A Baby Changes Everything

That’s not just the title of a Christmas song.

Since the first of November when we began thinking about the holidays, I always felt like this Christmas was going to be different somehow. 

Call it intuition, a sixth sense, or just a mother’s intuitive “knowing” that this year was not going to be like other Christmases. 

I had insisted that we put all of our Christmas trees up as soon as November arrived. All (now) 13 of them. Plus the other decorations that fill our home with the holiday spirit, including the decorative ledge Ben does every year. It’s not a quick process, but we did get it all done and complete just two days before Thanksgiving.

We were able to celebrate our traditional Thanksgiving meal in our home that was ready for the Christmas season to begin. And we even joked about how next year we’d have an extra person around the table, since our daughter and son-in-law were expecting another baby the first of the year.

But Ashley kept saying she thought he was going to be early like her other babies, like maybe even at Christmas. Which would be a little too early, or so I thought.

We didn’t do our traditional Black Friday shopping because Ashley wasn’t up to it, although we did get the granddaughters’ Christmas outfits and took them to see Santa and had their pictures made, just in case the baby decided he make his appearance early.

Then Covid hit us, or should I say Ben and me, and we ended up quarantined for almost two weeks, unable to do much of anything. And yes, we’d had the vaccines and boosters, so I’m assuming it was a lighter case than others. But still…

Fortunately Amazon became our best friend, or should I say MY best friend, since I ordered almost all the gifts from there while we were sick.

But as the days passed by, Ashley was feeling worse with this pregnancy than the others, and along with her almost daily bouts of morning and any other time sickness, she developed choleostasis, a pregnancy induced liver problem in which the bile accumulates in the mother’s bloodstream causing severe itching and yes, potentially risking the baby as well as mom.

She began to be monitored twice a week by her doctors, and more miserable and sick than with the last two, and we were told he’d be coming several weeks early. We just weren’t sure exactly when.  It seemed almost day by day things could change.

But we did know we’d have a Christmas baby, either before the day itself, or right after. And yes, that changed everything because he now would need a few more warmer clothes than she had for him, and a Christmas outfit, and of course we had to tell Santa we might have another child to bring gifts for in their household.

Santa already knew when baby would be here. He already had his gifts. But Santa doesn’t tell everything he knows.

And just five days before Christmas our family gained a beautiful baby boy! A tiny baby boy. Although 6 pounds at birth, even at 5 weeks early, he was still really little. Fortunately we’d found a few preemie sizes (which aren’t that easy to find) already, and hours after he was born I went out and found a few more. And when we brought his sisters to the hospital to meet him, we were able to have a pre-Christmas gift opening, just for their baby brother, with the tiny outfits that would actually sort of fit him!

Then we needed to figure out Christmas Day. Every year Ashley and her family have come to our house for dinner, where more gifts plus filled stockings awaited them all. It’s tradition.

But a baby changes everything. And as a baby boy who was born some 2000+ years ago at Christmas changed the world, our little grandson changed things for all of us as well. 

In all good ways, of course. We have so much to be grateful and thankful for. We have a precious gift which came early, and as far as the doctors were concerned, he’s healthy. His big sisters adore him. Mom has her little man, Dad is just over the moon happy to have a son. And these grandparents are just loving him and spoiling him already, like the other two grandchildren.

And the hospital even featured him as one of two Christmas babies on their Facebook and Instagram pages!

Our daughter, however, is having a rough recovery from the third C-section, as well as post eclampsia, and just couldn’t travel a half hour away to our house this year. So we brought Christmas dinner to them at their house, as well as all their gifts. In a two car caravan loaded with bags and boxes. And we all celebrated in a new way. Because the joy and love found at Christmas isn’t measured in fancy food, a beautifully decorated table, or how many gifts there are. It’s celebrated with the love of family and friends, and the joy of being together. 

And for our family, this year brought a special early gift that’s the best we’ve ever had. Our beautiful baby grandson.

A baby changes everything. 

And that’s what Christmas is all about. 

A Flamingo Baby Shower

Did you know that flamingos lay one egg at a time? But before the egg is laid, both parents help to make the nest, carefully mounding it just right with mud and twigs and feathers. Then after the mother bird lays the egg it incubates 27-31 days, and both parents take turns sitting on the nest.

We didn’t know it either, until some of the flamingos came to us ask us to do a baby shower for one of the flock. And they wanted it in two weeks, because they had to be sure to have it before the baby was hatched. And since Felicia had just laid the egg in the nest she and Frankie had built, the flock only had two weeks to plan and have the event. 

