I’m a Nana

Introducing Indy Grace!

Our sweet grand daughter was born on April 28th.

8 lbs 8 oz

21 inches long

With the cutest head of strawberry blond hair!

We are over the moon in love with this doll!

This grandma gig is pretty sweet.

I was blessed to spend the last week helping them get settled in.

Cooking, cleaning, laundry, lots of Indy snuggles.

And somehow during the course of the week, my Grandparent name came to me.

I became Nana.

Honestly, it was kind of hard to come home!

We are feeling incredibly blessed!

 

 

 

Now Who’s the Boss?

It happened this week.

I knew as soon as Nathan took a full time job that this day would be coming.

The day the cows got out and I was home alone to deal with them.

I saw him first thing in the morning, a single cow wandering in the yard.

My first thought was to ignore him and surely he would just saunter back into the fence, right?

Wrong, The next time I looked there were two of them.

Maybe I could text Nate to come home at break and take care of them?

Maybe Jan could come home at lunch – what kind of trouble could they get into in four hours?

A lot.

The next time I looked one of the varmints was walking through my asparagus patch. My “just-starting-to-emerge-and-I-am-so-hungry-for-them” asparagus patch.

That awakened something deep inside me.  I think it’s called revenge. Or vindication. Or maybe I just got mad. But I grabbed the closest hoodie, threw my bare feet in my gardening crocs and ran out the door in my jammies.

I had no plan in mind, other than to get them out of the asparagus quickly.

I said nothing – just walked like an avenger – right up to that varmint cow. I made eye contact and he took off running in the right direction!

His buddy took one look at me and followed.

And would believe –  both varmints ran right back through the downed electric wire?! They both went right back into the pasture they were supposed to be in?!

It was a miracle.

I’m not sure if it was my outfit? My attitude? The “this mama means business” eye contact?

Or maybe – just maybe, I’m finally getting the respect I deserve.

I even fixed the downed electric fence – by myself – in my pj’s and crocs.

That should those those cows who’s boss.

 

 

Happy Belated Birthday, Poppa!

We gathered last weekend to celebrate Jan’s dad’s 89th birthday.

It was our third attempt.

We tried in both January and February – but were snowed out both times. We were almost afraid to try again – but thankfully the weather held and both the Minnesota and Chicago Shervheim’s were able to join us for a quick overnight and party.

it was quite the overnight as all three families camped out in the big house, in sleeping bags, surrounded by boxes and with little furniture. The four remaining chairs became a hot commodity, and we discovered that ice chests made great tables when sitting on the floor.

The actual birthday party was held in the Great Room at Poppa and Nana’s new Senior Living apartments, where there were actual chairs and tables!

We celebrated Poppa’s 89 years with cake and ice cream and pizza and presents.

And we listened to his stories.

Like the one when he was invited to Washington DC as an Eagle Scout and presented President Truman with a medallion and met J. Edgar Hoover.

His time working on the railroad.

His military years.

The first time he ate pistachios while stationed in Iran. (He still loves them!)

All our favorite stories.

Three generations together. Laughing, remembering, and celebrating.

Happy birthday, Poppa!

 

 

 

Chester

Peter bought a house last fall and moved in just before Thanksgiving with his two roommates, Tim and Kev.

And Chester.

But Chester wasn’t invited.

Or welcome.

He was a freeloader of the worst kind.

Chester was a mouse.

A very smart mouse. He pretty much owned the place and went about at will, disregarding all manner of traps, both sticky and snap, and wouldn’t touch poison.

Chester became so famous for his ability to avoid getting caught, he even had a mention in our family Christmas letter.

Every night for months he would wander into the kitchen at the same time and make his rounds.

He got so cocky, he would walk into the living room while the guys were watching a movie and sit in the middle of the floor and watch with them.

This kind of attitude drove Peter and his roommates to take desperate measures.

They got a BB gun.

(I would not recommend this course of action.)

Then they sat, waiting to ambush that varmint.

Looking patiently for the perfect shot to take that freeloader out.

It took a few tries, for obviously hitting a small four legged moving target is harder than it looks, But they finally managed to wing him.

After all the excitement died down, they realized, to their dismay, that Chester had escaped.

They now had a wounded and angry mouse somewhere in the house. Desperate.

(Again, I would not recommend this course of action.)

They began to search for Chester. They looked everywhere.

The whole household was on alert. But no sign of the interloper was found.

Finally, days later, on a Tuesday evening at approximately 5:27, they found him.

He was under the ping pong table in the basement.

Dead.

While the official cause of death is unknown, a wound the size of a BB was detected on his back leg.

Rest in peace Chester.

You were a worthy opponent.

 

A Shower of Blessings

My wonderful sisters threw a baby shower for Laura and my new granddaughter.

