Apr 30, 2013

Humpty (Bliggity Blog) Dump-ty

1) I’m exhausted. In fact, I am convinced that I am only alive with the help of my saintly mother and husband who are helping me get winks in here and there.  James is boycotting sleep and happiness.  Yes, I’m sure it’s a phase, teething, a cold whatever, whatever, whatever I don’t care, I’m tired.

2.) I’m also slightly grumpy

3.) You never know how badly you want to do something until you can’t.  Like when I am tending to my fussing baby and I can’t help with the dishes or cook dinner.  There was a time I would do anything to get out of doing the dishes, and y’all know I don’t even like to cook.  But it looks so good and so fun when you are chained to your baby

4.) A long time ago a friend of mine (who had just graduated college and was had a nice job) told me she kept thinking about how she wanted to go to grad school for something totally different and pursue another career.  Just last week,  3 years after she mentioned this to me,  she announced she was a-headed back to grad school.  This makes my heart so happy and I have not been able to stop thinking about it.  Congratulations Elizabeth!

5.) It is birthday week! Happy Birthday to Mindy, Dad & Brian.  Birthday week is more fun when you are not on a dairy-free diet (no cake & ice cream for yours truly) but I’m still having a blast…

6.) Me & JP (JP and I doesn’t sound as good) went to the firehouse to see Daddy on Sunday.  When James wasn’t flirting with a certain pretty lady captain, he decided to let us take some pictures:


7.) Did I already post this picture? Here is James with yet another fan club:


8.) We still take walks. At Oak Grove, at my parent’s neighborhood in Riverwalk where we encounter turtles & in our own neighborhood, too!

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9.) My little boxer


10.) We went to Bergey’s for breakfast & saw Aunt Kathleen!

IMG_20130413_09511211.) We finally finished this puzzle we started 2ish months ago.


12.) Much to my mother’s chagrin, I’ve been watching television. Intentional television, I’ll have you know-  and there is a difference.  Our rule is no turning on the tv just for the noise/because you are bored but if you actually carve out time to watch a specific show then you are golden.  What are we watching? Dancing with Stars & Duck Dynasty. Happy, happy, happy.

13.) I don’t care who you are this is funny

14.) I’m also taking a lot of comfort in the Sear’s (Oh, you know them. Attachment Parenting, The Breastfeeding Book…) declaration that “Crying and fussing in the arms of a loving parent is not the same as crying-it-out” as we try out some modified and loving crying-it-out techniques to get our recently up-all-night baby some rest.

15.)  I didn’t always have a lot of pride in my lifeguarding days, but I know now what a grave responsibility it was.  I learned to love it and then became certified to be a lifeguard instructor. I worked hard to let my students know how scary the job actually was.  Today my friend, former co-worker AND my lifeguard instructor herself wrote a fantastic blog post. Go check it out. 

16.) Okay, I just love this song.  And I have this secret wish that Marcus and I would start a family band and sing fantastically, romantic duets.  But then I remember my musical talents and move on with my life..

17.) I would really hate to stop at number 17. I hate odd numbers

18.) But I don’t think I have anything left to say.  Also, is it very apparent that I don’t proof read my blog posts ever?  I’m overcoming my dad’s “check your work, and when you are done, check it again” regime.  My run-on sentences and misplaced commas are reason no.23948743944 that I’ll never be a big blogger :)

19.) Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

20.) Hey, non-Catholics…did you know we don’t pray to Mary, but ask her for prayers? Did you know we don’t worship her, but honor her? True story! Live & learn!

Apr 29, 2013


     It was a rather anticlimactic  beginning for us, you could say.  She was mostly unimpressed with the new baby and when prodded by our mother,

          “Mindy, how do you like your new baby sister?”

she simply answered with a shrug and replied,


I supposed I should give her a break since she was only 4 years old at the time.  It probably shouldn’t be held against her that she wasn’t unequivocally thrilled, moved to maternal instincts at the sight of a brand new, fresh out of the oven little sister.  Especially one prone to colicky, loud crying bouts ;)

