Monday, December 2, 2019

Welcome to Whoville

After my parents passed, I emptied their attic and my attic and actually donated boxes and boxes of unwanted Christmas decorations. But somehow I still have more Christmas than I ever set up each year and for some unexplained reason I keep purchasing more.  Last year was the year of those cute red trucks and station wagons with trees on top. This year I woke up and decided - It is Whoville!

Eventually and probably fortuitously, the Grinch is not very popular this year. I have not seen much in stores and am trying to blind myself from too much on the internet. 
Four month old Louis is one of my building supervisors. 
I did get lucky at Oriental Trading and ordered some paper products and games for my (gulp) 10 young grandchildren.  
Three year old Lydia is my design assistant
And I decided to create some new outdoor decorations. 
The start of Tree #1
About two and a half years ago I discovered replacement fence boards at my local Home Depot. They are about 6 feet tall and a little narrower than I like, but the cost of about 2.89 each has made them my new favorite craft item.  I have done some Welcome boards, some holiday boards and quite a few political boards since I can't leave the house for protest marches with all the tiny grandchildren I care for.  
Tree #2 and Tree #1
I set out to create my own Whoville decor.  I designed some Christmas trees, traced some patterns and bought all the Grinch Green Apple Barrel paint available. 
I was happy with my first three trees. I decided to outline the decorations with black paint and it really made them pop. 
Here was my first attempt at the Grinch. And tree #3. 
I had to move the art studio to my kitchen counter to move the wet paint away from tiny hands. 
The final five!

I wish I could repaint my bicycle planter white, but my dear husband has it so firmly attached to the tree, I am not sure it can be done. I have the packages secured with miles of string, tied to each other and to the basket.  We used zip ties to attach the Grinch tree to the bike. 
I am pretty darn happy with how it turned out! We attached each tree and the Grinch to my porch posts with the zip ties. Of course our lights did not work after we put them up (yes, we tested them) so there is an elf on the left attaching the new lights for this year. 
This is the right side of the porch. 
And the step up to the porch.
 For my Whoville garland, I just used some red plastic disposable plates, dipped the lid from the craft paint in the white paint and created polka dots!
I punched holes and tied them together with string. I love how they turned out! - from a distance LOL

It was an inexpensive way to update and change our Christmas decorating this year. I spent about $15 on the boards, $6 on the plates, and probably $10 on the paint because I purchased it once, misplaced it when I hid the bag from my grandchildren and had to re-purchase it. I saved packing boxes and bought rolls of gift wrap at Dollar Tree. If only we had not had to replace the lights, the whole yard would have only cost about $34.00 total. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fall Y'All

A fall recap:
It may have taken 3 separate orders for sizes since kids keep growing and herculian efforts to schedule all ten in one place at one time (a Sunday morning at 8 a.m.), but, by gosh, an updated photo with all ten grandchildren. 

We bought my husband a new suit and attended two out of three fall weddings. A nephew, a coworker's daughter (I knew her before she was born) and we are off to New Orleans next month for a niece. 
And I chopped off my hair by the second one. You know, went to have bangs cut, went crazy. I am wearing the same dress to all three weddings. A former "mother of the bride" dress and I am getting my money's worth. 
Got #10 baptized (I think I look like a chubby elf)
I had a theme of feminist costumes for my youngest granddaughter. But, because she is an independent woman, she told me this year she wanted to be a peacock princess. 
I have been hanging out at pumpkin patches and Halloween parties
This one was in Stars Hollow (I think, not positive)

I mean, am I right?

We got six back to school and two started school for the first time.  All the mommies finished maternity leaves and the grandparent daycare center, bus stop and preschool carpool is back to work. 

One son sold his home the minute it went on the market and is moving his family of 5 from 3 garages, 2 storage units and an efficiency apartment this weekend with help from grampa and two brothers.  One son-in-law decided family isn't for him, so we have stepped in as pseudo parents to help out, and my oldest granddaughter is in rehearsals for the Nutcracker - I am so excited! 

It's starting to get colder so we are grateful we are all blessed to have warm houses (at least after this weekend) and plenty of food to eat.
I do still carve out some me time (even though it sometimes includes a little person).  My youngest and I went to a book signing with NPR's Sarah Vowell and I am going (alone) with my genealogy group for an after-hours tour of hidden records at our county courthouse next Monday.  I am very excited about the tour! 

I also had an epiphany about Christmas and you know how I like themes! This year I am going to turn my house into Whoville and I am pretty excited about that, too. I hope I have time to take pictures and share. I have been pretty busy in the evenings pinning on Pinterest. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Lazy Dayz of Summer

Lazy days of Summer? I wish! It seems like every day is a busy day at our house! 

Celebrated the annual blooming of the day lilies.

We hosted our annual Gramma Mimi's Cousin Camp for nine of our ten grandchildren the last week of June. Number ten was born on the 4th of July! 

