Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas to Remember

Edit Posted by with No comments

We were so very blessed this Christmas for a number of reasons. Many suffered great losses the day before Christmas Eve, and we are fortunate that all our friends and family are safe. Just thinking about the families who lost loved ones during the severe weather makes all of us appreciate how precious life truly is and realize just how blessed we are to enjoy another holiday season with the ones we love.

We're blessed.

Tater Tot's second Christmas

Little Miss Tater Tot has had a wonderful Christmas. This precious angel is loved. She's a very lucky girl to have so many people who love her. She received lots of presents this year (and I do mean lots), and she really enjoyed opening gifts and discovering what Santa brought her. But, the greatest gift she received was far too big to be wrapped or placed under a tree. Tater was surrounded by loving family throughout the season. She traveled from home to home to spend time with people who filled her days with love and laughter. She was held and hugged and rocked and loved. She probably heard the words 'I love you' hundreds of times from dozens of people. This adorable little baby has brightened the lives of all of us, and I know I'm not the only one who wonders how they ever lived without this magical being.

We're blessed. 

After a long night of running to take Tater to see some of her greatgrandparents and then rushing to see my oldest son on his birthday before helping Mama and Dada Tater assemble gifts and arrange them around the tree, I spent most of the night awake. I had just closed my eyes around 4:30 AM when Tater Tot and Ry-Ry woke up. Tater came around the side of the bed and gave me morning sugars on Christmas. (Does it get any better than this?) I was so, so tired but still managed to pull myself out of bed, even if just for a short while, to watch her amazement as she discovered each thing Santa had brought her. I watched her enthusiastically rip paper off her wrapped gifts, and I was glad to be able to share this moment. I was glad that I got to see Mama and Dada Tater's joy as they watched her rush from toy to toy trying to decide what to play with first. I was just glad.

We're blessed.

I was glad that Ry-Ry really enjoyed her Christmas. She's grown so close to little Avery. Ry-Ry is Gran's baby. She is the youngest child. She's had to take a backseat so many times this year as we focused on Caleb's needs. She's been understanding and patient - more patient than you can expect from a typical teen. As our lives return to normal, we have time to enjoy spending time with her. I feel like we've missed a lot with her this year, and even though it was out of necessity it hurts thinking of how much time I missed when she is growing up so fast. It's nice enjoying the holiday break from school and just being able to be here with her. Ry-Ry had a pretty great Christmas, too. Seeing her growing up still makes me sad, but Tater eases the sting a bit. 

We're blessed.

And Caleb? Most of you know he has had a very tough year. He's endured so much. The greatest gift we could ask for was for his medical issues to be a thing of the past. He has been pain-free for almost four weeks now. That's something he hasn't experienced in over a year, and I can't even begin to describe what a blessing this is. His surgeries are over. He can go back to being a regular teenage boy. And we can go back to worrying about normal things parents of teens worry about rather than appointments, travel, surgeries, recovery time, med schedules and anything to do with tubes. We're enjoying being able to worry about how he is progressing with his driving and which colleges he is considering. He has had a great Christmas, and seeing him being a regular ol' teenage boy...

We're blessed.

We have so many things to be thankful for that I can't name them all. Mama and Dada Tater kept saying they felt bad they weren't giving us a gift. We told them over and over again not to get us a gift. They have already given us the greatest gift - a wonderful, loving, adorable angel that we get to call our granddaughter. And we're blessed to be able to share so much of her life with her parents. 

Oh, yes. We're blessed.

Be sure to tell your 'blessings' you love them. Merry Christmas from everyone at Gran's house.

Best Wishes, 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Please Christmas, don't be late!

Edit Posted by with No comments
Pappy decided to go shopping last night. Anyone who knows Gran, knows that I absolutely hate shopping, but Pappy loves it. Anyway, we did get a lot done, including finishing up little Tater Tot's gifts from Gran and Pappy. And now I have a big problem...

Christmas presents and strands of white lights

You see, ever since our children were little I've had to spend the holiday season arguing with Pappy. He's a kid-spoiler. He'd dish out present after present before Christmas Eve because he couldn't wait. He was too excited. (He's like a little kid when it comes to Christmas.) There have been many Christmases where I had to argue with him to keep him from giving them every single present before Christmas morning, and I have lost that battle a couple of times in the past few years. (The two teenagers both got gifts on Black Friday. It's that bad around here.)

So, here I am trying to keep Pappy from giving little miss Tater Tot her presents early. If she had been here when we got home last night, I'm not sure I could have held him back. He's too excited. As I prepare for another epic battle, I now anxiously await Christmas morn and hope we can make it there with at least one present unopened. And with that, I beg of you, Christmas, don't be late! (I don't know how long I can hold him back.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tater Spreads Christmas Cheer!

