Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And Life Goes On

Here we are. Another two weeks have passed since I last updated my 365 project pictures for you. My apologies . . . again.

April 9 - If you remember, my last 365 project post included a lot of pictures of our newest grandchild, Charlie. And, while I wouldn't give up ONE minute that I spent with Charlie, it did mean that I hadn't seen Amelia for a bit. Erin must have sensed my intense need and desire to see her and offered to bring her down. It had actually been two weeks since I'd seen her and the change was dramatic. Wow, they do grow up so fast! Smiling and adorable!

April 10 - On Sundays we often go out to lunch with Erin and Paul (and Amelia) after church. On this particular day, Paul was working so couldn't join but we still had fun with Amelia and Erin. It appears that Amelia is keeping close track of her mom's whereabouts as Boppa holds her during lunch. She makes some of the best faces!

April 11 - Every year this Lungwort plant in our backyard is nearly done blooming before I even notice it's spring. This year, I was prepared. I started checking early. I love the purple and pink blooms. Turns out it's called Lungwort because it is believed to cure some lung illnesses. Crazy, huh?
April 12 - As I was taking the Lungwort picture on Monday, I turned around and caught a glimpse of some purple in an area I'd never seen it before. It seems that during our major re-landscaping project last summer, my scilla plants hitchhiked to new destinations all over the yard. Good thing I like them so much! I'd been inside all day and hadn't realized how nice it was, so,after taking this picture I put on my summer clothes and worked in the garden for two hours. It was fun at the time! Later, I was a wee bit sore but I think it was worth it!

April 13 - One of our favorite pastimes is babysitting sweet Amelia. And, being the full-service babysitters that we are, on this particular night Boppa brought along some equipment to give Amelia her first eye exam. It only lasted about three minutes - long enough to know that she has great eyes. If you want to know how John does eye exams on babies, call him. I know he'd LOVE to explain it to you.

April 14 - Sooner or later, the car has to be washed. And yes, I did feel stupid taking out my camera for a picture; but, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

April 15 - I titled this photo "Pokey Woman." Not because Fiona is slow, but because she is the doctor who administers my acupuncture. I willingly admit that I was VERY skeptical as to whether or not acupuncture would work but I'm happy to say it has, along with a major diet change, changed my life! I highly recommend it!

April 16 - Remember that picture just a few days back of the scilla? Well, this is Minnesota and as you can see, the weather can change in an instant! I took this on my way to a breakfast at our church on Saturday. Beautiful, but crazy!

April 17 - It seems like just a few short months ago I saw this sweet girl put her hand on her teeny, tiny, tummy as she helped lead worship during church. That instinctive touch that mom's do when they are pregnant was my first indication that Liz might be expecting. I can't wait to meet her little guy in a couple more weeks. (Maybe he'll make it as one of my "pictures of the day.")
April 18 - This has got to be one of the lamest pictures in my 365 project. I had a busy day and kept forgetting to take a picture so I quick grabbed my camera on my way out of Nordstrom, where I'd stopped to return a couple of things. I ALMOST made it out of the store with a net gain on my credit card. Maybe some other day.

April 19 - I met my good friend, Debbie, at her office in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday. We needed some time together to share pictures and stories of our new grandchildren. Her granddaughter was born on March 31 and our grandson was born on April 1. I absolutely love going downtown, but not as much as I love spending time with my friend.

April 20 - Julie has been my hygienist longer than I can remember. She's the best! The only problem is that when I go there, we get to talking and I'm sure she has to allow extra time to clean my teeth! A few days after my visit I got a handwritten note from Julie telling me how it's always nice having me on her schedule. How sweet is that?

April 21 - This picture was sort of an experiment. I'd read on this blog about the blue hour. It seems there is a time, about an hour after the sun sets, that you can take pictures and the sky is this amazing deep blue color. You need to use a tripod to get a good shot and I'd started by going to the lake but ended up with some rather drab photos. It seems a key component to a "blue hour" picture is some sort of lights, of which there were none at the lake. Once I got home, and realized how bad my pictures were, I quickly went out to the front porch. It was raining at the time so my vantage point wasn't exactly what I wanted; but it was dry. Thus I ended up with this picture, which I titled "A Rainy Night in the Hood."

April 22 - I love watching my garden bloom in the spring, even on a rainy day. It always seems like a miracle. I transplanted these Blood Root plants from the woods behind our house into the garden a few years ago. This seemed a fitting picture for Good Friday.

