NOTE: To be able to view and pause photos a little more slowly, click on “View All Images.” You can control it from there.
Hunter had a pre-school Christmas program.
See Hunter? He is fourth from the right on the back row, his little blond head bowed-praying for all he is worth!
It was truly apparent, and not just because the Little Prince belongs to me, but because it is true: the kid has the market on musical talent at his pre-school. And when they did “The Little Drummer Boy,” Hunter led out on that coffee can “drum,” never ever missing that first beat. Truly, all the other little kids followed his lead. He told me, “I drummed “pa-rum pum pum pum,’ but the other kids drummed pa-rum-a-do-do,’ like that.” He knew he was good.
The grandbebes make ornaments for the keepsake tree.
Cardboard hats and felt, glue and glitter, and voila! Note to Averi: Though quite pretty, it is actually not a cookie.
Gavin is a dedicated artiste. He loves the Martha Stewart super-fine glitter as much as I do (90% off the last week of January 09…jealous?).
Bad news/good tidings of comfort and great, great joy!
Dave’s book didn’t make the top three in the competition (we now find 10 more votes would have put him there!!), but we got good news that outshone some silly competition. It is kind of private, but suffice it to say, we are rejoicing and dancing merrily because of a health scare one of us had that is now not as scary and looking really good, in fact. Thank-You, God for mercy, for healing…
The grandbebes will not stand still for pictures. Will not. C’est impossible.
We tried sitting, standing, and stacking, we clapped our hands and said their names as brightly and joyously as possible. We threatened, cajoled, bribed and shrugged our shoulders in hopelessness. These five are in charge of the universe and all the best-laid plans are a fantasy, because they are a combined, insurmountable energy-force and you best just get out of the way. And certainly don’t believe they will all behave as requested. Goodness, no. Just line them up, let them go crazy and hope for the best. (I wasn’t supposed to be in this shot, but Guini wouldn’t let go and when Guini wants to give love, that is when you will receive it – it is all on her timetable!)
God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will get my Christmas cards out say…next Tuesday???
December 1988. Stephanie was 6 and we left her and her two sisters (Tredessa 5 and Tara 9 1/2) home alone for a few minutes while we picked up some church supplies for the Christmas season. Wal-Mart was 5 minutes away and it was a small Nebraska city. I wouldn’t try this now, so don’t call Social Services on me, people. They were given strict instructions and told to behave.
We get to Wal-Mart and call home to check on them and are informed by the very responsible and afraid-she-might-be-in-trouble Tara that Tredessa and Stephanie were jumping on the bed and Stephanie had hit her head on Tredessa’s noggin, knocking her tooth loose.
It was very upsetting. Rushing home I am thinking, “Oh no. We have to save the tooth. Oh poor Stephanie!” But it ended up being a bottom tooth and when we investigated closely, she already had her first “grown-up tooth” coming in. Tredessa’s head was a blessing in diguise.
Having 5 kids in less than 7 years, can I just tell you we kept the Tooth Fairy veeeeeeeery busy between 1985 and the early 90’s? Then? We had to give her a pink slip.
The grandbebes enter their tooth-morphing season.
Gavin is a man after my heart. He loves to work and work hard. He spent 4 hours one day last week shoveling snow. His neighbor paid him $2 – for shoveling at his own house! But he thought it was worth that! After the Harvest Fest he dumped his huge candy haul on the floor and said, “I have to organize all this candy, Nonna!” Organization is key for Gavin, a red-headed first-born. Case-in-point, he had just organized the kitchen pantry that afternoon, emptying it of all its contents and carefully filling it back up.
So no surprise that this very detail-oriented and hard-working, freckle-faced kid only had that loose tooth for 2 or 3 days before it came out. He is very consistent and organized that way.
Love you, Gavin! Congratulations! Be sure to tell the Tooth Fairy that prices have gone way, way up since December of 1988!…Love, Nonna
A million years ago (or at least 43)
My first grade teacher was Mrs. Devlin, a tiny woman with very flat, calloused heels in her black, slingback shoes. She was nice enough, though not overly warm and by the time we were in 3rd grade she would see us and exclaim, “My, my how you have grown! You’re as tall as me, now.” And we were.
Now the first grandson
Gavin just started all-day school today. He is a first-grader in a new school near his house and he has entered that part of his life (how did it get here so fast?) where he will spend many of the prime hours of his day with children and teachers and people other than his parents (and nonna).
He loves school. He just loves it. I am glad, but I want to keep him surrounded with prayer and godly perspective. I want to protect what has been deposited into his life and guard his heart and mind. I want him to grow in the grace and admonition of the Lord and be made holy despite the secular surroundings he will face.
Gemma thinks she is ready, too
So, I figure, my prayer life just got amped up up as I spend more time praying for my “little red-headed Kelley kid.”
Lord, You know….Gavin’s Nonna
NOTE TO SELF: Keep declaring the awesomeness of our God to the next generation!
pictured: Do teachers always have to wear sweaters even in the heat of August? Is that a rule?
