A Grandmother’s Dream

I guess I’ve been writing so much about baby Rachel lately it was bound to happen again. And it did. With little Rachel’s entry into the world being so close it’s natural to dream about her.

The last time I had such a dream, or should I say the first time, in that dream baby Rachel was probably about 3 months old, because she was a lot bigger than a newborn, and she was holding her head up and looking all around.

In this dream though, she was a newborn, wearing her newborn pink and blue striped hospital cap, and swaddled in her pink and blue striped hospital blanket. She was tiny…tinier than most newborns, it seemed, but then again, I haven’t held many newborns lately. Or should I say I haven’t held my newborn granddaughter yet…except in my dreams.

Like I did a few nights ago. She was so soft, and so adorable! She looked so much like her own mother when she was born almost 28 years ago! I held her in my arms and was instantly in love! She was so beautiful…so tiny…here was my own daughter’s daughter. And I was holding her, cuddling her, and just looking at her in amazement while she looked back at me with enormous blue eyes and smiled the biggest smile I’d ever seen!

Then I was feeding her, and actually using the same baby bottles Ashley had showed me in her kitchen the other day. They certainly weren’t the kind I’d used for Ashley! So…..

However, there were two other parts of my dream I’m still amazed at. Perhaps because of my newest blog series, Letters from the Womb, in which baby Rachel is talking to her mommy, my subconscious mind was working overtime. Because in my dream I was having a conversation with my NEWBORN granddaughter, who was actually talking to me. In sentences. She was telling me she was hungry, and then she suddenly started talking about my mother. Her great grandmother. Who’s been gone almost ten years.

Now imagine how I felt when I turned my head, still holding baby Rachel, and I clearly saw my own mother sitting beside me. Little Rachel was talking to her as well, in fact they were planning a birthday party and giggling like two little kids!

So this sounds strange to you? Not to me, if you look at this dream with your spiritual eyes, rather than your earthly eyes.

You see, my granddaughter is being named after my mother, Ashley’s grandmother. My mother was a very important part of my daughter’s life, and losing her was terribly difficult for Ashley. You can read more about this in Another Rachel.

For several months after my mother passed away, I’d have dreams about her. Dreams in which she was still very much alive, still living in her own home. The dreams were so real I would wake up shaking, because for a few moments I thought they were real, and I was actually wondering how to tell her I’d given her clothes away, and how to tell her we’d buried her next to my father.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5

But this dream was different. Instead of being upset that my mom thought she was still alive when she wasn’t, in this dream seeing and hearing her talk to a newborn baby was quite natural. Because babies are a gift from the Lord. This speaks to me that our unborn babies’ spirits are living in heaven before their spirits are sent to live in their mother’s body, in the new life being created within her.

And since my own mother is living in heaven, I have no doubt she and my granddaughter have had many opportunities to connect and get to know each other. I have no doubt that baby Rachel communicated with my mother in the language of angels that is spoken in heaven.

And I have no doubt my mother is as thrilled and excited about our new granddaughter who is about to enter the world as we are! Because she already knows so much more about this little one than we do.

As I write this we are about five weeks away from meeting our granddaughter. My mother has already met her; talked with her; laughed with her; encouraged her; and loved her. Baby Rachel will bring a small part of her great-grandmother back into the world with her, along with her own unique personality and gifts the Lord has bestowed upon her.

I know when I look at this newborn baby for the first time, hold her, and look into her eyes, I will sense just a tiny part of my own mother’s love. All the way from heaven.

Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful dream!

Baby Shower Treats

You read a few weeks ago about my being a frustrated baker. Well this frustrated baker was busy again last week “baking” up goodies for our daughter’s baby shower. As well as actually concocting a few edible goodies as well.

My basic philosophy on doing special parties is, if you’re going to do it, make it special, and make it memorable. Pinterest is certainly one of my favorite inspirations, and I scoured through many, many different ideas before deciding on what to finally do…..

Since our Saturday blogs are usually about food, I’m not going to dwell on the decorating aspects. But I do have to say this “frustrated baker” had a great time creating edible as well as non-edible culinary delights! With a little help from a few friends with the actual REAL cakes!

In planning the shower, one of the first things I needed to decide on was how to make the food fit with the theme. And since the mom-to-be’s theme was “beach princess” it gave me a bit of a challenge to come up with the right names for the food. After all, you can’t just call them sandwiches and chips!

So the chicken salad croissants became “crabby croissants” with the addition of some handmade crab eyes. Gummy worms, one of the mom’s cravings, became gummy eels. Dipped pretzel sticks became pretzel fishing rods. Colored chocolate drops became sea pearls. And chips and dip…well, “take a dip” signs were very appropriate! Along with a bowl of goldfish crackers. The steamed shrimp, well that didn’t need a label! Homemade sand dollar cookies were also one of the desserts.

