Monday, May 31, 2010

17 Months Today

Zane is 17 months old today.

He has a vocabulary of about 10 words. He can say mama; belly button, while lifting up his shirt; hi; hello; moo, while pointing in the direction of the cows; jump; all gone, with appropriate gestures; and he can sign thank you, please and more, and attempt those words, too.

And today, a brand new word, kitty!!

He can run, jump, climb, clap, push chairs, open doors, take things out of my kitchen drawers, open the fridge and point to the milk, balance on one leg, help get himself dressed, put on his hat (and take it off too), walk up and down stairs (sometimes without holding on), and take off his pants and diaper.

He can put clean and dirty dishes and silverware on the table, in the drawers, and in the sink.

He can also jabber, holler, scream, whisper, whistle, and drive us crazy.

We sure do love that little boy.

He loves anything with wheels and moveable parts. He can take lids off most anything and isn't interested in putting them back on. If it goes he wants to ride on it. If it is standing still, he wants to climb on it. If something can be taken apart, he will try it. He even likes to try to put his car seat and stroller buckles together. He can't.

He loves to ride on the 4-wheeler with Nathan, and we love to see Nathan willing to give them to him.

I consider him a toddler now. I really think he earned that title when he went into my bedroom, both doors being shut, and brought out my little step stool, took it over to a kitchen drawer and started emptying it.

Today being a holiday, no work for Jim, he and Zane spent it almost entirely outside.

Planting Trees.

Zane is taller than this tree right now. Let's check back in 10 years.

After the planting comes the watering. Every things needs a little water to help it grow!!

Zane must get too much.

Oh, the pure childlike joy on a summer's day.

This is the view from our front stoop.
We are planting trees along our south property line because someday that cornfield between here and Menards won't be cornfield anymore and because Jim is obsessed with trees.

And these photos, taken on Zane's 17 month day are just plumb good.
Posting them on the blog doesn't do them justice. Think poster size.

Memorial Day

To me, Memorial Day means peonies.

When I was a girl living at home we went to Shenandoah, Iowa every Memorial Day, where my dad was raised and his mother still lived. It seemed like a long way away to us. We would spend the night there, in Grandma Black's one bedroom apartment on the third floor of an old style apartment building. One that was built when they built things to last, with 12" baseboard trim and 4" window and door trim. There was a little slide that the paper boy and mail man could open, I think I could have fit through it. I was skinny in those days. (After all, I did get through a chicken door once!) There weren't any elevators or door buzzers, either. This was still the 70's and things were quieter, and safer then. I enjoyed running up and down those stairs. I didn't run too hard, we weren't allowed to do that. We slept all over the floor, I assume mom and dad had something else. I don't remember that. I do remember lying in my sleeping bag, with the windows open and night sounds coming in, and then we'd hear a shrill whistling that sounded like like something racing from way up in the air to the ground. But it was just owls. I'd like to hear them again.

Our cousins from Ames, and the married one from Des Moines would usually come up the morning of Memorial Day, and Grandma would dig out her green metal vases with the spikes on the end. Then we would go to Aunt Alice's for the peonies. For some reason we never called our aunts and uncles by anything but their first names. But our great aunts, now, we called them Aunt. My dad was Uncle Tommy to all his relatives, which we thought was funny, but we didn't try it ourselves, we knew better.

This was one of my favorite parts. We would go out to Aunt Alice's backyard, after we all came in through the back and sat down to visit a bit, and cut peonies. Well, the adults did, and squeezed them all scrunchily into buckets. I can still hear that sound in my head, just like those owls, and like the gate at my Grandpa Appleman's. An ever enduring memory.

One year there weren't any peonies. I think they were ruined by hail. Some years they weren't quite ready, and were taken in just breaking buds, but this time there were not enough. It really took some scrounging around and all of Aunt Alice's irises that year, but there were still flowers to put on the graves.

Then we loaded up the station wagon with flowers and buckets, vases and knives, kids and lunch, and drove out to the cemetery. I can to this day, see where we parked and walked up to the hydrant to fill our buckets. But, from there, I couldn't walk now to where we put flowers on the graves, of Dad's grandparents, his father, the middle brother that died just after birth, and other relatives that I don't remember now, since both sides of Dad's family were from that area, and his brother's wife, too.

