Thursday, March 31, 2011


It's not easy toting around my DSLR camera, but it's always worth it when I have a chance to capture photos of Clara and Robert. So this morning, as we headed to Explora, the children's science museum, I tucked my Nikon in, along with a diaper bag, my purse, and a bag of snacks.

Explora is a lot of fun for kids of all ages, with two floors of hands-on things to do. In fact, there's just about nothing that kids can hurt, and nothing that can hurt them, so they are free to try everything. It's like a smorgasbord of sights, sounds and feely things for kids, and they are in constant motion. Because of this, I had my hands full keeping both Clara and Robert within my reach at the same time, and that camera bouncing around and banging into things didn't help. But it was worth it, right?


Because when I went to take my first photo, I discovered I had no memory card in the camera. So all I had to take pictures with was my iPhone, and my camera was nothing but an anchor around my neck all morning. So, the photos here may not be so good, but at least they'll let Chris and Kelsey see that their little sweethearts are still doing fine, here in Albuquerque.

By the time we left, it was 12:30, and both children were hungry and tired (especially Robert) and, understandably, a little grouchy (especially Clara). None the less, I was thinking to myself how smart I was to let them run off all that energy, so that they'd both come home and take really good naps. But it backfired. Neither one settled down for a nap, or even a quiet time, this afternoon. Too much stimulation? Too tired to get to sleep? I don't know, but I think I'll go back to my previous modus operandi - staying home mornings, having lunch and naps, and then, in the afternoons, going on our outings.

A highlight of Clara's day was an email addressed to her from her Mama. She also got one yesterday. Both emails had pictures attached, yesterday's of Mama and Daddy in front of the Louvre, and today's of them in front of the Eifle Tower. I've been printing them out for her, and taping them to her bedroom door.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Uncle Tim came by tonight with his parakeets, Lady and Prince. He thought the children might like to see them, and he was right. Here are a couple pictures of Robert, getting acquainted.

This Was a REAL Daring Baker Project

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't post a Daring Baker Blog on the 27th, as I should have. I was just too busy getting the house ready for selling and preparing for the grandkids. But today was a daring baker day of a different sort. Clara and I baked her favorite cookies, snickerdoodles! She did lots of the work herself:







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Quieter Day

After such a busy day yesterday, we decided to be stay-at-homers, for the most part, today.

Clara wanted her picture taken in front of our pink blossoming peach tree - which is shaped more like a bush - so we dashed outside to do that this morning. I say "dashed" because once we opened the door we realized it was COLD out there! We snapped the picture and then came right back inside.

The children seem to be doing fine here at Grandma and Grandpa's, but Clara's secret feelings slipped out this morning when she and I were playing with the little dollhouse people that I have (and which have turned out to be her favorite playthings). I have quite a collection of them, and she has named each one. Left to Right in the photo below are: Nanny (wow! doesn't look a day over 15), Big Robert, Chris (Daddy), Little Robert (at his feet), Clara, Kelsey (Mama), Max/Zoe, Grandpa and Grandma (who, Clara keeps pointing out, has gray hair!). This morning the Chris- and Kelsey-dolls went on a trip, and the Clara-doll was moaning, "I miss my mommy. And I really miss my daddy." Real-Grandma just wanted to scoop Real-Clara up and hug on her awhile.

Both Robert and Clara took naps this afternoon. Afterward, I took them to Toys R Us, as I had promised Clara we would go get some new crayons and markers. While we were there I told her she could pick something else out, as well. She quickly spied a tote bag, with a pattern drawn on it, and markers to color it. She was SURE that was exactly what she wanted, so I said that was okay. Robert seemed pretty happy with a soft rubbery dinosaur (he's a dinosaur boy, for sure!). He hung onto it all the way through the store, and was unhappy when the clerk needed to see it as we were checking out.

Back home, I was really impressed with Clara's coloring skills, as she decorated her tote bag. There were also some stick-on "jewels" to make it even more stylish.

