I’ve always been fascinated with “time”.  It’s a simple concept really.  The world turns…the hands of the clock go round and round…and time passes.  The movement of time seemingly at a snail’s pace when you’re young and then on the wings of an eagle as time literally flies by as one gets older.  All of a sudden – or so it seems – you’re a grandmother.  You wonder where in the world all that time actually went.  And suddenly you realize there are only so many decades left on this earth…God willing.

A few weeks ago, I “babysat” my two oldest grandchildren while their dad was at one of the “March Madness” games in Ohio and their mom and younger siblings were at a swim meet in Minneapolis.  A fifteen year old and a seventeen year old just aren’t interested in sitting on bleachers all day and so I was recruited.

We had a good weekend with a lot of laughter and fun activities.  I had just had my cataract surgery a week before and couldn’t see well enough to drive yet.  And so my seventeen year old grandson chauffeured us wherever we wanted to go.

On Sunday morning, I climb into the back seat (my idea) and my two firstborn grandchildren sit in the front seat on our way to church.  Just then, I have a flashback:  it is January, 17 years earlier.  I’m in Indiana and it is snowing like crazy.  My daughter is in labor two hours away.  Nothing could have stopped her dad and me from making that journey of course – certainly not a snowstorm or icy, treacherous roads.  Twenty-four hours of labor later on my precious daughter’s part and they are first-time parents.  And I am, at last, a grandmother.


From the back seat, I observe my seventeen-year-old grandson driving safely.  He and his sister are laughing, chatting about something.  I pick up my cell phone and call my daughter at the swim meet.  I want to check on my granddaughter’s progress in the meet and share the following amazing thought.  When she answers, I say, “you know, I remember the day he was born and here he is seventeen years later driving his grandmother to church!  What happened to all that time?!”

Tomorrow night is Junior-Senior Prom night.  My grandson and his date and another young couple are having dinner at my daughter’s house.  My daughter volunteered to prepare one of her delicious pasta dishes (with homemade pasta) and homemade rosemary bread.  I’ve had them both and they’re delicious!  I volunteered to make a large tossed green salad and a chocolate éclair cake for dessert.  We’ll get dinner all ready with tablecloth and cloth napkins…and then disappear upstairs…after we take a few pictures of course.


Another milestone…another track in time. 

If you’re curious about the number of times I’ve written about the idea of  TIME, go to my earlier blog My Southern Heart and type the word TIME in the blog search bar!

Anna Maria Island…

Anna Maria Island…

After a wonderful fun-filled-four-days visiting all four theme parks at Disneyworld, we headed to Anna Maria Island, Florida, for another four days of sun, sand and relaxation.  It had been more years than I could remember since I had seen the beautiful Southern waters of the Gulf.  It brought back memories of our family’s vacations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the Atlantic side years ago.

My daughter had found a very nice beach house for us right on a canal and complete with a private pool.  The house was decorated in the sunny and cool colors of the beach:  shades of blue, yellow, lavender and coral.  The white trim throughout the house accented the colors perfectly.  There were several abstract paintings throughout the house that we learned had been purchased in Brazil.  With speakers inside and outside for the pool, we also enjoyed the beach music selections provided by the owner.

I shared a room with my four year old grandson with a twin bed for each of us.  He’s a perfect little roommate and I loved it when he said, “goodnight, Grandmommy”.  Although on a couple of nights, I was actually asleep before he was and he tiptoed in without waking me.  Perfect little gentleman.

After a morning on the beach, we walked the 5 minutes back to the house and had lunch – after rinsing off in the outdoor shower.  Afterwards, we usually watched a video, played or read for a while during the hottest part of the day.  Then it was out to the pool where the fish my grandchildren loved practicing all their strokes and actually playing in the water.  The three older ones swim competitively and have a stack of blue ribbons to prove it.  Consequently, they have little time to actually “play” in the water.  I enjoyed being in the pool some with them, then reading my Karen White book which I’d brought along with me.

I think my daughter had the perfect idea, scheduling the four relaxing days after the four busy ones.  Ten days passed all too quickly and we flew back to Iowa on Tuesday morning…with a bank of memories of a wonderful time together.

Four days at Disneyworld…

Four days at Disneyworld…

On Sunday the 2nd day of June,  I took a direct flight to St. Petersburg, Florida, with my daughter and her family.  They rented a van to seat all seven of us and we headed for Orlando and four wonderful days touring all four of the theme parks at Disneyworld!  I was finally going to see Disneyworld for the first time in my life!  My daughter had rented a fabulous 4 bedroom – 4 bath house complete with a private pool and about a ten minute drive from Disneyworld.  It was beautifully decorated and fully equipped, although it was hard to imagine using such nice furnishings in a vacation rental home!  Nevertheless, we totally enjoyed it!


Below:  After we picked up the rental van at the airport and were headed to Orlando! 

Can you tell the kids were excited!?

On Monday morning, we headed to Epcot and spent the next twelve+ hours seeing everything!  (On the first of the four days, I was tired beyond measure but got progressively better as the week progressed.  I took that to mean that I should definitely start walking TEN+ miles a day!)  😉  Well, maybe not ten!

Epcot was amazing with all of the different countries represented.  I could have spent a whole day just visiting that section but there was so more much to see!  And there were so many great rides!  I think my two favorite rides in Epcot were Test Track and Soarin’.  We finished the first day at Disneyworld enjoying a fantastic fireworks show.


On Tuesday morning, we headed to Animal Kingdom.  That was probably my favorite of all the parks, but it’s hard to say.  There were also some great rides in Animal Kingdom.  I loved the African setting especially and seeing all the wild animals.   My daughter loves roller coasters and rode the Expedition Everest several times.  I gave her my fast pass ticket – that’s for sure!  😉

Read about the Tree of Life below here.  Amazing sculpture!

