The Grandest Sandbox of Them All

Spending an entire day with our 2-year-old grandson was awesome and amazing this weekend. His daddy brought him over early with his “visiting bag” (diapers, clothing changes, books and sippy cup). Daddy received a half-hearted ‘bye-bye’ wave; we’re working on improving the wave, but love that he LOVES spending the day with Grandfather and Grammy.

Anyway, Grandfather and I were finishing our coffee while Gabriel played with his stash of thrift-store Hot Wheels cars on the living room carpet. Thinking out loud, making plans for the day, I mentioned that we should go out to the sandbox because it’s not raining, and the little guy springs up and runs to the front door to go outside. There’s no way we’re going to say “no” to that exuberance! It’s PLAYTIME outside NOW, something that has been scarce because of a 2-week cycle of never-ending rain.

This is why Grandfather and Gabriel are playing with his “Mighty Machines” (CAT Construction Toy set) in the sandbox at 9:00 a.m. I love taking photos and videos; capturing special moments and preserving memories for myself and others, but especially for Gabriel. He’ll have his own scrapbook this week with these photos (and more). We uploaded two short videos from Grandfather’s iPhone, Playtime! And another, Playtime – part 2. Enjoy!

It took some negotiating, but playtime in the sandbox ended 2 1/2 hours later. We’ve got some plumbing issues in the house, so Gabriel had to take a shower (perhaps his first?) to clean up after a morning spent in the sandbox. We tried to make the shower quick and easy, using the handheld sprayer so he wasn’t traumatized by water spraying in his face, and washing his hair while he lay on the shower floor on a folded towel. More laundry for me, but there were no tears and he had a fun time doing something different, I think.

Grand Sandbox Fun -- Grandfather & Gabriel

Grand Sandbox Fun — Grandfather & Gabriel


No more rain! It's sandbox time at last!

No more rain! It’s sandbox time at last!


Playing in the sandbox must’ve tuckered him out, because he actually slept during his nap after lunch. When he woke, we visited the Art and Algorithms Festival taking place in downtown Titusville. NASA provided an inflatable planetarium on Saturday. The three of us spent 20+ minutes watching the show (sitting on the ground), pointing at the stars and the sun and the growth of the universe as it rolled across the sphere above our heads.

We enjoyed an early dinner at Caffe Chocolat included a scoop of vanilla ice cream for Gabriel, and he loved every spoonful while Grandfather valiantly kept the little guy clean with a wet wipe and I took a few photos and enjoyed him enjoying his ice cream treat.

A scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream is a Special Treat!

A scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream is a Special Treat!


Gabriel got permission to spend the night with us, so we headed home in plenty of time to meet his 7:00 p.m. bedtime. We had a few minutes to spare because he’d had a shower earlier in the day and wouldn’t need another, so Grandfather wracked his brain for a last hurrah for the day. Grandfather drove to a local construction site and saw some “mighty machines” up close for yet another treat for this special boy who fills our lives with joy. You should have seen his little eyes light up! Oh, I think I have a photo of that moment!
Dump Truck -- Mighty Machine Style!

Dump Truck — Mighty Machine Style!


Gotta touch the hub!

Gotta touch the hub!


I’m learning the names of each “mighty machine” … Excavator, Steam Roller, Grader, and Dump Truck, (and others) because learning real names of people, places and things is important for vocabulary development and effective communication. The mighty machines we enjoy in his world of play, watching “Mighty Machines” on Netflix and seeing/touching in real life are great experiences we’re blessed to have with him and look forward to sharing with Benjamin when he gets a little older.

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7 Quick Takes — Mid-Life Rebellion

— 1 —

Instead of sleeping Thursday night, I watched a few things online from links in e-mails and blogs. First up was the link to the Explore God Q&A Forum with Jennifer Fulwiler and two pastors.  Next up was a documentary that caught my eye on the YouTube side menu when Explore God ended.  (I wasn’t tired yet.)  I highly recommend it to Catholics, because we generally don’t know much about modern saints and this featured the lives of TWO saints and ONE blessed (soon to be saint). Can you guess their names? Check out the one+ hour documentary, Ocean of Mercy.

By the time the documentary ended, I admit to feeling a bit tired, but another video caught my eye and so what-the-heck… I clicked with the intention of just watching for a few minutes.  Before I knew it, I’m watching the All In the Family episode when Edith Bunker discovers she’s going through “the change.” It was still funny. I watched the entire episode. In for a pound, I then followed it up with the 2-part episode featuring the birth of Gloria’s baby.  Was it a boy or a girl?  I couldn’t remember.  Now I know, and I’m not telling… you’ll need to google it or watch the episode yourself.

— 2 —

Household chaos. This week’s household chores can be counted on one hand. Washed dishes twice. Washed two loads of laundry. Hmm.  I have a finger leftover. Should’ve cleaned the bathroom or vacuum the living room.  Ah, I picked up the toys off the living room floor. I draw the line at stepping on little Hot Wheels cars.

