Learning to talk, speak, communicate

Not too many of us recall making our first sounds, or words. “Da-da” used to be a baby’s first word; it was for both of my children.

I am so delighted to hear my 1-year-old grandson making sounds, and now he is actually saying his first word, and it’s “Mmmaa-mmmaa” in such a sweet voice my heart wants to melt into a puddle of goo.

Sunday is our day with G-man. This past Sunday I tirelessly campaigned for the letter “B” with “ba-ba-ba” sounds and “B” words like BLUE, BABY, BUBBLES, BARBER and BUMBLEBEE. (Have you read Dr. Seuss’ ABC book? Yeah, I know, “blue” isn’t a “B” word in that book.) G-man was eating BLUEBERRY baby yogurt. Everytime he took a bite, I said “Blooo” and he promptly giggled and laughed.

So it was with pride, mirth and joy that I watched the video his mama sent me Monday morning as he spoke his next sound … which is the letter “H” … and the sound is “HA! HA! HA!” This boy owns my heart–lock, stock and barrel!

“B” will come in his own good time! And if you’re wondering what he turns to look at near the end of the video, the Pixar movie “Cars” is obviously playing on the TV in the background–I recognized it instantly from a recent visit to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Trauma Center Emergency Department. His mama wisely knew it was time to stop the speech lesson.


7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Wading pool fun

Wading pool bliss

One of the good things in life is chillin’ in cool water on a hot day. My grandson had his first experience in a wading pool on Labor Day. He laughed and splashed to his hearts’ content and made some interesting faces, too. He was a bit confused at first… he probably thought he was getting a bath outside!

— 2 —

Mother and son -- we always found something to smile about in life!

Mother and son — we always found something to smile about in life!

Twenty-three years ago the mayors of Fremont and Newark, California, declared September 7 “Christopher Benninghoff Day.” The communities were very helpful in our search for a bone marrow donor, unfortunately, none were found for my son (he died six months later). At the time, at least one donor was found for another leukemia patient. Join the National Donor Marrow Registry. You could be a match for someone to save their life!

— 3 —

Breaking Bad - Season 1, Episode 1

Breaking Bad – Season 1, Episode 1

I’ve had Breaking Bad in my Netflix queue for about a year and decided to watch episode 1 tonight while doing paperwork. That was seven hours ago. I’m hooked. So not good. I don’t have time to watch a TV show! I’ve got a Bible study class starting next Monday and a second one two weeks later.

— 4 —

Praying while driving is easy because the radio stays off in my car. My go-to prayer for distraction-free driving is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I use a great free iPhone app (Chaplet of Divine Mercy) designed and developed by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I just discovered tonight that it has an audio option! This is great because I have a mental block remembering the opening and closing prayers.

— 5 —

My big sister flies in next week to attend her 40th high school reunion and to visit family. It’s always a challenge making sure that everyone has an opportunity to visit and get quality time with her. IMG_6076She’s older than me, so of course she has more grandchildren than I do. Please keep travelers in your prayers on September 11. She got a really good price on her airline ticket.

— 6 —

Pope Francis has asked all Catholics, Christians, and people of goodwill to fast and pray for peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7. Recommendations are praying the Rosary, reading Scripture, Eucharistic Adoration, and fasting. New York time between 1pm and 5pm is recommended to be in unity with Rome.

— 7 —

I used to use a great system for keeping my house clean and orderly. Anyone ever read and follow the Sidetracked Home Executives? I used it religiously at one house, but was never able to duplicate the motivation in subsequent places I’ve lived. Why is that? What fickle finger of fate determines motivation in one house over another. Anyone else have this problem? I’ve got a collection of “how to clean and organize” books … that I probably should take to a thrift store ’cause they’re certainly not doing much good on the bookshelf! I’m my own worst enemy.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Another Sleepless Night

Nearly 4:30 a.m. and I haven’t been to bed yet. It’s raining “cats and dogs” outside with a few bowling balls crashing into the walls of heaven. Perhaps now would be a good time to head for bed to get a few hours sleep? The Johnson & Johnson Baby Bedtime lotion is one of my night-time routines. But it really only works if I get my butt off the chair and walk into the bathroom to apply it to my arms and hands.

Every little bit helps!

Every little bit helps!

I’m going! I’m going! If I fall asleep in the next 10 minutes, I can sleep four hours. That’ll do.

Happy Birthday Party



Today was mom’s 79th birthday. She doesn’t look 79, but it’s true. I hosted her family birthday dinner, and she was surprised even though she knew it was planned. Isn’t that nice? One of my brothers and his wife were able to come when previously they said they couldn’t, and that made a big difference. That joy almost made up for the disappointment of saying “hello” and “goodbye” in the same sentence as my daughter, her hubby, and their 11-month-old son left to get home to put the baby to bed as mom arrived for dinner. My family’s never been big on timing!

We’re slackers with the RSVP concept, too. To cover my bases, I set three tables–enough to seat 14. I was ready for anything and anyone. But why bother? I inevitably end up dragging chairs and place settings into the dining room so no one has to sit in the kitchen.