And Karen and I were already in the middle of planning baby showers for our own daughters! “Please, PLEASE help us,” they said. “It’s important!”

So what were we to do? It’s not pretty when flamingos start crying, so we had no choice but to squeeze another baby shower into Karen’s company’s schedule. Fortunately she didn’t have anything on the books for that day so we were good! 

How to do this quick? Well, first of all there wasn’t time to print and mail invitations, and since all of the invitees  had email and Facebook accounts, digital invitations were perfect! We’d suggested the flamingos could fly to each home and deliver them, but they said they had too much to do and that would simply take too long, plus flamingos don’t really like to fly a lot!

And all of the flamingo ladies invited accepted immediately! This was going to be loads of fun! Decorating was easy, because we already had decor stored from other parties.

What to serve? Not too tough, since by now we were used to planning parties for our flamingos, and we knew what they liked, but we still had to make it a bit unique, with more appetizer items and fruit. You know, nothing heavy, because the mom-to-be had to get back to the nest for her turn incubating the egg. 

And course there had to be cakes, cupcakes, and cookies! And the cuter the better!

Only at this event, since it was a baby shower, we elected to serve an assortment of non-alcoholic punches and drinks, along with limited cocktails. Momma had to get back to her nest, you know, and she couldn’t be tipsy!

Felicia arrived right on time for the shower, leaving Frankie to take his turn on the nest while a number of his friends kept him company and fed him his favorite chilled shrimp appetizers. So everyone was happy!

And the girls had a great time! They played games, again led by Karen and me. They’d wanted to play the “How Big is the Egg?” game, a version of the popular “How Big is Mommy’s Tummy?” game, but Felicia hadn’t wanted to disturb the egg by moving it around to measure it, so that didn’t happen. After the games it was time for food, and everyone ate and ate, and then Felicia opened a huge pile of gifts! So many cute and fun things for the baby flamingo, including a baby book! (What kind of gifts do you get for a baby flamingo? We didn’t know, but her friends did, and they were perfect!)

Everyone kept an eye on the time, and when it was time to leave all the guests signed the guestbook, gathered up their shower favors, and took Felicia back to the nest where she showed Frankie and their friends all their goodies for their first hatchling, who would be arriving in a few days.

It was a great day, and a great party!

And a week later we received pictures of the newest flamingo, hatched just three days after the baby shower.

Isn’t she precious? Now eat lots of yummy shrimp, little one, and soon you’ll begin to look like mommy and daddy, and you can join them on their adventures!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: designMyParty; Pinterest; Dazzle Expressions – 2nd Row: via Pinterest – 3rd Row: Pixabay; Pinterest- 4th Row: via Pinterest – 5th Row: via Pinterest- 6th Row: via Pinterest – 7th Row: via Pinterest; via Etsy- 8th Row: storytender.com

Christmas Cookies with the Grands, 2021

Last year was their first adventure helping. It was a fun time of getting sprinkles all over the kitchen floor as well as all over the cookie sheets, and sometimes even on the cookies themselves. Not to mention stuck to their fingers and all over their faces.

This year was no exception, but the decorating did turn out a little bit better.

A book I just finished reading yesterday had a scene with kids helping make Christmas cookies and getting flour all over the counters rather than in the mixing bowl. But as their grandmother explained to their worried mother, “if you’re cooking with children, it’s about keeping it fun and simple. The end result isn’t always important.”

I probably need to keep that in mind. 

Now I didn’t let them help with mixing up the ingredients, because we were on a time schedule, and we had guests coming over, along with the kids having to be somewhere else as well. 

Next year we can attempt to do that. They’ll each be a year older, and it might not be quite as messy. Well, wishful thinking there, too. But you never know.

To save time I’d already mixed the dough and was ready to put it in the cookie press when they arrived. I’d even pulled the jars of sprinkles and colored sugars out and set them on the counter. And their Christmas aprons were all ready for them, too. 

Little cookie bakers and tasters, after all, have to have the appropriate aprons to protect their clothes from stray sprinkles. 

Of course, like last year, they decided it was easier to decorate the cookies while sitting on the floor. Which means it was also easier to get the sprinkles on the floor as well as on the cookies. And yes, we blocked the dogs from coming in there to help!

It’s always an adventure when you’re doing pressed cookies with grandchildren. No sooner did I get them pressed out on the cookie sheets and put them in front of the girls, then they picked their favorite decorating colors and dumped the sugar on them. 

Actually, Ryleigh grabbed a jar of sprinkles with no inner plastic lid for shaking and dumped them out, so their mommy had some scooping up to do so we could at least see the cookies under the pile of red sugar. 