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     Those four years were always a little far for us.  Whatever stage I was entering, she was leaving.  We also had pretty opposite interests and dispositions as kids/teenagers/young adults.  There was some bickering and fighting, but more so just a little lack of interest & friendship in each other.  While she was being being the responsible first born, my mom’s right hand help, I was more likely stirring up trouble with my brothers.  Even though I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, I was pretty fascinated by her.  How was she always SO good?! How did she always make her Halloween & Easter candy last longest?! What was it like in middle school?  How did she get such nice grades in school?  Did she like actually like school or something?! Where did she learn to sing & play the piano so well? Does she actually like practicing?!  Yes, this is a real example of my stream of conscious when it came to Mindy.  As well as: I wonder if she will notice if I steal some of her gum, I like her long hair, woah-big sis can draw! I hope I look that pretty when I go to prom one day, high school looks fun, wow-she can really sing, I want to be a lifeguard like Mindy, she actually likes Latin?! and so on and so forth.



     Somebody I used to nanny for once asked me why I liked being part of a big family.  A thousand answers ran through my head, but I finally decided that the best thing about all my siblings is the incredible potential for relationship & companionship.  Even when I graduated high school, Mindy and I seemed worlds apart. We even joke about that birthday I gave her a card that read, ‘Even though we don’t see eye to eye…’ That gap narrowed when she had her babies.  I was awed by her strength and simply adored her children.  Then I got engaged and Mindy simply worked so hard and was so helpful - I think that is when we became more than sisters but friends,too.  I’m just so thankful for her-so thankful for the gift of siblings and even if it takes 20 years to discover, amazed at how truly deep the bond of sisterhood is.



     Mindy is truly a beautiful person.  She is by nature helpful & hard-working, she is encouraging and always eager to learn new things.  Even if we were not the best of friends when we were younger, I have so many special memories of her kindness to me growing up.  She let me play and tag along with her & her friends, she used to let me crawl in her bed at night and she would tell me all about middle school.  When she started babysitting the rest of our crazy crew she would always whip up these creative desserts..I specifically remember her peanut butter & sugar dessert.  She wrote me a long, long  loving and encouraging letter when I was going through a miserable time in middle school.  She made me mix tapes (which were the ultimate gifts during the 90’s). She took me to a concert at the NorVa in her little tan Nova , let me teach her guests how to line dance and her wedding, and taught me how to take cure of curly hair.  When I was getting married she all but let me interrupt her life as she helped with every single aspect.  And she does not hold it against me that I was a grand whopping total of 0.0% help when she was getting married- I had a tendency to be a little self-absorbed in my college(ish) years.




     Being pregnant together was the neatest experience.  I remember being a little nervous to tell her since I knew she was hoping to be pregnant soon, too.  She was happy for me and then I was crazy-ecstatic when I found out she was due just 6 weeks after me.  Together we waded morning sickness, maternity clothes, natural childbirth classes and homebirth prep.  After James’ arrival, I remember her quiet presence, simply encouraging and helping.  I’ve had a crazy nursing rodeo ride thus far, sprinkled with some tongue-tie drama, food allergy inquires, fussy baby exhaustion and she is been here through the thick and thin.  And bringing along a dairy-free dessert to boot.


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     Happy, Happy Happy Birthday Mindy.  It has been a blessing to watch you do life.  Whether you are singing, cooking, crafting, or mama-ing you just impress and inspire me all the time.  

Apr 24, 2013

Baby Croft Chronicles III

     I think I’ll open this with the super original ‘I can’t BELIEVE he is 5 months already,’ because it is so true!  How have 5 utterly exhausting, novel, joyful, scary, smiley, drooly, crying, busy months gone by? 

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James Patrick continues to chunk up nicely.  He was 14.6 lbs at his 4 month appointment, now around 16 pounds and he can really work that double chin.  The fat puffs up sweetly around those dimples.  His ears are still adorably outward growing. Little man does still have the monk-look hairstyle on the back of his head, but other than that he has a nice little fuzz all about his head. Those once blue eyes are a deep, chocolaty brown that twinkle when he smiles.  And he smiles a lot!  He is a pretty photogenic guy and I can normally convince him to give me a big ‘ole grin for the camera. Or at least an inquisitive stare :)

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     He spends his days rolling all over the living room floor.  I have found him underneath the rocking chair and over the floor vents.  He plays mostly on his tummy now, as his floor mat’s tabs and squeakers keep him pretty entertained (that is for 5-10 minutes) at a time. He likes his Lamaze toys, a baby Einstein singing & blinking sun, a black & white contrast chubby teething book, my kitchen spatulas, my cell phone, anybody’s keys and ohhh myy goshhh the paper! JP goes crazy for some paper!

