Tag Archives: grandchildren

Childlike

“It’s snowing!” she squealed with sheer delight, lifting her dazzling smile to the sky and throwing her hands into the air.

Look, mommy, it’s snowing,” three-year old grandbebe, Bailey, declared as the cottonwood seed-fluff nearly white-out blizzarded on our picnic at the beach the other day.

Bailey's Day at the Beach #family #colorado

We were grabbing covers for food and waving it away from our faces with frowns of aggravation. But Bailey saw the fun in it. Right here in the summer sunlight, while she was wearing her cute new swimming suit and playing in the sand: snow.

Sometimes, in an effort to grow up, be mature, represent our religion by “putting away childish things,” we forget that Jesus wants us, for all times, to remain childlike: full of wonder, hope springing eternal, looking for the good in everything around us. “Unless you become as little children,” He said. The path into the Kingdom of heaven starts with that premise.

Jesus: “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Amplified

family beach day eva #colorado

Do you remember? Can you recall when life was an invitation to joy, to experience whatever happened, to see a complication as an adventure to explore? Remember innocence? Whatever will be, will be…

Oliver at the beach

Oliver recently visited the beaches of Florida. This was old hat to him.

Childishness? No. Put that away. Don’t be a selfish, self-centered booger demanding your own way.

But childlike in spirit, in hope, in wonder, like a little one full of innocence and trust, pure-hearted and content in what comes?  Oh yes. Be that.

Even though we all had cottonwood fuzz in our hair, probably ate some in our S’mores and had it stuck to our skin with sunscreen (and I nearly choked on a breath-full walking to our shady picnic area from the beach), it didn’t hurt our day in any way that mattered. Like so many things, tiny annoyances we have come to barely tolerate in life, we should just let the fuzzies float by against the blue of the sky on a sunny June day, like a sweet child would. Like Bailey did.

Childlike.

#colorado #beachday #family #statepark

Played all day

Matthew 18. 1-3 NIV   “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

Kai setting sun #beach #colorado

Oh, we stayed until that sun set.

PS- Don’t make fun of colorful Colorado for DIY beaches on homemade lakes. It’s our can-do attitude! We’ve got the Rocky Mountains already. You can’t replicate that.  :)

Snow Babies, part one

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned I have 10 grandchildren?

Haha! Just kidding. I know I have mentioned it.

FB collage

Our FB header recently

They are so much fun, these grandbebes of mine. They let me kiss their heads and squish their cheeks. They let me hug them tight and call them by many silly names of endearment. They call me Nonna. And that is enough to melt me all the way.

IMG_0346Gav 12 1/2  Gavin, 12 1/2Hunter 11 Hunter hands raised Hunter, 11
the boys Hunter and Gavin, cousins and buddies

What is it about grandkids? Why on earth do they turn us upside down in the most dazzling and deliriously happy way?

When Gavin came along, my very first grand-boy, almost 13 years ago, I wasn’t really seeing myself as a grandmother at all. I sure wasn’t going to be one of those people bragging about them, pulling out a stack of photos and gushing with pride. Yeah, right.

But this thing happens. I looked at my daughter just having had a baby and thought, “Wow – she is amazing, look what she did.” And in short order, I tumbled head-over-heels for this little red-headed guy.

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Evangeline is 2. And always looking for a reason to smile. Here, we had tossed some snow her way.

eva in snow

Evangeline and Oliver

The snow was so deep this day, we had Oliver on a little chair. I decided to re-do their a shoot a week later to make him more comfortable. But we got some great ones this snowy day!

Then came Hunter and it happened again. By the time Guini came along, a grand-girl, I knew to clear my schedule for falling in love.

