Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet September

Three years today. Time has flown away too, and we're all that closer to the Great Reunion. I still find it hard to believe we are living life without him, but then again perhaps, in very many ways, we really aren't...

Don't our parents, in some small way, live on inside of us? It isn't just the cells that gave us life way back in the beginning, but the living of life together; the raising, teaching, and loving. Their ways are passed, in little ways, through us to our children and grandchildren after us. We talk like them, walk like them and very often think like them too. I hear my father's voice in my mind, "Hey, Marda," he says, and then I feel his hand around my shoulder as he gives me a hug, and I smile. The encouraging words he spoke so long ago still resonate, and I still long to love others like he did.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paths and Ways

You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
Psalm 139:3

I am the kind of person who likes to know where I am going and what I am doing, but God is teaching me something different. I am trying to learn. Okay, so maybe I am not trying very hard. I am struggling instead to understand what I am supposed to be doing. Part of me wants to get out of the house and "do something", and another part wants to be content in my home (which is hard to do when the sun is shining and the days are slipping into autumn).

My "flower" situation is unsettled. Having just one small child during the day makes going out easy, and accomplishing any great task difficult. Taking off on the lawn tractor doesn't happen with a two year old playing outside (or napping inside for that matter). A little voice inside my head keeps telling me I should be doing something "important", as if loving small children isn't. Perhaps what that little voice really means is something "fun", but can't I have fun with this little girl? Silly me! Of course I can, and of course I have!

Truthfully, I love preschoolers. They are my favorite age group and I have been blessed with preschoolers for the past six years. Maybe my real struggle is that I haven't taken full advantage of the opportunity. I will have to think about that for a bit...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

K is for Kiss

K is for kiss.

When the journey to bringing a new baby into this world is long and full of bumps, it makes finally being able to kiss him all the more wonderful. Infertility issues, terrible morning sickness, a big baby and difficult delivery, with a nasty infection to top it off, make holding this sweet bundle all the more precious.

About a year ago, an almost four year old boy began to pray for a baby. He had cousins and friends with new babies, and being a baby lover himself, he felt that his family too should have a new baby. His momma had already prayed and was running out of faith, but her little boy's earnest prayer gave her renewed hope. Instead of saying "if", Josh began to talk about "when", and God heard the prayer of a very small boy.

It was so hard to know two weeks ago that my daughter could not hold the ailing child for whom she had waited so very long, but as the antibiotics slowly began to do their job, this little guy gradually began to tolerate touch; first in the arms of his parents, then his grandparents, and finally the arms of friends and family. Now he just soaks up all the love and attention. He loves to be cuddled, but having his diaper changed? Not so much.

We have been
blessed beyond measure! We have been strength- ened and encour- aged by the prayers of friends and strangers here and across the world, and we are humbled to know that God cares so much about us. Jacob is finally home with his mom and dad and big brother, and I can hardly wait to get back over to the house and kiss his soft little head and cheeks all over again. I love him!

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Again

Today he's making me feel just a tiny bit older. This will happen when one's oldest child begins to creep into his thirties. My boy is 31 years old today. (Every year brings us a little closer to being peers, especially with me counting backward.)

I am blessed to know Jim is not alone on his birthday this year, even if he is far away. This year he has Michele to keep him company, and I like that.

Happy Birthday, Jim!
We love you!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


The day started dark and overcast, with pouring rain. I closed my eyes and wished for sleep's return. This happens on rainy mornings, especially when there is no reason to climb out of bed other than my cognizance of daylight, or what should be daylight. Light sprinkles blew in the open window on my cheeks and I snuggled deeper into the pillow and pulled up the covers.

The sky remained hidden behind a veil of cloud when Hannah and I finally headed out for the morning, but the rain, for the most part, did not return. We made a visit to the Webster Farmer's Market where folks from the country (where we live) gather to sell their goods. We picked up half a gallon of maple syrup, some sweet potatoes, and six ears of corn that I could have purchased down the street and around the corner.
 After some meaning- less chitchat with the vendors, and the realization that there were no chile peppers to be found, we headed off to the bank and two grocery stores. The kitchen cabinets and refrigerator are full once again.

