Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Uncommon Christmas

When I think of Christmas, memories of familial traditions come to mind. Christmas Eve church service by candlelight, the tree adorned with bright lights, chubby toddler hands tugging at colorfully wrapped gifts, tantalizing scents of cinnamon and pine, the inviting glow of a fireplace, carefully prepared dinner buffet with traditional favorites, and sounds of holiday carols playing softly in the background of excited voices.

This year, however, was entirely different. Instead of a fireplace, our grandchildren - Ayden, Jameson, Ava - were splashing around in a swimming pool, followed by a visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Whoa there, Sparky... I'm getting ahead of myself.

Doughboy and I, along with Jamie, Jason and the kids spent Christmas week in Florida. We rented a lovely 4 bedroom house (that had a heated swimming pool) close to Disneyworld and visited 6 theme parks in as many days. Day 1 was Universal Studios; Universal's Islands of Adventure on Day 2; Disney's Animal Kingdom on Day 3; Disney's Magic Kingdom on Day 4; Disney's EPCOT on Christmas Eve; Disney's Hollywood Studios Christmas Day. Phew!

Thanks to a letter Ayden wrote to Santa, gifts were delivered to our Florida vacation home for opening on Christmas morning. With the exception of warm rain showers early Christmas day, we were blessed with perfect weather with each day's temps on the rise. By mid week we had shed our jackets in favor of short-sleeved shirts. Yes, we experienced a tantrum or two, and the kids were worn out by dusk each evening, but our family enjoyed a fun-filled unconventional Christmas holiday.

Come to think of it, it wasn't that unconventional. After all, Christmas isn't about a tree, fireplace, food, decorations, or gifts. It's about being together...

Wherever you were, I hope your Christmas holiday was magical!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So Lucky

I've already discussed my obsession with scrapbooking. Obsession is putting it mildly, but that's not the purpose of my post. I am lucky because Doughboy is always willing to support my obsession. I can't ask for anything more.

I decided to empty four drawers where I store my large ribbon assortment and find a better form of storage. After searching the internet, I discovered a seller on ebay that hand crafts wood ribbon storage. The units were small and pricey and I knew Doughboy could make something better. I showed him a photo of the ebay unit, and here is my new ribbon storage. Yes, I know I am lucky. Thanks sweetheart!!!

Hmmmm...with my new ribbon storage unit I now have the luxury of four empty drawers. I wonder how long they'll stay empty? It sounds like an excuse to go shopping for more supplies ;)

Click on the photo below for a slide show of additional scrap room views.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

11 weeks 21 Days

Eleven-week-old Teddy has been part of our family for twenty-one days. To most people this wouldn't be much to write about. To us, Teddy has rocked our world :)

We enjoy walking along the path on weekends. It's fun for the pups and good for us to get out and enjoy the fresh fall air. Teddy whines for the first several minutes begging to be picked up and carried. Eventually giving up, he falls in step with Kady and the two forge ahead with their nose to the ground taking in all the smells.

Teddy's favorite part of the walk is stopping to collect leaves, sticks or whatever lies in his path.

C'mon, guys...can't you keep up?

If Teddy is very good (which happens most of the time) he is rewarded with a chewy treat.

This little ball of fluff means the world to us :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

After yesterday's rain, today was sunny, breezy, and warm - a perfect day for a walk along the path. Teddy didn't like the leash. He cried and refused to walk. We removed the leash and he followed Kady the entire time. Kady has become Teddy's surrogate mother - he adores her and will follow her anywhere. Dianora, our salt 'n pepper Scottie always lags behind choosing instead to walk at HER pace. Never mind everyone else.

Teddy came to an abrupt stop and refused to leave the safety of Pete's feet.

The long walk proved tiresome for everyone. You know what is said about sleeping dogs...let them lie :)

Look at this adorable face! It rates a 10 on the cuteness scale.

Monday, September 21, 2009

When God Closes A Door, He Opens A Window

Anyone who views a pet as a cherished family member knows the depth of pain that comes from their loss. Leo passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 13th at one month short of his 8th birthday. Pete and I sobbed for days, wondering what could have been done and if we had we done enough. Questions, doubt, aching pain. Leo's death ripped the heart from my chest in ways I never thought possible. He was my constant companion. My shadow. My friend.

I awoke Saturday morning to a gray day. As I laid in bed listening to the steady rain, I felt a heaviness in my chest as I remembered Leo. He would have been snuggled under my chin. Pete and I dressed and began our Saturday morning routine - breakfast, taking Kady and Dee to their grooming appointment, and other miscellaneous errands. After a visit to schedule our pool closing, I led Pete next door to Yorkie & Friends. I had never been to this shop, and my goal was not to buy a puppy. I wasn't over losing Leo and didn't know if I would ever be ready for another puppy. Yet, I was curious. The owner explained that all her puppies are either her own or come from local contacts whom she trusts. We looked around at a few cute puppies...but none tugged my heart strings. Perhaps I was expecting too much, too soon.