I finally talked Grampa Merry into a bucket list vacation to the coast of Maine! We used Diners, Drive Ins and Dives recommendations for restaurants and were pretty disappointed. I guess we are just Red Lobster people. I did check off sitting on the beach, looking at the ocean and eating a (tasteless) lobster roll ($22).  Burger was Grampa's. 
It has been stinking hot and humid here in Northern Ohio which has made summer activities challenging. We let the grandkids play outside first thing in the morning, but by 10:30 it is so humid, that we are concerned about dehydrating. So we bring them inside where they destroy my house. 
(the wrecking crew)

We did take two of the boys to an Ox Roast in a nearby country town. The fire department buries the foil wrapped beef in a trench of burning charcoal and digs it up in time for lunch beginning on Friday. The boys said the beef was delicious and did not taste like dirt at all. Unfortunately we had to use the potty immediately following lunch and preschooler do not use portapots . We were unable to stay and visit the rest of the festival. 
Was asked to resume service to 4-H by helping to construct the fair booth for my three oldest grandchildren. 
I think I actually baked 15 pies for our church festival this year. Halfway through the day. 

I talked Grampa Merry into a trip to a nearby Bratwurst Festival. It was sunny with only a 20% chance of rain. It was a good thing I remembered umbrellas, it was like a typhoon. But the festival was amazing, the food stands plentiful and we had music from TBDBITL. 

We celebrated Grampa's birthday. 
Dyed my hair lavender. On purpose. 
It was my (gulp) 45th class reunion
Had a few picnics. This was a Chicken BBQ for the Senior Center. 
And we even baked some cookies
Hmmm.  After looking at these photos, I think we did an awful lot of eating this summer, too!

Tomorrow is our last picnic; school starts on Thursday! We will have two in the nursery school carpool, one newborn,  three toddlers on alternate days and one first grader that will board the bus at our house at 7:30 a.m.  So much for lazy!

Friday, July 26, 2019

2019 Gramma Camp

When I started my "Gramma Camp", I had one grandchild who lived in Florida. I guess I forgot to do the math. I have five children and now TEN grandchildren, seven who live in the same town and three who live about two hours away. But it is a tradition and traditions must continue. 
We stepped up the t-shirt game this year with my youngest daughter's purchase of a cricut machine. We made three different shirts that could rotate through the six days of camp. We also made additional shirts for a family event with even more "cousins" and a special shirt I will show you at the end. 
The theme for this year was "Star Wars, A Grandparents Galaxy Far, Far Away". We began with just the "littles" since the bigs had to finish some tournament baseball games and a final swim meet.  One of the day 1 activities was pool noodle lasers which were a big hit. They are wearing "paint" shirts from another project. 

Day two was our annual trip to the lake. High water levels and a dangerous undertow resulted in two drownings the week after our camp and another drowning this week. We will no longer be traveling to the beach. 
And we had our annual lunch at our favorite pizza restaurant. 
We worked on some shoe box robots, played some games and headed to our favorite Mexican Restaurant for supper. 
Day Three started with rescuing Star Wars Characters who were encased in death star balls (of baking soda playdough). We had to shoot them with vinegar lasers to melt the death stars. 

Camp week had temperatures close to 100 degrees. We decided to visit an indoor playground that is air conditioned in a neighboring town. 
Could these cousin be any cuter?
And how scary are these cousins!
Even Baby Leo got in on the fun!

Day Four welcomed the Bigs! We tried for some official camp photos. Looking at the camera is not our strong suit. 
I put them to work making paving stones for my fairy garden. 
We had a day full of crafts including these R2D2 cutouts and some painted rocks (they were supposed to be Star Wars Themed). 
Then we headed back to our favorite pizza place for a family reunion with relatives from Florida and Georgia! 

The next morning was the Fourth of July and we all headed to our small town parade. It was in the high nineties and so humid it was insufferable. How did those marchers stand it?
And trying to get some shade (and hide from the drummers)
And while we were at the parade: 
Grandchild #10 - in case you were counting only 9 in previous photos. The day finished with fireworks. 
Well, one watched the fireworks. 

Day, who remembers. It was supposed to be Bigs only, but we had Big Sister for the next few days and the mother of two of the Littles had to work, so it was a full car load. And since it was forecast to be 100 degrees again, we headed to the indoor playground. 
And then a road trip to take the Bigs home for one last baseball tournament. 
 And the ride home. 
The Last Day - we took another trip up to help the Bigs put up a fair booth. This is their first year in 4-H and the first year in the club that their mother and a friend started. As a former 4-H advisor for a measly 25+ years, I agreed to give them a hand. 

Pretty great job by these new 4-Hers! 

So - it was a pretty long week for Gramma Camp. We started at breakfast and had full days of crafts, activities, field trips and meals before ending after dinner.  It is getting harder to schedule with all the different activities the grandchildren are involved in. And the past two years have been uncomfortably hot which means activities have to take place indoors.  I think we are going to make some changes for next year. We are thinking of camp "weekends" where we will do maybe two days of camp with a theme.  The grandparents are getting tired and the campers are getting more energy!  We will have to see what next year brings. 
And here is that "special" shirt:

Miss Merry