Edit Posted by with No comments
Gran hasn't had the Christmas spirit for several years now. It just hasn't felt like Christmas. I'm sure some of you know what I mean. I didn't bother putting up a tree last year, and I wasn't too excited about it this year. But, Tater needed a tree for Santa.

white Christmas tree with homemade ornaments

Pappy brought the tree into the living room last night and helped assemble it. I put the lights on it and did a little shaping before going to bed dreading today. I worked on shaping it off and on all day, and I kept thinking of how much Tater was going to enjoy the holidays this year. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I decided to string lights across the opening between the living room and the kitchen. Mama Tater told Tater she should consider herself special because Gran never did things like that.

You see, Christmas is a rough time for Gran. It's a reminder that it won't be long before all the children are grown and gone. It's a time of remembering my dad, who was born December 23 and passed away on New Year's Day. I let negative thoughts ruin the holiday season for several years now.

But this year, Tater gave me Christmas cheer, and it's about the best gift Gran has ever had. She made me remember the good things:

  • Her uncle "Quin" was born on Christmas Eve and left the hospital in a Christmas stocking.
  • Mama Tater peeking through the tent on Christmas Day with her static-y hair sticking to the top and sides
  • Uncle "Cay-wub" snooping and telling the girls what was hiding in the closets
  • Ry-ry waking everyone up before the sun came up because she was too excited to sleep
  • Pappy always too excited to wait and passing out Christmas gifts long before Christmas Eve
  • Visiting Mamie and Pop and watching excited kids dig through the treasure boxes they enjoy so much
  • Gran waiting up and watching her sisters wake up on Christmas morning after helping Santa while they slept
  • The old Christmas albums from the 1960s and 1970s and hearing dad sing Willie Nelson's 'Pretty Paper'
  • My grandmother's famous chocolate pie with mile-high meringue
  • Her silver tinsel tree and the way it reflected the colored lights

And, most importantly, Tater reminded me that entering a new chapter in life doesn't mean there won't be new memories just as precious in the future. She enjoyed handing Mama Tater the ornaments so she could decorate the tree. She was delighted by the simple strand of lights hanging across the doorway. She was even tickled by the annoying little plastic needles that fall all across the floor. Everything is new and exciting for her, and it reminded me that new can be long as you give it the chance. 

snowman playing banjo

Many of my ornaments have been collected over several decades. Some were made by my children. Some were made by my husband when he was a child. Most of the ornaments on our tree are very special, and pulling them out of the boxes made me smile.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why grandchildren are so special. Just when I think the magical chapter of moments with children has ended, Tater comes along and changes everything.

So, take a moment and enjoy:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tater-isms and Tater Says

Edit Posted by with No comments
It's quiet at Gran's house today. Mama and Dada Tater and Tater Tot are out and about, and the two youngest children are at school. I thought this would be a good time to tell you about Tater-isms. Toddlers have their own language and have unique ways of expressing their thoughts. Tater is no exception to that rule. Her mom has always had her own unique (weird) way of expressing herself and I called them 'isms.' ('Leafs' is just one of Mama Tater's silly 'isms.') Here are some of Tater's 'isms.' And this list of Tater-isms is growing by the minute, so I know I won't remember a lot of them.

Muppet Show Mahna Mahna

  • "Wub ewe" - Love you
  • "I dough no." - I don't know. (Complete with a shoulder shrug)
  • "Dank ewe" - Thank you. (She says "Thank you" every time you give her something. So polite!)
  • "Peas" - Please (We still have to prompt her to say please, but she's catching on.)
  • "Sowwy" - Sorry
  • "Wy-wy" - Rylie
  • "Cay-wub" - Caleb
  • "Quin" - Clint
  • "Pa-pa" - Pappy
  • "Dan" - Gran
  • "Giggies" - Piggies, for toes (and she knows where her toes are)
  • "Mer-may" - Mermaid, because she likes the mermaid picture on Gran's wall
  • "Dan-ta" - Santa
  • "May Tis-mus" - Merry Christmas
  • "Tik-tee" - Trick or Treat
  • "Dat!" - That (when pointing something out to someone)
  • "Tee" - Tree
  • "Dink" - Drink
  • "Ow-side" - Outside
  • "Ny-ny" - Night-night
  • "Wok-by" - Rock-a-bye (As in Rock-a-bye, baby)
  • "Woop-woop" - Her imitation of sirens after the Christmas parade
  • "Pity" - Pretty
  • "Wook!" - Look! (This is said with much excitement and pointing.)
  • "Hattie bird-hey!" - Happy birthday! (This was learned on Dada Tater's birthday.)
  • "Good grrr" - Good girl (Because Gran and Mama Tater always tell her she's a good girl)
  • "Pow!" - Pouch! (Because we're reading the cutest book - Pouch!)
  • "Ha-ha-ha!" - This involves throwing her head back and pausing between each 'ha' because it's a maniacal laugh. (Yep. Gran did it. Mama Tater probably questions Gran's influence at times.)
  • "Nuh-na, Nuh-na" - This is from a Muppets skit, Mahna-mahna. You know it, I'm sure.
  • "Ooh-we-ooh" - The Witch Doctor, another Muppets song
  • "Dah-toons" - Cartoons
  • "Ave-wee" - Avery (That's Tater!)