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He reaches out to grab everything and anything.  Our dinner plates, my hair, his great grandmother’s nose, eye glasses and the like.  The only time he will permit being on his back is when he has his little tootsies shoved into his mouth.  Should be disgusting, but is oh-so adorable

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James is  always sticking out his tongue, ready to suck on anything, or sucking in his bottom lip. Just love that look, little cutie

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He sleeps with a blankie, likes to be held by his mama, loves to be sung to, LOVES to be outside. He finally doesn't make a peep in the cars seat and I celebrate that every time we get in the car.  Oh, and this boy can finally nurse!! The days of tongue tie drama, latch issues, tears, and stretching & sucking exercises are a thing of the past. It took a good 4 months but I thank God for the improvement everyday!!

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    As usual, we keep busy.  I’m a stay at home mama who just can’t stay home.  We frequent Nana’s, Auntie Em’s, Aunt Mindy’s, and hanging out with Mama’s friends: the Sams & April.  We walk and walk and walk and we have to break out the bucket hat on these sunny days.  When we don’t have a play date scheduled, I drag your play mat on the back deck or the front sidewalk.  We went a-traveling to DC, Pennsylvania & Columbus! We’ve been to Bergey’s where the goat scared him, birthday parties, the Farmer’s Market and a Fish Fry & Stations of the Cross during Lent.  He hated going out to eat on Easter Vigil & fussed the entire time we were in the restaurant, but liked going to the pool to meet Mama’s old co-workers.  Get it together, baby!

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Oh, but these times have been so, so hard.  As I type this, I think I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep.  Baby James is still an extremely fussy, fussy little guy.  I can’t seem to just dismiss it as his temperament, since his fussiness is just kind of peppered throughout the day.  In between smiles & laughs, while playing, even when nursing.  Holding him does not even seem to soothe him.  He seems uncomfortable and extremely restless.  So, in a word- his mama & daddy are exhausted & a bit discouraged..especially since we thought he was doing better during months 3 & 4. I thought his fussy days were leaving us when just in the last 2-3 weeks things have suddenly become quite miserable over here.   I am going to be eliminating dairy (again, hip, hip hooray) since he is showing many signs of food allergies.  He’s had eczema, lots of mucus (since he was a newborn..not a cold!), a random but persistent dry coughing, red eyes, ever present green mucus stools (sorry, that’s just gross, I know!) colic-like mood, increased spit-up and the worst symptom of all- horribly, terribly crappy sleep.  He doesn’t necessarily want to nurse, he doesn’t scream or cry, just writhes around-acting distressed & uncomfortable, waking himself up & then remaining up at VERY non-waking hours.  SO, hopefully cutting out dairy, and adding some probiotics will help.  I’m sure I’ll keep you all posted.  Perhaps some may think I am a psycho first time mom, but my gut tells me to figure out what the heck ails him.  That or more to Alaska!  And if you feel like saying a prayer for us, I wouldn’t be mad at you. 

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     Lest I leave on such a depressing note, let me assure you… this baby is a cutie.  He makes us laugh every day and we are wrapped around his little chubby, dimpled fingers.  He is helping us to grow and become just who God is calling us to be and we adore him. You’re a keeper, James P!

Apr 21, 2013

Stay-at-Home Mama…How We do it!

     I’ve wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for as long as I can remember.  Even as I grew up and saw many moms working out of necessity, I still hoped & prayed their would be a way I could do it someday.  When I met Marcus, he also shared the same vision for a family and wanted to work really hard to make sure we could make that a priority.  I think many people believe staying at home with your kids means you are very comfortable financially.  Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom 5 months ago, I’ve had many people mention to me how lucky I am..they could never afford it!  Friends, either can we!!  My husband was a youth minister, and now he is a firefighter…neither professions are known for being high paying gigs!  Our ability to stay home has much less to do with money and everything to do with choices.  Since we both decided it was a priority for a family we knew where there was a will, there was a way.  I knew that God was asking of it for our family and He would provide.  My older sister once told me, when she was a new mama herself, that if God is calling you to stay home, He will bless you.