On Wednesday, we enjoyed the Magic Kingdom…a fairytale come true!  Each day, there were great shows to see as well as rides.  I especially enjoyed The Little Mermaid musical and The Lion King show.  Such talent!  There were also great rides at the Magic Kingdom!  And, yes, I rode Dumbo the flying elephant and the Goofy Barnstormer among others!
Tropical storm ANDREA arrived in Orlando on Thursday morning.  We ventured out anyway, covered in plastic ponchos – this time to the Hollywood Studios theme park!  We enjoyed several shows and rides to remember.  Altogether, a fun day regardless of a mere tropical storm!
In past years, I have taken my camera everywhere but, this time, I was carrying a backpack with water, etc. and didn’t take my camera.  I wished I had but we were moving so fast, not sure there would have been time to take pics!  My daughter snapped these pics with her phone but I never could get HER in any of the photos!
Coming post:  Four days on Anna Maria Island…
Summer days…

Summer days…

The past few weeks have been busy ones – leaving little time to blog about it…but it’s time to catch up now.  The photos below were taken a few weeks ago on the last day of school and the weekend after.  We went to a nearby park while we waited for the time to pick up my oldest grandchild from class.  WE climbed a rock wall (I still have the bruise on my leg to prove it!), went down the slide several times and climbed on the gym set.  The only thing I absolutely could not accomplish were the hand-over-hand monkey bars!  Clearly, I no longer have the upper body strength.  My daughter captured it all on film but I am so not going to share those!  No doubt, she will blackmail me with them when I am eventually old and refusing to give up my car keys!  😉

Below:  At their house, my grandsons enjoying an old but still fun game – Mario!

Below:  At the park the day classes officially ended for the Summer…

My sweet granddog, Kiana, is also glad for Summer days.  She’s a Hungaria Vizla…

The first weekend after school ended (although my daughter’s children homeschool some year round), my granddaughters came over for a sleepover.  We cooked a delicious supper (they’re great helpers) and made a delicious JELLY ROLL with strawberry jam!  They took some home to share.  I have plans to teach them how to bake several different things over the summer and will post the recipes as we go.

Below:  at my apartment, creating stretchy, adorable bracelets out of gum wrappers!

Below:  Enjoying spending time at Grandmom’s apartment…reading on the porch.

Sweet company…

Sweet company…

Later this week, my eight and thirteen-year-old granddaughters will be coming here for a fun day and sleepover.  Each of them wants to learn the art of pie making, so I will be giving a “cooking class”.  My eight year old granddaughter will bake a chocolate chess pie and my thirteen year old granddaughter wants to make a fruit pie with a lattice top.  Needless to say, that will be a lot of fun!  We will also watch a movie, eat popcorn, maybe have time for some art and just relax together.  They love coming over, exploring my apartment, my art books and hanging out with Grandmom.

I wanted to be sure that my four-year old grandson did not feel “left out”, so yesterday I brought him home with me for a couple of hours.  I teasingly asked him if he wanted to go home with me and “help me clean my apartment, maybe dust mop”.  He was so excited!  His eight year old sister packed him a backpack filled with books and all of the CARS characters – you know, like Lightning McQueen!  He sat down to put his shoes on and the heavy backpack almost pulled him backwards!  His Mom and I had a good laugh and then I carried his backpack for him.

We were about two miles down the road, almost to University Street, when he quietly said “I miss Mom”.  That lasted about a second and then he was on to another topic of conversation thankfully.

I had left the apartment basically in a “mess” with sewing stuff and knitting stuff all over the living room but I knew he wouldn’t care.  When we arrived, I opened the apartment door and he rushed inside.  He looked around the living room and up at me.  He flashed that dimpled smile at me and said, “oh, you’ve decorated”!  I laughed and laughed.

The next two hours were busy ones.  We played CARS on the hardwood floors in my living room.  He’s very creative and can come up with cute themes for our playtime – like it’s Lightning’s birthday and all the cars bring cake and ice cream.  I’m getting really good at making car sounds and definitely have Mater’s Southern accent down pat.  The only problem is my back can’t handle sitting on the hard floor for very long!

Then it was time for his first cooking lesson!  He had such fun making “chocolate no-bakes” with Grandmom!  He stood in front of the stove on my stepladder and carefully added all the ingredients as I handed them to him.  He stirred and stirred.  I took the last stir and spooned the finished cookies onto foil.  When they were cool, I gave him a small one and a glass of milk for his afternoon snack.  We took the rest home with him later for him to share with everyone.

When it was time to take him home, he exclaimed “but I haven’t helped you dust mop, Grandmom!”  I found the dust mop and gave it to him.  He actually had fun for a few minutes dusting the hardwood floors!

Then it was time to leave.  I buckled him carefully in his car seat and we headed back to his home.  We were barely out of my condominium complex, when we asked “do you have some music, Grandmom?”  There was a CD mix of country music in the player and I turned it on.  I was introducing my little Ethiopian Prince to Willie Nelson, Emmy Lou Harris, Alison Krauss and a few other of the classics.  Apparently, my sweet grandson likes country music!

We were about a half mile from my daughter’s house when I asked him if he knew where he was.  “No,” he replied.  “And you don’t either, Grandmom!”

“I’d better know!  I’m driving!” I replied through the laughter…

 Photo taken at The Great Pumpkin Festival at church. 

My daughter made the costume for Halloween which you can read about here.

He loves Curious George!
(I love the featured photo of him at the top – taken about three years ago, not long after my daughter and her husband returned from Ethiopia with him.)
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