Tater does say lots of things clearly. So...

Tater Says:

She loves to ask, "What's that?" She also loves to ask, "Who's that?"

When Tater is surprised, spooked or scared, she purses her lips and says, "Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!"

"Mine!" - This is the first bad word she learned, and she learned it from Gran. She would pick up something she didn't need to have, and I would take it and pat my chest while telling her, "Mine." She picked it up, and now everything apparently belongs to Tater. Somehow everyone else has unknowingly forfeited ownership of all their worldly possessions.

"Stop!" - She says it loud and clear. This is what she says to the dog when she won't stop barking.

Tater also says:
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Nana
  • PopPop
  • Baby
  • Bye
  • Hi
  • Dog (She'll bark if you ask her what the dogs says.)
  • Cat (She'll meow if you ask her what the cat says.)
  • Duck (complete with quacks)
  • Chicken (followed by 'bock, bock, bock')
  • Cow (She'll moo if you ask her what the cow says.)
  • Bear (She will raise her hands and growl if you tell her, "Little bear!")
  • Ear, nose, eyes, hair, toes (and she knows where they all are)
  • No! (Pretty self-explanatory, and one of the worst words for a toddler to learn)
  • Owww! (Sometimes her 'ouchies' are real, and sometimes they're not.)
  • Ta-da! (Like a magician)
  • Shoes
  • Bite
  • Bad
  • Ride

This is not an 'ism' or even a word, really, but it is absolutely adorable. Tater moves both arms back and forth while saying "chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga," and then she pumps one little fist in the air while saying, "choo, choo" to imitate a train. This is because we read The Little Engine that Could. I have to video this so I can show you. It is too cute for words. 

Wisdom from Gran: Read to your kids, especially when they are really little. Read, read, and read some more. It's important.

I know I am leaving out tons of things she says. Tons. She says new things all the time, so it's hard to remember it all. 

Oh, and just in case you haven't seen it (and for those who've had it stuck in their heads before): 

Best Wishes,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tater Tot, the Sweetheart

Edit Posted by with No comments
Friday was Dada Tater's birthday, and, of course, Tater had to wish dada happy birthday. So she did: "Hattie Bird-hey!" Too much sweetness! She's just a sweet baby. 

She had lots of visiting to do this weekend, and she finally made it here today. Pappy wasn't home when she arrived, so she played and watched the wind whip the trees around while she waited. When Pappy pulled into the driveway, she started clapping and hopping around, screaming, "PaPa, PaPa!"I think she might have missed him a bit, because she was really happy to see him. She climbed up in his recliner and snuggled, but just for a few minutes. She's a busy Tater, and a busy Tater can't sit still. 

Pappy and Tater Tot

Oh, and let's not forget Ry-ry and Caleb. She was happy to see them, too. Well, she was for a short time, but she always ends up in a grrrr moment with Ry-ry. It's funny, really. Ry-ry's room is where all the old toys are. There are tons of treasures for Tater to find. She loves treasure hunting, much to Ry-ry's chagrin. Today's treasure hunt ended up with Ry-ry growling and Tater growling right back. I think they have their own language. Either way, it's too cute to listen to them growl back and forth. 

Word of the day: Ta-da! (Complete with hands thrown around)

New thing for today: Gran is going to try out a new recipe, so let's hope Tater likes it. 

Best Wishes, 
Gran & Tater

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tater Dances to Carol of the Bells

Edit Posted by with No comments
This child LOVES to sing and dance, and Carol of the Bells is one of her favorite songs. (She fell in love with it after watching The Muppets version over and over and over...and then a few more times after that.)

Anyway, if you read the last post, you know I promised to add this video if Mama Tater would send it. Well, here it is. This is sweet Tater dancing around while she waited for the Christmas parade to begin. Enjoy the cuteness.

Oh, and here is a picture of Tater waiting for the parade last year (2014).

Tater Tot's first Christmas parade

Best Wishes,

Tater Sees Santa!

Edit Posted by with No comments
Tater Tot's picture with Santa on her second Christmas

Tater Tot & Santa 2015

Mama and Dada took Tater to have her picture taken with Santa. Isn't it precious? I had to dig out Tater's picture with Santa in 2014, and she sure has grown since then. I think it makes all of us a bit sad seeing how much she has grown this year. Mama Tater asked me a few days ago if she really was considered a toddler already. Sadly, she is. Slow down, Tater! You're growing too fast. 

Tater Tot's picture with Santa on her first Christmas

Tater Tot & Santa 2014

Mama Tater has a video of her dancing to Carol of the Bells while waiting for the Christmas parade. I'll have to ask her to send it to me so I can share the cuteness. Tater loves Carol of the Bells. She has been watching a video of Beaker, Swedish Chef, and Animal (The Muppets) singing this Christmas carol for months. If you haven't seen it, have a look and enjoy! 

Best Wishes,