 

We were also blessed with two very special and delicious cakes! The beach princess cupcake dress was complete with a beachy mermaid crown, starfish tiara, and burlap shell and pearl sash, all of which will be utilized in Baby Rachel’s first photo shoot. The two-tiered beach cake made by one of the mom-to-be’s friends featured real painted shells, and a very special beachy hair bow, all of which we were careful to tell her NOT to eat!

 

But the two main non dessert items that this frustrated baker contributed were a fabulous (if I do say so myself!) four-tier diaper cake, as well as an array of diaper and onesie cupcakes.

I will share the “recipe” for my diaper cake below, but please, if you’re going to attempt one, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. It took me a few attempts to master the art. Feel free to email me if you have questions.

Recipe for Ashley’s Diaper Cake

90-100 newborn diapers
Paper towel roll (empty)
Curling ribbon
Decorative hat pins with colored heads
Decorative 1-1 ½” wide grosgrain ribbon
1 cake-shaped bank (from Target)
6-8 pacifiers in colors to match shower theme
Decorative baby socks, floral headbands, assorted ribbon flowers or silk flowers
String of decorative pearls (from craft store – I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
Paper crinkles
Clear plastic plate to “serve” cake on

I arranged the diapers in the bottom three tiers of a set of four tiered cake pans. Place ov2012-04-17_23-19-09_206erlapping diapers, 40 in bottom pan, 30 in next, and 20 in the next one. If you think you need a few more, add those as well. Tie tightly together with the curling ribbon so that when you “dump” them out, they won’t fall apart. As you take them out, place them on the cake plate with the paper towel roll in the middle to hold them together. You should easily stack three layers around one roll. For this particular cake I added a second roll, cut it the proper height, and stuck it in the other one. Be sure to use double sided tape on the bottom of the cake plate to attach the layers or it’ll slide off!

The floral bank was the top layer on this one, and I was able to stick it on the paper towel roll because of the hole in the bottom for the money. For the bank topper I’d found a princess tiara crown on a headband, and stuck the band part through the money slot on top. But you can be creative and find something equally as great.

Now that it’s assembled, decorate as desired. Use the grosgrain ribbon to wrap around the layers to hide the curling ribbon. Pin it together in the back of the cake with the colored pins.

Decorate with the pacifiers, socks, headbands, silk flowers, etc. Place the paper crinkles as “icing” between layers and around the base of the cake. Drape the decorative pearls in each layer, stuffing a bit of them between the layers to hold them in place.

Be creative! It’s fun! And if you need more help, there are lots of videos on line to assist you. And if you do make one, please let us see it!

Here are just a few more decorations! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! Remember, it’s our first grandchild!)

Such A Beautiful Baby

I had the most wonderful dream the other night.

There’s a song that says “…a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” I believe that’s true in a lot of ways.

For those of you who’ve read some of my other stories, as well as those of you who know me quite well, you already know how much I enjoy piecing together the meaning of dreams. To me, dreams are often a beautiful tapestry that weaves itself together in front of my eyes as I’m resting.

Sometimes those dreams have a deeply hidden meaning that I enjoy dissecting, bit by bit, until I uncover that meaning.
Then there are the dreams like I had the other night. Just a peaceful, beautiful scenario that foretells a special event coming up in our lives.

And what are the chances that our daughter would have a very similar dream that same night, and in fact, had been having those similar dreams the entire week and had never told me?

Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby, our first grandbaby, in less than two months. To say we’re all excited is an understatement. And to have been blessed with the dream I had the other night is something I find difficult to put into words.

But of course, I’m going to try.

Imagine being a first time grandmother to be, who is getting more excited by the day at the prospect of soon being able to hold her first granddaughter. A granddaughter who is being named after my own mother, my daughter’s beloved grandmother.

In my dream I was actually holding our precious little Rachel Marie. She was in my arms. I could look into her face, see her beautiful big blue eyes, and her head full of light brown hair. I couldn’t help but just stare at her in amazement, as I held her, and cuddled her. And watched her smile up at me with the biggest grin I could imagine. My granddaughter. I can even describe the outfit she was wearing, although I haven’t seen it yet in any of the baby stores. It was yellow and coral, with little yellow ruffles on the bottom.

This little girl of my dreams was our precious gift. A special delivery directly from the Lord. I remember looking at her and thinking how my own mother actually met her before we did. Because I know my Mom had been caring for her little namesake in heaven until it was time for our new little Rachel to be born and come live with us. I imagined my mother kissing her little forehead, and handing her over to a special angel who would take her down to earth to her new earthly family. And I imagined my heavenly family smiling and rejoicing, knowing what a special, beautiful gift we were getting.

My dream faded softly as I woke up, and for a few minutes, I actually found myself looking around to see where baby Rachel was. And then I remembered. She hasn’t been born yet, except in my dreams.