I remember the flags, the flowers, the being told which side of the graves to walk on. This was important business to that family and you jolly well better treat it as such. I remember the one grave a little farther away, of a man who had no family to come and put flowers on his grave, and my grandfather promised him that someone of his family would always remember.

Then we went to picnic. We would go to a park that was across from, my aunt's sister's house, and they would come. My dad's brother had six kids, and one of them was married with two, and then we would add some more kids from this house, and we would talk and play and eat until time to go home.

I don't go with Mom and Dad to Iowa anymore. I think almost every year some of the cousins that still live in Iowa make the trip and Dad goes sometimes, too. I didn't make it a tradition in our little family. It wasn't in Jim's. We've visiting the graves of his family, just not at Memorial Day time. Anytime we would plan to go, it would rain, and this year, we didn't plan. So, we remember anyway, even if they don't have peonies by their headstones.

These are our peonies, just in time for Memorial Day. I love them. They mean remembering to me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Changing Times

I sure do enjoy this blogging bit. I can spend a lot of time on it. Sometimes I set the timer to make sure I get up and do something else.

Sometimes I ignore my timer.

I noticed that other people were having "pages" to click on to get to another page, so I had to try it out myself. I investigated, researched, poked around, tried things and tried them again. I managed to get another page started and a new blog connected to my old one. I'm so impressed!! I didn't even have to ask my blogging friend that I usually bombard with "what do I do NOW?" questions, and she has to try to explain them in words I can understand. I'm not very computer literate, but this blogging experience is teaching me a few things at least, and about getting around in the blog environment.

I am not entirely happy how the photo turned out, it is bigger than I want, but I got it close, and that's good enough for now.

So, if you happen to be wondering what happened to my "projects". There are still "get-at-able", if you click on the Gramma's Handiwork link at the top of the page. Or the one I just inserted into this post.

Disclaimer: This blog will not be interesting to everyone!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Must Be Doing Something Right

My daughter is learning to cook. She is learning to find recipes and make them herself. I'm so proud of her willingness and ability.

She was looking for something to make the other day and googled "easy recipes" and found this one.

10-Minute Huevos Rancheros--which means "egg somethings", her Spanish classes haven't taught what rancheros are.

She was hungry and got right to work. This was about 9 pm, which means I no longer am available for cooking help except advice as I sit firmly in my chair and yell things toward the kitchen. Which means you better be able to look in the fridge and cupboards yourself or follow directions.

They turned out very well, and looked yummy. So, good in fact, that last night, as there were only three of us for supper and the ones most likely not to want poached eggs on refried beans were gone, we made them again with Lynette the one putting the plates together and serving them.

The above photo is how they look following the recipe using lettuce instead of cilantro. The next photo is how they look when girls want a little more salad with them, adding more lettuce and some tomato.

10-Minute Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros don't have to take a long time to prepare. Try this easy-to-prepare version for a breakfast treat you can make on a work day!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 omega-3-rich eggs
1/2 can black beans, drained and mashed
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 avocado, sliced
salsa from a jar, to taste
3 TBS grated low-fat cheddar cheese
chopped cilantro, to taste
Optional: cayenne pepper

Poach eggs.
Heat beans in a skillet while eggs are cooking.
Remove beans from heat and mix in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add a pinch of cayenne for spicy beans.
Place beans on plate, top with poached eggs, avocado, salsa, cheese and cilantro.
Seves 1

We didn't use the cilantro, didn't have any, and we used refried beans instead of black, since we had those and they were very good.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It Seems Like Only Yesterday

It doesn't take very long for a few years to go by. Here my oldest daughter is 18, graduated from high school and thinking she is very grown up indeed.

But a few years ago, she wasn't so old.

This, I think, is the first picture I have of Relyssa and Lorene, who were born exactly three months apart to the day. Relyssa is 6 months and Lorene is 3. I wish it was a little better of Lorene.

I wonder if anyone else remembers the circumstances behind this photo. My daughter had just spent the last two hours screaming her head off, on the way to, during, and coming home from gospel meeting in Grand Island.

It was the first of many such screaming sessions, which I don't really know now and didn't know then, the cause. I could only guess at over stimulation or over excitement. So, she really wasn't in her best looks.