Each time a grandbebe comes in to my life, I know it will never be the same. My heart gets bigger. It gets expanded and beats hotter with love, stronger love than I knew existed. It beats with wild joy and passion for another little human being, something of me, a part of me I’ll leave to the world. I will never get over these ten…and anymore who may come along. :)

Oliver happy Oliver, 10 months. He liked sitting on the ground a lot more  (especially since I covered it with a sheet)eva and oliver

IMG_0872_2oliver 10 months

On 5 different days, each with snow falling or on the ground or still around from a previous snow, my sweet grands let me snap some shots of them with a tree-on-fabric thing I got from IKEA a couple of years back. All snapped on the iPhone6+.

kai kai

Malakai, almost 3 here, just wanted to lob snowballs at his Nonna.

kai throwing snow at nonna kai smile

I live in Colorado. There will be snow. We need the snow. I certainly long for snow every single Christmas. After that – not as much snow zeal here. But these pictures of ten little human beings who love me like I love them? Well, they make the snow oh-so-much-more enjoyable. Oh yes, they do.

Let it blister and bluster and blow…Let it snow!

Lucky you…I’ll share 5 more of my sweet snow babies tomorrow, when I’ll likely be snowed all the way in!

Snow Babies, part two

 

On being a grand-mom {nonna}

Yesterday was Malakai day.

malakai day 1

Kai-Kai came to hang out with me. It intersected with my first day home in 17 days. And a more glorious Colorado day, I don’t think there could have been. Seriously – even a few puffy white clouds cannot dissipate the bluest of blue skies in Colorado. The sun was warm, the breeze was gentle and Kai was cuter than ever.

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Malakai Day 3

And I was thinking as my grand-boy and I were swinging and making pictures with chalk on the sidewalk, while we picnicked on a blanket in the cool green grass, as we climbed around on the play set and scooped up pebbles for throwing – I was thinking how amazing I am  as a Nonna.

Malakai Day lunch

Grilled chicken, peas, quinoa and blueberries for lunch. Animal crackers for dessert!

Yes. There. Can you believe I actually said that? Well, I did.

I am really a great Nonna.  :)

I am really good at this grand-mom thing, it turns out. But it isn’t of my doing. It is not because I am accomplishing anything or being especially productive or impressive at all.

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We enjoyed the neighbor’s beautiful autumn tree during our picnic

It’s mostly just because, I have realized, I just accept and receive the grandbebes for who they are. I enjoy them and embrace them and am in awe of them just as God has created them to be. I open my heart to all of it and feel giddy for the honor of getting to watch them and know them and see their lives unfold.

In short, I really do nothing other than enjoy them. I just sit around receiving everything they bring to life, the gift of them.

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Sandy-the-Dog wishes!

I am much better at being a Nonna than I was a mom.

As a mom, I doubted myself constantly. I was sure if I didn’t do every single thing right {I didn’t} my kids wouldn’t turn out {they did}. I was afraid it was all in my court: make sure they get good grades, are well-rounded, excel in athletics, become super citizens, are polite at all times, have the best of everything, never get hurt, {make me look good…true confessions}, and become who God wanted them to be. That last one – well, I was pretty sure God had a plan for them and if I didn’t work hard enough – I could totally mess up His deal.

“Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.”  Proverbs 22.6 NLT

And yes, of course, we have a part, as the above Proverb encourages us.  But somewhere along the way (when they were almost grown…it takes me awhile), I began to realize that more than my children were “mine,” they were His. More than any love I had for them, more than any protection or experience I could provide, He had more, so much more – that He had known them from before…(see Romans 8.29 and Ephesians 1.4). My “hard work” in raising the world’s 5 most amazing kids was mostly ineffective, at best, damaging to them at its worst.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you…” Jeremiah 1.5 NLT

I really did do my best, the best I knew to do with my children. But I over-parented a lot, I obsessed over things that didn’t matter sometimes. I erred towards discipline and creating righteous little children along the way when I should have laughed with them more, let some things slide and just plain enjoyed them. Too often I was set on molding them into godliness (at a level I could never even seem to achieve) as holy human beings to be admired instead of receiving them as the gifts of God He created them to be. And just loving them like the Father loves me, foibles and all. How does He love me?