"Do you have any more puppies?" She led us to the back of the small room where I saw a brown ball of fluff. He is a Shorkie - half Shi Tzu, half Yorkie - and the offspring of the owner's own dog. His 8-week old sister was adopted the previous day. I fell in love immediately.

I looked at Pete with pleading eyes. He knew we wouldn't be going home alone.

He looks like a minature we named him Teddy.

Teddy enjoys watching television with his dad. They discuss football strategy.

Leo will always hold a specialy place in my heart. But there's plenty of room for Teddy, Kady and Dianora. It is a three dog night once again :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Soccer Begins

With summer winding down, fall soccer is in full swing. Ayden's participation in soccer last spring was to learn the basics and practice drills. This fall puts those skills to use by playing actual games. I was incredibly proud of Ayden at his first game this past Saturday. He was the highest scoring player on his team, making 3 goals. Go Ayden!

Ayden gets a high five from his coach after scoring a goal.

Jameson amuses himself with Bumpa. He adores Pete!

Mimi - stop taking pictures!

A rare opportunity to catch Jameson sitting still.

Princess Patty Cake Ava.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day and the End of Summer

Nearly 3 months has passed since I last blogged. Much has happened during that time…some events have been sad, mostly happy, and some have changed our lives in bittersweet ways. You may have wondered why I stopped blogging. The main reason is time, or rather the lack of it. Summer is a busy time of year for us. Days spent outdoors, playing in the pool, family field trips, enjoying life. Another reason is one that no longer seems important. However, nothing in the world is as important to me as family. Blogging about our grandchildren is the highlight of my day. I’ll make no apologies for the relationship I/we have with my daughter and her family. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Labor Day signals the end of summer. Days become shorter, nights are cooler, and kids are back in school. We had no specific plans for the holiday weekend but it exceeded my expectations in the fun factor. Saturday morning started with a family breakfast at Waffle House and a dose of friendly abuse between Pete and our favorite waitress, LD. You know you have “arrived” when your photo is displayed on the WH bulletin board. Yes, we’re weekend regulars and proud of it.

We and the entire Payne clan – Jamie, Jason, Ayden, Jameson, Ava – attended Powers Crossroads Arts and Crafts Festival. It has become a Labor Day tradition; however, we probably won’t attend next year. Sadly attendance and crafters have diminished in numbers over recent years. My only purchase was lovely handmade clothing for Ava and suckers for Ayden and Jameson. Click the photo below to view a slideshow of our day at Powers Crossroads Arts and Crafts Festival.

After meeting the Payne’s for dinner, we enjoyed an impromptu overnight sleepover with the boys. They rode their battery-powered RazR on the cart path followed by a bath and movie. Ayden loves playing games on the computer and he thoroughly enjoyed the one-on-one attention from Bumpa on Sunday morning. Jameson snuck into a corner to hide…and fill his pants. Ewwwww!!! Click the photo below to view a slideshow of the boy's sleepover.

Being too old for naps, Ayden was allowed to come for a swim after church while his siblings stayed with Mommy. We literally wore him out! We babysat the kids in the evening so that Jamie and Jason could enjoy date night at the movies. None of the kids lasted long before going to sleep. Even Ayden didn’t put up much of a fuss when he was helped into bed. I think he was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, with Jameson soon after.

While it was a fairly uneventful weekend, we spent a lot of quality time with the kids. They are such fun to be around and Ayden amazes me with how grown-up he has become. Sometimes naughty, mostly good, always unpredictable – they mean the world to me!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Goodbye Pre-K...Hello Kindergarten!

Yesterday was a big day for Ayden. It marked the end of pre-school and the beginning of school for big kids. Woo hoo!

I was so proud of our little guy at his graduation ceremony. I loved how his face lit up when he saw me in the crowd...and how he eagerly tucked his little hand in mine. I didn't think I could ever love a child more than my own. But now I know that love increases 100 times when you become a grandparent. I've said it before, but Ayden and I share a very special bond. I hope it never changes.

Click the arrow to begin the slide show; once the slide show has begun, click the square in the lower right corner to maximize your screen. At the end of the slide show click ESC to return. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

Memorial Day has become traditionally known as the start of the summer season. Picnics, outdoor events, and family gatherings are favorite Memorial Day past-times. For our family, it marked the baptism of Ava Marie. Ava's godparents - Nikki, her husband Jay, and Jason's brother Ryan - traveled from Wisconsin to participate in Ava's big day. Unfortunately, Ava was not feeling her best. She was running a high temperature and nothing, except mommy, could make her feel comfortable. Like the little lady she is, she managed to get through the entire church service without uttering a whimper. Poor baby girl. I may be a tiny bit biased (what grandparent isn't?) but I believe Ava is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.

Click the arrow to begin the slideshow; once the slideshow has begun, click the square in the lower right corner to maximize your screen. At the end of the slideshow click ESC to return.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Across The Miles

Children grow, they marry, and build lives of their own. They become parents... and careers carry them far, far away.