Here's a picture of her with her completed bag. She can't wait for her Mommy to see it.

So . . . the kids are doing fine! And Grandma is too, but is grateful when bedtime arrives each evening. Grandpa even beat Clara to bed tonight, after helping me with the children during dinner-preparation and clean-up. Yep, everyone is right about God's wisdom in giving little ones to young couples. But each day has been a treat, and I'm NOT complaining, because I wouldn't trade these days for anything.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

[Note to readers - although everyone is most welcome to read these blogs about the "grands," I realize that nearly two weeks of it might just get a bit tiresome. My reason for posting daily is so that Kelsey and Chris can keep tabs on what's going on here, and how the children are doing. It's Kelsey's first time to be away from the children this long - and, in fact, her first time ever to be away from Robert.]

Today was fun. The children slept through the night like troopers! This morning, after breakfast, we played with toys from Grandma's toybox. Clara had a great time making "cookies" with the PlayDoh.

And Robert built towers with blocks, just so he could knock them down.

Around 11:00 Clara was getting a little antsy to "do something." I loaded them both into the car and drove over to Dan's office. He was hoping to get to show them off to his colleagues, anyway, and this seemed as good a time as any. Of course, they were the center of attention as we paraded from office to office.

After lunch and Robert's nap, we went to the Children's Fantasy Garden, where the pumpkin house is. I had told Clara all about it . . . about how everything is really big, so it makes you feel really little ("Like Alice in Wonderland," she reminded me). She was pumped about going there, and was especially eager to see the giant vegetables and shovel and watering can . . . until we got there. She was scared, from the moment we stepped inside. Robert was enjoying everything, and even wanted to sit on one of the giant ants, after seeing some other kids playing on them.

But Clara wasn't having any of it, so I suggested we take the nearest exit and go outside, by the pond, and watch the ducks and geese. That didn't set well with her, either. She didn't want to be in the Fantasy Garden, but she didn't want to leave it either. It seemed there were going to be tears, whether we stayed or left. (Note to Grandma: Be sure activities are age-appropriate!)

We left.

The tears didn't last long.

We went to the pond, and Clara met a little girl, who was there with her mama, and the two of them fed the ducks and geese some little crackers. Robert LOVED the ducks.

It was a BIG day. Dan got home from work before we got back to the house. I fed the children their dinner, and told Dan we'd eat later. Soon after the kids had eaten Uncle Tim dropped by to see them. Clara was tickled to see him and spent almost the rest of the evening curled up in his lap. Tim read her a bedtime story before he left.

All is well, at the end of Day 2. Both children are sound asleep, and we have another day to look forward to tomorrow.

The Three Rules

We had just left the airport when I heard (mis-heard) Clara say, "I have three rolls!" Hmmm, I wondered. Does she have some snacks with her, maybe for the airplane ride? So I asked her if they were in her little pink-piggy backpack. Giggling, she answered, "No, Grandma!"

Then she said, "The first one is to say, 'Yes, Grandma' and 'Yes, Grandpa' when you tell me to do something." Now I caught on. She had three RULES, not ROLLS.

"What are the other two rules?" we prompted.

"The next one is to help take care of Robert," she told us. "And the other one is . . . have FUN!"

I think we can live with those three rules! Especially the last one.

Rules don't go in backpacks, Grandma!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

They're Here!

Clara and Robert arrived this morning, about 10:30. They came with a good friend of Chris and Kelsey's, who is an airline employee, so flies for free. She handed them off, and hopped right back on the same plane, which was returning to Houston. What a friend! She said the children were very good on the flight.

At the gate, Clara came running, with arms open wide to smother me with hugs. Robert just looked at me with a puzzled look but was quite agreeable about getting into the stroller and going off with us.

Robert quickly fell asleep in the car on the way home, while Clara talked about anything and everything. She kept her eyes on the sky, hoping to see some balloons. I told her that the balloons usually only flew in the early morning, and that we'd try to see some while she was here.