  • God is mindful of me, always thinking of me (Psalm 8).
  • He created my inmost being and His works are wonderful (Psalm 139.13-14, the whole chapter, really).
  • God loves me with an ever-lasting love and draws me with loving-kindness. That is some deep love (Jeremiah 31.3).
  • He chose me and does not reject me (Isaiah 41.9).
  • I was actually made in His image (Genesis 1.27).
  • His thoughts toward me are countless-like the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139.17-18).
  • He rejoices over me with singing, just like I do over Him, but better! (Zephaniah 3.17)
  • He sees me as His treasured possession (Exodus 19.5).
  • He will never stop doing good to me (Jeremiah 32.40).
  • He is my greatest encourager, believing the best in me always (2 Thessalonians 2. 16-17).
  • God comforts me in all my troubles (2 Corinthians 1.3-4).
  • He comes in even closer to me when my heart is broken (Psalm 34.18).
  • I am precious in His sight (Isaiah 33.4).
  • I am the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2.8).
  • We’re friends, God and I. He has called me His friend (John 15.15).
  • God delights in me (Psalm 150.4)
  • He carries me close to His heart, just like a shepherd carries a lamb (Isaiah 40.11).
  • He doesn’t count my sins against me, not keeping a tally of my failure (2 Corinthians 5.18-19).
  • He forgets my sins – as far as the east is from the west, He has removed my transgressions from me. Awe-inspiring.
  • I didn’t choose Him. He so loved me, He chose me and appointed me to bear fruit that will last. I can ask Him anything, anything! He is my Father. (John 15.16)
  • Nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
  • He has always been my Father and He will always be my Father (Ephesians 3.14-15).

So that’s a good start on how to love our kids. And the grands.

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 Look at that little face. I think Kai was telling me, in this shot, “You’re doing pretty good as a Nonna.” As best I can, I’ll reflect the love of the Lord towards me back onto him. And I receive all he is, the gift of him. He knows.  He can tell…

This was in the kitchen upon my return:

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From the Kelley kids. They love their Nonna and their Nonna loves them. And I am really great at that!

Dear Gavin, Hunter, Guinivere, Gemma May, Averi-J, Amelie Belle, Malakai, Bailey-baby, Evangeline and baby-Faaland-to-be: You’re the reason I was born!  :)

 

Song for a Sunday // The Living Years

I was having this Technicolor dream the other morning –  vivid, rich hues (slightly cross-processed) and warm, strong light. The greens were deep, the reds were pure, the grass was soft. The world was right.

*”There’s a light in the window and the table’s set in splendor, some one’s standing by the open door…” – Dottie Rambo

morning at peaceful valley july 2014

In the dream, to my left was a big white house with a wraparound porch. The driveway and street were lined with cars, trunks open, families packing up to leave what had been a loving and happy gathering. All around were my kids and their families. There was much hugging and kissing, so much peace and satisfaction and love flowing like wild water down the mountain in spring. It was going to splash you, love was!

middle st. vrain at peaceful valley july 2014

I was on the front sidewalk playing with Kai, talking to him, singing him songs. Then I actually heard the sound of Rambo’s music coming from the direction of the house, like I would  have heard it from the hi-fi growing up:

*”I can see the family gathered, sweet faces all familiar…”

I asked Malakai, in my dream, “Kai-Kai, wanna dance with me? Let’s dance!” He was wearing a little light-blue suit with a bow tie, barefoot. He wrapped his arms around my neck (he’s only 1 1/2), me on my knees, and I held him tight and we were swaying, laughing.

It was one of those utterly perfect moments.

Inexplicably, in my dream, in this happy, joyous, loving, golden-light space, I looked up while Kai and I were dancing and there was my {Uncle Bill}, smiling at us from across the sidewalk. At the exact moment, I realized my {Aunt Rosie} was on the front porch talking away, hugging people good-bye, passing out travel sandwiches. And then I realized, it wasn’t just Dave and I and our children and theirs, but my parents were there, too and my siblings and nieces and nephews and people I’ve known across the years and loved.

