What the Heck Happened, Y’all?

Oh my God! After weeks and weeks of not being able to access my own blog from my own computer, all of a sudden here it is! And I can post! I’ve missed you, blog! I’ve missed you, bloggy friends! I don’t know what happened, but here is a post I was working on, before I found myself lost in the black hole of computer problems.

Every night it happens. I wake up. I’m aware of being uncomfortable. What is that? Sweat. Oh. My God. I’m sweating all over. My thighs are sweating, my back is sweating, my neck is dripping wet. The bottom of my feet are even sweaty.

I throw off the covers. I get up. I have to pee anyway. I wash my face with cold water at the sink. I remove my sweat soaked clothes and find something dry to put on. I turn on the overhead fan. I go into the kitchen for a glass of ice water. Then I slip back into bed.

I lie there, uncovered, and let the fan blow over me. I sip my water. I listen to the news commentators on the TV. I listen to my husband’s faint snoring.

The clock says 3:10 am. I wonder how long it will take me to fall back asleep? On a good night, it may take 30 minutes. On a bad night, I finally fall asleep, minutes before the alarm clock beeps at 5:00 am. Some nights, I don’t sleep at all.

And while I lie there, I wonder what happened.

Oh, I know what happened. I’m almost 53 years old, and I just had a hot flash. Duh. In a few minutes, I’ll probably have a cold flash, which will cause me to suddenly shiver violently, get up to turn off the fan, throw on a sweatshirt and pull the covers up to my ears (or over my head entirely). If I manage to get warm, I might fall asleep, which will last only until my body realizes it’s too warm and another sweaty hot flash wakes me up to start the whole damn cycle all over again.

No, what I wonder, while I lie there in various stages of fluctuating misery, is, what happened to me.

How did little Ginger, who was cute and blond and taken care of, become old Ginger, who is wrinkled and gray and tries to take care of everyone else? How did Gladys Parker’s first granddaughter become a grandmother, herself? How did Joyce’s little baby doll turn into a mother, and now, a grandmother with babies of my own to dress?

See? I was cute. I was young. I had a grandmother that adored me. I was her first grandchild, and I think, like me, she had been waiting all her life to take on that role. I had a young mother, who was probably wondering how she had become somebody’s mother. And I swear, y’all, it was just a few years ago.  Like, maybe 15 years ago. That”s what it seems like to me, anyways. It could not have been 50 years ago that this photo was taken.

Where in the heck did the last 50 years go?

A few years went by and I became a mother. I made my mother, Joyce, a grandmother for the first time. Here she is with my firstborn son, Kyle.

The years spent raising my boys are a blur. The three of them grew up to become such handsome young men.

And now, my youngest is in college earning a degree in physics. My middle son is in a state hundreds of miles from me, raising his own precious, blond haired, blue-eyed daughter.

Only my oldest, Kyle, is still nearby, although it is uncertain if that will last much longer.

Kyle’s son, Kole, is so much like he was. Here he is, looking on the mirror with my husband, his Pops. Can you see the resemblance to his daddy in this photo?

I know I’m going to wake up in a few years and wonder how I became a great grandmother. Time flies by as these photos show. Here is how my mother, Joyce, and I look today, with our grandson.

If only my grandmother, Gladys, could still be here to see her little grand daughter being someone’s grandmother.

I’m still not sure how any of this happened, but I think my grandmama would cheer me on.

And then she’d tell me to stop being silly and get back to sleep.

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I Heart This Face Best of All, Y’all

This week’s photo challenge on I Heart Faces is “Best Face Photo.” We are instructed to enter the face photo that we love the best that we took either in the month of December 2009 or in early January 2010. This is not the week to look through the archives for a favorite photo! They want something that is fresh and new and that shows off where we are in our photography journey right now.

Well, since my grandson, Kole, was born on Thanksgiving Day, I have not taken photos of any other faces but his! It was impossible to choose  one favorite, out of the 500 or more I have already taken, but this is one of the top ten. I’m sure y’all can see why I love taking his photo so much. Isn’t he just the cutest thing?