The afternoon sky gave no hint of this morning's dreary attitude and a warm sun beckoned me out to the orchard. I was about to take a walk when the phone rang and I changed the order of my plans. Instead of hiking into the back forty, I took a short drive to meet a friend's new baby. Sweet little girl with a head full of dark hair. She came into this world on Monday and left the hospital before I managed to get back there Wednesday morning.

My venture into the orchard came late this afternoon complete with two cats for company. We didn't go far, just back to where some of the ancient trees remain, the ones I love. Old and gnarled into contorted positions, their bent toward nostalgia brings back days now long gone. They are the few still standing in the midst of new dwarf varieties grotesquely carrying loads that leave them broken.

I snapped a few pictures and headed back toward the house, my cats meowing as the followed behind.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cattail Fun, or Not

I learned something new yesterday and it has to do with cattails. Cattails are great outside fun, but they do NOT belong in the house or on the back porch where they may sneak inside when no one is looking.

Josh and I wandered around outside yesterday, eventually ending up down by the drainage ditch. I was looking for photo opportunities, and he was looking for fun. Cattails fill both categories quite nicely. I broke off one cattail stem about halfway down and handed it to Josh. "It's chicken on a stick!" he said. It looked more like those hotdogs we used to cook over the campfire years ago, but I didn't bother to disagree. I like chicken better than hotdogs anyway.
"Ripe" cattails slide right off the stems, and some of yesterday's specimens were over the top ripe. We, or should I say "I", opted  not to show my young grandson what a great cloud of flying fuzz could be generated. No use in making a mess all over his clothes and risk getting the stuff in his eyes and mouth, besides, we had a napping child in the house and it was time to go back inside. I left my own intact cattail on the picnic table outside and didn't stop to pay attention to what was happening to Joshua's.

I decided to wash my kitchen window screens and panes while the kids played. It wasn't until I was putting my windows back together that I noticed a disturbing collection of cattail fuzz meandering about the hardwood floor. (No, I didn't take pictures...) It was congregating in my kitchen as well. I was not a happy Grammy.
I found that cattails are terribly messy when disassembled and literally impossible to sweep up. "It was just a mistake," Josh told me as the fuzz swirled about my living room floor. Somehow I was less than impressed. After trying unsuccessfully with a dustpan and broom, I went upstairs to hunt down the vacuum cleaner. You know, I even had to suck the silly stuff off the concrete floor of my back porch. Sweeping it resulted only in a rising swirl of miniscule fluffy seeds.

Next time I'll settle for a war out in the yard instead.

Lost Thoughts

My thoughts are lost. There are so many things that can't be written in a public forum, so many life and mind struggles...

My mom has been with us for close to two years now. (The photo is ten years old.) Life has pretty much settled into a routine. She does her own thing and I do mine. Her things continue to include her daily newspaper and word search puzzles. Conversation is minimal, but I help her with showers, she eats dinner with us, we take her to church on Sunday mornings, and she goes out to see my older brother every other week with Rachel. I have left her home often lately, but she appears to prefer it that way. Time goes on and she walks with a little more stoop to her step. She tells us that she's getting to be an old lady. I still struggle with questions regarding her and her care, but they no longer dominate my thoughts, nor do I find myself quite so distraught at their presence.

It will soon be three years since my father's passing. How the time has flown by I do not know. Perhaps it will always seem as if he was here with us just yesterday. There are still times I long for his counsel, and still more the moments I wish for his hand on my shoulder and to hear his words of encouragement. I would that my guitar playing boys loved country gospel/ bluegrass as their grandfather did, but they don't. Maybe one day, in their own old age, they will look upon it with the same fondness I have found. I can always hope.

