Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's a Wrap

All good things come to an end - even a special week with a grandson. We really did enjoy Robert's visit, and when he told me, on the last day, "I want to stay here," I figured that was his way of saying that he'd had a good time, too.

On Saturday Chris, Kelsey and Clara arrived. Robert was happy to see his family. Chris came prepared to tow a trailer home, since we were passing on some furniture that we no longer needed. Kelsey, on the other hand, came in their other vehicle, ready to take Clara and Robert to Pecos to visit their other grandparents. It was Father's Day weekend, so Robert gave Chris the present he made a few days ago. 

Chris headed home, towing the trailer, on Sunday afternoon, but Kelsey and the kids spent one more night with us before they hit the road. When we heard the tinkly "Turkey in the Straw" music coming down the street from the ice cream truck, the kids went crazy. Grandpa happily opened his wallet and treated the kids to their favorites. It was a perfect evening. The temperature was beginning to moderate, so Kelsey, Dan and I sat out on the back patio, visiting, while the kids ate their frozen treats and played. 

The next morning, after breakfast, Kelsey, Clara and Robert got their things packed up in the car and said their good-byes. About an hour later I went to do some laundry and found a dryer full of Robert's clothes! Poor Robert was going to have slim pickin's when it came to clothes in Pecos! I dashed off to the Post Office as soon as I could and priority mailed them to his Pecos Grandma. Here's hoping that he has them by now!

And once again, it is very quiet at our house.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wednesday and Thursday

We continue to keep busy around here! I don't know if Robert is getting tired, but I know that both Grandma and Grandpa are sleeping VERY soundly when night comes.

Yesterday we went to see the Angry Birds movie. It was not nearly as irritating as I thought it might be. The story was pretty cute, and they did NOT play that Angry Birds music continuously, as I feared they might.  (I was not happy, however, with the language used by the Mime bird.)

Some of the other things that have kept us busy were . . . 

Building with Legos . . .

Ring toss . . .

And, today, Robert went with me to my art class. Our instructor, Barbara (pictured below), sat beside him, and they worked on a project together. He responded enthusiastically  to her loving attention. After they finished their project, he pulled out his paints and made me a sunset picture.

This evening we went to the neighborhood park to play with some water rockets. Both Dan and I remember playing with these as kids, and we remember them going w-a-a-a-a-y up in the air. But these were just duds :-(  We couldn't get ANY height out of them at all. We thought maybe a little time on the playground equipment would make up for the disappointing rocket launches, but we cut that short, too, when Robert reported that the slides were covered in bird poop. You win some; you lose some. Chalk this one up as a loss.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Robert has been so anxious for today to arrive. He's been sharpening his picture-taking skills ever since he got here, in anticipation of the photo-scavenger-hunt we had planned for this morning. Three youngsters from church - Jolie, Jayme and Jase - met us at the mall. We divided into two teams. My friend, Janet, who is also Grandma to those three "J"s, chaperoned the girls' team; and I went with the two boys. I had prepared a two-sided list of things for them to find and photograph.

The girls found and photographed every single one of the items, and the boys found all except the "kids' book" (there wasn't a book store in the mall). They all had a barrel of fun. Jase and Robert hit it off so well, and worked together perfectly as a team. We ended our time together with a trip to McDonald's for lunch.

Jolie, Jayme, Jase and Robert, at the end of the scavenger hunt
This afternoon was pretty busy, as well. Robert and I completed a craft (pictures to be shown AFTER Father's Day). After dinner Robert took Dan and me on (and BEAT us) in another game of UNO. 

We ended the day watching a Netflix movie before Robert's bedtime. There's quite a lengthy story, of which I will spare you, about the frustrations we've been through getting our brand new TV, but it was finally in place, hooked up, and operational TODAY! Since Robert is here, we chose Charlotte's Web for our inaugural feature showing.

P.S. In case you are wondering, Robert finally got to eat his donut today! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Robert's Monday

We started the day out with a shopping trip to the grocery store, where Robert got to select a few of his favorite foods, all quite nutritious except for one sweet treat for being such a good shopper. For his treat he chose a donut. I told him he should save the donut until after lunch.

He had an hour or so to play with his cars before it was lunch time. From the time he was really small, about all Robert wanted to play with were cars. And that passion has continued and even grown. This morning he was staging drag races. He asked for pen and paper in order to keep score, based on his rather complex formula.

For lunch he ate a Lunchables, which came with a small treat, so he put off eating the donut until after dinner.

It was off to the library this afternoon. This boy loves to read! He brought along his summer reading challenge pages, and we are trying to check off as many activities as possible this week, making a trip to the library an absolute necessity. We brought home 15 books, and I wouldn't be surprised if we have to go back for more in two or three days. Today he checked off "Read a book to someone older than you" (that would be Grandma), "Follow a recipe with an adult's help (more about that coming up), "Turn off the TV and read instead," and "Read a non-fiction book" (he read about the survivors of the Titanic).

Dan grilled dinner outside this evening, and Robert was especially excited about the corn on the cob. After I cleaned up the dinner dishes, he joined me in the kitchen to bake lemon muffins. He read all of the ingredients to me, so we could measure them out ahead of time, and then read the directions for combining them. They came out looking great. He went to take a bath while they cooled a bit, with the promise that he could have one muffin once he was in his PJs. 