I should mention, specifically, that both my Aunt Rosie (my dad’s older sister) and my Uncle Bill (married to my dad’s younger sister) passed away years ago. So having them so sharply present was this really sweet and surreal moment.

The Rambo’s song was still playing in my ears as I woke up:

*”I can see the crystal river, I must be near forever…”

I must have been near forever, and it was perfect there, in this dream.

kai and amelie july 2014

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I am not sure what makes us dream the dreams we do, sometimes; not sure what brings a person or place or thing into such expressive clarity as we sleep. Mulling it over later, I realized it may well have been the result of both missing Kai (he has had a busy summer) and my brother Joe mentioning getting us all together for Thanksgiving this year, a feat of gargantuan proportions, if it could ever, even happen.

silly grands august 2014

But I am also working on the chronicles, the photo books and journals of our family’s lives. I have 33 years worth of pictures and keepsakes I am determined to date and organize. I am in a groove, currently. I pull out a photo box with one child’s name on it and sort them into the years of their living. Then I paste them on to pages with notes about the occasion and in an hour or two, I hold the evidence of one child or another of mine from birth to adulthood and it flies by so fast, my head spins. And yes, I cry sometimes, thinking, “Oh I wish I could have known how fast those fleeting days were going and slowed time down and held that little baby a little longer, cuddled that growing child, kissed those feet, tucked my daughters and son in to bed once more…”

I was a church-busy mommy in the 80s and 90s. And I can tell you that almost nothing else I ever did when my children were young has any meaning, comparatively. I hope that serves as caution to some one who is reading, to some one with babies who are wearing you out. They ARE the Important thing right now (I capitalized Important on purpose). Thirty years later, those grown children are all that matters. And you just hope you instilled what you really meant to instill somehow…

Geez, I didn’t know this was going to be so heavy. Sorry.

Today my parents are celebrating 57 years of marriage. They married at the age of 18 in 1957 and they have made it 57 years. And I can tell you that nothing is as important to them as family, either. They have invested so much of themselves in to churches and people and yet, I know I have a place reserved for me in their hearts. I know my well-being and life take precedence over the busyness of years gone by, God now restoring the years we may have lost along the way.

I am so blessed that I still have both of parents here.  I mean, I am going to be 55 soon – and I still have mom and dad. How fortunate is that???

A-Ross-Moslander-Norma-Jean-Allison-Wedding-1

So, this song, The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics, is the one I wanted to share on this beautiful Sunday. Because life gets busy. Life goes fast. I know when you’re young, you think there is so much more left ahead, and there is, but time doesn’t just fly these days. Time careens at breakneck speed, faster and faster and out of sight before you can get your bearings.

So, I look around and these are my living years. And they’re yours. And I have things to share and tell the people I love. I have conversations I don’t want to let slip by. I want my people to know I love them, even if and especially when we are not seeing eye to eye.

I want to spend my vitality on my children and theirs (thanks to Staci Eldredge for that terminology) and the people God has placed in my path ~ friends who have become family. I want to love and honor my parents for all I am worth because my perspective has been enlarged and as time slips away, so, too, do the demands I once wanted to impose relationally in my more self-absorbed youth.

The Living Years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

When else can we do these things? We can only do them now, in the days we have.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4.14 nlt

“…people are like the grass.
    Their beauty fades as quickly
    as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40.6-8 nlt

*Dottie Rambo song lyrics, I’ve Never Been this Homesick Before

I could talk about my grandbebes all day long

Do not test me on this. Unless you have a whole day!

grandchildren quote by jeanie rhoades
Have I mentioned mine to you before?