Because Rachel is older she did a little better job, and actually tried to help her little sister. And they were both really proud of their creations. 

I promised them next year they could help with mixing the dough and possibly helping me press them out. (Maybe we can practice on Easter cookies?) They do need to learn, and it’s not too early to start.

And for those of you who want a good pressed cookie recipe, here’s the one we use. There’s still time to make a batch! And I have two granddaughters who’d be happy to help!

Pressed Sugar/Spritz Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter for 30 seconds on high. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat til combined, Beat in egg, vanilla and almond extract. Beat in flour, a little at a time, until mixed.

Force unchilled dough through cookie press onto cookie sheet. Decorate with colored sugar and sprinkles as desired. Or watch the kids or grandkids do their thing.

Bake 8 minutes til edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Happy baking, and Merry Christmas from all of us!

Making a Gingerbread House

All the pictures make it look so easy. Right?

Mom and the kids sitting around the table, maybe even with Grandmom, and happily frosting/gluing the pieces together, adding the candy, and then a perfect gingerbread house is completed.

May I ask you, have you ever really tried doing one? With or without kids? It’s really not as easy as those pictures show. And it definitely doesn’t always turn out like it looks like on the box. Even for those of us who are usually quite crafty.

How do I know? Well, last year my daughter and I decided to make one with the grandkids. At the time Rachel was 4 and a half; Ryleigh a year and a half. 

I guess I should’ve said my daughter and I decided to make one. While the kids watched. Or played something else. Or waited to eat the candy that went on it.

We’d actually done one the year before. That didn’t turn out well at all. Besides Rachel being a little too young to really be a lot of help, actually putting these together isn’t that easy. The sides and roof pieces that have to be assembled are “glued” with white frosting. The frosting doesn’t work like my hot glue gun! And getting them to stay upright and in place isn’t a piece of cake, or gingerbread, either! 

Trust me, our finished product from that year certainly isn’t worthy of being seen on here!

Last year though, was a bit easier. But only just a bit.  It may be because we used a different brand gingerbread house kit. Maybe because the grandkids were a year older. Or maybe we’d just learned from last year what NOT to do.

Our daughter learned what not to do. She learned that she had no patience in putting the sides and roof together. So guess who got the job? The same person who did it the year before. As you can see from the pictures.

And getting the roof on and actually getting it stay is almost an engineering project. But I did it. And when the frosting “glue” dried, it actually stayed together. That was an improvement over last year!

Next was the part our daughter and Rachel were looking forward to. Decorating the house. The kits contain all the candy needed for the houses, and there’s usually some left over. Which makes all the kids, big and little, quite happy.

And our daughter and older granddaughter really enjoyed putting the candy on, even though not all of it went on the house. What did little Ryleigh do? She watched for a few minute, grabbed a bit of the candy, and went back to playing and watching cartoons.

Fortunately the house turned out fairly well. We were all proud of our accomplishment. 

So proud, in fact I actually got another kit for them, and we all put together a gingerbread camper. Which wasn’t quite as difficult. Or else we’d learned a little more about how to do it.

So what do you think about our collection? Are you ready to try and do your own? You don’t even need to have kids or grandkids to try it. But that makes it more fun. 

Or you can do what our daughter did and order an acrylic one to put together. Much easier. And lasts a lot longer. Isn’t it cute? And you knew it had to have a flamingo with it!

Here are the finished products. What do you think?

To show how brave we’ve become after this, we now have four gingerbread kits to make this year. We may or may not write about those, depending on the finished products. But you never know!

And why not send your own gingerbread house pictures in a comment. We’d love to see them!

Happy holiday creating! The fun is just beginning!

To My Mother on Mother’s Day

I want to wish you the very happiest Mother’s Day ever.

Except you’re not here to celebrate with us any more. And each Mother’s Day I continue to miss you and wish so very much you were still here. Even if it were just for this one special day.

Especially this year.

Because this would have been the year you’d celebrate Mother’s Day as a great-grandmother. Not that you weren’t a GREAT grandmother to Ashley, because you were the best! But this year you’d actually have that title. Great-grandmother. That beautiful little baby in the photo above…that’s your great-granddaughter in her first few hours of life. The little girl named after you. Almost a year ago.

She made you a great-grandmother.

And I know you’d wear that title proudly. You wouldn’t mind a bit if anyone knew your age then, because you’d wear it as a badge of honor. Because that granddaughter you’d waited so long for had given you her daughter to bestow that title on you.

