookie decorating.

But because Mimi is quite a bit younger, she asked for a little extra help.

As Lulu demonstrates, we all ended up wearing some of the frosting!

Coco even got her face involved!

Pre-frosting-on-her-face, Coco was already giving us an innocent look like, “Who me?”

Mimi admiring some of their handiwork.

It was fun to see how creatively they used the decorations I had supplied.

I was especially charmed that they based some of the decorations on the peeps I had taken that I really intended just to be used to cut up to make flowers!  How appropriate that the blue peep has a nest of blue eggs.

So all two dozen of the cookies got done without too much permanent damage (except my sweatshirt may be too stained to be salvageable).

After we cleaned up, the girls and Papa went out on the deck to take a breather.  But apparently, they weren’t too tired to try to make DD and me laugh one more time.  We heard a tap on the glass door and were startled to see this:

Some great new memories for all of us.

Breakin’ and Eatin’

March 21, 2011

Gunny, Nikki and Jay were here last week for their spring break.  Unfortunately, Dilly is the only one who doesn’t get a spring break, in fact that week is especially busy at the stores she manages, so it is even more important that she be there.

But, even though we missed Dilly, we were glad to get to spend some time with Gunny and the kids.  The guys did alot of shooting and Nikki and I did alot of shopping.  And we all, did alot of eating!

One of their first nights here, we had peanut butter pie.  They all really liked it, but especially Jay.  The way I know that is that he said, “Will you teach Nikki to make this?”  Ha ha.  I replied, “No, but I’ll teach both of you to make it.”

I decided we would make a pie for when Linda and Doug would be coming over.  One of my “student chefs” was enthusiastic and one was less interested in the “making” and more interested in the “eating”.  I think it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

Nikki loves to cook, especially when it’s something that tastes so good!

Jay showed up, I think just to make sure Nikki was getting the job done.

But when his true commitment to the project was questioned by Nana, he made an effort to “help”.

Probably fortunately for the success of the project, Jay’s interest soon wandered and Nikki could get back to work without “help”.

Our plan was to save it for the next evening when Doug and Linda were going to come over to visit.  So when a complication arose and they couldn’t come until the next night, it meant the peanut butter pie had to remain untouched in the freezer for two days.  That took great restraint on the part of all of us.

But it was worth waiting for.  Nikki made an absolutely perfect peanut butter pie.

I told Jay that he had better start paying more attention to cooking, because there will probably come a time that he will live on his own and wish he knew how.  I said that I could picture him and Nikki both out of college and living in their own apartments and him calling her and saying, (in a pitiful voice, of course) “Can I come over to eat tonight?  I’m tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

We all laughed at that picture, but I was only half-kidding. I believe it’s wise for everyone to know the basics of cooking and, of course, how to make peanut butter pie.

Now THAT’S a welcome!

September 23, 2010

When we arrived at DD’s house in Chicago on Saturday, her girls had been busy decorating the driveway with a welcome for us!

Just looking at that driveway makes me smile. I can picture all the love and energy (not to mention all the chalk!) that went into its decoration.  Thank you Coco, Lulu and Mimi.

Grandchildren are the best.

Hats and Tea

June 19, 2010

On the day of our Tea Room visit, the girls put on their dresses and the hats.  And, of course, I wanted pictures.

Mimi “stylin'”!

“Auntie Linda” went to the tea room with us and, luckily, took some pictures too.  She got this one that I really like of Mimi before we left our house.

Lulu did wear shoes to the tea room, just not for this picture!

Coco is 12 and becoming quite a young lady.

“Which of these things is not like the other?”  (Do they still play that game on Sesame Street?)  Maybe I should have made hats for Linda and me too.  But I think there may be a very fine line between paper hats being cute on children and maybe a little silly on retirees.

All three of the girls chose hot chocolate to drink and were delighted to find out that they still got their own individual tea pot even though they weren’t drinking tea!

Mimi was given a very pretty, tiny little tea cup and was very careful with it.  And she was okay with me doing the pouring for her.  I was very proud of how ladylike she and her sisters behaved.

I was glad Linda went with us — she really helped make it a party.  And I see from this picture what the server meant when she asked if we were sisters.  We do look somewhat alike!  I guess that comes from all those years we’ve been hangin’ around together!

Each of the children got a dessert plate that looked like this.  Mimi proceeded to use her little demitasse spoon to scrape the frosting off the cute little cake — eating the frosting and leaving the poor little cake “naked”.

But, she didn’t let it go to waste …

… she got a “to go” bag and took it home to Papa.  He agreed to eat it only after she assured him that she didn’t lick the frosting off.

We had a great time. But I had figured once the event was over, we would just throw the hats away (saving whatever was re-usable).  So, I was surprised when the girls said they wanted to take their hats home with them.  They certainly aren’t designed to be long-lasting, so I have no idea how long it will be before they totally fall apart, but I was delighted that they liked them well enough to go to the trouble.

Score one for Nana!