There’s Gavin and Hunter-Magoo, Guinivere and Gemma May. I’ve got Averi and Amelie Belle. And the three born last year, Malakai, Bailey-Baby and little Evangeline. They really do thrill-me-silly!evangeline

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Large Size (1)

Got grandkids? Oh, then YOU know!  :)

It Takes Two, Baby

Averi J & Gemma May

Cousins.  Averi is 4 years, 1 week and 5 days in this video.  Gemma is 4 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.    Or something close.

They spent the night.  They woke me up saying, “Nonna?  It’s time for cereal.  We are done reading our books.”

 

We had cereal.

Then we googled Mondrian-the-artist and decided to try to paint like he did.

We painted color blocks.  We left them to dry while we jumped on the couch.

We danced.  And we jumped some more.

We tried on Nonna’s glasses (to see if we look just like her).

 

We jumped a little more.

Then we finished our paintings with dark purple lines.

 

Two-times the girly-ness.  Two-times the four-year-olds, two times the paint spills and snacks and static-y hair and two-times the fun!

The end.

Isn’t it Grand!?

Grandparenting.  All in a day’s {most joyous} work…

An invitation to a tea by Gavin’s 2nd grade class.  We “adopt” his friend, Keenan, whose grandparents are out of town and they serve us tea and lemonade and assorted muffins.  The boys are so energetic it makes my head spin.  But right in the middle of a school day Monday, my grandson gives me a hug and a kiss and he’s is so glad we are there, I can tell.  And Keenen likes us, too.

I pull into the driveway at their house to drop off their cousin and two little Kelley girls run to meet me.  “Nonna!! ,” squeals Gemma, and she jumps up to hug me through the window with abanoned glee at my arrival.  Guini is slightly more reserved but makes her way to me, “Oh, it is my lovely Nonna,”  she says, touching my face, and she kisses my cheek and hugs me through the car window.

Know what is sweeter than kissing a grandbebe goodnight?  Waking their warm little faces with a quiet kiss in the mornings.  Hunter spent the night and was my little sweety-pie-let’s-have-hot-buttered-toast-for-breakfast guy.  I miss having a little person in the house.  How did those years go so quickly?

Averi’s momma says Averi has my feet.  I ask her, “Do you have Nonna”s feet, Miss Averi?”  Yes, she tells me AND we both have bejeweled flip flops.  We lie in the grass looking at the clouds and prop our feet up on a retaining wall and take a picture of our cute shoes to remember the moment.  Averi thinks mine  are pretty and she tries them on.   We chat about all sorts of nothing before she insists I push way high in the swing.

Good, and I mean, really good times!

On being a grandparent

THE MOST AMAZING THING…according to me.

“THE most amazing thing about getting to be a grandparent is that the very kids you made so many mistakes on

(may have-could have damaged irreparably) 

grow up and honor you by trusting you with their babies.  Could there be a greater grace?”

You may quote me on this!  It is true!

 

 

The first five: Guini, Averi, Hunter, Gavin and Gemma. (group shots by Aunt Stormie)

And baby Amelie Belle…soon to have her own plastic weapon.

My Funny Valentines

NOTE:  To be able to view and pause photos a little more slowly, click on “View All Images.”  You can control it from there.

GAVIN, HUNTER, GUINIVERE, GEMMA, & AVERI ~ 

I love you my little Grandbébes. 

Happy days and love and kisses from your Nonna! 

You light up my life.  You are my sunshine.  All I ever need is you. 

Why do stars fall down from the sky everytime you walk by? 

Just like me they long to be close to you. 

I need you like the flowers need the rain. 

You made me love you and I’d be lost without your love. 

I can’t stop loving you.  I will always love you and I won’t last a day without you. 

Unforgettable-that’s what you are.  It’s impossible, I wish I had more than words to tell you…

And I love you so.  I don’t want to miss a thing. 

Somewhere out there, I must have done something good. 

I believe in you, my little grandbebes.  God only knows where I’d be without you. 

Don’t make me go on…because I could!

Love.

Love.

Love.

From NONNA!

(There are 89 images in the slide show…I can’t help it.  My grandbebes are soooo cute!)