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Showing posts with label granddaughters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label granddaughters. Show all posts

Monday, March 12, 2018


This scene (and so the picture) is an image I never want to forget. It is also full of reminders of these days in our life as a family. It is a record of a day in early March, 2018 - a day of sunshine and planting and doing things together. You can tell that Joe and Nora are planting seeds and seedlings. I also see trust and tenderness between an 80 year old grandfather and an almost 4 year old little girl. What the photo does not reflect that my heart does is the back story.  Nora and I read Jan Karon's book The Trellis and the Seed,  a beautifully illustrated children's book by one of my favorite authors - one I have given to all my grandchildren, usually with a package of Moonflower seeds tucked inside. I told Nora we would look to see if there were Moonflower seeds in our box of garden seeds. Joe said he had Moonflower seeds sprouting already under his growlight! Then Nora's mom found a bag of seeds collected from last years Moonflowers. So the planting is a picture of extended family and cooperation.

Now there are sprouts. We check every day for leafing and climbing. We will all watch for the first fragrant white blooms that grace us only at night, fading just as the Morning Glories begin to open!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Opal's Button Box

Nora's middle name is Opal.  Named for her great grandmother, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, she does not yet realize all the ways she connects with her great-grandmother every day.  Since we share a home, she is with me often and does not yet know when she calls me - "Granmary" or climbs in my lap, she is connecting not only by relationship but in ways that I grandparent.  My own grandmother modeled grandparenting for me, but Opal did so by being a wonderful Nana to our boys. Then there are countless ways that come into everyday life - the results of my upbringing in a home with parents who valued faith and family.  Last week, Nora discovered the magic and mystery of Opal's Button Box.  The buttons in a discarded kitchen cannister are leftovers from not only her many years of sewing but also her mother's, my grandmother. They never threw buttons away but saved them carefully for reuse and repurposing. If a shirt could no longer be mended, they cut off the buttons and saved them,  using the fabric scraps in another way. There are baby buttons, the one or two buttons from a card of buttons purchased to march down the front of dresses and blouses and coats, shirt buttons, glass buttons, plastic buttons, wooden buttons, and metal buttons. Nora is only beginning to discover the thrill of handling them, and ways she can use them. So in this photo, she finds the fun in making print and pattern in play dough - all with Opal's buttons. Since then, she has carried them around in one of her own boxes and speaks with pride of her own buttons.  She says buT Tons, and I love it.  Today, she told me she needs more buttons.  She is acting true to her heritage.  Mother would be proud.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shell Seeker

One of my favorite authors is Rosamunde Pilcher.  Her novel, Shell Seekers is my favorite of her writings.  Made into a movie and enjoyed by many others, this book is one of the few I saved when I packed so many of our books away to be given to to others and donated to the library last year when we moved to share a home with our youngest son Ben and his family. I kept books I knew I would like to read again.

I thought of the book's title when Nora remembered my shell basket yesterday and ran to pull it from under my bed.  She loves to sort the shells and is most fond of the tiniest shells.  We spent a long time handling the shells and talking about how beautiful each one is.  She knows the names of a few.  Later, she will learn more.  For now, it is enough to delight in them, to touch them, and pretend. She is a little shell seeker.

Our sons loved shells and liked to keep them.  Jeremy had quite a collection so many of these are his. Many of them came from the beaches on Sanibel Island, Florida, where our family spent time in 1980. The tulip shells came from a flat boat journey out to the mud flats.All of our sons talk about that trip and the fun they had being shell seekers. There are many years between their shell hunting and Nora's discovery of the same shells. The family story is still being written.  I am grateful for the seeking and the finding and the keeping, of shells, and of story.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Baby Doll

Nora has played with wooden toys once loved by her Daddy but even though she had seen this doll, only a few days ago did she begin to play with it and "mother" it. She has rocked the baby to sleep in her wicker rocking chair, wrapped her in a blanket and carried her around.  This doll was mine when I was a little girl, and although her face and hands and feet are well preserved, her cloth body is worn and stuffing is showing. This baby is like the skin horse in the Velveteen Rabbit book, she is "real"- she has been well loved, a good thing when you are 70 years old!

I was older than Nora when I got this doll, 7 yearrs old. My best friend and I were in second grade.  We played after school, had sleepovers, dressed her kitten, and talked our mothers into getting us matching dolls. Mignon got hers first and named hers Wendolyn, called Wendy. I named this one Gwendolyn, called Gwen. We played with the dolls and treasured them.  We also loved being friends, and still are to this day!  I do not know if Mignon still has her doll, but this one continues to delight a little girl.  