     I should preface this all by saying so much of our ability to do this has been because of those blessings and some prep work we did.  It takes a village… and Marcus and I have been blessed in huge ways.  Remember the story of Trusty Rusty? and our Saturn? Gifts, both of them! Can you believe that? Who gives cars as gifts?  Our generous family.  We had so much help starting out.  My in-laws gave us furniture to furnish our little place and I could spend the rest of this blog post sharing all the help we have been given.  So it is not completely by our own merit that we doing this, but made possible by love & support of family and friends.  Yes, it takes humility to accept this type of help, but it is our prayer that someday we will be able to bless others when they are starting out.


     In order to set ourselves up as a one income family, we started by doing as much as possible when we were dating/engaged.  Marcus worked really hard to pay off all his student loans so we could go into our marriage debt free.  We both lived at home to save money, and had creative, free date nights instead of lots of eating out and movies.  Once we got married, we set up our finances so we were just using Marcus’ income to pay the bills.  My income went to savings, this way there would not be a huge shock/change to our budget when a baby came along.  Then we made choices to live a more frugal lifestyle.  Choices like:


1.) Make your own.  Make your own bread, laundry detergent, shampoo & conditioner, all the cleaning products I use etc.  First, I have to give to props to my older sister.  Anything cool or frugal I have done..she did it first.  In fact, if she had a blog, she would have 4593486792834 followers learning her awesome ways.  I’m just a copy-cat.  Also, I give myself grace. I don’t ALWAYS do these 100 percent of the time- but I try.  It is all  pretty easy.  I’m incredibly lazy, so if I can do it…anybody can do it.  There is a lot more DIY things I aspire to do.. such as making my own yogurt, laundry lint balls (that would mean no more buying dryer sheets), kitchen condiments, dishwasher detergent, just to name a few.

2.) We don’t go out to eat.  Again, that is 99.9%  of the time.  We certainly attend birthday dinners, holiday meals with family at a restaurant, or a special date night.  Other than that we just don’t.  That means we pack food a lot! Going to the beach, going on a car trip, going to be out all day? Break out the cooler.  Cheaper & healthier.  And if my girlfriends want to meet for lunch I’m not ashamed to convince them to go to the park instead to meet up.

3.) Cloth Diapers.  I can’t even believe how much money this is saving us. And it is easy, easy, sooo easy.

4.) Hurr cuts.  Okay so maybe you are not impressed that I give Marcus his buzz cut-do every 3 weeks, probably saving us about 15 bucks.  But you should be really, crazy impressed when I say he cut my hair and I am never, ever, ever going back to the salon.  I mean, does anybody really enjoy the whole ‘What shampoo are you using?!’ and ‘You are going to need to buy this product for your hair. It is actually on sale here today for only 2395 dollars’  No, thank you!! A couple of you-tube videos, and a confidence that you can’t mess up curls…just call my husband Paul Mitchell.

5.) No more shopping.  I remember when shopping was a pastime for me.  Strolling the mall with my girlfriends, trying on dresses, the whole 9 yards.  And of course that shopping led to lots of buying.  I didn’t exactly perfect art of window shopping.  Anyways,  I try to be pretty content with the clothes/things I have and the one sure fire way for me to get the i-wants is to spend an hour or two at the mall or target.  When I see all the pretties, I want them.  When I am at home, I don’t know what is out there & I don’t care.  If I need something or want something, I try to buy online to avoid slipping up. 

6.) On cars & phones.  used & dumb, y’all.  Well, my husband does have a smart phone, but I’m not sure how long that will be lasting.  He doesn’t need it for work anymore & we have two perfectly good computers for the internet we need.  And a gps in the car. 

7.) Grocery shopping.  I’m sure you have heard it before- shop the perimeter off the grocery store-it has all you need!  Beside the occasional detour for flour or some cans, we just stick to the basics.  We skip out on the snack & the desserts and if we want them, we make them ourselves.  It IS more work, but it is also much healthier. 