And so, here it is, the end of April already. Keep making memories, taking pictures, and most importantly, spend time with the ones you love.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Because He Lives!

Easter is by far my favorite holiday. Not because of the jelly beans, cute little bunnies, or the chocolates (though I like all of that) but because of the meaning behind it. Without Easter, celebrating Christmas would be pointless. Without Easter, we'd be living in a hopeless state. Without Easter, there would be no promise of eternal life!

There is an old, song that I think sums up our reason for celebrating quite well. The words are written by Bill & Gloria Gaither. I'll just put the chorus in here but if you'd like to hear the whole thing, click HERE. It's worth the few minutes!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Happy Easter, friends! May your day be filled with joy . . . because HE lives!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flash Mobs

This morning I saw this video on You Tube and subsequently shared it with my Facebook friends. I love it, and I'll let you in on the same secret that I told my Facebook friends this morning; I would LOVE to be in a flash mob someday. I mean really, doesn't it look like fun? I would, of course, need to be somewhere in the middle of the group so that people wouldn't notice as much when I mess up, but still, what a blast!

I remember when I saw my first flash mob video of people singing at Central Station in Belgium. I was actually wishing I'd been there when it happened so I could have joined in. The funny thing is that when I first saw it, I actually thought random people had done just that! I thought they just joined in the dance and followed along with whatever the person in front of them was doing! Clearly, I was having a blond moment! How it happened that all those children came down the steps so spontaneously, never crossed my mind! I scare myself sometimes!

Even though I like the song better in the newer video, I think the Central Station one will always be my favorite. Perhaps because I think I could have joined in the fun! Let me know if you, too, want to be in a flash mob. You never know when I might decide to put a group together! It'll be just like putting together a Cheerleader Routine back in high school. Oh wait, I never did that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catching Up

With all the excitement of adding a new family member I didn't get my "365 project" post done in a very timely manner, but well, I don't care. Grandbabies are WAY more exciting than 365 projects, even though said projects include some grand baby pictures. Anyway, here's what's been going on.

March 26 - John and I took a Saturday drive to see what we could find. The rivers in the area were swollen from all the snow melt and rain and had produced some interesting sights as a result. This "ice seat" was found in a field - not a river - where the water had apparently been quite a bit higher than it was when we found it. Crazy out the ice froze and stuck to the side of the tree like that. And, this wasn't the only "seat" we saw!

March 27 - Every year the Como Conservatory in St. Paul has a magnificent spring flower display. Being as this winter was particularly challenging it drew quite a few visitors. Going on a Sunday probably wasn't our (o.k., my) brightest idea because the crowd was immense but I think everyone was so excited to breath in some spring that they were on their best behavior. In other words: no one annoyed the daylights out of me. I had too many good pictures to choose just one so I made a collage.

March 28 - As it so happens, Trader Joe's is right on the way home from the Conservatory so I wasn't about to drive by without making a quick stop. And, well, Trader Joe's always has some great flowers at some pretty decent prices so I was forced really, to pick up some red and white tulips. And, since they were sitting there still on Monday looking so pretty they became the "photo of the day."

March 29 - Tuesday night our local Rotary Exchange student shared about her country (Sweden) at a special evening function. Generally, Rotary Club meets at 6:45 in the morning which always leaves me wondering how they get any members. But, apparently some people like that time of day. God bless them. But, I digress (so unusual for me.) My friend, Karen, was one of the host moms for the Rotary student this year so, of course, was at this Rotary event. I've been wanting to take her picture for my project for a long time because not only is she my friend, she is also the person who cleans my house. I LOVE Karen. And yes, I know I'm spoiled. I figured she'd rather have her picture taken when she's dressed up for an evening out rather than when she's dressed for cleaning.

March 30 - If you read this blog post you'll know that Wednesday was the day I headed to Wisconsin to await the arrival of our new little grandson. I took this picture as a "back-up" in case he didn't arrive before the end of the day. (Good thing, since I needed it.) This little lake (which is actually a dammed up river) is right behind the hospital and accessed from the lobby by a little path. It's quite a lovely area, really.

March 31 - At 10:10 on Thursday night I told Jane (mother to my daughter-in-law, Heidi) that we needed a picture of the two of us at the hospital as we headed into our second night of waiting for baby to arrive. It was another "back-up" picture even though we were still expecting a baby by midnight. Please note, if you are ever planning to "wait things out" in a hospital think about packing a toothbrush - at the very least. I don't really think it's fair that Jane, who had even less sleep than I did, looks way more rested.