Seeing dear family for the first time since before Thanksgiving, and enjoying the table full of family favorites (so much chocolate!) was enough to make my heart happy.

But there was more, so much more.

Each woman there personally handed Laura a gift, thoughtful and wonderful gifts, and with it, words of wisdom and encouragement.

Bible verses, stories, lessons learned, solid counsel, practical insights, hilarious true stories.

We laughed and cried and showered the expectant mama with love.

My heart was so blessed as I heard the women speak, and I saw their hearts and I felt their love.

Three generations of women.

Strong and faithful women.

All there for my daughter and grand baby.

Truly it was a shower of blessings.

 

 

Small Victories

Can we talk about the weather this winter? I’ve been trying to find an appropriate adjective to describe it, but I’m torn between unrelenting and horrid.

It’s been frigid, snowy, icy, rainy, foggy, windy, and muddy.

Sometimes all on the same day.

It’s been tough. Frozen bales. Snow drifts. Tractors that won’t start.  Cows that walk over drifted fences. Ice. There were several days the only vehicle we could get out of the driveway was the 4 wheel drive truck – and that was iffy.

No church for three weeks in a row.

We had to cancel the Valentine’s Banquet, which is my favorite church event all year.

But the saddest part of all was that none of the kids could come for my birthday, and the weather was so bad Jan couldn’t even take me out.

It looked for a little bit like winter had us beat.

But we’re tougher than that. We got creative with our schedules and found a Saturday to get together with the kids.

Then February fought back with a massive blizzard due to arrive that day.

But we were undaunted. We watched the weather forecast with the intensity of a mama who was sick of winter and wanted to see her babies. It looked as if the rain would turn to snow about 6:00 in the evening, giving us a small window of opportunity, when the ice from the night before had melted but before the snow started.

And we took it!

It might have been one of the crazier things we have ever done, but we drove an hour and half in dense fog and drizzle to Laura and Steven’s.

We didn’t have a lot of time to do much, but we were together. I saw their faces. I hugged their necks.

And we left at exactly 4:15, which was enough time to get home before the snow started.

We hit heavy rain less than 10 minutes into the drive.

It turned to sleet.

And then snow flurries for the last 45 minutes.

But we made it!

Over three hours on the road to spend a little over 4 hours with our kids. It was so worth it.

So there, Winter! After weeks of giving in to the weather, we finally beat it!

It was a small victory, but oh so sweet!

It might be dangerously cold outside again today and there might be more snow in the forecast this week, but that little victory has given me confidence.

Winter won’t win.

 

 

Don’t Blink

Something surprising happened while I busy with class the last few weeks.

Nate grew up and got a job.

I guess it’s not surprising that our kids grow up – but there are times when you are struck with how quickly it happened.

He had heard about a job possibility at  a sawmill in the area, so he worked overtime to finish up his school work so he would be ready, just in case. And he did it! He finished his senior year, except for a little bit of reading and a few Latin lessons that he is doing at night.

He literally woke up on Monday morning a home school student, got a phone call at noon, and woke up Tuesday morning as a full time employee.

Up and out the door by 6:30 in the morning, with a lunch and snacks he packed himself.

And an even more shocking development – he even does his own laundry because he ran out of work clothes.

He does come home every evening starving and is quite happy to enjoy a meal that I made. So I guess he still needs me, at least for a little longer.

And just like that, after 26 years of having kids in the house, I am home alone all day.

It’s true what they say of mothering – that the days may be long, but the years are short.

They grow up overnight when you aren’t looking.

Don’t blink.

I’m Me Again

Hey! It’s me, again! Finally!

I apologize for that long and unintended blog break. I had a lovely Christmas and New Year’s with the family. Then on January 2nd, just when I was ready to settle into routine, I got an email from the Iowa Department of Education with a friendly reminder that my teaching license would expire the end of February.

This caused a great deal of panic.

To renew it, I had to have 6 credits of professional development.

Which was exactly six more than I currently had. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing for the last five years, but obviously it wasn’t professional development!

Since I worked very hard for that license, I really wasn’t ready to let it go. So I frantically looked into options and discovered that I could get all six credits in – if I really pushed.

Six credits, three different classes, six weeks, all online.

I signed up immediately. One class had already begun, so I was behind before I even got started.

And I’ve been behind ever since, literally spending hours on my laptop every day, taking notes and writing and writing and writing.

By the time Jan and the kids came home, I had pretty much run out of words. That has never happened to me before.

I must have somehow managed to get meals made and the laundry done, at least everybody is reasonable clean and look like they have been fed.

But I am done now. Finished.

I turned my last assignments in yesterday. Then I sat in the recliner, watching a Hallmark movie and eating ice cream straight from the carton. True story.

And today I am back!

I have words to share again!