8.) Give.  No matter how tight money is, don’t forget to tithe and/or support charity.  God truly does give back ten-fold.


     There is plenty more I could/aspire to do.  Things like couponing.  I have not been huge into it since I don’t often see coupons for things we buy.  But I could try a little harder & snag some deals on the staples.  Also, I would be lying if Marcus & I are fabulous at making a budget.  We have a serious hang-up here.  We’ve sat down many times to do it, but we’ve always had better luck just sticking to our little financial ‘rules’  I’d still like to make one, to be better at saving for certain events/things.  Additionally, I could get a lot more crafty to save money…sew our curtains & clothes or make hand made gifts, but I am so craft-challenged. 


    We’ve also discovered that frugality is not synonymous with cheap.  As a family, you have to priority the areas where you are willing to put more of your money.  One of those areas for us is food.  We like local produce/eggs (I don’t care as much if it is certified organic as long as I know where it came from) and it is one of our goals to be able to buy our meat/milk from local farms here.  We also don’t mind spending money to see relatives/friends/take trips.  Those are two areas we prioritize a little more money spent.  Sometimes with clothes, too-it is worth is to buy high quality…you’ll save money in the long run.  A sweater from gap will last waaaaaaay longer than one from tjmaxx (but don’t worry, I have more than my fair share of favorite clothes from there)  but if I was in need of a staple clothes item, maybe a black cardigan or kakhis, I’d probably spend a little more money.


     Living simply is not hard or a burden or miserable, but a calling for our family right now.  Truly we have so much and are so blessed that the little things we go without are just that- little things.  If I worked I might make us more money, but I couldn’t justify the cost of not being with my son when I know that is right where God is asking me to be right now.


Apr 15, 2013

Spring Travels

     The day after Easter, the whole Croft clan headed to DC and then to Pennsylvania for Grandma Dee’s funerals.  I was especially looking forward to going to Pennsylvania to see the town she and Marcus always told me about.  We didn’t end up having much down time for much outside the wake, funeral and reception, but I loved meeting new relatives and seeing everybody together to celebrate Grandma Dee.


     You might think that driving 4 hours to DC, then 4 more to Pennsylvania with our family (one bambino), the Thompsons (one bambino & one bambina) and the Macchia (one bambina) might have been a little nuts, but everything went pretty smoothly.  All of us were a little nervous about leaving early Monday morning amidst all the Hampton Roads & DC traffic to arrive on time but we were there with plenty of time to spare.  Then all the mama’s proceeded to take over the bride’s room as we changed diapers, ate snacks, changed, and hoped our husbands still loved us after we all admitted to being spastic backseat drivers on the way up.


     After a funeral & reception there, we all piled back in to the car and headed to Pennsylvania.  James shocked us with his good car behavior!  We were definitely spent that night though, and pretty much fell asleep upon arrival. 


     My sisters-in-law did an excellent job picking out the hotel- not only was their a beautiful view of the mountains from our hotel room window, but the continental breakfast was delicious- us fatties had no problem completely monopolizing the little dining room.  Babies crawling around on the floor & the whole nine yards!  The nice staff ooed and ahhed over our children, and gave us a plate full of chocolate chip cookie, hot from the oven, as we headed out for the day’s events.  So, if you are ever stopping in little Greesburg, Pa…check out the The Mountain View Inn


     The day started off with a completely serendipitous reunion of Marcus & his old high school buddy/college roommate.  They had completely fallen out of touch the last 4 years, but we ran into them at breakfast that morning!  It turns out they were in town to visit his mom’s family.  In the words of his friend that morning, “How random is THIS?”


     The day was spent remembering Grandma Dee & I got a mini-look at Greensburg and her sweet family as we went from the wake, to the funeral to the reception.  I remembered to snag some pictures too!

2 of the whole gang

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and 3 funny ones of the babies

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     When we realized Columbus, Oh was not too far of a trip from where we were staying, we decided to surprise my grandparents with a visit.  And surprise them we did…left the baby on the front stoop, rang the doorbell & hid!  They had not met James yet & nothing says family is important like attending a funeral.  So we commited ourselves to another 4 hours in the car, and a 10 hour middle of the night drive home a day & a half later.  It was SO worth every minute in the car.