April 1 - If you read my previous blog about Charlie's birth, you've already seen this picture taken shortly after he was born at 4:29 Friday morning. But really, it's worth another look I think. In fact, pretty much the rest of the week belongs to Charlie. I knew I'd have to go home eventually, so I dedicated the week to pictures of him. Besides, he is pretty cute, don't you think?

April 2 - On Saturday, John was able to drive over to visit his newest grand baby. As you can see, he's a proud Boppa!

April 3 - I decided on Sunday that it was Nana's turn to be in the picture with Charlie.

BUT - I have to throw this "3 Generations" picture in as a bonus. It wasn't part of my project, but it's just too precious not to use.

April 4 - Charlie and I were hanging out on the couch together on Monday while his Mom and Dad slept a bit. Clearly he was NOT tired and who can resist those big blue eyes?

April 5 - During my first week of 365 pictures I posted one of this bear waiting for his buddy to arrive. Well, buddy is finally here but, on this particular day, wasn't in the mood to play. Don't worry Mr. Bear, he'll come around. If John had his way, I'd never post a picture of a crying baby, but hey, they do that sometimes. In general, Charlie is a pretty easy going guy.

April 6 - On Wednesday, I knew my time with Charlie and his parents would soon be drawing to a close (for a while at least.) I was not going to leave without a foot picture and I stole the idea of adding mom and dad's wedding rings from my friend, Renee Johannesen. It's just a good thing their rings aren't any heavier or poor Charlie's toe might have been dragging the floor!

April 7 - When I came upstairs on Thursday morning I found Adam, Heidi and Charlie hanging out in the living room. Heidi didn't really want to be a part of the whole photo shoot that day (poor girl had hardly slept in a week - I can't blame her) but I loved the way Charlie was laying on Adam's legs. They'll have some fun family times, I'm sure. To say that this Nana was sad to leave that morning is an understatement. Were it not for that "middle of the night feeding business", I might have tried to sneak him out of the house!

April 8 - Friday night we went to a wedding reception for our friend's Jesicca and Matt. Matt is the son of one of my good friends, who also happens to be named Nancy. (How could we not be friends?) We had a great time celebrating a great couple.

One thing about doing this project is that it sure brings home the fact that time is flying by. As always, I encourage you to make some memories, take some pictures, and spend time with the ones you love.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birds in the House?

Yesterday morning when I got up I emerged from the bedroom and instantly noticed the sound of birds chirping. Odd, I thought, since I was fairly certain all of the windows were shut when I went to bed Saturday night. John was already up, but I usually find him downstairs on a Sunday morning if he gets up before me. As I walked further down the hall the bird chirping got louder. "This can't be good," I thought. "What if there is a bird in my house? Oh, that's going to be a mess."

Soon, I noticed that the chirping seemed to be coming from my office. I hesitantly stuck my head in the door expecting to see a bird. How they would have gotten in I hadn't quite worked out in my sleepy head. I was preparing to call for John to come and help with what was already in my mind a "bird situation" when, to my surprise, I found him sitting at the computer - watching baby eagles on the computer screen.

The very fact that the computer was turned on was a bit of a conundrum since just a few weeks ago John told me that, search as he might, he couldn't find the "power" switch on my new Mac. Anyway, back to the eagles. It seems that the Sunday paper had mentioned a link to an eagle's nest in Decorah, Iowa and John decided to check it out. I was just relieved not to find birds pooping their way around my office.

This particular nest has three baby eagles (or eaglets as the case may be.) And, I have to say, that it is rather interesting to watch what's happening there - in short 1 - 2 minute visits. John has a longer attention span for things like this so could literally sit here for an hour to watch it. I suggested he might switch it up a bit and take a chair outside to watch the grass grow.

I must admit, that eagles are great parents, taking turns caring for their young, getting them food, and keeping them warm. Did you know that they even mate for life? Tonight while both parents were looking at the newly caught fish, I was adding commentary to the "movie." It went something like this. "Really? It's my turn to make dinner again? I thought it was your turn. I hate making dinner." (You can see how I've imposed my personal feelings about cooking onto the eagles.) Eventually, the parents started ripping that fish apart and enjoyed the reward of their labor.