Now why on earth I wanted COMPANY that evening after having a screaming baby on my hands, I can only wonder now. But, since the company was a woman who was already on baby number 8, and my friend, and a big help in times of trouble and fun, then as now. One who would never look down on someone else's baby problems, one with infinite patience. (Well, with her friends anyway, who has infinite patience with kids even if you don't have 12)

My aforementioned friend whose skill as a photographer is very useful in taking pictures of our girls together, took several of Lorene over the years.

This photo is from a very successful photo shoot in Harmon Park, after we got there. I wonder if Lorene remembers the hissy fit she had before it, to which I responded with a hissy fit of my own, before she wore the dress.

At any rate, we got some very nice photos of the two of them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Here at Last!

(From my daughter's point of view)

Another day has come and gone, only this one is special. It isn't every day your oldest daughter graduates from high school. Somewhere in this sea of blue she is sitting, waiting for her turn to walk across the stage and receive her diploma.

I remember when I graduated. I was glad to be done with that place. I had more unhappy memories than happy ones. I was nervous, since I had to speak. But, this isn't my day, it's Lorene's.

I think Lorene is glad to be done. School isn't always fun. Maybe it never is.

We took Zane to the ceremony. He won't remember his mom graduating from high school. Mostly because he was out in the hall being chased by his grandpa. He sat quite still for 5 minutes. Just enough time for the people around him to find him enchanting. Then, so everyone else around us could watch and listen without being subjected to shrieks and kicks, Jim took him out.

I found it very interesting that I could sit quite calmly and listen to the speakers, and watch the graduates file past. I actually didn't find it boring it all. I don't think that is because the speakers were especially interesting. I was just glad to sit down.

Ta Da!!

Here she is!!

It's real, it's signed, it's on to real life! (Which she's been practicing on, thank you very much.)

Graduation wouldn't be complete without the friend she's known since she was three months old. For years Relyssa's mom and I have thought about this day, and how we would celebrate together.

And that is as much for the mom's as well as our daughter's. Planning a celebration goes a lot smoother when you pick a helper who's already planned 6 or 7 graduations and 3 and 2/2 weddings.

It is also a good idea to celebrate with a family that has a cake decorator in it.

And now for the album of people most interested in our graduate's success.

The parents.

The grandparents.

The Neighbors.

Oh, wait, that's us...

the reason that these two lovely girls are graduating,


Working Together

My first baby is graduating!! Where has the time gone? I have so many memories in my head and in my photo books and here we are making another one.

Lorene decided that we HAVE to have mints. So knowing nothing about the whole process I googled it, looked for an easy recipe and jumped in with both feet.

I found an easy recipe.

And away we went.

Lorene still had to text while working. Isn't this such an innovative generation.

Cream Cheese Mints

1 8oz. pkg cream cheese
1 2# bag of powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint flavor (or other flavor as desired)
gel color

I mixed it all up in the mixer, using not quite all of the powdered sugar which I used when I kneaded the color in to keep it from getting sticky.

I also kneaded it on a cutting board to keep my counter from turning colors.

I was very happy with the results.

The finished product!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Childlike Spirit

I love my children. I loved them when they were little. But there is something about the first time around when my kids were all little that made me feel like I would never catch up. I tried to keep track of the funny things they did and wrote many down, but I know I've forgotten most of it.

It is so funny to watch Zane as he learns the things he needs to get along in this world. He is watching us, every step of the way.

I am trying to get into the habit of rubbing down my cupboards once a month. All that is, is a quick cleaning with an old rag and Murphy's Oil Soap. (Which also, by the way, is great on floors, too.) So, since Zane seems to think that the only place to be is right next to me, I gave him a rag to help me.

So, today, he dropped his sippy cup, which splashed milk on the cupboard, so he found a rag and attempted to wipe up. Which was fine, and I helped and got the rest.

After I turned my back, there he was.....

Now, at this stage of his life, he is cleaning up his messes, throwing away his candy wrappers, willingly helping me put clothes into washer and dryer.

I just wish it would last.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grampa's Helper

What little boy doesn't love dirt. We have Zane outside with us while we work in the vegetable garden or weed in the flower garden. It does make the task longer, but it also tires Zane out so he sleeps well and long, and I don't get anything done if I just stay inside.