So many, many times I’ve wished you could see your namesake. Baby Rachel is beautiful. A wonderful, happy, smiling little girl. We’d be four generations of strong and loving women….that would have been so wonderful.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to call and tell you about our granddaughter, about that funny little thing she just did, or how especially cute she was that day, or how much fun all of us had taking her shopping, like you used to do with her mother.

But there are no phones in heaven. No mail delivery. No photo albums. No Skype. I can’t reach you except in my mind and in my dreams.

So many times I’ve wished we’d had smartphones when Ashley was a baby so we could’ve sent you daily pictures and videos of her like we get every day of Rachel. So many times I’ve looked at our granddaughter and seen a glimpse of your smile, your look, and suddenly felt like a part of you was still with us, laughing with us, and just loving that precious baby.

But I’m hoping that somehow you know. I’m hoping somehow you’ve seen her, seen your beloved granddaughter with her own beautiful daughter. I’m hoping you and Daddy both have had that privilege to be able to share in all our happiness.

I remember so many years ago my Aunt Ruth telling us she believed the Lord let those in heaven see the happy family occasions that were happening with their loved ones back here on earth. Because heaven is a place of total joy, and seeing their loved ones rejoicing over special occasions would only make them happier. Somehow, in some way, I still believe that to this day.

So Mom, I’m wishing you a very special Happy Mother’s Day this year. Yes, I still miss you more than words can express. I still cry on occasion because you’re not here. I still talk to you in my mind, and I hope you can hear me. And I can still hear your voice in my head saying my name.

And when our granddaughter is old enough to understand, I’m going to tell her all about you. All about the things you used to do with her mother. And I’m hopefully going to get to do those same things with Rachel. Not that my cooking skills will be anything like yours, nor will I ever be able to play “school” like you did, but I’m going to try. You were a one-of-a-kind grandmother.

Just like you were a one-of-a-kind mother. And I still will cherish this picture of our three generations on our last Mother’s Day with all three of us.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Grandmom. And Great-Grandmom. I’ll love you always.

A Very Special Mother’s Day

Of course they should all be special. It’s a day we honor our mother, the woman who brought us into this world. For most of us, she’s the woman who first loved us, and loved us unconditionally, fed us and played with us, cared for us, protected us, and was always there when we needed her.

But this year is an especially special Mother’s Day, at least in our family.

While it is my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother, more importantly, it’s our daughter’s first Mother’s Day as a mom to her own beautiful daughter.

For our daughter and son-in/law, and our whole family, this year has been one of many “firsts”, amazing days in which our granddaughter has passed those many special milestones as an infant. Her first bath, her first smile, her first tooth, her first trip to the zoo and the beach….

But more so, our daughter has grown from being a college student, to a wife, and to being a mother. And watching that transformation take place has been something totally amazing. We always knew she’d be a great mom, but as I watch her with her daughter, I’m just amazed, and very proud, on a daily basis.

Motherhood seems as natural to her as breathing. Her world has suddenly changed. Although her husband is the love of her life, her daughter is now the most important person in her world, her life, her greatest treasure.

As it should be. She now knows what it’s like to be willing to give up everything if her child needs something. That’s how a mom should be with her children, and that’s the mother our daughter has become.

To say we are proud of her is an understatement; there are no words to describe how we feel. She and her husband have become the parents we always knew they’d be. Their daughter is their world. A smile on that little one’s face can make a dreary and miserable day turn into a ray of sunshine that lights up their entire house.

Last year’s Mother’s Day was a miserable one for our daughter. She was just about at the end of a terrible pregnancy in which she’d endured overnight hospital stays, dehydration, daily nausea and vomiting, severe back and hip pains, and mostly sleepless nights. She couldn’t even eat her Mother’s Day brunch, and as her mother, I felt totally helpless because I couldn’t do anything to make her feel better. In fact, that’s how I’d felt almost during her entire pregnancy, because I couldn’t do anything for her. That’s part of being a mother to a mother-to-be. I kept telling her it would all be worth it, but it was hard for her to believe it at the time.

But she sure does now. As sick as she was the entire nine months, every time she looks at her beautiful daughter, holds her in her arms, and sees her laugh and smile, she knows it was all worth it.

And for me, well, personally, I must say the best Mother’s Day gift of all is watching my daughter being a mother to her daughter. For me, being a mother to the mother of our grandchild is the only gift I need. I don’t need a bouquet of flowers; my flowers are the pictures we receive each day of our beautiful granddaughter. I don’t need jewelry; our daughter and granddaughter are the sparkling jewels of my life.