Meeting Nanny

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In front of Nanny’s house after a walk down my favorite street in the world!April 2013 098

Meeting Grandma Jan

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     And that was our first big family travel.  Thank you baby for doing so well in the car, Thank you sis-in-laws for caravanning- Thanks Mom & Dad C for your generosity in the hotel room department, Thanks husband for your general positive outlook & all the driving, and thanks Grandma Dee for inspiring the whole thing!

Apr 13, 2013

Country Does Nostalgia Right

     It seems that I am not the only one who has a slight obsession with nostalgia, since Country music has filled my heart to the brim on many occasion with the sweet twang of memories sung.  My favorites include-


Miranda Lambert- The House that Built me

Holy home nostalgia, y’all.  This song makes me think of growing up on the Navy Base and all the nooks & crannies in the neighborhood that mean everything to me.  It also brings me back to careless summers at Nanny’s house during Ohio summers.  Don’t think I’ve ever listened to this song without crying


Kenny Chesney- I Go Back

Okay, so I used to loooove Kenny Chesney, but I have not been a fan of his music in recent years.  This song, however, just gets me every time.  We can all relate to hearing a certain song and having it transport you to some part of your life.  This song makes me think of summers in college, driving around way too late with the windows down and all my friends laughter filling up the car.


Jason Aldeen- Red Dirt Road

I can see past the crappy rapping and just enjoy this song.  I think Jason Aldeen is actually a pretty sappy guy since 99.9999% of his songs are super nostalgic.  His earrings and bad boy look are just a facade.


Alan Jackson- Remember When

I don’t even like Alan Jackson but this song just gives me shivers. I love.. “remember when the sound of little feet was the music we danced to week to week”..


Jamey Johnson- In Color

This song is so simple, so poignant.


    There are lots of other where these little ditties came from, but those are my all time favorites. Enjoy!

Apr 12, 2013

Lessons on Easter

     Sigh. When will I ever learn? A wise, wise, wise mother once shared with me about the trouble our expectations can cause.  My expectations really cause me trouble on the holiday fronts.  It started with our first Thanksgiving and the hits just keep on coming.  It’s all my fault, too.  Actually, I take that back… I am sure Pinterest overachieving pins & ooey gooey facebook updates have something to do with it too—oh the pressure!  But, really.  Who tries to take their 4 month baby to get their picture taken with an Easter Bunny when he {or me} has not slept all night, the Firefighting husband is sleep deprived and has a sinus infection, and we are supposed to be packing to get ready to go out of town?!  That would be me.  I also wanted to make a bunny cake, make deviled eggs for my mom’s Easter dinner, order James a nice Easter basket, dye Easter eggs, make Marcus something creative for Easter and wear something non-maternity to Easter Vigil.


     Instead, the hard-boiled eggs never got to be deviled,  Easter Vigil-ing mass didn’t happen, and James’ basket of spit-up rags worked for an Easter basket.  I cried hot tears of shame when the Easter bunny picture didn’t work (since I KNEW I was ridiculous for even trying),  Marcus’ cold got even worse and he slept through most of Easter Sunday, and I was the only family member not to contribute to dinner.  Oh, the humility I need.


    Interestingly enough, Jesus still rose from the dead.  Yup, believe it or not, even with the failed aspirations of a picture-perfect Easter, and my constant whining “It just doesn’t feel like Easter to me!” He still rose


     I’m wondering how much longer it will take me to learn that Holidays are not about feelings, perfect gifts, accomplished to-do lists, whose house we celebrate it at, the cute clothes, pictures or delicious meals.  I’m guessing it will be a slow process, I’m not claiming to be a quick learner.  But all expectations aside, it was a beautiful Easter.  Little James Patrick and I got dolled up in our very imperfect Easter Sunday best, and enjoyed a wonderful Easter Sunday mass. I had not been to one in so long (I’ve always loved Easter Vigil) that I had totally forgot how powerful & joyful they are.  We let Marcus sleep away the sickness while we headed over to Mom’s for the rest of the day.  The baby was a fussy little guy, but there were so many helping hands.  My mom, Mindy & Kathleen prepared an incredible feast and the rainy morning gave way to some much-needed sunshine.  Marcus felt up to joining us all for dinner & dessert as well as a couple of pictures.