Gavin isn’t allergic to peanut butter anymore! Yaaaaaay!
We had to teach him before he could talk to tell people, “No peanuts for Gavin.” He’d had some bad reactions at a very young age and was tested to find he was allergic. It can be deadly for some people, so we were careful. The doctors didn’t know if he’d outgrow it or not. But after a lot of blood work and hours of testing, he has been declared non-allergic to peanuts.
O happy day!
Peanut M & Ms – the best way to enter the world of peanuts, a gift from his Nonna!
Twice a month, we get the Kelley kids on Sunday mornings. This was getting ready for church last week.
Today is Gavin’s birthday ~ what a day to celebrate!
Six years? How is that possible? That is when I first became a grandparent. Time flies and the days get richer!
Gavin wanted garden plants for his birthday. His mom specified that they should come in a pot that he could tend to himself (as I did not raise a gardener in Steph…yet). Well, how could I refuse that? Gav is my garden helper. He plants and waters and listens to everything I tell him about growing things. Flowers are OK to him, but veggies (especially tomatoes!) are better: truly a man after my own heart.
So, last week on a beautiful, sunny day, we took Gavin to my favorite garden center just outside town (Horiuchi Brothers Nursery – great stuff and generous-they always give me free stuff!). Gavin was so excited as we were turning into their drive. He told us, “My mom and dad never take me to the garden center. I always want to go here, but they say, “No – let’s just go to church.'” Hahhahahhha!
I hope he is not somehow equating a passionate indulgence in gardening as a sin or some opposition to good church-going folk??
Anyhow-he’d have turned his entire backyard into the garden of Eden if I hadn’t made him choose just a few favorites!I ended up with a bunch of specialty pepper plants in my own 4 x 4 because he just had to grow them!
Oh the miles of smiles you’ve brought me, Gavin! You are my heart’s joy and delight! You opened the door that turned me into a Nonna! You are exuberance and curiosity. You are a good-finder and glee. Your love and zeal for all things family and gardening and learning at school and Wii and Xbox and cartoons (especially Spongebob) and your sisters and cousins and building and running and jumping and playing? Inspires me! I want to enjoy life like you do!
You’re 6 now, Gavin! Happy Birthday!…Love, Nonna
pictured: Gavin with his 2 birthday pots; a pot of flowers for the front porch (marigolds, purple petunias, purple salvia and white wave petunias which will soon cascade down the side of the black Malaysian pot; a grape tomato plant for the patio with a couple of marigolds to keep it company.
Happy 27th Birthday, Stephanie May – as in May-Day-baskets-of-lilacs-and-tulips-and-dancing-around-with-streamers-in-celebration-and-rejoicing!
(picture taken by Tredessa at church on Easter Sunday…Guini-almost 4, Gavin almost-6, Gemma-almost 2, parents-still twenty-somethings)
A full 5-weeks early in your arrival, who could have known, as they pronounced a mere 30% chance of survival on you and your severely underdeveloped lungs – that you’d be home in 12 days? That you’d defy the odds and in answer to our heart’s cries and the mercy of the Lord, you’d breathe in and out until you were whole?
We named you for one of my Biblical heroes (Stephen – a man of wisdom and grace, full of the Holy Spirit) and because three of our favorite TV actresses back in the day had the name (Stepfanie Kramer aka Detective Sgt. Dee Dee McCall in “Hunter”; Stefanie Powers aka Jennifer Hart on “Hart to Hart”; Stephanie Zimbalist aka Laura Holt in “Remington Steele”). I am sure I read in the baby name book at the time that your name meant “crown, or garland, festooning” yet I couldn’t have comprehended then how true that would be about you. We added “May” in the middle in celebration of the beautiful spring month in which you were born. You were our tiniest baby with a big, long name.
Then you grew. And you were funny and a singer and had a helpful heart. And you developed a very unique sense of style and you played basketball and now guitar and you worship and you married Tristan and produced these 3 adorable kids. And you amaze me constantly. I did not know what an incredible wife and mommy you’d be. I didn’t know how much I’d learn from you about following Christ and serving my family. You are the Proverbs 31 woman, Stephanie! In every way – you are!
“Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all…The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!” Proverbs 31, The Message
Twenty-seven wishes for Stephanie on her 27th Birthday~
- I wish for you to be rewarded for the wonderful and wife and mommy you are – to receive the fruit of the seeds you have planted into your family’s lives.
- I want you to get the needed time to develop your May-Dae biz with Stormie.
- May the creativity flow in full force for all you put your hand to as you remain o-so-close to the Creative One.
- I wish and pray for the smile of the Lord to be on your life.
- I am asking the Lord to make you aware of how He sings and delights and dances over you, crowning you with His goodness.
- I pray those 3 children will receive everything you have to place in their hearts as their mommy.
- I pray Tristan will always be blessed by you, always ravished by your beauty, both inside and out. And may the wild romance blossom profusely and continuously.
- May the song of the Lord pour from your heart and mouth and please Him.
- May the Holy Spirit instruct you in the song of the Lord (1 Chronicles 25.7) and may you become a highly skillful musician for His glory!
