Thursday, December 24, 2009

For Audre - Merry Christmas!

Dear Audre,
When I was going through the Christmas ornaments this year, getting ready to decorate my tree, I found our monkey ornament. It seemed to me the right time to send it to you. For many years GranDad and I had this monkey ornament on our Christmas tree every year. And it was there for you. Here is the story -

When you were quite little, you asked GranDad if there were any monkeys in the trees behind our house. He told you that there were monkeys there. You wanted to go out right away to see them. But GranDad told you that we couldn't see the monkeys because they were afraid of people. You insisted on going out to look. So you and GranDad took a walk to look for the monkeys in the trees. You looked very cute, walking with GranDad and holding his hand. (Of course I had to take a picture, which is one of my all time favorites!) You were calling out to the monkeys, "Monkeys come out!" and "Monkeys don't be afraid!" But you never did see the monkeys and finally came back inside. So when I found this monkey ornament several years later I bought it to remember your walk with GranDad to look for the monkeys. And now I think it is time for it to be on your tree each year. I hope you will enjoy it each year as much as we did.

I love you very much - Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 28, 2008

For Evan

Several weeks ago, I was reading one of the garden blogs that I follow and read a comment from Pam who mentioned that she was planting a zoo garden in memory of her son. This, of course, struck a chord with me and I went to her blog to see about her garden and her son. Pam lost a young son to Bacterial Meningitis in November of 2006. She has a wonderful blog where she posts memories of Evan and also wonderful items about her two surviving children who are young as well. She has the most amazing way of telling us about something that Duncan is doing and seamlessly relating it to similar experiences with Evan. And she uses photos to show us both of the boys involved in whatever the post is about. I am really moved and in awe of her seemingly calm way of giving us an insight to her present life and her past in the most seamless and natural way. As I was perusing her blog I read about Evan's love for green balloons and the fact that they would be doing a balloon release on the second anniversary of his death on November 24. Since I have become a big fan of balloon releases since Scott died, I decided to join in and do a release for Evan on the 24th. I had an appointment near the one of the public gardens where I volunteer as a Master Gardener and decided that it would be a good spot to release Evan's balloon. I had a hard time finding a green one -- at first the person at the store told me that they didn't have any green balloons but I dug through the container marked "green" and found lots that looked teal but at the bottom there was a real green one. I wanted to take photos for Pam and since I was on my own, I had to be a bit creative. So I tied the ribbon to a bench and got the camera ready. It worked quite well -- I was able to pull to let the balloon go and start getting photos as it rose. Even though I couldn't see it in the screen on the camera, I got it in all the photos I took. Which must be a record for my camera on a sunny day! You can enjoy the photos below. Perhaps I'll do balloons for Scott's birthday from that garden as well!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

We love snow!

While I still have some experiences from the holidays that I have yet to share, today's blog is specifically prompted by Kerrie's blog about playing in the snow with Andie.

The Sylvesters made a Christmas visit to us in 2004. It snowed the night that they arrived and first thing the next morning the girls wanted to go out in the snow. Since they had been living in California and Florida since they were little, snow was a huge thing! The first thing was to find something for them to wear -- they had light jackets and sneakers. I found some polar fleece jackets that my mom gave the boys years ago, so that was a start. Next I located several pairs of those magic gloves which are super small but stretch to fit anyone. But I knew that they would be soaked in seconds so I got out my gardening gloves which at least are waterproof on the palms. But their feet were a problem - I didn't have any extra boots and they would have been way too big anyway. So we put ziplock bags on Hayley's feet. But Audre's feel were too big so we used trash bags and those plastic lock ties to keep her shoes dry. It worked surprisingly well. Hayley wanted to take one of her stuffed animals outside with us but I wouldn't let (I didn't think having a soaking wet stuffed animal sounded very good and didn't think she would let me put him in a bag with a zip tie around his neck!) We compromised on sitting him in the wooden high chair just inside the french door so he could watch us. Brooke and TJ came out for a few minutes and threw some snowballs from the deck but quickly decided to go inside. At that point the girls wanted to make a snowman. I had checked out the snow and the snow in the back yard was very dry and powdery -- not good for a snowman of any size. But the snow in the side yard was wetter so that was where we started rolling a ball for our snowman. But then Hayley said we had to move the snowman since the stuffed animal couldn't see us there. Being a good grandmother, I got a tarp from the garage and we moved the snowman parts to the back yard and built it right in front of the french doors. We had to get very creative with the decorating as the snow was very unreceptive of decorative items -- we tried carrots and raisins and all kinds of things from the pantry. Finally we found that we could use a skewer to make holes for things that had stems. So we cut some seed heads from the black eyed susans and some ornamental grasses for hair and had a very unusual snowperson! And while it was much more challenging than I had expected, I'm sure I will remember it for many years to come! And I hope the girls will too.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rosemary is for Remembrance

It seems to me that the new form of communication in our family is blogging. So in order to stay well informed, I have decided to start my own blog. I doubt that I will be as prolific in this endeavor as some others in the family but I will be participating.

This afternoon Jeff and I went to the Annual Candlelight Memorial Service of the local chapter of The Compassionate Friends. This is a support group for families who have lost a child at any age or from any cause. The service was held in a local church and included a speaker, music, a video presentation of photos of our children and the opportunity for each family to light a candle in memory of their child. It helps to be able to spend the afternoon with others, talking about our childrens and honoring their memories. Afterward it seems a bit easier to go on with the holiday preparations.
Following the service there is a reception and everyone is asked to bring a finger food or dessert to share. This year instead of baking something, I decided to take rosemary sprigs. "Rosemary is for remembrance" so it seemed to be a good fit for a memorial service of this kind. The garden where I volunteer as a Master Gardener has a wonderful herb garden and I got permission to cut sprigs to take with us. Many people took rosemary home with them as they left the reception which made me feel good. It will last longer than a cookie or a ham sandwich!