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos. This week they have an awesome prize for the winner and there are already 729 entries.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other favorite faces, or to enter a photo of your own!

Six Words About My Adorable Grandson

There’s a new forum I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.

*Edited to cross out vampire words.

Woo-Hoo! I’m Babysitting Him Again Tonight!

The last time I participated in this forum, we had just had a baby shower. Well, here is the result we were waiting for! May I introduce my grandson, “Kole!”?

Now go post something in only six words! You know you want to, and you know you can find time!

Reviewing Christmas. Wait. We had Christmas?

The whole thing was a big blur. And I got just one word, y’all.

Whew.

I don’t know about y’all, but it seems to me that every year that goes by, it gets a little harder to do the whole holiday thing. I suppose it’s old age creeping in. I can remember wondering how my grandmother could be content with nothing but a tiny ceramic tree for her Christmas decor. I, on the other hand, have always gone overboard. Tons of presents, a tree bursting with ornaments, Santa Claus figures and candles on every available surface, lights strung outside, Christmas dishes and place settings permantently set out on the dining room table, wreaths hung over the mantel and over the kitchen sink, well, you get the idea.

This year it was all I could do to stick up the tree and wrap a measly number of presents. I reckon I’m getting old.

For many reasons, it just didn’t seem like Christmas.

It was the year of “firsts’ for me. It was the first time I’ve ever had to work on Christmas Day. I know a lot of folks have to work on Christmas, and I hate to sound like a whiney-butt about it, but it was pure tea awful, y’all. On top of that, my husband had to work Tuesday night before Christmas and Thursday day (Christmas Eve) which gave him a grand total of a half a day on Wednesday to enjoy his holiday. Into that half a day we had to fit in having my mother in law and her delightful little bichon, Heidi, over for dinner and exchanging presents.

Since we both had to work Christmas Day, we pretended the 24th was Christmas so we had the kids over for a quick gift exchange before we all headed over to my mother’s home for a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, southern style collards, oyster dressing, gingered cranberry sauce, corn and chocolate cake.

Another first – it was the first year we decided not to exchange presents at my mom’s house. Definitely easier on everyone, but, well, it didn’t feel like Christmas.

Since my middle son has moved his little family, including my precious grand daughter to another state hundreds of miles away, it was also the first Christmas, since I became a mother of three sons, that I didn’t have all of my boys together. And that hurt with an intensity that was surprising to me. I would find myself, in odd moments, welling up with tears. Like now.

On the other hand, my youngest son has been home on his Christmas break and I really enjoyed an afternoon of last minute Christmas shopping with him, which included buying a marked down, last one on the shelf Christmas tree for my oldest son and daughter in law. They didn’t have time to put up a tree, since they’ve been a little busy with the new baby!, so we brought one to them as a last minute surprise.

And that, for a few minutes, felt a little bit like Christmas, y’all.

Finally, it was the first Christmas with the new baby, our grandson, Kole. Just a month old and so tiny, he was a gentle reminder of what the season is all about.

I hope all of y’all had a good Christmas this year. Mine was a mixed bag. Sad at times mixed with extreme happiness. I’m happy I have a great husband, who loves me through my ups and downs. I’m happy I have a job, even though it makes me work weird hours. I’m happy I have my health, even though I’m starting to feel like a grandma. And I’m happy for every single moment I got to spend with my loved ones.

Especially the littlest ones.

You Capture My Happy Story

I found a new photo blog to participate in on Thursdays! It’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This weeks was “Your Happy Story.”

Click on the link here to read about how to play along. Then do your best to visit the other participants’ sites – everyone loves the traffic, the comments and the feedback (not just you!) Next week’s photo challenge is Lines! I have no clue what that is going to be, but I’m curious to find out.

My oldest son and his wife have been married for four years. That is a long time to be trying to have a baby, when you are in your thirties. My beautiful daughter-in-law has wanted a baby more than anything else in the world, for as long as she can remember.

This picture was taken last month at their baby shower. Kyle is holding a sign that I ordered for them, with the baby’s name and the words, “Dreams Do Come True.”