I will do my best to repair the cloth tears and keep her stuffing in because Nora asked me to fix her!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Gift of Each Other

One of my greatest joys as a grandmother is witnessing the joy that my granddaughters have in being together, and now, the joy with which they have welcomed their new baby boy cousin.  I remember playing with my cousins when I was small, and am so glad they treasure their times together, the gift of each other.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


We are so happy to have Jeremy and his family with us this week.  Maddie and Jordann went with me to pick out a charm for their bracelets since that was part of their Christmas present.   We had fun looking and they chose very carefully. Jordann wanted a snowflake, but not just any snowflake, she found one that was just right for her.  Maddie chose tiny angel wings because they reminded her of the angel at the top of a Christmas tree. We talked about charms they might add in the future, how long they might have their bracelets and who they might pass them to in years to come.  I was the one who was charmed.  Conversations with my granddaughters are one of my favorite things in all the world.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November, Thanksgiving!

November is a month of giving thanks - for Thanksgiving Day, of course, and for the many occasions our family also celebrates during the month. Ben and Kristen plus Jeremy and Michala have wedding anniversaries. Michala, Skye, and I have birthdays!  We just celebrated Skye's fourteenth birthday.  So many images of her come to mind.  I am grateful that she has always lived near me and that I have been able to go to church with her, hear her ring handbells, enjoy cooking and gardening, and art with her. She is lovely, inside and out. Happy Birthday, Skye!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

First 5K

I have loved watching my granddaughters grow. Lauren, Skye, Maddie, Jordann, and Nora have been the dearest blessings as they grow and change and meet each "first" thing- crawling, walking, running, skipping. First smile, first goodbye wave, first words, first books.  Jordann made us proud this week as she completed her first 5K run, with her Daddy by her side. She got ready for her race by training after school with Girls on the Run, a program that teaches life skills which celebrate the joy of  movement.

I applaud Jordann for working toward her goal of this 5K, for her persistence in pushing through even though she had a toe  blister, and for all that she learned.  I am a proud Granmary.  And I am a proud Mom because my son did more than encourage her - he ran with her.  With is a powerful thing.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Starting Christmas

Everyone has their own idea about when it is the right time to start Christmas.  I don't mean shopping early (I am an all year long Christmas shopper, and make every effort to avoid going into stores after the middle of November!)  or seeing decorations hung on city streets as early as Halloween.  I understand that many resist being encouraged to begin thinking Christmas thoughts before Thanksgiving.  But I believe Christmas is more than decorations or gift exchanges, and seasonal foods. We need Christmas, the deep peace of knowing that God is with us, all the time, and it does not seem strange to me that this bubbles up at times with a desire for little things that show that need. For years, I have treated myself to beginning listening to my beloved Christmas music on my birthday, which is coming up soon. So I was really not surprised a couple of months ago when our 2 year old granddaughter Nora, began asking for a Mismas Tree. Perhaps she had seen the decorations when they went into the garage closet when we moved this summer.  Perhaps she saw a picture of a tree. But suddenly she was insistent.  She begged for a Mismas Tree with a star.  Her mom obligingly got this little tree out of the closet, we plugged in the lights, and then Nora wanted a star.  I cut one from cardboard for her and offered to cover it with foil.  She passed on the foil and I lifted her as high as I could for her to put her star where she wanted it.

So there is the start of our Christmas, before September's song or Halloween.  Note the pumpkins nearby!  We will do the rest of our decorating soon, since baby Oliver is due to make his appearance around Thanksgiving!  "For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” 
― Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

Sunday, August 21, 2016

In the Kitchen with Nora

One of the things I have enjoyed most about being a grandmother is being in the kitchen (my happy place) and welcoming my granddaughters to help. Of course, baking cookies is easy to get help with. Nora is 2 years old, but she is a good helper. This is not limited to tasting the batter, licking the spoon or testing the finished product!  Even she knows that the first step to cooking is to wash your hands. Then we fill the mixing bowl with ingredients from the recipe and 1 step at a time, get the cookie dough ready to spoon onto baking sheets. I learned a long time ago that the secret to enjoying this whole process is having most things out, measured, and ready to add. As she gets older, she can read from the recipe herself and work out the math for measuring ingredients. Working in the kitchen together is one of the best ways I know for beginners to practice not only cooking, but also reading, math, and cleanup skills!

Last week we made chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the chocolate chip bag, and she mastered mixing butter and sugar, adding egg and vanilla, then the dry ingredients and finally, the chocolate chips (minus a few that went into her mouth!)

She wore herself out, because after 2 hot cookies and a little glass of milk, she crawled on the couch and fell asleep. The main problem with baking cookies is that they disappear so fast!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Joe's Birthday Celebration #79

This year we celebrated Joe's birthday for more than a week!  Our trip to San Francisco, the stay at Cavallo Point (his army base in the early 60's, then called Fort Baker), our visit with Jeremy and his family in Reno, and a family dinner back at home in Texas. I think he felt well celebrated!