Happy first Mother’s Day, Ashley Treasure the memories. I’m so very proud of the woman – and mother – you’ve become. Your grandmother would be so overjoyed, and I have a feeling that every so often the Lord gives her a glimpse of you and baby Rachel. And I can only imagine how happy that makes her!

I love you all so much! And one day you will know the feelings I’m having when your own daughter becomes a mother.

Your Very First Christmas

What do you think, little one, when you see all of the lights, all of the colors, all of the beauty around you? You certainly don’t know what’s going on, because you’re too young to understand.

I so wish I knew what you were thinking….

Because somewhere inside of you, even though you’re only 6-7 months old, you’re sensing that there’s something special happening. Something out of the ordinary going on.

2016-12-03-18-04-30Mom and Dad are dressing you up more often, and taking more pictures than usual, if that’s even possible. You’re wearing a red furry hat one minute, and a ruffled bright red dress another. Seems they just can’t make up their minds!

There’s something new in the house that’s full of bright colorful lights and shiny dangling ornaments in all kinds of shapes and colors and sizes. You don’t really know what they are yet, but they’re pretty to look at, and you can’t resist putting your little hand out to see what they feel like. In the coming years you’ll know it’s called a Christmas tree, and you’ll help decorate it, but right now you’re just marveling at seeing something else new that you’ve never seen before.

There are so many lights on there! You’re not sure what they are, but you know they’re bright and beautiful and you love looking at them. Mommy and Daddy even wrapped some of those lights around you, and took the most wonderful pictures! And you had a great time playing with them. Another baby’s first Christmas delight…..

And when you’re old enough to help decorate that tree, you’ll see the Christmas ornament your mommy and daddy made with your little baby footprints on it this first Christmas with you. And you’ll be amazed at how small they were, and you’ll probably want to do another one now that you’re “so much bigger!”

You’ll see a lot of special photos from your first Christmas, too, some that we made into ornaments, and some that are framed and sitting all around the house. You might even ask who they are, and we’ll happily tell you “it’s you!” And your reaction….I don’t know but I’m looking forward to it.

You’re hearing new sounds as well. You really don’t know what they are; how could you, but it’s the sound of bells. Jingling bells on a sleigh, and in a song on the radio appropriately called “Jingle Bells”. One day in a few years you’ll probably be singing along with it. And we’ll be there recording the moment to keep forever.

And there are new smells around the house, too. You were just getting used to the smells of Mommy’s cooking and Daddy’s grilling. Now there are a whole new array of scents to enjoy.

image064Fragrant candles scented with cinnamon and peppermint. The smell of pine and evergreens as Mommy and Daddy take you on a walk in the woods to look for decorations for the house. The tantalizing aroma of cookies baking in the oven that you aren’t quite old enough to sample yet. The smell of hot chocolate on a cold night as you’re snuggling with your mom and dad just before drifting off to sleep.

And then there was that day you met another new person. You were dressed up in your “Merry and Bright” outfit (and you sure were!) and were happily enjoying riding around the mall and sleeping in your stroller, when you were waked up just to be placed in the arms of a man wearing a bright red suit trimmed in white fur. However, unlike many babies who see Santa for the first time, you weren’t scared at all! Somehow you knew, this was a good person, and someone you were going to enjoy learning about, so you just sat there and smiled for the camera, enjoying every minute!


photo-2Grandmom and Grandpa also bought you a special dress and took picture after picture of you (again!) in it! I really wonder what you were thinking all the time we had you posing for us. Did you really understand how excited we are to have you in our lives; how proud we are of you; and how very, very much we love you?

2016-12-17-15-54-19-1We also couldn’t wait to show you the Christmas stocking we had made for you that matches the ones Mommy and Daddy and Grandmom and Grandpa have. You weren’t’ really sure what it is when I showed it to you, but you’ll find out soon enough.

So now it’s only a few days before Christmas. A few days before Santa comes down that chimney bringing wonderful gifts for you. We’ll open them for you, and explain what they are as we help you play with them. And there’ll be even more pictures of course.



We’re excited, so much more this year than you are, because you don’t truly understand Christmas yet. But you will. And each year will bring more and more special treasures, special memories, and an understanding of what Christmas really means.

So on this, your very first Christmas, we wish you joy and happiness and an excitement like no other day.

If we could only know what you’re thinking…!

Merry First Christmas baby Rachel! We love you!!! And you are the best gift ever

Changed Lives

May 30, 2016

One week ago two lives were forever changed. They’d prepared for it as best they could. They had the furniture, and the accessories, the clothes and the diapers. They’d had baby showers and gifts. Her name had been selected months before.

They were ready. So they thought.

