Friday, August 5, 2016

Look What I Got!

If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.
Linda Henley

Last Christmas Eve I was slamming egg nog in Austin with my husband and oldest son and daughter-in-law -- the ones that have been married for six years. The middle son and wife were in New York City spending the holiday with youngest son. With my computer perched on the kitchen table, we had them on Facetime while that Bama Sous Chef boy opened his presents from us.

My daughter-in-law put a present in my lap and said it was a good time to open it. I did and found a book, a lovely copy of The Night Before Christmas. We were admiring the beautiful drawings in the book  and as I studied them, my son informed me there was something else in the package.  I turned the pages looking for whatever else might be in there when in desperation he said, "In the package, Mom. Not in the book." 

What I then pulled out made me burst into tears.

As I scanned the room, I saw we were all flowing. When I looked at my sons on the computer screen, they were wiping at their eyes, too. The Crying Family.

I never know how I'm going to react to things. Especially those I'm not expecting.  I like to think I'm someone in control of my emotions. I know I'm a crier and often can't shut that off, but I also have delayed reactions. In grave situations or when something needs to get done, I hold it together for any given length of time. Later, when things settle down, I either fall apart or enjoy the elation, depending on the event. 

As I've waited these months for that little baby to join the world, I've pondered my upcoming response. What kind of grandmother will I be? What will I be thinking when I see that child? Will I react like I'm supposed to? And what might that "supposed to" be?

I needn't have worried. For the other night, I don't think I was thinking. Pure emotion reigned. It was incredible joy.

But not so fast. We did have to wait. Where the first 8 months of that pregnancy flew by, the last four weeks seemed an eternity. Much more so for my daughter-in-law, Chelsea. As I recalled, the last two weeks of pregnancy made me feel it was a permanent condition. That those two weeks of misery were designed to extinguish all my fears and anxieties in regard to childbirth. Chelsea gained that same perspective.

When labor finally, finally began, the grandparents-to-be gathered in the birthing room to wait it out. From early morning until late in the day, poor Chelsea and my son, the worrier,  were stuck with the four of us while she labored, he studied and tended to requested massages, and we entertained ourselves.

Jacob studied the nurse and doctor notes.

Bob yucked it up from the Lazy Boy chair.

Debbie and I covered every subject on Earth.

Just muzzle that man!
When Chelsea reached the pushing stage, the old folks left the room and huddled in a waiting room. Or walked laps around the hospital. Or ate tacos from the cafeteria. Or who knows what else. Middle son arrived after tending the animals left at home. (New daughter-in-law, Leigh, was out of town for work and most unhappy she was missing it. Chef boy far away and working as well.)

Finally, our phones all dinged. Oh, my, goodness.

Bingo! We all had to get busy.

The waiting world now informed of our good news.

"The baby is here!"

We began another waiting game. After the doctor put Chelsea back together, the hospital declared The Golden Hour where only the new parents were with the baby. Seriously? Banished with only our phone photo in hand to sustain us, we took to the hospital parking lot for some good old-fashioned Tailgating. 


As the "Golden Hour" moved into its third hour, we were lagging. Our champagne buzzes long subsided, we were more than ready when we got the message to come on down the hall. And then,

I don't know why I worried about my reaction. Sheer joy escaped unaided. 

We counted fingers and toes.

And then just looked at this beautiful child, who studied us with equal wonder.

 Yes, it's a girl! 
After three brothers and three sons, I get a girl. 

The next day we spent a little time getting to know her.

Uncle Jordan

Grandpa Bob

 And as the days go by, we gaze in awe.

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing this one with us.

Of course, we retrieved Jacob's baby photos from the closet and wondered if we could see her daddy in her.
Or this one I have of her beautiful mama.

After much consideration, I'm thinking she looks like Maisy Grace.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl. 

I don't know if I know how to be a girl Grandma, but I'm thinking I'll let Maisy teach me. Meantime, we'll just hang.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wedding Bells

Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be.  
Robert Browning

We had a wedding. Boy, did we have a wedding. Family and friends from all over the country came and we had us a good time. After running on adrenaline for a couple months, a few weeks rest finds me able to muster some words. Please indulge me as I share our fun.

May I present the bride and groom. Middle son, Jordan and his lovely bride, Leigh.