The children were hungry when we got home, and both ate a big lunch. By now Robert had warmed up to us and was having a grand time. I decided to skip his nap, since he had slept in the car.

We spent the afternoon playing, mostly indoors, with a brief outing to the neighborhood park.

I had been warned by Kelsey that Robert wasn't a very good (or very big) eater, but he did really well at both meals today. He gobbled down the ham and carrots at dinner, but wasn't that excited about potatoes. Clara, on the other hand told me, "I LOVE your potatoes, Grandma!" And she ate everything on her plate.

Robert was amazing at bedtime. After a bath and a story book, I laid him in his bed and he was asleep in a matter of five minutes, I think.

Clara is in bed now, too, and seems to be doing fine, although she did come out, one time, to tell us "I hear noises." We talked about how different houses and different neighborhoods have different sounds sometimes, and I think she's settled down for the night now.

As I was unpacking their suitcase, I found a small smooth stone among the clothes. "What's this, Clara?" "That's to take to bed if I'm scared," she told me, very seriously. I was a tad bit puzzled, but not for long. She told me the story of a brave boy named David, and how he used a small stone to bring down a giant named Goliath. Clara's stone helps her remember that Bible story and not be afraid. How heart-warming is that?!

The adventure has begun! We have two pretty great grandkids.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Something GRAND

This weekend will be the start of something grand! GrandKIDS, that is! Grandpa (Dan) and I will be hosting Clara and Robert, on our own, for ten days, or so. Although I have gone to their house to take care of Clara for a few days at a time, this will be the first time to keep the two of them, and the first time to keep them, sans parents, at our house. I hope it will be just the first of many such times, especially after we move closer to them next year.

One thing I want my grandkids to remember about me is that I always had time for them. So I have set aside all other responsibilities for these days, and plan to dedicate all of my minutes and hours to them. I foresee hours and hours of book-reading, coloring, block-building, doll-dressing, tickling, truck-driving, pretending, cookie-baking, hide-and-seeking and a few “field trips” to kid-friendly spots around town.

Isn't it GRAND?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One More Closet Treasure

I was sad to see, when I pulled this photo out of a box, in the closet, that it has started to degrade, especially in the darker areas. Hopefully I have another, better preserved copy somewhere.

This picture of our three boys (including Takashi) brings back all sorts of good memories of the fun we always had, as a family, at the Oregon Coast. It was taken near the end of Takashi's year with us - spring or summer of 1989 - in Seaside, OR.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Treasures from the Closet

Today I am cleaning out the guest room closet, which is where I have scads of photographs from all stages of our lives. I don't have time to sort through all of them right now, so they are going by handfuls into three plastic bins. Every now and then, though, I can't help but stop and dwell on one. Here's one that caught my eye -- my dad, my mom, and my grandma, all in their Sunday go-to-meeting attire. I don't know when it was taken, exactly, but the reflection in the windows of the trailer behind them looks like Thunderbird Terrace (Juneau), where they lived in 1969, when Dan and I got married.

Assuming this was taken around 1969, that would mean that Grandma would have been in her late 60s, which is considerably younger than my mom is, now. Wait a minute . . . that would actually make Grandma, in this picture, closer to my own current age, than to my mom's! Wow! Can that be right?

And here's another one I thought I'd post. When Chris was just five weeks old, I took him to Anchorage for a church lectureship. One morning I was in the church kitchen, helping to prepare lunch for everyone, and laid my sleeping baby in an apple box. Someone took his picture and sent it to me later. I always loved that it said, "Special Box." It certainly was special that day!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Takashi and Family

I finally got word from our Japanese "son" Takashi, that he and his whole family, including his 100 year old grandmother, are fine after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. They are all in the south of Japan, so were not affected directly. Prayers have been answered!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen, John and Betsy

We, of the Northeast congregation of the Church of Christ, said farewell to our preacher, John, and his wife Betsy today. They have worked with this congregation since its beginning, 14 years ago. Although they will be sorely missed, we are excited and happy for them and the mission they are taking on. They will leave, tomorrow, for Kaiserslautern, Germany (known as "K-town") where John will preach and minister to an established English-speaking congregation of about 125 people. K-town is a military community, and John and Betsy were actually stationed there, themselves, when John was in the Army. They are perfectly suited for this work. They plan to complete a three-year commitment there, before returning to Albuquerque, to work in some capacity with the church here, again.

