Running with the family, or “Why is there purple stuff in your ear?”

There is a way to make your family and friends think you are the coolest person ever AND reap other priceless benefits along the way.

Running.

1 oucWait! Don’t stop reading yet. Those inspiring stories about people whose idea of exercise is walking to the fridge but then they start running and they realize they love it and months later they’re competing in marathons?

Yeah, this isn’t one of those stories.

I strongly dislike running. I mean, it hurts. A lot. And makes your mascara run. I asked a running-fanatic co-worker once why she enjoyed the sport and she got a dreamy look in her eyes and smiled and said, “You know that feeling when you can’t breathe and your legs won’t work and you have to stop by the side of the road to throw up? Gosh, I love that feeling.”

Um, no, thank you.

Besides, have you been at the start line of a race? All those toned abs are intimidating.

This is a story, however, about a kind of running – the fun kind, where you get out with your family on a Saturday morning and spend some time together and get some exercise and end up feeling as if you’ve accomplished something important while still keeping your mascara intact.

2 picI’m talking about fun runs, those one-mile races with more emphasis on “fun” than “run.”

This spring, our daughters and our 7- and 3-year-old grandsons have hit the fun-run circuit. We’ve been pelted with confetti, dug colored cornstarch out of our ears and had a blast.

We none of us are runners (except the 3-year-old, who runs the whole mile without stopping or even breathing hard — I see Olympic medals in his future) and I was apprehensive about our non-athletic status before we signed up for our first race.

But I was being silly. Everybody is encouraging and enthusiastic, and the grins on the kids’ faces as they cross the finish line to cheers and ecstatic high fives are priceless. They may even have learned something about reaching goals and trying your best and helping each other.

And as a bonus, you get say this to your friends: “Sorry I can’t go shopping with you Saturday morning. That’s a race day, you know.”

Caves, pogo sticks and Pancake Strawberry Shortcake

Birthday partyOnly a 5-year-old boy would have the good taste to request his mom’s Perfect Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes for his birthday dinner — accented with Star Wars decor, of course. Older Daughter obligingly whipped up a batch while Younger Daughter sliced the berries and made sweetened and real whipped cream. Family and friends sat down to the feast, even husband JP, who although he’s successfully sticking to a low-carb eating plan, cheerfully made an exception for Older Grandson’s birthday party. It’s what grandparents do. And only a 5-year-old boy would request the following for his special day: A trip to a nearby state park to explore a cave, a visit to the local children’s science museum, a pogo stick, Legos (always on any list he makes) and a dinosaur model that includes bones, muscles and a pink squishy stomach and other mysterious parts. Of course, all requests were granted.

Mom’s Day is for Grandma, Too

In honor of Mother’s Day — which is Sunday, May 13, for everybody slapping their foreheads and saying, “Uh-oh. Mother’s Day is coming? I knew it was sometime in the spring.” — here’s a conversation Older Daughter reported to me the other day. Because Mother’s Day is sort of Grandmother’s Day, too:

Older Daughter was driving with her 4-year-old son/our grandson Nolan in the backseat.  Nolan asked his mommy if she would hand him one of his Cars books to read. “No,” she said. “Remember that looking at books while you’re in your car seat makes you throw up sometimes.” He considered this for a moment and then asked, “Mommy, do you feel like you’re going to throw up right now?” Wondering where this was headed, she said, “No. I don’t feel sick at all. Why?”  Explaining his well-thought-out plan, Nolan said, “Well, if you did throw up then we could go home and you could get in bed and Daddy could take care of you and we could call Kacky (Note: That’s me!) to come take care of me and you could throw up with Daddy and Kacky could play with me.”

Genius child! So, to recap — I’m the first person our grandson Nolan thinks of when the subject is being sick and throwing up. Which is exactly what we grandmothers want.

Happy (Grand)Mothers’ Day!

 

Responsible Concern for the Environment v. Grandparenting


Hmmm ... “Toy Story,” “Cars” and Angry Birds. Must have been 4-year-old grandson Nolan’s birthday — with presents from Kacky and John wrapped in all his favorite things. And even though I believe in minimizing consumerism (except for shoes, of course, and the eternal quest for the Perfect Pair of Jeans), ignoring commercialism (but I really want to try the Cover Girl makeup that both Ellen and Sofia Vergara like), reducing waste and refusing to buy into the must-buy mentality (although I’m on the lookout for a simple yet flattering khaki skirt so please let me know if you stumble across one), none of that matters when my grandson wants the latest Cars play set. Grandparenthood triumphs — trumps green living. On the other hand ... it did feel pretty good when Older Daughter and I decorated a plain and basic bakery cake with Angry Bird toys Nolan ALREADY HAD to create his asked-for Angry Birds birthday cake. Recycling does have its place.

The New Baby is Here, the New Baby is Here!