My family has been so patient with me! They have were understanding with my short, sometimes incoherent texts. They picked up after me in my distracted state. They even wiped down the cupboard when I put a dirty coffee cup back in upside down with coffee in it.

They truly are heroes and need a little spoiling, starting with cream puffs and French vanilla cream, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It feels so good to be back!

 

 

More Costumes, Less Screen

The furnace guy came to service the furnace the other day.

Which would normally be no big deal – unless you’re me and have a dozen Rubbermaid totes full of dress -up clothes stacked in front of it that needed to be moved for access.

Yep. A dozen. That’s not including hats.

I will admit that as I pushed and pulled them all out of the way – I wondered if maybe my dress-up clothes were getting a bit out of hand.

I felt guilty for a few minutes when I saw how nice the basement looked without my massive collection.

But then I saw a post on Instagram of two adorable kids running around the room in costumes with the caption “What kids need today is more costumes and less screen”.

I felt instantly and immensely better.

Kids do need costumes. Not necessarily store bought fancy ones – but just an odd assortment of cast-off clothing that we call “dress-up clothes”.

A pair of bib overalls. A shiny silver shirt. A vintage prom dress. Hot pink platform heels. A leather vest. A plastic sword. Fake fur.

That’s the raw material the imagination needs to create and explore!

Oh the wonders that are hidden in a box of dress-up clothes!

Some of my earliest  memories are of playing dress-up with my siblings both at home and in Grandma Griner’s upstairs bedroom. We would each find our favorites and set up our imaginary worlds under the sloped eaves.

The rule at grandma’s house was always that the dress-up clothes stayed upstairs. But when my mom became a grandma, that rule went out the window!

At her house, the dress-up clothes could go upstairs, downstairs, and even outside.

The grandchildren have spent hundreds of hours playing with the dress-up clothes, putting on shows, acting out stories and creating their imaginary worlds all over! There were wagon trains through the trees, princess tea parties on the lawn, and pirate ships on the trailer.

It was not unusual for one of the kids to dig through the piles as soon as they arrived until they found their favorite article and then wear it the rest of the weekend.

As a young college student I worked in a Daycare with the school age children after school and summers. One of the first things I put into my class room was a foot locker full of dress-up clothes that we would pull out every Friday morning and make a show or a play to perform for the other classrooms.

That same foot locker came home with me when I become a mom and it slowly expanded.

My kids spent hours pretending and dressing up and making stories.

Those dress-up clothes really got used as soon as Matt discovered that our digital camera could record movies. Some of the things they created at that time are priceless!

They introduced many friends to the power of a box of dress-up clothes.

I vividly remember one of their friends riding down the driveway on a skateboard wearing a bridesmaid dress from my college days. I don’t remember who she was pretending to be, but the grin on her face and sparkle in her eyes told me she was having a wonderful time!

Those same totes of dress-up clothes have been used for countless skits in Valentine Banquets and VBS.

And now that a grand baby is on the way, I have another generation to teach about the wonders of dress-up clothes.

I want pirates and princesses and firemen and cowboys.

I want to find a sunbonnet in the swing and a wooden sword in the sand pile.

I want to hear “Grandma, we made a show! Come and see!” And I will sit in wonder watching yet another generation explore create and imagine.

And someday I want my grand kids are going to say, “Do you you remember playing dress-up at grandma’s? Boy that was fun!”

No, I don’t think I have a costume problem.

I have a costume heritage to uphold.

The buckets stay.

 

A Different Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with my husband’s family was a little different this year.

There were fewer faces around the table and that table was sitting in a house that was slowly being emptied.

It has been a year of change and transitions which included a cancer diagnosis for Jan’s dad and several rounds of chemo.

And in just a few weeks, Jan’s parents will be moving out of their large four bedroom family home into a senior living apartment.

There has been a lot of cleaning and sorting and giving away.

Several rooms sit almost empty. Others have furniture noticeably missing.

But the dining room table was still there. And the fine china wasn’t packed. So Jan’s mom borrowed my roaster and did the turkey while the kids and I made sides and desserts.

We enjoyed one last Thanksgiving in the family home, just them and us and a couple of close friends.

It was one short day. No overnight. No extended family.

But we missed them.

There was no coffee run and Black Friday shopping. No late night Clue Game and pumpkin pie. No grand kids sprawled all over the family room.

And I missed spending time with my sisters-in-law; gals who are related only by marriage but have become some of my dearest friends. Bonded together by years of late night talks in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

It was a different Thanksgiving. Quieter. Shorter.

There were a few tears. But there was also laughter.

We’ll get his parents settled in the new apartment in the new few weeks and then we’ll find some new traditions.

It will be different.

But in the end, it’s not the place, but the people that matter.

And for them, I am very thankful.