While we were in Reno, Jeremy, Michala, Maddie, and Jordann arranged for us to have a dinner cruise on Lake Tahoe. The scenery was breathtaking, the food was excellent, and we enjoyed most of all sharing the special time with our Nevada family who now live so far away that we do not get to see them as much. They liked showing us their new home and surroundings, and we loved being with them and knowing what home looks like to them.  I even learned to say Nevada correctly. Our granddaughters there are growing into beautiful young women.

Joe's birthday cruise dinner.

                                                      Making mousse for Papa's birthday


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day Gift

As so many will this weekend, I am thinking of the gift of my mother, and her mother before her. I think of what a gift being a mother has been for me. And I am so proud and grateful for the young mothers who are part of my life right now because they loved and married my sons and became the mothers of my grandchildren.  I could paper this page with pictures of these mothers. Instead, I have a picture of this white iris which once bloomed in my grandmother's yard. It would be an entirely imaginary story, but it could be that it was cultivated in her yard by her own mother, who lived with her until her death in 1940, the year of my birth.  Because that great grandmother was born in France, and would have known her French heritage, it could be that she loved the iris flower, the French royal standard fleur-de-lis.

Iris grow not from bulbs, but from rhizomes which must be thinned out by dividing every few years.  So at her Bullard, TX farm,  Grandma Terrell would have divided her white iris, given some to my mother, who did the same by giving some to my sister before she moved from her home in Jacksonville.  Last year, my sister moved and divided iris in Round Rock, TX  to share with me before she moved.  Last week,  Joe "dug" Grandma's White Iris so that we can take some to our new home.  My lovely daughters-in-law will receive presents from husbands and daughters - probably flowers and pretty trinkets and breakfast in bed.  But they will also be given a small ZipLoc bag  filled with  brown twisted roots and shoots, a gift of story and perseverance.  Happy Mother's Day!



Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Birthday Gift for Nora

We celebrated Nora's Birthday yesterday.  She is now 2 years old.  Grandparents from Tennessee and Texas (that would be us), aunts and uncles from both sides of her family plus her cousin Skye were all here to enjoy the balloons and bubbles that were floating everywhere.  There was a chocolate cake, a candle to blow out, the birthday song, and of course, presents.  Among our gifts to her was this apron with lots of polka dots and pockets.                                                                                     

I made it from 2 sizes of red and white polka dot fabric, so it was reversible.  This apron is actually gift from 3 grandmothers.  I, her paternal grandmother, found the valentine print in my own fabric stash to make tiny pockets. The other 2 pieces of fabric were cut from scraps of fabric from my own grandmother's quilting scraps. That means Mary Clyde Terrell, Nora's great great grandmother is part of the gift. Her daughter, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, Nora's great grandmother (for whom she is named), contributed to my grandmother's quilting scraps from her own sewing although she did not quilt herself.  Plus, she kept the box of fabric pieces for years before handing them down to me!  She is the third grandmother represented in the gift.  
I like thinking about the stories behind aprons and quilts and grandmothers.  I am glad Nora's first apron has a story.  She just likes wearing it!
Nora Opal Parker

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moving a House

I watched as a 3 story Victorian house got moved yesterday. The relocation happened without the loss of a single fish scale shingle or Gingerbread railing, although some of those were already badly in need of repair. Nothing shifted except a little piece of my heart. The movers were two of my sons and the hauling mechanism was my red pickup truck. Although our family did live in a Victorian house just like this one, much smaller people and furniture have occupied this house, a large doll house made for me by a paraplegic craftsman in Jakarta, Indonesia.  When I took a picture to him and asked if he could build a small one, he agreed and did a very good job of making a replica of our one- time home in Jacksonville, TX.  Remarkable, since he had never seen a real house like that one.
Remarkable, since he and his wife delivered it to me in a taxi. Remarkable because I had no grandchildren at that time.  Maybe I anticipated the sweet fact that I would eventually have 5 granddaughters.

This was never a house for grownups to have fun decorating. It was to play with, to imagine with, to wonder at.  And the little girls growing up in our family plus a number of visiting children have done just that.  I love that, and I was very fond of this doll house.  I will remain so, since it was relocated to my oldest son and his wife's garage. Fitting, because many years after our family left the original house, it became a place for celebrations and they were married in the front parlor of the house we loved and lived in for a short time.  In fact, the room where my son's bride dressed was his bedroom when he was 13!  I hope that they will enjoy having it to help tell their story as someday they become grandparents themselves.