But when the moment came, and that tiny new life, created from the best parts of both of them, was placed in their arms, life forever changed. And they knew they hadn’t been prepared. Not really.

Because how can you totally be prepared for the miracle of new life when she’s suddenly placed in your arms? No longer inside her mommy’s belly, being nurtured and protected only by her, this little miracle has now entered the world, totally helpless and dependent on her parents to provide for her every need. She cannot feed herself, clothe herself, or change her own diapers. She cannot put herself to bed. She cannot hold her own head up yet, cannot crawl, cannot walk.

She is totally and completely theirs, and she is relying on them for everything in her entire new little adventure into a big, and sometimes scary, new world.

They knew all of this. But until she was in their arms that first time, there was no way they really totally KNEW.

Because until you hold that little life for the very first time; until you look in her eyes together and see yourselves in her face; until you hear that first sweet cry, you cannot image the pure love that you are suddenly engulfed in. It’s a feeling that’s indescribable, and one that will never leave, no matter how old you become. The bond between child and mother and child and father is one to be cherished forever, and is not meant to be broken.

They were both totally overwhelmed with emotions they never even imagined were possible. They couldn’t believe she was theirs. It was almost more than they could comprehend. But one thing they knew…their lives were changed forever from that first moment. Changed for nothing but good, and the good only gets better and better every day.

I knew my daughter and son in law would be great parents. But I just am overwhelmed by how they’ve taken on their new roles as mommy and daddy. They both are amazing, especially Daddy, who has to take a bit more active role now because of Mommy’s C-section recovery.

Watching my daughter hold her own daughter, who looks exactly like her when she was born, is nothing short of amazing to me. There’s just something about watching your child holding and feeding her own child; you wonder where the years went, and suddenly realize, you succeeded as a mother, because your own daughter has so naturally become a mother now herself.

And for us, as new grandparents, our lives are changed as well. We now have another generation to love and nurture, and to watch as she grows up to become an amazing young woman.

There is just nothing like the feeling of holding your baby’s baby in your arms; no words to describe it, and I still cry once in awhile as I feel her softness and cuddle her closely. I marvel at her every time I hold her, and have even caught myself calling her my daughter’s name because they look so much alike. Her new granddad is already head over heels in love with her, and he’s already wrapped around her tiny finger. The love on his face as he holds her is simply amazing.

Yes, all of our lives were changed a week ago. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy one week birthday Rachel Marie!

Mom, Did You Know…?

Did you know I’m a grandmother now? Our precious Ashley and her wonderful husband Chris initiated us into that club Monday morning. They presented us with the most beautiful baby girl we’ve ever seen.

One of my friends, and yours, told me, “Now you know how your mother felt when you had Ashley!” I hadn’t thought about that. But she’s so right. I guess I never really understood.

Until now. Until I saw her little face; looked into her beautiful blue eyes; and held her in my arms. At that moment I saw pure love. And I saw your eyes in hers, just like you probably saw your own mother’s eyes in Ashley’s when you first held her.

Mom, I really, really wish you could be here. Even for just a couple of minutes. I wish you could see your great-granddaughter. I wish you could hold her in your arms. Because I know how much you loved your granddaughter, and I know how very much you would love your new great-granddaughter.

There have been so many times I’ve started to pick up my phone and call you, just to tell you what little Rachel is doing. How cute and adorable she is. How much Ashley loves her new baby daughter, and what a wonderful mom she is already. How it’s already second nature for her to take care of her. She’s enjoying every minute. The love on her face when she holds her and snuggles with her…I just want to cry.

I wish you could be here to see Chris, Ashley’s husband, and how wonderful and loving a dad he already is. He’s changing diapers; he’s feeding her; holding her; loving her and just talking to her all the time. I know how happy you’d be. Because I am, too.

And then there’s the new grandpa. I’m sure you remember how excited Ben was when we had Ashley. How much he loved her, and how he would do anything he possibly could for her. Well he’s already the same way with little Rachel, and she’s only three days old. The look of love on his face when he holds her is beyond anything I could imagine. She has him wrapped around all of her fingers…and toes!

The only thing missing is you.

I wish you were here so I could share my thoughts and feelings with you, and ask questions. Because I don’t know how to be a grandmother, but I guess it’s something that comes naturally. I know how nervous I was as a new mother, and how you told me I’d be a great mother. That I’d learn very quickly what to do. And you were there to help me that first week every step of the way. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. You were such a natural at being a grandmother, like you’d been preparing for it all your life. And I guess in a way, you had been.