I have found myself feeling a little aimless and empty lately. Don't know quite what that is all about, but this morning I read that one must be found empty in order to be filled. So there is something for me to think about. What do you think about it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Becoming a Cuddler

Today I became a Cuddler in the NICU. Somebody's momma wasn't feeling up to par, so Grandma filled in and snuggled the baby for a bit. For an hour and a half I sat in the comfy chair with my grandson in my arms. It was quite possibly a once in a lifetime chance, in fact I don't think I've had the opportunity to hold a baby for that amount of time since my first son was born almost 31 years ago. Too many interruptions come along with second, third, fourth... babies, and now there are all my own babies to share my grandchildren with. It was wonderful to just sit and stare and love the little guy.

You might think the only thing in my life this past week was a new grandbaby, but we also had my son Jim and his fiance' Michele here for the weekend. It was another whirlwind trip for them. They even went down to Watkins Glen on Saturday and enjoyed a bit of the Finger Lakes. They came home with a grape pie! (To go along with the chocolate cheese cupcakes Michele brought from Minnesota. Oh, yum!) We love every moment we are able to spend with them and it feels like Michele has always been part of the family. They didn't get to hold the baby this time, but they did get to visit. Next time they will have another bouncing bundle to play with. How fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I and J

Two letters tonight because I just couldn't concentrate last week.

I is for infant and infection. My new grandson arrived last Tuesday morning complete with a Group B Strep infection that quickly turned into meningitis. This is not quite the birth experience one hopes for when welcoming a new baby into the family, but there is somehow something about it that draws its members together. Thankfully, it looks like our little guy is going to be okay. He was put on antibiotics early and had a wonderful team of nurses and physicians caring for him. We have one of the best hospitals right here in Rochester, NY which will be his home for another week while he finishes his course of antibiotics. Our little grandson has had a host of people all over the country praying for him and his family. We are truly blessed.

J is for Jacob, and that is his name. I think he is beautiful.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moving Toward the Goal

Grandmas and Grandpas are finally able to hold the baby. Let me tell you, there is something really special about that.

On our way into the hospital yesterday afternoon, we ran into Adam's parents and brother coming out. I'm thinking they looked much more relaxed than they had the previous time we saw them. "He's a normal baby today." his grandpa said, and he was right. The little guy had far fewer tubes and wires, and what he did have were all gathered into one bunch sneaking up through the bottom of the blanket to his tummy. (No, I did not unwrap him to have a peek.)

We are blessed to see little Jake on his way to a full recovery. It will still be another long week in the hospital, and his mom and dad are already tired. Prayerfully, a meal schedule will fill up, friends will offer rides, and a gift card or two for coffee at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks will miraculously appear. Josh is coming to play with Uncle Jim and Aunt Michele for a while before they fly back to Minnesota, and Hannah will spend the night tonight so she can be at the house with him tomorrow. Somehow it will all work out.

Hannah, bless her heart, took pictures for us at the hospital yesterday. Aunts and uncles have not yet been given the okay to hold the little guy, but she is in love all over again anyway. I can see it in her eyes. Maybe next time she goes to visit we will be able to take a picture of her holding him too.

We are blessed by every move of progress.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Hair Is Blond, Naturally

While out perusing garage sales this morning, I ran into an acquain- tance. I know her from the local preschool and she is also a pedia- trician here in town. She was out enjoying the sales too and we stopped to chat for a minute. "How is the baby?" she inquired. My mind did a little spin while I tried to determine how she would have known about the whole thing, but we live in a small town and news travels fast sometimes.

I told her the story and said he was looking much better now. The meningitis is gone, he'll still be in for a total of 14 days, and several other little things I can't remember. She listened and mentioned that she had kind of gotten the information "through the grape vine". Unlike my usual manner of not being a question asker, I asked which grape vine. "I got the transfer orders when they were moved to Strong," she said. My slow little brain continued to try and process what she was saying, but the lack of sleep and abundance of excitement this week prevented me putting the pieces together. She went on down the road one way, and I continued my treasure hunt in the opposite direction.