Another exercise in letting go and holding on!  Another way to tell our story.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


2016 is already proving to be a year of great change. We are readying our home and garden for sale, with plans to buy a home with our youngest son and his family. Our oldest son and daughter - in - law have changes in their household with their oldest daughter moving to an apartment.  Our son Jeremy and his wife and daughters have moved from Texas to Nevada.  Plain to see this last from the photo, since they never had snow to dig this deep in Fort Worth!  I miss their being in Texas, of course but I am thankful they are settling into their new home and are having fun with all the snow!
I only have to watch the Monarchs in our back yard as they go through their cycles of caterpillar, chrysalis, and metamorphosis to be reminded that change is necessary for growth.  Enjoy your wings, sweet girls!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gingerbread House

Today is the day my father was born in 1909. He left us in 1982,  too soon to see any of his grandsons or great granddaughters learn to love to cook as much as he did. My sons are passing me up as gourmet cooks, Lauren (22) cooks meals for the family now, Skye (13) is a great pastry cook, Maddie  (9) tried her hand at chicken curry recently, even making the curry blend herself, and Jordann (7) loves to tie on an apron and help to bake.

I am often asked where I learned to love cooking. A great deal of that became a part of me because Mother and Daddy owned a cafe most of the time I was growing up. Mother worked there and cooked more at home, but Daddy cooked for the cafe, creating the best hamburgers and lunch plates.  He got up early and went in to make scratch pies and hot rolls. So as I watched Nora and her Mom, Kristen, make a gingerbread house, I thought how much Daddy and Mother would have loved to see this project!  At 21 months, Nora was intrigued by putting the little candy dots on the house. Perhaps it is a good thing she does not eat candy yet.They did a fantastic job.  There was not much cooking in this kitchen project, but she will be standing on a stool helping me make cookies soon! You made your great granddaddy proud, Nora! It was Kristen's first gingerbread house, too!  But she bakes beautiful cakes, so she knew how to handle that frosting.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Skye is 13!

Today is our lovely granddaughter's thirteenth birthday.  From the moment of her parents' excited news of her tiny beginning, she has been so much joy and gladness for me. In the months before her birth, I wrote a journal to her in the form of a letter, given to her parents on the day she was born, a tradition I have continued with each new grandchild.  I simply wanted to tell her she was already a part of our family story and would always be.  I wrote about happily we anticipated her arrival, of all the things we looked forward to sharing with her, and how we celebrate faith and family. From rocking and lullabies to planting flowers, building fairy gardens and baking macaroons, Skye continues to add delight to our time together. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making Music

I enjoy making music with my choir and handbell friends, but there is a different kind of pleasure in music with my grandchildren.  I have had so many good times with each of my granddaughters:  rocking and singing lullabies, swinging and singing,  playing CD's and singing along in the car as we drove somewhere, marching around the house singing and sounding out with everything from pot lids to maracas, trying out recorders and harmonicas, making drums out of boxes and cookie tins.  I remember Lauren's "Poor Mr. Spider" tape she loved playing over and over in the car and dancing with her. I played handbells with Skye's youth handbell group.  Maddie loved singing from the time she could talk and could sing Amazing Grace with perfect pitch when she was 2. Jordann loves making up songs on the piano and Nora does too.  Whether it is singing "Skip to My Lou" 20 times in a row or "A, You're Adorable" or tunes from The Sound of Music, music with these girls fills my heart!

Monday, August 24, 2015

School Days

Maddie and Jordann had their first day of the 2015-2016 school year last week. Now in 4th grade and 2nd grade, they headed back to school in uniforms, with book bag and back pack. Skye started her 7th grade year today. And Lauren is back in her college classes next week. I love this time of year. In our part of Texas, the temperatures are still too hot to think that Fall is almost here, but there are cues beyond the heat and the calendar page. Change is in the air. Back to school means schedule changes for everyone. Our church Wednesday night suppers begin again. Family music time and youth gatherings and handbell rehearsals get back into a rhythm and time is more structured.  I love the lazier days of summer, but there is something so satisfying about getting back into a familiar routine. There are new shoes, new clothes, new books, new projects, new teachers, and new friends. And even for those of us who don't start back to school, the beat changes. Think crisp mornings, leaves turning, pumpkins sprouting everywhere, caramel apples, and the fragrance of cinnamon.

When I was in the second grade, I was in a play called School Days.  I had a red checked dress and our group sang "School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule Days. Reading and writing, and 'rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick."  Hickory sticks are long gone, arithmetic an exercise in mathematics that is a puzzle to me,  reading and writing  may be done with computers and tablets. But school days are back and I am glad!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


One of Nora's first and favorite words is "shoes!"  Pronounced with a special lilt and emphasis! Whether it is used as she looks for her own little pink Nikes, or carries her Daddy's heavy shoe around, it is obvious she loves shoes.  This week I watched as she took her own shoes off and tried again and again to put on my sandals and walk.  I laughed with her as she tried, but my thoughts about the scene lasted for a long time after our giggles. It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to think about her wearing my shoes or following my footsteps.  It is serious business, being a grandmother.