And now I’m getting ready to do the same thing with my daughter. And Mom, I’m not really sure I know what to do, but I’m going to remember what you did.
Because you were the best mother in the world to me, and the best grandmother to Ashley that she could ever have had. I only hope I can be half that good.

And now that I’m a grandmother, that makes you a great-grandmother.

And you are just that. A wonderful, as well as a great, grandmother. And I still miss you every day. But I believe in my heart, and in my spirit, that you know what’s going on. I believe you and my father both have been given the gift of being able to see a little of what’s going on in our lives during this wonderful, precious time. And I can feel you both smiling down on us all, happy as you can be, on our new family.

But I still miss you. And I always will. Thank you for all you did for me, and for Ashley. And thank you for letting us give your name to our new granddaughter.

I love you, Mom. And we’ll all continue to make you proud of us.

Thoughts from a New Grandmother

A week ago I started writing this blog. Here’s what I’d written so far, up until Sunday night:

“Any day now she’ll be here. I’m actually telling myself that, because it actually could be any day. We’re officially less than ten days away, but you know babies, and whatever the doctor says may not be what the baby says!

Actually, it’s what the Lord says, because He’s the only one who knows exactly when. And when it’s time He’ll tell baby Rachel. And then the process will start.

I remember when I had our daughter. I was scared to death. I was ready to have her, and I was excited, but I do have to say I was scared. I wasn’t going through labor since she was breech, and the C section was scheduled. I never even had any labor pain. Ashley was just taking her time, minding her own business, and was in no rush to come out into the world.

But our granddaughter seems to be ready. And she’s making it known. Our daughter has been having pains all week. So she could be here any time. She’s been to the hospital twice and sent back home because they said she’s not ready.”

And now…

After a third trip to the hospital on Sunday night, and even though she supposedly still wasn’t in labor, although her contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes, a kindhearted and compassionate nurse decided there was no way she was sending our daughter home again. And she made sure she wasn’t released.

The next morning, May 23, at 4:20 am, little Rachel was delivered. Our daughter had indeed been in labor. Thank goodness for that nurse, and our daughter’s wonderful doctor who came to the hospital to deliver her personally, even though he wasn’t on call.

You see, when God makes a plan, He makes it happen. In His way, and in His timing. He orchestrates it all. Perfectly.

I cannot begin to express my feelings when I saw our granddaughter for the very first time as she was being taken to the nursery in her isolette. Her eyes opened and she looked at us, and I saw a glimpse of the wonder of heaven, and yes, a smile from my own mother as she watched from above. I cannot begin to express my feelings at that moment. I wanted my own mommy beside me, just for a moment to share my joy, and I felt my eyes moisten as I tried not to cry.

When your child has a child of her own, your entire world, your entire view of life, is forever changed. From the moment we saw her, from the moment we held her in our arms, we were instantly struck with a feeling of love like never before. With a feeling of awe and amazement totally different from when we had our own daughter almost 28 years ago.

This tiny new little being is the child of our child; the daughter of our daughter. She carried this precious little being inside her for nine months, and now she’s in our arms…all of our arms as we take turns holding her, marveling at her curly hair, long eyelashes, her tiny long fingers, and her cute little feet and toes.

All of our friends told us being grandparents was something totally different from being a parent. That it was an indescribable feeling. ‘You’ll see!” They said.

They were right.

Welcome to the world, Rachel Marie!


Who Ya Callin’ Granny?

As soon as I started telling all my friends about our new upcoming status as grandparents, everyone started asking me what I was going to have baby Rachel call me! We already figured Ben would be either Grandpa or Granddad, but choosing a name for a grandmother to be called, in these days, I guess, is easier said than done!

There are a lot of possibilities out there now. Nana, Nanny, Meme, Gigi, Gran, Mom-mom, Grammy, Glamma, Grams; these are just some of the now popular names for grandmother.

I even looked up some of the name possibilities on line, and I was amazed. I can’t imagine being called GaMo, or Memo, Mimi, Nonny, Lally, Pippa, Glammy….and that’s some of the more reasonable ones!

Guess I’m a bit behind the times. I do have some friends who decided (and rightly so) that becoming a grandmother at the age of forty, although they were thrilled about it, didn’t mean they wanted to be called grandma, because it sounded a bit, well, old, shall we say? So they elected to be called Nana or Nanny. And I think it fits them well.

But it doesn’t sound like me.

Another friend is called Gigi by her grandchildren. I asked her how that came about, and it was actually quite simple. GG…Gorgeous Grandma! Well, she is! I like that, too, but still, I just don’t think it’s me.