Kole was due January 1, so we thought we were going to have a New Year’s baby. Then Erika developed preeclampsia and had to be hospitalized in the middle of November.

She didn’t even have time to finish putting her shower gifts away, y’all.

This is my husband and myself on our anniversary, the day before Thanksgiving. I got a call that morning from Kyle, saying Erika was being induced that day! All of a sudden, it looked like we were going to have an Anniversary baby!

We spent the whole day at the hospital, waiting. At dinnertime, she was not very far along (still) so we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.

Thanksgiving morning, she was still in labor. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was fixing our meal, so I didn’t have to cook. Thanksgiving Day was spent at the hospital, still waiting.

At suppertime, she was still not very far along, so we went to have Thanksgiving dinner with family.

We returned to the hospital at 10 pm. Kyle met us at the door of Erika’s room.

“They are prepping her right now for a C section,” he said.

He weighed in at just barely fives pounds. I took this photo right after he was born and I still can’t believe that a face so tiny could be so expressive.

It was a couple of days before mom was strong enough to visit him.

And I was not too happy about having to wait to hold him. It was a few days before he was strong enough to be held. But, as you can see, it was worth the wait!

Kyle is already a wonderful Daddy to the little guy. He has been with him every minute, filling in for Erika until she was strong enough to visit him in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

And so, that is my happy story about how, at 11:04 pm last Thursday night, our New Year’s/Anniversary baby became, instead, our Thanksgiving baby! And we are so darn thankful for him.

Welcome to the world, little Kole.

How To Plan an Eco-Baby Shower, (without going crazy!)

Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

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When I found out I was going to finally be a grandmother, I immediately started thinking about planning a baby shower. Since my son’s girlfriend, Erin, is from Michigan, none of her family live here in North Carolina, and she has not been here long enough to make many friends. So I decided that my daughter-in-law, my mother and myself would throw her a nice, traditional, Southern-style shower to welcome her to our family.

In all my excitement, y’all, I overlooked the one most important thing: My son and his girlfriend are not traditional. In fact, they pretty much make it their life’s work to repudiate everything that even sounds or smells like tradition. She’s all about being “natural”. She’s a vegetarian,  eco-friendly, and bio friendly.You know, positive energy. So having a silly old ritual of sitting around eating disgusting food like (shudder) preservative and food coloring laden cake and unwrapping (shudder) cardboard boxes full of useless baby toys made of (shudder) chemicals and plastic was enough to, well, send the two of them right over the edge.

So. I had a quandary on my hands, since I had already blabbed my intentions to my whole Southern Baptist, cake eating, meat loving, traditional, conventional thinking family.

After pondering on this problem for a week or two, I did what every modern grandmother does to solve problems these days: I googled it. “Baby shower for earth mother type” gave me the perfect solution – a green themed, eco-baby shower!

I  started to warm up to the idea. Some of the key things: no wrapping paper (ask guests to wrap gifts in recycled bags, newspaper or better yet, cloth diapers!), no wasteful party decorations like crepe paper and balloons (instead decorate with green plants, candles, a soothing table waterfall), no food with preservatives and dye or meat (have a veggie tray and natural oatmeal cookies), ask for recycled gifts, or gifts from a second hand store, or from a gift registry from a store like You Are My Sunshine.

Of course, we needed an appropriately themed shower invitation, on plain recycled card stock. I made the card in Word, printed it on my printer, and added ink stamps of little feet and green ferns, as embellishment. I wanted something simple enough for my eco parents, but informative enough for the rest of us to understand that this shower was going to be different.

I wrote my own verse for the cards. It said:

Pink booties or blue? It remains to be seen

But for Ryan and Erin – We’re all going green!

Organic and clean – and chemical free!

It’s an Eco-baby Shower for our Mother-to-be.

I included a typed sheet, explaining the whole green concept, so the guests would know what to expect.