As I watched the parent eagles care for their young today I was reminded of a Bible verse that compares an eagle's care of it's young to God's care for us. Check out this description in Deuteronomy 32:9-11 “For the people of Israel belong to the Lord; Jacob is his special possession. He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions."

Now, go to the website by clicking here, and think of yourself as the baby eagles. I think you'll feel loved. I know I did.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Announcing Another Blessing!

Wow! What a week! Most of you know by now that we have welcomed our second grandchild into the world. Charles John Holte was born on April 1, 2011 to his very proud parents, Heidi and Adam. He was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 22” long. As with our first grandchild, I was able to be at the hospital and hear Charlie’s first little cries on the morning of his birth. What an incredible blessing.

But, I’m just sure you are going to want to hear the REST OF THE STORY. Tuesday, March 29, was much like every other day, except I needed to get into the doctor to deal with a persistent kidney stone. Somehow, when I tell people I had a kidney stone it feels like I’m informing you that I need to use the little girl’s room (as my mother would say) and it just may be too much information for a blog, but it is what was going on so I apologize if it’s TMI for you. But, there is a reason I’m telling you this part of the story. I called the doctor that day and said, “Maybe I should come in because really, this is making me nuts.” They agreed and offered an appointment for Wednesday morning at 8:30. Clearly the girl at the desk doesn’t know me very well because I try to avoid being anywhere before 10:00 AM, if at all possible. So, I questioned her to see if there were any openings left on Tuesday and sure enough ONE spot was left at 3:30 which gave me just enough time to get there. Fabulous! (Who knew, I’d be busy at 8:30 AM on Wednesday.) So, I went to the doctor, had a CT scan, and followed that all up by going to a Rotary Club event with John.

Adam and Heidi had invited me to be at the hospital when their baby arrived so we could see him right away and perhaps, if all worked well, to hear his first cries from the hallway (though we didn’t know it would be a “he” at the time.) After that, the plan was that I’d stay a few days and help them in the adjustment at home. So, on Tuesday night when I got home I determined that I really should pack up a few clothes so I could quickly leave when the time came. It is, after all, a 4.5 hour drive from here to the hospital where Charlie was born. I would have to say that perhaps God was giving me both the energy and the inclination that packing would be helpful at that moment. In fact, His hand was clear to see from the making of my doctor’s appointment right up to the moment of Charlie’s birth.

In another “amazing coincidence” or “God-cidence” as I like to call them, I got up on Wednesday morning full of energy (which isn’t always the case), threw in a load of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher and was just about to sit down when our phone rang at 8:15 AM. It seems that Heidi’s water had broken earlier that morning and it was “GO time” for their baby. Adam assured me I didn’t need to rush because this was their first baby and well, labors with first babies are notoriously lengthier. While I know that GENERALLY first babies take a little longer, I also know that it isn’t always the case. As it turns out, I DID have plenty of time – more than enough, actually.

Without going into every single detail (which aren’t really mine to share) suffice it to say that Heidi’s mom, Jane, and I are pretty well known at the little hospital in Waupaca, WI. We are the ones who camped out in the hospital lobby for two nights straight. Our first night there, one very diligent nurse made us get visitor badges so, as she put it, they’d know how many people were in the hospital. The comical elements of the badge requirement were 1.) We didn’t need to check out when we left, 2.) The badges lacked in stickiness so never really stayed on, 3.) NO ONE ever looked at us, or the badges, for the rest of the night, and 4.) (This is the best part) We were the ONLY ones in the hospital that night that weren’t employees or patients. On the second night, no one questioned us. Good thing – I was NOT going to participate in that charade again.

So, finally, after more hours of labor than any one woman should have to endure, it seemed that Charlie decided that he’d waited long enough and would indeed make his April Fool’s day appearance. We like to call it Charile’s March 30 and 31 Fool’s day joke. At 4:29 AM, Grandma Jane and I heard “It’s a boy!” from the hall. A few seconds passed as we waited to hear his first cries and once he let out that first wail, we joined him with happy tears in the hallway and a prayer of thanks to God!

Charlie is adorable and this Nana is smitten once again. What a blessing it was to be able to be there last week and sing to him, shop for him (who can resist), change him, swaddle him, snuggle on the couch with him while mom and dad got some rest, and have him stare up at me with the biggest, dark blue eyes you’ve ever seen. I’ve heard it said, and now I can concur, “If I knew having grandchildren was so much fun, I would have done that first!”