PEOPLE and relationships are what’s important… not how many chairs will fit around the table or whether or not everyone has a napkin after the chair transfers. I don’t have a problem SHARING A NAPKIN, but some folks get wiggy. Germs? We’re FAMILY! It’s not like I USE the napkin. It just sits on my lap until it falls to the floor, because I NEVER remember I’ve got a napkin on my lap.

So happy birthday, mom. Enjoy your loot to the best of your ability and get a good night’s rest!

Adventure Walk


Adventure Walks

The three G’s (Gabriel, Grandfather and Grammy) enjoyed a leisurely Sunday Stroll around the neighborhood last month. The little one was tired but attentive to birds and colorful plants, lazy sprinklers, and cars zooming by on their way somewhere else.

The late afternoon was cool thanks to earlier rains. A gentle breeze kept the deerflies from tender (and not-so-tender) skin, and the stroller seat was reclined at a perfect angle for kicking back for a relaxing Sunday with the grandparents.

Life is good!

Fruit Flies

I’m loving my transition from PC to Mac. What I’m not enjoying so much are the fruit flies. All afternoon I’ve been bombarded from every direction by pesky little dive-bombers… in my living room while sitting at my computer. (The only nearby food is a closed bag of milk chocolate m&m’s, so go figure!) My husband actually came and sat near me to watch the show earlier, but of course the flies were hiding (or synchronizing their flight plans). He left after a few minutes when NO FLIES were seen. He clearly didn’t believe I was being attacked by fruit flies.

He’s gone and I’m back to swatting the air around my head like a mad-woman, with my lips FIRMLY sealed. Last night’s babysitting adventure with Gabriel included swallowing a bug (a little moth committed suicide by flying right down my throat while I was announcing our return from the playground). That was the 2nd most disgusting thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. The only thing worse than swallowing that bug last night would’ve been to make myself vomit–I considered this for about 2 minutes. I’d enjoyed a pretty decent dinner that I didn’t have to prepare or cook, so keeping it in my stomach was a big plus.

Where was I? Oh yeah, fruit flies. So my husband is in his home office and he hears me clapping my hands every few minutes (I’m trying to kill the dang bugs flying in front of my face) and he quips that the fruit flies must be attracted to my new computer… wait for it… after all, it’s an APPLE. OMG. IMG_5956

I’m ready to use a can of RAID as an air freshener in my living room. Augh!

Sleep is good.

Sweet sleep!

Sweet sleep!

Going to bed is not one of my strong suits. However, I do love to sleep once I get to it. I’ve had this problem for as long as I can remember. A vivid memory is of one of my uncles sitting on the floor beside my crib with his arm reaching through the slats patting my back for A VERY LONG TIME. (In the late 1950’s, it was possible to do this because the slats were far apart. My mother tells the story that she found me hanging out of my crib one morning, literally. My head was stuck between the slats while my little body dangled out of the crib. Gives me the creeps, and makes me wonder if this was the beginning of my problem with going to bed.) Nevertheless, I don’t expect things to change anytime soon. Too bad. Sleeping is one of the good things in life I wish I could do more often!

My grandson will be spending his first night sleeping in his crib tonight. For nearly nine months he’s been sleeping in a reclining position in a very nice swing–but he’s outgrowing it fast. He was born with GERD–acid reflux–but his little stomach sphincter is fully developed by now and so he’s finally going to sleep in one of those new-fangled cribs with the slats one-inch apart. No way for anyone to pat his back during the night while sitting on the floor.

If I can get to bed and fall asleep quickly, I can manage to get 4-5 hours sleep tonight. Sweet dreams!

Tuning OUT

Yeah, yeah, yeah. My blog is titled “Tuning In” but today I just want to tune everything OUT. It’s Sunday afternoon. The house isn’t on fire, I did the dishes last night, the laundry is washed, dried, hung, folded and okay… half of it needs to be put away. And the living room is in clutter chaos for week 4. But still. I don’t want to DO anything. It’s Sunday. God commands us to REST on this day, but my feeble brain is trying to give me a guilt-trip without a return ticket.

I managed to stay in my jammies ’til nearly 1 p.m., but did a quick run to my mom’s house with four raw pork chops to throw on the grill to share a meal while my brother Richard and his family are visiting pre-Father’s Day. Totally worth it just to hear his car repair story that led to purchasing a brand new Nissan Maxima! On the down-side of rushing out of the house with raw pork chops, I neglected to brush my hair, teeth and even apply the barest amount of makeup. I’m talking NAKED FACE. So I was taken by surprise when Richard whips out his recent birthday present iPad and snaps a picture of me before I could even scream “No!” Sigh. Such is life when you have 3 brothers and 3 sisters.

My husband took his afternoon nap in two sessions today–before in-laws and after in-laws. I read a news report recently that men who take midday naps have reduced risk of heart attacks, so in addition to his naps giving ME free time, they’re healthy for HIM, too! Win-win!

So, I’m going to focus on the good things in life this evening by doing the BARE MINIMUM. I’m tuning out and I’m gonna sip water (I’m thirsty!) and read a free book I downloaded today on my Kindle Fire (Messages by John Michael Hileman).

Book 1 in the David Chance series.

Book 1 in the David Chance series.