The day of the shower finally came.  We had a “good turn out” as my mom would say – twelve women, plus a few spouses and one adorable two year old girl. Erin got nice, bio-friendly gifts, everyone seemed to “get” the green theme. Ryan made Greek pizzas and hummus dip that everyone loved, I made a punch of (what else?) green tea with fruit, and gave away party favors of small pots of green grass or ivy.

It was comical to see the “mix” of characters. My mom, her friend and my aunt were there to represent the prim and proper southern Baptist ladies. They had their best “Sunday Go To Meeting” outfits on – high heels,panty hose, and hair-sprayed coifs. Ryan and Erin wore black T shirts, tattoos, holey jeans, Airwalk tennis shoes and one pregnant friend of Erin’s was sporting a whole head of Peptol Bismol colored hair. But since they all kept respectable distances from each other and sat at different ends of the table, it all turned out fine.

Only one small problem cropped up, y’all. I almost had a nervous breakdown.

I was heading over to my mom’s house, where the shower was to be held, at 1:45pm. The shower started at 4pm. Ryan and Erin were supposed to meet me there at 2:30 to prepare all the food that I had bought the day before on a four hour shopping trip with the two of them to our local organic food store (Tidal Creek). Anyway, I foolishly let the two of them keep the food at their house and the plan was for them to bring it to my mom’s and prepare it there. I called Ryan on my cell phone to say I was heading over to mom’s to decorate and to remind him to bring a good knife and his pizza pans. Well. He informs me that Erin was not ready, and that they would not be getting there until about 3:30 or 3:45pm!

As I started to sputter, he says to me, “Relax, Mom! It’ll be fine. We’ll be there in time, just not real early.”

Well. We had the Greek pizza, hummus, and dip to prepare, cookies to bake, cheese, pineapple, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and celery to slice, as well as olives, crackers, pita bread and carrot cake to set out. We had to choose the serving dishes for all of it and arrange it all on the table! In fifteen minutes???!!! My head started to feel like it was going to explode!! And I knew my Southern Baptist ladies would ALL be at least 15 minutes early (and they were).

I had to face my mom and tell her that the food was going to be late. To say she was horrified would be an understatement. She opened her mouth and right away started panicking. “MY friends are going to BE here at 4 o clock and they are going to EXPECT to have food! We CAN’T invite people over AND NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER THEM!! It’s just not DONE!!”

I knew right then and there that I was in for two solid hours of non-stop hollerin’ and complaining, so I took action. I jumped back into my car, drove to the nearest Harris Teeter, ran like a madwoman through the store, grabbing everything that remotely looked like an organic product and threw it into my shopping cart. Forty five  minutes later, I staggered into my mom’s kitchen with two full armloads of organic oatmeal cookies, whole wheat crackers, various snobby-sounding cheeses, fresh vegetables, pre-made humus and spinach dip, some interesting black pretzels, Greek olives, yellow carrots, a carrot cake (not organic, but oh well) pickles (they’re green!) and a huge tub of granola.

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Mom and I worked feverishly to set everything out in her various fancy crystal serving dishes, make my punch, and light the candles. We were just finishing up, when Ryan and Erin arrived with the “real” organic food. Right behind them, fifteen minutes early as I predicted, were the southern baptist ladies, and my mother-in-law.

Mom and I did what every proper southern belle would have done.

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We smiled and batted our eyelashes, like we didn’t have care in the world, and chatted them all up.

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Ryan and Erin shot bewildered looks at the food on the serving table. The Baptist ladies all oohed and awed over my “fake” organic spread, while Ryan and Erin worked to get the Greek Pizzas and “real” organic cookies into the oven. By the time the Punk younger set got there, the pizza and “real” hummus were ready, and the southern ladies were all wowed  by my son’s culinary skills.

And no one had a clue about what hell I had gone through to get it all done.

Needless to say, we had a lot of food left over, so I sent all the organic stuff home with my two organic, fashionably late, laid back, “the whole world just needs to relax” lovebirds and the non-organic, junk food went home with my very appreciative college son, Klinton.

Now, wasn’t that easy? Heck, y’all, I may become an Earth Grandmother before it’s all over!