But, before that happened, we had all this other stuff going on. A week's worth. It started when the Bama Sous Chef boy flew in from New York City and we had a family dinner to start the festivities.

Then the rest of the family and the college roommates drifted in from Denver, Sheboygan, Warba, San Diego, Flagstaff and Seattle and some real cooking started.

Smoked pork butts going on.
Northern Arizona University boys gathered less one still to come.
Bride taking a breather.

And the dock started to fill up.

Take that fish off for him, Pete.
We don't know who this is.

And the table got busy.

We had dinner for 10 on Wednesday. Dinner for 38 on Thursday. Chef Ian of New York City, with assistance from Chef Ryan of San Diego, put on a feast.

Pork Butts ready. Ring the Dinner Bell.
38 people gathering for a blessing before dinner.

Burk hung out under the table waiting for scraps.
Then we had 67 for dinner the next night for the Rehearsal Dinner. We had planned to cruise Lady Bird Lake aka Town Lake, but due to the flooding going on, the lake was closed. Had a good view of downtown Austin, even though we weren't moving. Saw the bats take off in the distance.

Happy son.
Groom's Dad, Bob. Bride's Dad, Bob.
Friends and family
Uncles and cousins
Old neighbors, dear friends, and the Godparents.
No fun going on.
Bride dancing with an old uncle.
Aunts and cousins
Groom, dad, uncles, and a godfather.
Another brother and wife.
Collection of new relatives.

Finally the wedding day. All I had to do was show up.

I'm so glad I did.

"Really Mom?" Jordan refusing nice stationary to write his bride a letter. "What's wrong with notebook paper?"
Hanging with the godparents and friends.
Jacob and Bob waiting. Neither one sits well.

Beauty parlor time for the bridesmaid, flower girl, her mom and the mother-in-law to be.
I'm taking the photo.

  Finally to the wedding venue.
My four sons. I really have six. Each of my three boys all had a special one we called one of our own. Here's Jay, Jord's bud since they were 4.

Bob and his brother and sister.
Ian doing the Best Man thing.

The bride's  beautiful mom. Penny for her thoughts.
Bob and Uncle Frank ready to get the show on the road.
So it began.

Mom trying not to cry and keep up with her 6'3" son.
Oldest son, Jacob and wife, Chelsea (plus baby-to-be any day now.)

Youngest son, Ian, and bride's sister, Andrea. Perfect example here of the tall Andersons and petite Carvers.
Note the pretty flower girl, Miss Miranda, coming down the stairs behind them.

The groom ready.
The bride and her proud daddy.


The Party
I can add this. I know the bride likes this one.
The bride's grandmother and mom. Lovely women.

Suchas and Andersons
Uncles and Aunts
The Groom's Cake. Jordan chose this. It is the cabin we stayed in for years at Park Lake Resort in Spicer, Minnesota. I first went when I was two years old with my parents and Jordan started going when he was 15 months old. Sucha family -- my parents and brothers and their families -- gathered there every year in the summer. Freedom and fun always had. Was also an amusing surprise for many of the wedding guests on our side who had joined us there as well.
Anderson Clan including the cousins and little ones.

Dodging the lavender

And then there were those 45 people for brunch the next morning.  

My pregnant niece, Michelle. Felt good to put her feet up. Aunt Julie can do hammocks.

As many of you know from past posts, getting myself ready for these events is quite the chore. As previously reported, it takes an army.

As to that dress -- I PICKED IT OUT ALL BY MYSELF! Hard to believe, I know.

Special thank you to Cleo (aka Denise) for doing my makeup even though I wouldn't sit still for more than a minute. For Julie W. and Kris, for helping decide on the color and size of my dress. Linda R for telling me the dress would do and going with me to try on 1400 different bras so it would look like I had boobs.

I also chose how I wanted my hair to look.

This was at the end of the night and after an hour ride back to the lake. But, you can imagine. Picked out forty pins before I went to sleep.

A week after the wedding, all the company was safely back in their homes and I collapsed into my hammock. Haven't moved since.

After a honeymoon driving around Scotland, the now old married people are back home and beginning their new normal as married folks.

Congratulations, Jordan and Leigh. We love you so.

Have an incredible life together.

Special thank you to Jonathan McClogan for sharing his wedding photos with me so I could share them with you.

As you know, these photo essays wear me out. I just looked at the clock and six hours have gone by. So much for reading in my hammock today. Ha!


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