We said our goodbyes during a potluck meal in their honor this afternoon. The congregation presented them with two gifts. The first was one of those bluetooth digital picture frames, so we can all send photos directly to them through a dedicated email address. And the second was an amazing wreath, made, by one of our ladies, from cash donations from the congregation.

We'd appreciate your prayers as we look for a new preacher to come and work with us. Until we find and hire him, the men of the congregation will be sharing the preaching responsibilities.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog

My blogs have been neglected lately. To those who have come here over and over, only to see nothing new, I apologize. Please don’t give up on me.

Our planned move is still nearly a year away, but because we want to put the house on the market in April, we have been working like two old dogs getting the house ready to show. Our storage unit is beginning to look less sparse, as we move boxes and bins over there. Still more to go!

On Wednesday my friend, Tina, who used to run her own business, staging houses for sale, came to help me rearrange furniture and to make suggestions for showing-off the best features of our house. From that session sprung yet another long to-do list.

Yesterday I boxed up two dozen of my milk bottles in preparation for shipping them to my friend, Cindy, in Juneau, who is going to “adopt” my collection. I have one more box of bottles to pack tonight, and then that task can be ticked off of my list.

For the past couple days, I have been busy using my nifty new receipt scanner to scan all of my receipts and other documents that need to be saved for several months to a year, so that I can shred the originals and just keep the scanned images in tidy little computer files. That is a start on cleaning up the most challenging room in our house – the office. I want to have the office completed by the middle of next week. Wish me luck on THAT one!

And here’s a follow-up on my very first Craigslist experience, as mentioned in my post below. That entertainment center, especially the center unit, is terribly heavy. It took four strong men – Dan, Tim, our friend Gary and his son, Ray – to haul the three units out of our house, into Gary’s pick-up, and, from there, into the storage unit. They did that last Saturday. On Saturday evening, around 9:30 p.m., I posted my Craigslist ad. When I got up on Sunday morning, there were two responses. One wanted more information, the other wanted to see it. I made arrangements with the second person to show her the furniture after our second worship service that afternoon (our second service runs from 2:00 to 3:00). Dan and I went to the storage unit around 4:00, and the interested party and her husband showed up, with a pick-up, trailer, and $$$ in hand, a few minutes later. They were serious buyers! The only bad part was that poor Dan had to help man-handle that monster once again, from the storage unit to their trailer. But there was no quibbling on the price, and it was sold about 18 hours after I first posted the ad. Success! I was pumped. I came home and started eyeing everything around the house. What else could I turn into cash?!! This is too easy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Steps

This evening Dan and I moved the first load of moving boxes to our storage unit. They look so insignificant in that otherwise-empty 10x10 space! But these twelve boxes contain books - books that came from the shelves on either side of our entertainment center. Books are heavy, and loading the boxes into our little SUV, and from there into the storage unit, was a pretty big job for the two of us. (To give credit where credit is due, Dan did all the heavy lifting. I was the vehicle driver, door opener and dolly pusher.) It sure felt good when it was done!

The entertainment center is one piece of furniture that we do not intend to take with us when we move. We bought it when we had a big, heavy TV. Now that we have a flat screen, we don't need such a gigantic piece of furniture to hold it. We will be selling it on Craigslist -- our first time ever to either sell or buy using that venue.

Having the TV sitting, as it is now, on a slim sofa table, that we already had, makes our family room look bigger - which can't hurt when it comes to showing the house to prospective buyers.