We have eight beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from 8 years to 6 months. Sadly we live close to only three grandchildren, but all are never far from our thoughts and hearts. With the assistance of modern technology, we keep in touch through e-mail and blogging. We log onto computers each day for current news and photos, hoping that everyone is safe and thriving. One loses a tooth, another scores in soccer, while the littlest discovers sitting up for the first time. Yes, each amazingly perfect grandchild is a blessing that makes our lives complete.

Coming home from work, I routinely check the mailbox and sort bills from junk mail. Tucked between magazines was an envelope bearing a postmark from California and Kelly's unmistakable handwriting. Reading each carefully written signature, I felt an invisible hug from Petra, Soren, Annike and Tova.

Thank you!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chere!

Last night the five Scrap Club Divas met for dinner at the City CafĂ© to honor our dear friend’s birthday. Chere’s birthday technically isn’t until May 27, but any excuse to celebrate works for us.

We always have such a great time together – great food, lively conversation, tons of laughter, toasting of glasses, and dessert. Let’s not forget dessert – YUM! I am especially excited about a particular topic that was discussed – the Ultimate Scrapbook Cruise that sails November 6-14, 2010. Jamie, Chere and I joined ScrapMap for the Ultimate cruise to Hawaii two years ago. Having just given birth to baby Ava, Jamie couldn’t participate in the Ultimate cruise this year. But Chere and I, with our two husbands for good measure, had a ball on the cruise and learned tons of neat stuff.

Next year’s cruise looks even more exciting and it is my greatest desire to have all of us travel together. Chere, Jamie and I are already booked – we just need to convince Judy and Pam to come along with us.

For the time being, happy birthday Queen Priss! We love you!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Creative Scrap Retreat Spring '09

After months of planning, the time came for our first annual Creative Scrap Retreat (CSR). Five women gathered togethered from Saturday morning to Sunday evening in an educational venue around our favorite hobby - scrapbooking.

The event kicked off at 8:30am after breakfast. Each participant was tasked with teaching at least one class which was kept top secret from all except the instructor. i taught a flip board book class created from Accucut dies and bound together using a Zutter Bind-it-All. Chere's class was the messiest and most time-consuming - we took a plain album and converted it to a work of art using torn decorative papers and Mod Podge. Each monthly page was interactive, using clear photo pockets. Jamie taught us how to covert a plain whte frame into a work of art that commemorated our first CSR event. In Pam's class we created lovely cards and decorative storage box using Basic Grey paper. Judy taught us how to get more bang from Photoshop Elements 7 using frames, brushes and other cool techniques.

Great friends, good food, and tons of fun. There is nothing in the world like a good friend. I'm blessed to have not one, but four fabulous ladies in my life. I cherish and appreciate them all and can't wait for our fall CSR event!

Click the arrow to begin the slideshow; once the slideshow has begun, click the square in the lower right corner to maximize your screen. At the end of the slideshow click ESC to return.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Tuesday which means soccer practice for Ayden. Being Cinco de Mayo I would have dearly loved to celebrate the Mexican holiday with a frosty marguerita. Being a grandparent, I traded my 'rita for a sideline seat with Jamie watching as Ayden made goal after goal in the 82 degree late afternoon sun. At one point Ayden's head coach asked him to sit and watch for a few minutes. This gave the younger kids an opportunity to play. Ayden has played soccer at pre-school for the last year and is more than ready to be placed with older kids. He has gotten quite cocky at his ability to steal the ball from his younger less-aggressive teammates. Still, I can't help but feel a surge of pride at Ayden's skill. Kudos, baby boy!

And on any given Tuesday or Saturday morning, you can always find me cheering from the sideline.

Click the arrow to begin the slideshow; once the slideshow has begun, click the square in the lower right corner to maximize your screen. At the end of the slideshow click ESC to return.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Soccer Practice

Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings are spent at Handley Park in Tyrone watching Ayden play soccer. He is quite serious about playing, as evident by the look of concentration on his face. We cheer him on from the sidelines and encourage him when he takes a fall. The group of kids are 3-4 year olds. When Ayden plays in the fall he will play with 5-6 year old kids. Already he is more serious than many of his team mates and stops only to take a drink of water. His little cheeks get bright red, either from the hot Georgia sun or exertion. Either way, it is fun to watch him race around the field, kicking his soccer ball into the goal. I wouldn't miss it for the world! On any Saturday or Tuesday Ayden has the support of his Mom, Dad, Mimi, little brother Jameson, and baby sister Ava. We're proud of you, Ayden!

Monday, April 27, 2009

If At First You Don't Succeed...

...try, try again.

I ran out of space on Blogger (click here to link to our old Blogger site) so I created a Wordpress blog. The result? I don't like Wordpress. I mean no disrespect to all you happy Wordpress users - it just isn't for me. So here I am with a new Blogger site. I hope you like it :)

After a month long absence I have much catching up to do. First things first, I am working on a scrapbook project that I will teach to a group of ladies on June 14th. I used four different Accucut albums and customized the pages to create a flip book. Don't you love the colors of Bo Bunny's new Alyssa line? Pink is...well, it's so girlie.

Click on the slideshow below to view a sneak peek of my flip book. Click the arrow to begin the slideshow; once the slideshow has begun, click the square in the lower right corner to maximize your screen.