When I was growing up, my mom’s mother, my Grandmom, always spoke about Granny. Granny was a distant relative I never met (maybe my grandmother’s mother or grandmother – I have no idea), but I saw an old picture of her once, and she was just that! Old! Or at least she looked old to me! (Of course, those photos from back in the early 1900’s or earlier made everyone look old!)

Then there was Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies TV show in the 60’s. She was funny, and certainly made the show what it was, but still, she was made up to look OLD as well. Irene Ryan was only 60 (younger than I am now) when she played that part, but she sure looked like she was some 15 years older, at least! Especially with those “granny glasses” that became so popular.

No, in my world, I’m NOT going to be called Granny!

I remember someone asking my own mother what Ashley was going to call her, and her simple answer….”anything she wants! She’s my granddaughter and I don’t care what she calls me.”

I always called my mother’s mother Grandmom. I don’t remember why; that was just her name as far as I was concerned. I didn’t know my father’s grandparents very well at all, and quite honestly, I don’t think I ever called them anything, because I didn’t see them much, and they weren’t like the loving, fun grandparents on my mother’s side.

Ashley always called my mother Grandmom. But to be honest, I’d never thought about it. Not at all. Even when Ashley and Chris told us we were going to be grandparents, it didn’t really hit me that I wasn’t going to just be “mom” to someone any more. A “grand” was getting ready to be added to a title.

The definition of “grand” is “majestic”, “magnificent”, and my favorite, “a term denoting the most important item of its kind.”


Not that I’ll ever consider myself more important in my granddaughter’s life than my daughter (her mother), but that gives the term a whole new meaning.

Grand mom. To a grand daughter. Yeah. I like that. And I’m sure I’m going to have a magnificent granddaughter…the most important in the family line so far!

Just call me Grandmom! I only hope I am as good a grandmother to Rachel as the two other ladies in my family who were honored with that same title were to their granddaughters.

The Wonder of Pregnancy

Our daughter is currently less than two weeks away from delivering her first child. It’s certainly been a long nine months for her. Not just because of the anticipation of having her first child, but also because her pregnancy has not been easy.

We see so many pictures in magazines and on TV featuring pregnant women who continue to work full time up to their due date, exercise daily, and do everything they used to do before getting pregnant, with seemingly no problems. For our daughter, this has not been the case. She has been sick the entire time; she’s been dehydrated and even hospitalized twice; there are very few foods she can eat without being nauseous; and by the seventh month, she was already having problems walking because of the excessive pain in her back and her hips.

And she’s only 27.

Pregnancy is not as easy for every woman as we’re led to believe. But she has gone though it, and will again, because she knows how much of an honor it is to bring a new life into the world. Pregnancy is indeed a miracle.

She’s heard all of my stories about my struggles with infertility and then with secondary infertility. She knows that as soon as a baby is conceived it is a human life. She also knows that not everyone is as lucky as she was to be able to easily conceive, even though the actual pregnancy itself has been so difficult. But knowing that doesn’t keep her from being miserable.

As her mother, I can’t help but worry about her. I’ve worried when she’s been sick all day. I’ve worried when she’s been dehydrated and going to the hospital. I’ve worried, yes, that something could happen to the baby. Even though I know in my heart, and in my head, that this little one is going to be just fine.

Mothers always worry about their children, no matter what age they are. It’s just what we do. And so will our daughter.

But two days ago, I discovered feelings that I didn’t even know I had. The actual realization that my daughter, the one I carried inside my own body, is carrying her own daughter inside of her. Yes, I knew that. But suddenly seeing her in a bathing suit for the first time this year, her swollen belly holding my granddaughter, I was suddenly struck with a new sense of both wonder and awe. I KNEW she was carrying a new life inside of her. My granddaughter was right in front of me…before my very eyes. Just hidden by her mother’s body.

The wonder of pregnancy is incredible when you stop to think about it. It is truly a miracle. From the moment of conception a mother is carrying another life; a life she alone is totally responsible for.

My daughter has been carrying a life that has been growing slowly inside of her for almost 240 days. We have actually seen her baby inside of her several times through the wonder of ultrasound technology. She has nourished that life on a daily basis; as she eats and drinks, so does her baby. She feels her baby move and kick, poking into her all the time now, because there’s not much room inside of my daughter for her daughter to grow any more.

My daughter’s daughter has grown and developed from just a few tiny cells into a multi-celled complex being that is her child. That is my grandchild. And yes, she was a human life from the time she was conceived.

May we never lose the idea of the wonder and the miracle that is involved in carrying a child. Because it is truly a gift from the Lord.

Just like our daughter. And our granddaughter. Both are our gifts from the Lord.