So, after his bath, the three of us each enjoyed a warm muffin. Yum, they really were tasty!

About three minutes after he climbed in bed, he crept back out with a worried look on his face . . . "Grandma. We forgot my donut!" Sure enough. In all the hustle-bustle, we had forgotten it. Despite my tendency to indulge this little fellow's wishes, I had to explain that a donut on top of a muffin was just too much for one little tummy. Maybe tomorrow. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Very Special House-Guest

Yesterday I drove to Somerville, half-way between our kids' home and ours, where Kelsey handed Robert over to me. The plan is for him to spend the week with us.

Most of yesterday afternoon and evening he was totally engrossed in taking pictures. I gave him a little camera that I no longer use, and he caught on to how to operate it very quickly. After taking pictures of EVERYTHING in the house, we went for an evening walk around the neighborhood so he could have some new subject matter.

Today, being Sunday, we went to Starbuck's for breakfast, and then to church. He remembered clearly that last time he was here we did the same thing, and he couldn't wait to get a slice of Starbuck's lemon pound cake . . . his favorite!

After lunch today, at the Chinese restaurant, the three of us -- Robert, Grandpa and I -- played a rip-roaring game of UNO. He's a good player, and delights in playing "Draw Four" cards on me!

I can't wait to see what all this week will hold for us. There's never a dull moment!

He's just getting over some sort of virus. I guess that's why his nose was so red this morning!

After his morning dose of medicine, though, he was feeling much better! :-) 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Plans

I just read Kelsey's last four blog posts, which went up one-after-the-other on Saturday and Sunday. When I finished reading them, I found myself breathing faster and my heart beating harder, out of sympathy for her amazingly crazy schedule this spring.

If I close my eyes and think way, way back, I do remember the days when our kids were in school, and the frenetic schedule that came with being a mom. I especially remember going six-ways-to-Sunday during the period when we had not only our two sons at home, but also two Japanese exchange students, Takashi and Fumi. Talk about a crazy (but wonderful) time of our lives. That was before there were mobile phones, with the at-your-fingertip convenience of a calendar and contacts. I finally gave up carrying a purse, all together, during those days and opted for a large, leather, ring-bound Franklin Planner. I put plastic zip pockets in it to carry pens, keys, my driver's license, credit card, a comb, checkbook, colored pens and a dollar or two.  I added an address book section, so I'd always have my contacts with me. I color coded everyone's calendar events (that's what the colored pens were for), and actually ran out of space to write on the extra-busy days.  I called my planner "my brain" and knew I'd be in BIG trouble if I ever lost it.

But now I'm retired. My kids are grown and don't live with us. They are responsible for their own schedules. Dan and I live a quiet life. Occasionally we have as many as TWO events on the same day, and at the close of a day like that, one of us is likely to mention what a "busy" day it was.

This summer, though, holds the promise of some busier times. Robert will be coming to visit us for a few days in June, and when he's here, we TRULY are busy. I'm in planning mode, right now, so that Robert will have fun and won't be bored during his stay.

We're also making some changes in our house this summer:

What has been our guest room, with a queen-sized bed, will be turned into the grandkids' room. We'll move their bunk beds in there, In the room where the bunk beds are now, we'll be putting a queen sized cabinet bed. It's sort of like a murphy bed, but is a stand-alone (not attached to the wall) cabinet, out of which a bed unfolds. When the bed is not in use (95% of the time), this will provide a space for me to have a table for my painting and other crafts.

Then, in the living room, we will be changing out the TV and TV-stand (Dan REALLY wants - and deserves! - a bigger screen), and possibly getting some more comfortable furniture in there, as well. What's in our living room now looks fine to the eye, but it's not all that comfy. I don't even like to sit in there to watch TV in the evenings.

And then, I have an adventure lined up for the summer. You'll need to know the back-story for this one: A year or so ago, I was contacted by a lady in Nebraska, named Wanda. Wanda is working with a committee in Minatare, NE, that is writing a book about the founders and early settlers of Minatare. Because my great-great-grandfather, Wellington Clark (mentioned in this earlier post), who homesteaded there, was quite instrumental in founding the town, she was asking for my help in filling out his story. Wellington Clark was married twice. I am the direct descendant of him and his first wife. But, as it turns out, his second wife, Lillie Wynkoop, was the sister of Wanda's grandfather's second wife! Ha! We can't quite call ourselves "cousins," but at least we do have some sort of convoluted connection there! Wanda and I have corresponded off and on over the past few months. I've learned a little about her and know that she lost her husband six years ago and that she's considerably older than I.

So (back to the story of the upcoming adventure), early this month I received a nice, hand-written letter from Wanda in the mail. (Wow! something besides junk mail and bills in my mailbox!) In it she said, "I want to invite you to come to western Nebraska and be my guest. Together we can explore the land of your ancestors." She has even offered to take me up into South Dakota, while I'm there, to see Mt. Rushmore! What a gracious, hospitable lady she must be. And, I have decided, with Dan's blessing and encouragement, to go, in July. I'll be driving. It's a thousand miles each way, and maybe longer, if I decide to take a little detour into Kansas, on the way back, to see where my maternal grandfather and his family lived and are buried. Doing this on my own is truly an adventure . . . hopefully a happy adventure.

So, though there's no need to buy a new Franklin Planner, my summer is shaping up to be a bit busier than usual.