The main problem with having him outside, is that he doesn't want to stay where I am. He wants to wonder all over the place checking things out. If he does happen to want to stay where I am, it's because he wants my tools. He's already lost my best clippers and I haven't seen this 'digger', since this day.

He stole it from Jim not me, and I think Jim had it last, so I don't think it is Zane's losing. It is the best one I have and I would sure like to have it back!!

I was looking after Zane for Lorene as she was getting ready to leave for a graduation reception, so I took Zane outside to play in the garden so he would get his nice looking outfit all dirty.

Well, that really isn't what I intended to do, but that is what happened. Luckily, the outfit didn't show dirt very much and Lorene didn't look at him very closely when she grabbed him.

You notice I didn't say anything about mud.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The sky was so blue, the clouds so puffy and white, the world greening up and NO WIND.

It was too nice of a day NOT to go out. And, little boys and dirt belong together.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This Time Last Year VI

May 2010
4 months

It was at this time that we began to realize that Zane was going to be developing more quickly that the 'average' baby. He really didn't stay a baby very long.

Here at the first of the month, he is sitting nicely on a chair.

And finding out that electronics are the preferred toys.

Lynette made Zane a little box house, and someone took the perfect photo.

And he's still sweet to cuddle.

We knew from the very beginning that Zane was 'tongue-tied'. It meant that he couldn't nurse properly. He had the frenulum cut at 9 months or so. His doctor thought we had to wait, but the ear, nose, throat doctor who did the actual cutting, would have done it right away.

This photo shows very clearly, that his tongue was tight.

Mommy and Me

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Hands

This is my mother's hand. It was given to me at birth. It has been 45 years in the making.

My hand is just like hers. The same age spots, the same wrinkles, the same size. My hand is not wrinkly yet, but the position looks like it. I can see my hand looking like this in 25 years.

Just like my mom's.

I've earned this hand. It has held, diapered, comforted, caressed, bathed, and spanked three of my own children and is working on a grandson.

It's gardened, sewed, crocheted, scrubbed, washed, ironed, folded, cleaned, cooked, dusted and created.

It's worked inside and outside, clean jobs and dirty ones.

It's done too many things to list.

This hand has done the same things my mother's has.

Mothers are the same everywhere.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


One remarkable thing that is showing up in Zane's development is how curious he is. He notices everything around him and watches what we are doing so he can do it himself another time when we least expect it.

Which means he opens doors and drawers, runs the vacuum, puts things in the sink, (that's a good one), knows where his sippy cups and milk is, and knows that a screwdriver is for banging holes in the floor.

I wonder who taught him THAT one.

I am very sure my kids were nothing like him. Lorene was a very busy girl and I thought she would be the death of me, but either I took it all in stride in my youngness or she wasn't as inquisitive as this one.

I suppose some of it is that in those days I didn't have the medicines I do now that I have to keep out of his reach. The price we pay of getting old.....but most of it is I've had running colds and allergies in this house for a couple of months.

That's the reason for the meds.

And muscle aches, and who knows what all that goes on with several people in the house.
I don't want to remember who has been sick and hurt and why, at the moment.
This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that Zane can open any bottle in the house, whether the manufactures fondly suppose they are kid-proof or not.

That isn't just meds, either. It is soap containers, hair potions, face washes, body lotions, ketchup, and whatever else he can get his hands on. (Luckily he can't open the fridge yet.) We can hardly put things up high enough. Someday it is going to get so bad, we are either going to have to hang things from the ceiling or put everything in a big box that can be locked. And won't that be fun when we have company.

"Oh, by the way, just wait a minute while I go get a ladder to get the knives that are hanging up here so I can cut up the vegetables for supper."

He can open any door in the house, necessitating the need for locking the bathroom door when you are in there. He will obligingly shut the door for you after you open it,....with him on the inside. After which, he proceeds to ransack the drawers in there, paying no attention to commands or pleading to leave them alone, obviously he knows you can't get to him.

I never had to use door knob protectors with MY kids.

We use little bungee cords to keep the cupboards inaccessible, but I do like to clean out the trash cupboard once in a while, and before I put the trash can back in, someone else was in there instead.

I'm just waiting for the day he gets to the top of the fridge.
He sure keeps me on my toes.