Now imagine my surprise when our daughter Ashley texted me a little later and said she’d been dreaming all week that Rachel was already here. Only she hadn’t seen her yet in her dreams; in her dreams Rachel was sleeping in her nursey and Ashley was walking down the hall to get her. So Grandmom got to see her first. Yes, I think my daughter was a tiny bit jealous of that one.

Little Rachel will be here before we know it, although right now it seems like it’s taking forever. And I can’t wait to see how much she actually looks like she did in my dream.

And I know she is beautiful. Like her mother.

Another Rachel…

I didn’t really think I could be this excited. But I am. And I can’t help it.

A few weeks ago a friend commented on my blog post about the empty chair at the Thanksgiving table, that next year that empty chair will be filled with a part of my mother. How prophetically true that statement was, because, even though I’ve known in my heart almost from the day we found out about Ashley and Chris expecting a baby that it would be a girl, it was confirmed ten days ago.

Ashley had asked the doctors’ office to call me to tell me the sex, because she and Chris wanted to be together to find out in some kind of gender reveal event. I very seldom ever answer my cell phone if I don’t know who is calling, and when the call came in, I almost let it go into voice mail. But I thought it was a call from a doctor’s office to confirm an appointment, so I answered. It was a doctor’s office, but not the one I thought. I remember her telling me she had Ashley’s results and was I ready to get them?

Oh my gosh, she was calling two days early! Was I ready…I’d been ready since we found out there was a grandbaby coming! I held my breath…..and then I heard her say the chromosomes came out X…and X, which meant a girl! The stork is bringing us a girl! And this ornament is now proudly hanging on our Christmas tree!2015-12-06 11.08.55

I cannot even begin to express how I felt. I remembered how I felt when I found out Ben and I were going to have a little girl, and I was so excited to tell the world! I called Ben first, of course, and told him, and then I called my mother, who was almost more overjoyed than I was, if that was possible! Another little girl in her life to make clothes for, and buy little ruffled dresses for (which of course Ashley really didn’t want to wear, and let us know as soon as she could express herself)! A little girl she could play school with, and teach to cook…my mother was over the top excited, especially since she’d waited so long for her only child to have her own child! She was so excited, and since her friends knew how much this grandchild meant to her, they even gave her a surprise grandmother’s shower!

Since Chris was out of town on a tugboat in the Chesapeake Bay, we had to wait until he came back to do the reveal. I have to say this has been the hardest secret to keep that I’ve ever been entrusted with. Because I couldn’t tell anyone except my friend who made their wedding cake, since she was making a gender reveal cake for them, and of course the salesperson at the party store who put together the gender reveal balloon. But that really doesn’t count, because I couldn’t tell my husband, or my best friends, or even Chris’ mom who is also becoming a grandmother at the same time I am!

(Chris did tell me I could tell my cats, so all three of them knew as well, but since they’re cats and it doesn’t directly affect them, well, they really didn’t seem to care all that much!)

For the last ten days, everywhere I’ve gone I’ve seen people with babies. They seem to be everywhere. They also seem to be all girl babies, even though I know that’s not true. And I just keep thinking…oh my gosh, we are going to have one of those! Even shopping last Saturday for a few little gifts for the gender reveal, it hit me as I stood in line behind this lady buying a pile of fancy little girl clothes…Ashley and I are going to be doing that soon! I wanted to buy a little Christmas outfit so badly for her for next year, but I have no idea what size she’ll be by then…. With my luck it wouldn’t fit!

Now that I know what we’re having, it’s more real. I can call her by her name, instead of saying “the baby”. It’s so much easier to think of her now as a real little person. And yes, I would be thrilled whether we were getting a boy or a girl.

But there’s a very special reason I’m doubly excited about having a granddaughter.

Because Ashley and Chris are naming her Rachel, after my mother. AshBouquet Charmley and my mom always had a very special bond; perhaps it was because she was the long-awaited and ONLY granddaughter; perhaps it was because of how much my mother loved children. Or maybe it was because when your only child has a child of her own, it’s a feeling that nothing else can compare to. Ben and I gave Ashley my mother’s name as her middle name, and now the legacy of Rachel is being carried on for another generation. My mother would be so excited….but then again, she and my dad already know all about her….

To my friend who made that statement about the empty chair being filled with a part of my mother next year, you were totally right! In a way you didn’t even imagine!

And we all cannot wait until we meet little Rachel in May! We love her already!

I Really Miss You, Mom

This was actually written on November 16….. However, it is so totally true……

There are some times I miss you more than others, Mom. Today was one of those days.

Even though you’re no longer here, I truly believe you know that your granddaughter Ashley and her long-time boyfriend Chris were married a little over six months ago. I wish you could’ve met him. I know you’d love him as much as we all do. They’re absolutely perfect for each other. They have the same temperament. The same likes and dislikes. They balance each other.

