Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Year Over...

It's a new year. A time for beginnings, resolutions, hopes. Like everyone else, I've got things I want to do in 2011, because they didn’t get done this year. I've spent another year planning for the completion of my novel, the organization of my house, and a lot of other things. The novel and the organization aren't done. I could wallow in self-deprecation over that, but I guess that wouldn't be very productive. So in an effort to boost my morale and motivation, I think I'll try to figure out what I have managed to accomplish in 2010:

1. I continued to learn my mom's native language, and used it (with severe limitations) while visiting relatives this summer.

2. I contributed time to two volunteer sewing groups, making quilts and hats for those who need them.

3. I've blogged every week. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing that's going to put me on the map, but it's an exercise in continuity and consistency.

4. With the help of my critique group, I've edited and refined several chapters of my novel.

5. I've watched my grandkids grow as they participate in sports and music.

6. I've documented the year in my family scrapbook - it's been such a busy year, I've had to put all the pictures in two books!

Okay, I feel better now. There have been other things I've done, some not so productive (computer games and iphone apps come to mind), and I've lost and regained about twenty pounds. So I have work to do. But knowing that I made progress during this year makes it easier to make resolutions for next year. Instead of digging my way out of a hole, I'm preparing to take a few steps up. It's doable.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Tonight my husband and I will celebrate the holiday with all our children and grandchildren. It's a time we look forward to each year. The grandkids are growing up, and now we are awaiting a new family member. The circle of love grows larger.

It's work to prepare for these events, but I'm learning to use my resources to make the work lighter. I used facebook to find out what all the grandkids wanted, and then had some of them help me with the shopping. Since two of the girls are now drivers wanting gas money, they're willing to come over and help me clean the house, pack the stockings, and move the furniture around. When I get involved in all my projects, stuff piles up, and it’s a lot of work to put everything away.

I try not to let things bother me too much. Maybe that's why the mess keeps piling up. If I were organized enough to keep things clean, I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up every time I have company. But then again, cleaning up is part of the preparation around here. And it brings my granddaughters over to help. That's worth something.

Holidays and family. What could be better?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Music

I had this post written, but forgot to post it last Friday! And I thought I was so prepared and organized. Here is what was supposed to appear last week:

Christmas is definitely here! We've got a nice tree up in the living room (it's a little small for my taste, but my husband is happy) and it's decorated, and there are wrapped presents under it. I've got Christmas cards done and sent, and I've got the cards we've received all displayed on the garland I've put up on the wall. I'm pretty well caught up on purchasing gifts. And there is Christmas music in the air - on the radio, carolers, and school Christmas programs! My seven grandkids are active in music programs, and three performances took place this week.

The first was Gabe, on Monday. He's in the high school band, and I enjoyed a night of good music played by talented teens. Gabe goes to school nearby and he had the support of lots of family members.

The next night it was Scottie, who plays in the middle schoool orchestra. He had two grandmothers, an uncle, a few cousins in addition to his parents and sister there to watch him. Three different groups - all very large - took the stage at the beautiful auditorium.

And last night was Karlie and Evelyn's night. They sang in their elementary school program at a local church. More great songs, sung with wonderful child-like energy and end sincerity. They had a huge following - lots of family members there to cheer them on.

I love the holidays, and I especially love holiday music. My training as a musician does kick in once in a while, but my love as a grandma takes over and it's all beautiful. It's a wonderful time of the year made even more wonderful when you're surrounded by family. The songs are full of joy and hope, and that's what the season is all about. Take the time to enjoy it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Fun at the Mall

This week it was Morgan’s turn to go birthday shopping with me. Morgan is a beautiful, intelligent, and motivated seventeen-year-old. Now that her older sister has moved out of the house, she is the eldest of the large brood, and I was anxious to see how she was coping with the responsibility. I enjoy hearing about her activities and her plans for the future.

As per our tradition, we went to her favorite restaurant – Olga’s. Morgan has her “usual”, but I like to try out one of their newer creations. We talk, we laugh, we eat. And then we shop. Like her sister, Morgan is very helpful. And being a typical teenager, she’s very knowledgeable about the mall. I had a list of gift cards to shop for, and she helped me find all the stores I needed. So now my Christmas shopping is nearly done!

I love birthday dinners and shopping time with my grandkids. Through our one-on-one times I learn about them, and I get the reassurance that all is well in their lives. I find out a little about what’s important to them, and I guess that’s important if I want to be writing about younger people. And there’s the advantage of knowing that the birthday gift I’ve purchased is one that they really want!

Life is good.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Birthday Treat

On Monday night I took my granddaughter Karlie out for her eleventh birthday. Karlie is the fourth child of five in her family. I'm not sure what that position says about her personality, but she's an interesting child, as all my grandkids are. Logan’s, her favorite restaurant, was really crowded, but we managed to get a seat after only fifteen minutes of waiting. And then we went to her favorite store in the mall, where she picked out a great new outfit, made more affordable thanks to a coupon I had received in the mail.

We had an interesting conversation. I love taking my grandkids out for their birthdays because we have a chance to talk one-on-one, and I can find out what's going on in their lives, and their perspectives on what's happening with them. In Karlie's case, she is one of several siblings. It would be easy for her to get lost in a group that large, but it doesn't seem like that's the case. She and her siblings are encouraged to pursue their interests. For Karlie, that includes her love of horses. When I went to pick her up, she was in the barn, grooming her horse.

While we were at the mall, Karlie helped me pick out Christmas presents for her younger sister and cousin. I noticed the way she took care to consider her sister's likes and dislikes as she helped me make the selections. She didn't just randomly select things; she had reasons behind the selections. That shows me she's a very thoughtful sister.

I’ve got a great family. Who could ask for more?