— 3 —

My 1998 Honda Accord dashboard information warning lights have been on so long I rarely take note, but now they’re down from four lights to three, thanks to my hubby helping me get a new bulb for my taillight. Now it’s just ABS, Maintenance, and Engine.  We’ll open the hood this weekend to take a peek at the serpentine belt and check the oil, water and battery.  Anyone else out there drive around with dashboard warning lights ON? Which is the most annoying light you ignore because nothing turns it off? I hate spending money for EACH light to determine the codes. Mainly because I like spending that money for groceries….

— 4 —

Our church’s Fall Festival was last Friday night. As expected, I was only able to sit down for 3 minutes to eat a quick bite, but that’s par for the course for the folks in charge. No time to sit when you’re zipping from one activity to the next playing “hostess.”  This year’s fall festival included a Chili Cook-off, Square Dance, Kids’ Costume Parade, and a Photo Booth featuring the decorated Pumpkins folks contributed for ambience. Ann, my co-conspirator, supervised the campfire outside for the kids to roast marshmallows; her hubby supervised the old-fashioned hayride.  The pot-luck chili cook-off was lots of fun, and the square dance was enjoyed by young and old.  I’d like to try square dance lessons, but I enjoy the Monday night bible study classes too much to trade.

The next activity I’m organizing at church is called “Screen on the Green.”  We’re sponsoring one screening of the new epic movie, MARY OF NAZARETH. We rent a 16’x20′ outdoor screen & surround sound audio to watch great movies on the grassy slope next to our rectory. Check online to see if “Mary of Nazareth” is playing near you (it probably isn’t, so you may need to spearhead a screening in your area.) Watch the trailer, read the reviews of this amazing movie of the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. If it’s not playing near you and you’re up to a trip, the movie will be playing at our church on Saturday, November 16 at 7pm in Mims, Florida at Holy Spirit Catholic Church (on the space coast of Florida).  Advance tickets are $10 each or $15 the night of the event.

— 5 —

Clothes. I need clean clothes. See #2 above.

— 6 —

These 7 QT aren’t too pretty. No pictures.  Am I the only person capable of personally destroying their iPhoto app on their Apple computer?  Each time I tried to “repair” my database, all I did was worsen the problem. Nothing’s worked, and now the app won’t open and I can’t access my photos.  Grrr.

— 7 —

No photos this week, but I have terrific news. Last Saturday I picked up my one-year-old grandson. When he’d finished hugging, I pulled away to see what special shirt he was wearing. The previous 3 days he’d been sporting costume shirts:  Spiderman, Batman, Superman (included a cape), so my curiosity was piqued.  The shirt said Only Child (crossed out) and under that it said “Big Brother.”  My daughter got my scream on video… another grandchild will be joining our family next July.  Wahoo!  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes – Lazy Daze

— 1 —

One year old and flying high!

One year old and flying high!


Saturday at Fort Christmas Historical Park was the location of the photo session celebrating my grandson’s first birthday. It was a lovely day with kids running around and parents watching from a shady spot. The professional photo shoot was scheduled between G-man’s morning and afternoon naps because my daughter and son-in-law think of these things (and she probably saw the tip on a blog or on Pinterest). Kelly Verdek was the perfect photographer–he was patient and wanted to be sure he got all the shots the parents wanted. His camera was constantly clicking away and he made some great suggestions, too. The photos are fabulous. If you live in the Orlando area, you might want to schedule a photo session! My daughter especially loves a photo of me and her son. I love all of them because he’s wonderful! How does a Grammy choose a favorite photo out of nearly 100 photos?

Grammy love is "in your face" as often as possible.

Grammy love is “in your face” as often as possible.

— 2 —

This is the last weekend of the Art and Algorithms Digital Art Festival here in Titusville, Florida. Of Thursday evenings’ foreign short films, my favorite was the 5-minute film from Columbia titled “Czech Please” and my least favorite was a Canadian film titled “A Pretty Funny Story.” I’m planning to see the classic movie, “Singin’ in the Rain” starring Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor at midnight on Friday, and Saturday’s midnight film is “The Big Lebowski” which I’ve never seen.

Singin' in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain

— 3 —

Something I never see any more are folks washing their cars in their driveways on the weekends. I haven’t washed my car in nearly 9 months… and it shows dreadfully. Especially the wheels. The brake dust and road grime is disgusting. Do people still wash their own cars, or do they go to automatic car washes? I’m too embarrassed to post a photo of my dirty car. Sad, huh?

— 4 —

For a baby who was born with Acid Reflux and spent the majority of his first six months crying, this baby is one of the happiest babies you’ll ever hear. When you stop to think about it, so much of life is funny when you have nothing to compare it to. Take any word, such as “Whoo!” and repeat it over and over to a baby. Perhaps it’s the way it rolls off your tongue, or the shape of your lips as you make the sound, or the expression on your face. Who knows? A baby’s laugh is balm to the spirit. Want to feel a bit better than you do right now? Click to play!