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     Easter is always Easter because of what Jesus did, not all the extra, feel-good stuff we do.

(I’m preaching to the choir here)

So did you hear that Laura?! Jesus rose from the dead.  And he is going to next year, too.  Even if James’ doesn’t get a picture with Easter bunny!

Alleluia, friends, Happy Easter!

Apr 10, 2013

Goodbye For Now, Sweet Grandma Dee

     Marcus started bragging about his grandmother almost as soon as I met him 5 years ago, and having two of the finest grandmothers around myself, I was anxious to meet her to see what the fuss was all about.  When I met her a couple months later, at her 75th birthday dinner, I knew she was worth his every brag and more.  I’ll never forget getting to know her that weekend of her birthday as Marcus and I took her and Papa Joe on a whirlwind touristy day around Virginia Beach.  We talked while wandering around the Aquarium, over ice cream cones at the Purple Cow and into dusk as we sat on the benches on the beach.  By the end of the day I felt more than completely accepted by her, I felt like she loved me and just really enjoyed her time with me.  It wasn’t just me though, as I got to know her over the following years, it was apparent that she loved everybody, accepted them and enjoyed them. 

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     Grandma Dee & Papa Joe’s place was the destination of our first road trip together when we were dating.  Grandma Dee and I stayed up late as she told me stories about her family, told me about all the themed parties she threw over the years, and how great she thought Marcus was.  The next couple of years were peppered with weddings, birthdays and baptisms-all perfect for grandparent visiting.  When baby JP was a’cooking in my tum, we headed up to DC for a way overdue visit.  We just fit the trip in during a busy summer and I am so glad we did.  To watch Grandma Dee take loving care of Papa Joe, flitter about the kitchen constantly to make sure I was getting enough for me+baby, remind me of all God’s promises and dig through box after box of beautiful photographs she had taken was the ultimate example to me.  Grandma Dee knew the meaning of quality time, and she gave it to me like a present every single time I was with her. 


     When we heard she was sick, we took the baby on his first trip to meet his great-grandma.  We had a perfect day.  Whether or not she was feeling well, I’ll never know, but she was full of joy and kept telling me all the things she needed to praise the Lord about.  It is no surprise to me that baby James seemed enamored by her.  She smiled at him constantly, talked to him seriously, and even made puppets for him out of his blanket.  He loved her with smiles and coos and eager kicking on her hospital bed.  We snacked on sweets, spent time looking out the window and held hands while she told me all about her family and growing up in Pennsylvania.  We prayed together and kissed goodbye and I didn’t really believe it would be the last time I would see her.


     The week after Easter was a whirlwind of celebrating her.  The funeral in DC was beautiful but going to her home in Pennsylvania was so special to me.  I thought about what the priest in DC said when he advised us to imitate the way she lived her life.  In fact, I was sure it was her voice I heard in my heart, urging me to make an extra, out of the way stop, to see my grandparents.  My father-in-law gave the most perfect, touching Eulogy and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since.  He reminded us how she CHOOSE to be happy and holy. 


     After she passed away, I was telling my mom about her.  How fantastic our last visit was.   I felt the lump rising in my throat as I remembered how she kept telling my son “Next time you see me we’ll do something fun!” and “next time you see me I’ll have toys for you to play with” and embarrassed about her lack of lipstick & fancy hairdo that day “next time you see me, I’ll be beautiful” My mom had the perfect response, as she sensed my sadness that their would not be a next time.   “Laura, she was right…next time you see her, she will be beautiful”

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     Grandma Dee, you are so beautiful but I can’t wait to see you in Heaven where you will be even more glorious!  Pray for me Grandma Dee, that I can give others quality time, serve with a smile, and choose to be happiness and holiness.  We keep pictures of your joyful face in a picture on our fridge, and in an a frame in our living room.  But even more- I see you in my son everyday- James Patrick has your eyes! 


     Thanks for loving me Grandma Dee!


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