It wasn't until later when I had been home for a bit that I recalled Bethany switching Joshua's doctor this past winter and realized the baby would also be a patient in that group of pediatricians, the same group my friend was part of. When I talked to Bethany this afternoon I found myself feeling rather silly because this woman is the baby's pediatrician, which is precisely why she had a copy of the transfer order. (Does anyone else ever look in the mirror and say "duh!"?)

While wandering the sales, I found a cute book for Beth and her new little darling. It seems just yesterday she and her friends were singing this old song just for the fun of it. I thought she might enjoy singing it to her baby too, although I'm not sure about the "feather in my arms" part.

Treasure Hunting

The Pultney- ville Garage Sales were today. There is nothing quite like a good Treasure Hunt, so, since Jim and Michele (who arrived last evening) had gone out for the day, I decided to go. I fully expected to come home virtually empty handed, but then something caught my eye, and the price was so "right" I just couldn't resist. I'm not the the world champion when it comes to getting a bargain, but once in a while my number comes up. I think my little friend will find my new toy interesting when she returns next week.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Baby Story

For those who didn't get the whole story, I am repeating it here. It will give me a place to send friends and family who are asking what happened.

Bethany's baby was born five days late early Tuesday morning. He weighed a whopping 10 pounds 2 ounces, and was 22 1/4 inches long. They named him Jacob Alfred. Alfred was my father's name and Bethany wanted to name him after her grandpa's, so, after months of referring to her little one as "Fred", I guess the name will stick after all, at least some of the time. :)

Soon after his birth, the baby started having trouble breathing and developed fluid in his lungs. Our little guy has Group B Strep and it turned into Meningitis. He is in the N.I.C.U. at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he was transferred early Wednesday morning. It is the best place for him to be. Beth is at Strong too, but will be going home tomorrow (Friday). Thankfully, the staff at Highland Hospital caught the infection early as he was already in the Special Care Nursery due to his traumatic birth. His shoulders got stuck during the birth process. Since he was under some stress from that, the staff was keeping a closer eye on him. When he started having trouble breathing, they put him on antibiotics right away.

Little Jacob is looking good now and resting comfortably. He's had 2 blood transfusions and will be on IV antibiotics for a total of 14 days. Mom and Dad are now able to hold him, and that is healing too, for all of them. We are counting our blessings (literally) and thanking God for His hand in all of this.

 Beth and Adam will be making many trips to the hospital for the next couple of weeks. I'm not yet certain what kind of help they need, but it is likely that Hannah will spend a bit of time at the house helping out next week. I'm also thinking gift cards to area restaurants and coffee shops might be helpful. Beth will need transportation to the hospital while Adam is working, and there is a small boy to consider in all of this too. I know God will cover all of their needs in a wonderful way.

Thank you to everyone for all the prayers and words of encouragement!

This Week So Far

The week isn't over yet, but it has been both full and exhausting. I skipped my ABC Wednesday post this week. I just didn't have the train of thought to write, even though "infant" and "infection" both start with the letter I. Perhaps I will catch up next week and post double letters. It's happened before.

Seeing as it's Thursday and my brain is more into thinking snippets than complete thoughts, a Thursday Thirteen for you all...

Thirteen Things I May Have Accomplished This Week

1. I went to see a movie with My Darling on Sunday afternoon, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green". It made me cry and I thought it was a cute movie with some good lessons.

2. Hannah and I babysat 3 small children on Monday. They were all very active and determined, and kept us on our toes. The best part of it was Vinnie asking me to pick him up and then wrapping his little arms around my neck and giving me a snuggle; cheek on mine or head on my shoulder. I soaked it up and it was wonderful!

3. I went to the nursing home with James for the first time in months and months. I couldn't help but be blessed when they sang "The Old Rugged Cross". It has become the group theme song. You should see the smiling faces when they sing it! Sadly we are now without a guitar player on Monday evenings. I don't know what we'll do.

4. Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study. It gets me through the week and I do my best to be there. I love how God has been answering prayers in some of the most unexpected ways.

5. James and I went to see Bethany and the baby in the hospital up in Rochester. I somehow misplaced my purse between leaving Rachel's house and my time in Bethany's room. I knew I had it on the way to the city, but it wasn't anywhere we looked. We double checked the van, the Special Care Nursery, and then went back to Beth's room where James discovered it hidden underneath a sheet and bedspread tucked in the corner of a chair.

6. I called my son Tuesday evening to let him know about his nephew's infection, and he called back a little while later to see if we could watch the kids so he and Leta could visit Beth. We spent the evening on the living room floor playing cars, Duplos, play food and dishes... Needless to say we all went to bed exhausted.

7. I tried to clean and succeeded in some areas. Too bad houses don't stay dusted and vacuumed, dishes don't stay done, and laundry doesn't fold itself.

8. I cleaned the goldfish bowl. This is a major accomplishment. If you had seen how gross it was, you would know what I mean.

9. Last night we visited Beth and the baby at another Rochester hospital where they were transferred early Wednesday morning. It was my first time in the N.I.C.U. at Strong. The baby looked comfortable which was a big change from Tuesday afternoon.

10. I have answered many questions and sent several emails to those asking about Beth and the baby. Today most inquiries were answered with my blog address. I hope that's okay.

11. Rocky has been here with us each day. We still give her plenty of love, feed her lunch, and listen to her two year old stories. She helps keep me on a schedule.

12. I have answered several phone inquiries from people looking for a before and after school sitter. (My neighbor is retiring.) I think I can handle putting a few kids on and off the school bus as long as I have the rest of the day free most of the time.

13. Naps. I think I got one yesterday, and I think I might be sleeping better at night, although this is a hard week to tell. I am drinking decaf in the morning now in the hope that I might actually sleep at night. I suppose the next thing to try might be staying off the computer after 9:30 or 10 pm. Or perhaps I should try Melatonin instead. :)

Jim and Michele will be here tomorrow afternoon, so somewhere in the midst of all this I need to make up two beds and find my vacuum cleaner. A couple apple pies might be nice too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Baby Update

James and I were able to make another visit to the hospital this evening along with Hannah. I was pleased to see little Jacob sleeping peacefully, no longer making that sad singing sound that signals distress in breathing.
He has been diagnosed with meningitis from a Strep B infection and will be hospitalized for at least ten days, possibly much longer. It goes without saying that he is very sick, but we are surrounded with the prayers of friends, family, loved ones, and strangers, and God is working in our hearts and lives.

Baby Cakes

His name is Jacob Alfred. She wanted to name him after her grandpa, and so we still have "Fred".

The baby has been transferred to the bigger Rochester hospital along with his mommy who is feeling sore and weepy this morning. I don't know when Bethany will be released, but the baby will need to stay for seven to ten days. On a good note, she was able to hold him for a little while last night, during which time he was quiet and had his eyes open. This momma prayed her daughter would be able to hold her baby. I love when God answers prayer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Little Prayer

It has been a long an emotional kind of day. New babies always make me want to cry, but today was a different kind of emotional.

Our "little" guy is here, but he is not so little. He came into the world a whopping 10 pounds 2 ounces. Not quite the tiny baby his mommy was hoping for, but loved and cherished just the same. His birth was traumatic for everyone involved, but I'll leave the details to Bethany. Your prayers are coveted as our sweet grandson not only had a hard time making his way into the world, but is now battling an infection. (I really want to have a good long cry...) He is on IV antibiotics and will have an extended stay in the hospital. Not quite the delivery we had hoped for.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dragging His Feet

I am still waiting for my grandson to arrive. I'd really like to hold him while he is still small...