I am a bad, bad blogger. I should have my three-year-old WordPress account ripped away and be forced to start all over for not posting in more than a week. That contravenes every piece of blogging advice ever written. But thanks to all who nagged bugged poked reminded me that even though I was BUSY HELPING WITH MY NEW BABY GRANDSON, I could take the time to post photos and share thoughts. You were correct. I didn’t do it, but you were correct. Anyway, I’m back in the decidedly adult home that my husband and I fill with the stuff of our grownup life: Newspapers, page proofs, espresso machines and stacks of to-be-read books along with deadlines, meetings and I-can’t-read-that-right-now-’cause-I’m-late-but-email-it-and-I’ll-take-a-look. That is pretty much my normal everyday life, but for a week I reveled in the precious & priceless world of newborn babies. Of course, you know that by “helping with my new baby grandson,” I actually mean “endless hours of playing with 3 1/2-year-old incumbent grandson Capt. Adorable” — which, it’s true, the new second-time parents (our daughter & son-in-law) considered a huge help. But I did get to sneak in a few rocking-chair moments with Baby Brother. I’m telling you, it was a grandmother’s dream: When I wasn’t playing Cars 2 Tokyo Spin-out Racetrack or building a Thomas train track or jumping on the bouncy thing at the indoor playground, I was holding that sweet days-old baby and breathing in that indefinable newborn smell. And you would be so proud of me. I pretty much almost always usually followed Mommy and Daddy’s household rules, didn’t say anything when they did something wrong chose alternate paths and offered advice only when asked — which, come to think of it, was never. But I was there to help my daughter over the weepy postpartum hump (she cried when she got home and unpacked her hospital bag — we’ve all been there) and when I left, she told my sincerely that she appreciated my being there more than I knew, so I must have done something right. Actually, I’m mindful of being on good behavior when I’m in grandma-mode since my husband has threatened to curtail my visiting rights if he gets any complaints from our daughter, so I rigorously keep to nap-time schedules and limit chocolate-chip cookies to only a couple (or three or four) at a time. And soak up all the grandbaby love I can get.

Signs of Fall

Everybody here in the South agrees that this is one of the best falls ever. Usuallyf we go straight from summer into winter, but this year we’ve actually had the warm days & cool nights of autumn.  The leaves are getting gorgeous, but there are other signs of fall. Such as scarecrows, as pictured on the left. And you thought that was a photo of me on my daily walk through the forest! You should know that I never would pair red devil horns with a red handbag AND red shoes — too matchy-match. No, this actually is “The Devil Wears Prada”‘s Miranda Priestly on the Huntsville Botanical Garden‘s annual Scarecrow Trail. Created by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama,  Ms. Scarecrow Priestly accessories her Halloween look with a zebra-print blazer — and until only a year or so ago I owned an almost identical blazer. You know you need a closet redo when your outfits show up on a devil scarecrow — albeit a stylish one. Fall also is the time when autumnal art work shows up on refrigerators. It’s been a long dry spell between our now 20-something-year-old daughters bringing home their falling-leaves pictures and our 3 1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable adding to the collection. The Captain stayed with Husband JP and I a few days ago, and I went through his backpack a couple of his papers from Spanish class fell out of his backpack, so I claimed them.  To finish off the refrigerator decor, Capt. Adorable arranged the alphabet magnets into a train, which I thought was very creative and brilliant of him. Genius baby!

More Random Thoughts, or This Is What Happens When I Break My Computer

Well, okay, I haven’t actually broken my computer. The universe broke my computer — that’s my story, anyway. What happened is that a week or so ago, I noticed it was ssssllllloooowwwwiiinnnggg down to an excruciatingly painful crawl and with my computer savvy born of years of unwittingly inviting viruses to take up residence I correctly deduced that I had acquired a bug. Took it to a computer place, they cleaned it up in a few days and gave it back. And in my eternal quest to save money, I vetoed the security package upgrade the computer guy offered me and simply said — and I quote — “Oh, just go with the basic free one and I’ll buy the upgrade later.” Yes, I actually said those words. Learn from my mistake, friends: NEVER do that.  Because, in the karmic way of the universe, three days after I got my computer back and before I could hand over extra money for extra protection, I got hit with an even more vicious bug that effectively blocked me out of everything but endless games of Spider Solitaire. So my long-suffering beloved laptop is at another computer place for thorough cleaning — and I’ve already told the guy to load it up with every piece of security he can.  And although I believe in the mantra of “never explain, never complain” — – No, really, I do — I wanted you all to know what I haven’t posted lately. My equally long-suffering husband is graciously sharing his laptop with me, but it’s just not the same. So, what’s been happening around here the past few days?

  • Younger Daughter turned 25. This seems extremely unbelievable to me –that my baby girl is 25. I’m beginning to understand why my parents look at me and say, “We cannot believe you are 54.”
  • As a result of being too enthusiastic and optimistic stupid, I agreed to write press releases for several non-profit events within the span of one week. Luckily, none of them got shorted — I procrastinated equally on each of them.
  • Husband and I were scheduled for health screenings at his workplace, and as we were getting ready that morning and he caught me weighing my clothes, I had to explain to him the fine art of dressing for the scales. He was impressed horrified.
  • Here in Mississippi, we’re watching the disintegration of our two SEC football seasons while in neighboring Alabama the Tide rolls on. I am not happy.
  • With the arrival of our second grandson — 3 1/2-year-old Capt. Adorable’s younger brother — a mere month away, I keep a packed ready-to-go bag in my car at all times and am in constant Grandma Alert mode. Every time Older Daughter calls, she says, “It’s not time yet” before she even says “hello.”
I’ve taken some awesome photos with my new camera that actually works and doesn’t eat batteries, so as soon as I get my laptop back, I’ll share. Thank you all for your patience. I now am going back to playing Spider Solitaire and sending disruptive mental messages to N. Saban.