— 5 —

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima


I’m praying a novena in preparation for Pope Francis’ consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Sunday. Today is Day 8. A great resource to remind you to pray AND they deliver the prayers to your Inbox is Pray More Novenas. If you’re able to donate money to help, this site has experienced an explosive growth this week, and it continues to grow exponentially as more people sign up. Here’s the link to become a “special member.”

— 6 —

Okay, I live in Florida, so I should be used to bugs. I’m not. The other night I came home after a nice Girls Night Out. Got out of my car in the driveway. Walked through a dark garage. I thought I felt something on the back of my neck but didn’t think much of it… I was carrying my purse and a tote bag, my shirt had a wide loose neckline and drooped either right or left all day. I walked into the kitchen and as usual, dumped my bags on the nearest kitchen chair. As I straightened my arm, I saw it. A cockroach on my sleeve. “EEEEEK!” I screamed and violently shook my arm. Yeah, I did the bug dance, too. I thought the bug flew off, so I looked everywhere around me. No bug. My cat looked at me like I was crazy. It dawned on me the bug might still be on me, that’s when I felt it on the back of my neck, near my hair. This time it wasn’t an “EEEEEK!” but an “AUGH! GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!” at twice the volume followed by some screaming for my husband to come quick! This time I managed to smack the bug off me and watched it run and hide under the antique mahogany cabinet my great-great-great grandfather built centuries ago. My hubby made it into the kitchen just as the bug disappeared. Nothing to be done except pat me on the back and ask if he needs to move the cabinet (we both know he doesn’t mean it… that cabinet isn’t going anywhere… it weighs a ton). “I’ve got some bug spray… I’ll get it,” I tell him bravely. He goes back to his WoW game, and I pull out the empty can of Raid from under the kitchen sink. I’m one of those gals who won’t throw away the empty bug spray can until I have a replacement, you know what I mean? Fumes are better than nothing. There were just enough fumes left to fill the space under the cabinet. I know this because 15 minutes later the cat is sitting near her water dish with a strange posture… kinda quizzical. A dead roach is floating in her water bowl. Ew. I didn’t like picking up that bowl, and I gotta say, if that bug had moved one iota, that bowl would’ve been airborne and I’d be screaming again. It went down in the first flush and the cat’s water bowl got thrown in the sink for sanitizing. Ant and Roach Killer — one of the good things in my life!

— 7 —

Sleep. Still one of those elusive “good things in life” that I wish I could enjoy more often. Perhaps if I went to bed instead of checking my computer it would be easier to nod off. Last night was a record ten hours of sleep. I’ve never been able to sleep that well 2 nights in a row. My sleep clock has a few springs loose, I guess. I did use the special baby lotion last night, and it worked like a charm!
baby bedtime lotion

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Which Way?

What’s the positive side of spinning ones’ wheels? I feel a Fall malaise that has some serious consequences if I can’t get a handle on it soon. I’m not just talking laundry, dishes, housekeeping, yard work, car maintenance, personal hygiene, and poor nutrition. The mere action of reading e-mail, responding, deleting, reading articles, has consumed my evening and my designated sleep time. I am more behind than I can ever hope to catch up with, as if I’m sliding downhill while trying to climb a sand dune. The only solution is to DELETE ALL, throw piles on my desk into the garbage, and start fresh. Oh, but for the important papers in there, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Internet is not our friend… at least it’s not MY FRIEND this week. It’s beginning to feel like an instrument of the devil. Life has not gotten easier, it’s gotten crowded, rushed and relegated to a 2nd class existence. My grandparents must have had a simpler life, (yes, a hard life, but at least they were not interrupted every 2-3 days with knowledge of a major world catastrophe or mass shooting or terror attack, of which they were powerless to stop, change, or alter the outcome.)

Opinions were allowed time to percolate with introspection, reason, common sense, research and/or conversation among friends and neighbors. They could change their mind and it wasn’t held against them forever because it was posted on Facebook or Twitter. The heat of the moment these days can flare into a wildfire in the blink of an eye in 2013. I’m sure my grandparents got more sleep each night than I’ll ever manage to get no matter how hard I try.

I admit that I’m not up to the challenge of life with unlimited Internet access. I’m tired. I’ll wash my face, brush my teeth and salvage the remaining six hours sleep left to me to survive Tuesday’s onslaught of information overload. Things will look different tomorrow. Worse is still “different” in my universe… but at least I’ll have some sleep under my belt to deal with it… or delete it.

I’d post a photo, but the iPhotos app on my iMac computer disappeared Sunday evening. So that little computer chore of fixing the problem is one of the things weighing on my mind. Which is just as well, because the total embarrassment of posting a photo of my desk would seriously damage my ability to ignore it. Dear Lord, please allow me to have peace-filled sleep tonight! Amen.