Can I tell you how proud I am of my daughter? She is a trooper. I'm fairly certain she is tired of waiting for this baby to come, but she is taking each day as it comes and I haven't heard any complaints. Her due date came and went last week. She passed up her Auntie Kathy's birthday on Friday and Grandparent's Day yesterday, but she's taken advantage of the time by making a test run to the hospital Saturday morning, seeing a movie with a friend on Saturday (The Odd Life of Timothy Green), counting blessings yesterday, and running errands today. Tomorrow she goes back to the doctor's office.

I am looking forward to a busy weekend. My son's fiance' bought airline tickets for her and Jim to come home for the weekend. It was her surprise birthday present to him. It's his birthday, but it's like we're getting a present too! There are plans for chili and sopapillas, and I'm sure an apple pie or two will be finding their way into my oven. Can you tell I'm smiling?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Oh The Possibilities

Perhaps we will go to a Minnesota wedding after all...

Friday, September 07, 2012

On to the Weekend

That baby has not yet arrived. (click here) He is a dawdler. Instead of making a grand appear- ance, this small child left Petra and I an opportunity to visit Bethany today. Someone else special came around too, and he brought lunch. What a nice daddy that girl has!

We had a week full of beautiful weather with "a little" rain sand- wiched in. It came down in buckets! Tonight we are getting some more rain. The clouds were rolling in when I decided perhaps I needed a short orchard walk. I tucked a plastic grocery bag in my pocket, just in case I should come upon any nice looking apples. Sofie thought it would be nice to accompany me, and Oreo couldn't resist a good orchard walk either. Even James decided to tag along.

We found several trees with some good looking 20 Ounce apples. Seeing as that nice farmer picks our Greenings, we traded him for a few fabulous pie apples and a snack apple or two. The crates are between the trees, empty and waiting to be filled. No telling how long those babies will be on the trees. I'm guessing they'll likely disappear sometime tomorrow and then if I want anymore I'll be buying them from a different farmer at the stand down the road. For all the bad weather early in the season, the trees aren't looking too bad, in fact, some of them are loaded!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

That Baby

He'll be here soon! Any day now would be good.

Click here.

And here too. :)

Okay, the links should work now. I went to bed with a caffeine headache last night. Must not have been thinking right. Oops.

Congratulations Are in Order

My son is getting married!

Yes, my son did just get married this summer and it was a wonderful wedding, a great celebration, but this is a different son and  new wedding.

My oldest son lives in Minneapolis and he is getting married. I was excited at the prospect of going to Minnesota for a wedding, but there is a very real possibility the wedding might take place here instead. This is due to the fact that my mother cannot travel and we have a "somewhat large" family without  a lot of money for vacations and such. It really might be a wonderful blessing to have the wedding here.

Ah, maybe Hannah and I can go to Minnesota on our next road trip. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hay is for Horses

H is for Hey!
And hay is for horses. :)

My daughter Hannah rides horseback at a farm for rescued horses. I tagged along with her and her friend a couple weeks ago and found myself loving the sights and sounds of the farm.It was a beautiful late summer day.
There were several hens, as well as a rooster, wandering about the property. I caught this one visiting the resident heifer back behind the barn. I am hoping I can make another trek out to the horse farm before the leaves fall and the weather turns cold.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Going for a Walk

It was a long day with not too much to do other than dishes and laundry. I emptied both the dishpan and laundry tub twice, but alas! they do not stay empty. I decided to take Sofie for a short walk in the orchard.

The silly little dog was delighted to find that I was finally taking her along. She ran ahead, sniffed under trees, and had a grand ol' time. We had some unexpected company on our jaunt. Oreo decided to tag along, meowing as he went. It's kind of nice taking one's dog for a walk, but when the cat decides all on his own to accompany you, it is extra special. (Too bad I left my camera home.)

Since I didn't walk far with the cat and dog, I was more than happy to walk with James an hour or so later. We took the long walk across the street all the way to the backside of the apple trees. I need a walk like this every day or I will soon be out of clothing. :)

 One more day before school starts...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

That Bad Camera

Oh, dear! Look what I found on my camera when we came home from the beach. :)