- I wish for this next year to be full of the joy of the Lord (your strength) and for it to start with the best summer you have ever enjoyed – fun times with the people you love.
- I wish for you to discover new abilities and skills as you Exec. Direct a whole “Pod’s” worth of people! What an impact you are having!
- For all the times the Lord has miraculously healed you in both body and mind, I pray that you will lay hands on the sick and that they will recover and that your fervent and effective prayers will produce wonderful results and many healings!
- I wish for you to have peace on all sides, to have favor with both God and man.
- I wish friendships for you that were long-ago planned by God, to enrich you and bring encouragement.
- The new “old” house of your dreams – I am wishing that for you! And all the antique-and-funky stuff to fill it you could ever desire (including the music studio!!).
- Songs – the ones you write…when do we get to hear some?
- I want your lilac bushes to bloom profusely! Because they so remind me of you – all purple and deliciously-scented. So they should..profusely…bloom!
- I wish for you to know your value in our family – that you are a crown to us.
- I pray that you will understand what a blessed representation of our love you were to us, that to guard your life and cherish it was a symbol of all that was to come.
- I want you to know how much I love you and admire you and how proud I am of you, not only for the woman you have become, for the person you have always been.
- I am praying you can receive the praises and festooning we are bestowing upon you on the occasion of the celebration of your birth because you deserve them, you do.
- Be courageous. Don’t be afraid.
- Be bold. Don’t hold things in.
- Be you. That is a gift to us all.
- I wish you laughter daily and tears when you need a good cry.
- I wish for all your dreams (the ones we know and especially the ones we don’t) to come true.
- And I pray you will take your place – the one God had in mind for you before you were even one day old (Psalm 139), take the place, the ministry, the arena, the position – God has called you to and don’t ever let self-doubt or man’s opinion stop you. You are the crown. You are the garland that celebrates and decorates the Head.
I festoon you with my love. I festoon you with my praises. Twenty-seven years ago today, I got to touch a miracle – and you remind me of God’s faithfulness everyday of your love-filled life.
Happy Birthday, Stephanie… Mom
NOTE TO SELF: Am I blessed or what? This girl is one of the most interesting, multi-faceted and surprising human beings on earth, the spice of my life.
Gavin spent the morning with me the other day and we played in the dirt, or “gardened,” if you prefer. We turned over and amended the soil in one of the 4ft x 4ft raised garden beds. Then to really get the visual, we used string to divide it off into 16 squares.
We had alread planted onion sets at the back a couple of weeks ago and they are sprouting up nicely.
The poles are in place for beans to be planted directly in mid-May.
Meanwhile we planted 16 radishes in one 1ft square. We planted a square of carrots, a square of mixed gourmet lettuces and a square of butter head lettuce, with spicy mesclun mixed in around. It will be harvested so young it won’t affect the butter head.
We tucked in some nasturium seedlings here and there, which we will use in salads – both the leaf and the flower, and voila!
Gavin, who insisted on taking some pictures “so we can remember what we planted,” (how did this boy become such a genius???), kept saying to me, “This is a really good day, isn’t it, Nonna?” It sure was!
More veggie tales to come…Jeanie, aka “Nonna”
pictured: some of Gavin’s shots (you can see we planted the seed in tiny vermiculite indentations, because it acts as a sponge to water, keeping the seed constantly moist), and the ones where I was able to wrangle the camera from him. :]
That is a line from the Little Women movie when Jo had cut and sold her hair for money to help the family.
And isn’t it true our hair can actually make or break the day we are having? There must be some glory there, or lack thereof on a “bad hair day.”
“…if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.” 1 Corinthians 11.15 NIV
When Tara was three, she cut her sister Stephanie’s hair – just the bangs right in front. Stephanie was exactly one year old, had beautiful hair and now it had a”butched” area right in front! I was sad, but a little time and cute bows and barrettes in the meantime kept her looking like a baby girl.
When Tredessa was almost three, she, whose hair was thick and curly and was already longer than waist-length when it was wet, lopped off a whole side of her hair. I had just had a baby. I sat on the stairs of our home and wept in deep sorrow (can you say ‘hormonal’?). It grew back.
Gavin was three when he got ahold of some scissors and cut his hair short-short-short right next to the scalp. We had no choice but to shave that shiny, beautiful hair right off his whole head.
Saturday morning Guini came down to breakfast and gleefully announced to her mama, “Look at my haircut,” as she stood there, sans locks, but with freshly cut hair and glossy lips (she calls it “lip sauce”).
Mommy brought her over for a pixie-haircut – which were very popular with my friends around 1967-68. It is really short, but she actually did a pretty fair job of cutting it to the hairline without gouging out too may big swaths into her scalp. So we were able to give her a nice short pixie (still-in-process) and her beautiful face is her glorious feature for now…
These grand-kids keep life interesting…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Help the mommies strategize how to keep Gemma and Averi from the 3-year-old cut…
pictured: Guini with her very short bangs and baby sister, Gemma in the background