I knew from the first few dates they had, that they’d end up together permanently. There really wasn’t any doubt.

Although some may think I’m a bit crazy, I believe you and Daddy, and the rest of our family who are with you in heaven, were given the gift of seeing their wedding. There were times that day I felt your presence so strongly….like you were there giving them your blessing, as you squeezed my dad’s hand and told him how proud you were of your granddaughter…how much you loved her. Did you see the charm on her bouquet? With that picture of you and her in your kitchen…with her sunburned face as she smiled at you? That’s one of her favorite pictures of the two of you.Bouquet Charm

Today was a special day, and one that I would have so loved to have shared with you. I’m sure you already know that our baby, your granddaughter, and my daughter, is having a baby of her own. I’m sure you knew it before I did, and probably before Ashley and Chris did. In fact, as Ashley said earlier, you already know whether it’s a boy or a girl. And you’re not telling us, either.

A few weeks ago Ben and I were able to join Ashley and Chris as we saw the first ultrasound of our grandchild. That was an awesome moment. Watching the two of them as they saw the first glimpse of that new life they created…I cannot even begin to express my thoughts. Ben and I were both a bit teary eyed. Ashley and Chris were just amazed. It was still a bit hard to believe.

But today. A month later, it was so different. It was just Ashley and me in that ultrasound room. Chris was at work, and so was Ben. I watched as the technician moved that wand around on my daughter’s belly, and that little darling grandchild of ours…your great-grandchild…was there just lounging around. Once in a while the legs would kick, or the arms would wave. This time, that little baby who’s only an inch and a half long, was clearly visible as a baby. A new life…not just a collection of cells, but a little person coming into being.
Ultrasound
I so would have loved to tell you how I felt…to share that moment with you. I wanted the three of us…three generations…to be involved. I wondered how you’d felt when you found out I was having a baby. How you felt knowing your baby was having a baby of her own. Because that’s all I could think about. My baby that I carried for nine months was now carrying a baby of her own.

Jeremiah 1:5 tells us “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” The Lord already knows all about this little person. What he or she will look like. What he or she will do with their life. And I believe the Lord has already filled you in, Mom, on all of it. And you and Daddy are even more excited about all that your first great grandchild will be. And you’re excited for all of us as well!

Yes, today was one of those days I have missed you more than I can even express, because there are just those times that I need my mom to talk to and share special moments with.

Mom, even though I can’t tell you in person, I just want you to know how excited I am. I think I can finally almost imagine how you felt when Ben and I told you that you were finally going to be a grandmother.

I just wish I could share it all with you in person. I love you, Mom. And I miss you…

November 16, 2015

A Letter to our Daughter and Son-in-Law

Our daughter and her husband are having a baby! We’ve known for several weeks and have been wanting to share their news with the world. And now we finally can!

I actually wrote this several weeks ago, and have patiently (well not really patiently) waited until I was given permission to make the news public.

To Ashley and Chris:

You’re having a baby! There are a million thoughts going through your minds right now. Joy, excitement, wonder…and let’s face it, I’m sure just a little bit of fear. Especially with your first one.

There’s so much to think about. Now that you’ve told your family, how are you going to tell your friends? What will he/she look like? How are you going to decorate the nursery? How is your life going to change? And how in the world can you possibly get everything ready before he/she gets here?

But there’s something else you need to think about…the wonder of actually having created a new life; a new person. There’s actually a very tiny living being inside of a mother-to-be. And for nine months, Mom will be carrying that other person inside of her, nourishing him/her, and looking forward to the day when that little person actually arrives and is placed in your arms. Leaving the safety of Mom’s body and entering a whole new world. There’s nothing like it!

The wonder of all of this struck me one morning driving to work as the Lord gave me this verse and asked me to write this for you.

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV)

The Lord already knows this baby. He knew this baby before he/she was even conceived. He knows if it’s a boy or a girl, his/her name, what he/she will look like, what his/her personality will be. He knows the struggles as well as the triumphs he/she will face in life. He knows what career he/she will have, and where he/she will live. He even already knows who your baby will marry and how many children he/she will have one day.

Imagine the enormity of all of that. The wonder of the Lord is amazing. Here you are, just discovering you’re going to be parents, and the Lord already knows all about this little being who’s only the size of a lime right now. He knows his/her total future. He has plans for him/her. And He will make sure those plans are fulfilled, even if he/she gets off track. And He personally selected YOU to be his/her parents. How totally amazing is that?

Most likely you haven’t thought of all of this; at least not yet. There’s too many other thoughts going through your heads.
But the Lord is amazing, and He has gifted you two with a wondrous and precious gift…a gift He created just for you.

Dad and I cannot wait to meet our first grandchild! We love you all!