Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Holy Leap Year, Batman!

So today was it.  It was your bonus day! 

Only once every four years do we get this extra day.  Did you do anything special with it?  Did you even recognize that this was a special gift; 24 extra hours over what we usually have in a year?

I realize that it's not an official holiday or anything like that. No decorations are required or brightly wrapped presents or even chocolate...though that would be nice.  Simply February 29, an extra day.    But if you think about it, that's a pretty extravagant gift!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Moose War

I realize that with all the horrendous things that happen in the world, the story I am about to tell barely warrants a blip on the news meter.  But a few short weeks ago, my home was the scene of "The Moose War."  Here's how it went down.

One day, my husband told me about this giant stuffed moose that he had seen at Costco for "only" $37.  He raved about how cool it was...close to six feet tall... and how much our granddaughter, Ella, would love it!  Fortunately, he realized how unrealistic it would be for our kids to have a giant stuffed moose in their small home.

However, at this point his common sense flew out the window and he started suggesting that ours was the perfect residence for this overgrown stuffed animal because Ella could play with it whenever she visited.  This was when I cut him off at the knees, and told him in no-uncertain-terms, that we would NOT be bringing that furry behemoth into our home, end of story!

Before I go any further, let me just set the stage for the battle that was about to ensue.  My husband and I have two grown children whom we love dearly.  But an interesting phenomenon happens when your children grow up.  They leave your home much sooner than all their belongings do!  Can I get an "amen" from all you parents of grown children whose homes have become the unintended storage units of their childrens' belongings?

I am not trying to lay any blame here.  And our son would be quick to step in here and remind me that when he moved his bed out of our home and into a tiny basement apartment for his junior year of college, his dad insisted that he take everything else with him too.  I can still see the hurt look on his face when, 47 minutes later, his dad had turned his bedroom into "the office!" We love you, son!

But it didn't quite happen that way with our daughter.  Somehow, from the time she first packed her bags and moved to college, until we could reclaim her room as our real estate, seven years had passed.  And during those seven years, we had added many items (including a couch) that she "might need when she gets an apartment."  The only problem was that she didn't really get that apartment. 

When she finished school, she taught pre-school and worked as a nanny for a year during which her employers provided her with a small bedroom in their home.  Then the next year she went to Russia to teach for a year.  She could only bring two suitcases with her so that didn't do much for clearing out her bedroom.  Then when she came home, she got engaged, moved back into her "nanny room" and worked while planning their wedding. wasn't until late last spring, after the wedding and a move to California that the big U Haul box gave me my spare bedroom!

After the U Haul and my daughter and son-in-law drove away, I spent many hours cleaning and organizing this newly acquired space. I hauled the remaining stuff out of the room, rearranged some furniture and bought a new comforter. It still needs to be painted and a few more final touches but finally...we have a spare bedroom that can actually be used by guests! 

Now, fast forward to three weeks ago when I was talking on the phone with my sister, Lisa, and wondering what was taking my husband so long to return from filling the car up with gas.  Finally, I heard the front door close.  As I chatted with my sister, suddenly my husband appears in the doorway with a giant moose in his arms and a sheepish grin on his face.

I'm sure my startled sister wondered what was going on when suddenly she heard me yelling "No!" I quickly explained that I couldn't believe that my husband had just walked in with a giant stuffed moose !  "Is it from Costco?" she asked.  "Is that from Costco?" I asked my husband.  "Yes!  Isn't it cool?" he said. Then my sister said in my ear, "If it's from Costco, I know EXACTLY which moose you are talking about.  It's huge!" she said unable to keep the laughter out of her voice.

For the next couple of minutes...while my sister husband and I did battle over the future of that moose.  "It's going back!" I said.  "But Ella will love it!" he said.  "'s going back!"  "But it's so fun! I already have a name for it...Taloose the Moose."  "NO! It's not taking up my guest room for the next 10 years!" You see, that was really the crux of the matter.  I had waited too long to have that room and I wasn't about to turn it over to a giant stuffed animal.  Finally, my husband walked into the guest room and gently placed the moose on the bed.

This is a queen sized bed that Taloose is resting on so peacefully!
Eventually my husband resigned himself to the fact that Taloose was just going to be a guest in our guest room  But since the kids were coming over the next day, he could hardly wait to show him to Ella.  However, to his disappointment, that didn't turn out quite like he had expected.

Ella meets Taloose
Ella took a couple of minutes trying to take in this giant mountain of fur...and then turned back to play with the cute little rubber duckies I had given her.  Sometimes, less is more.

The next day, with only a few muffled sobs, my husband packed up Taloose and headed back to Costco.  As I look back on this whole episode, I realize that the Moose War was pretty much like every other war in was all about territory!

Farewell, Taloose!
With peace restored, life has pretty much gone back to normal with only a few whispered references to how much Ella would have loved that moose.  But about a week ago, I received a picture text from my sister, Lisa.  It was a picture of a giant moose taking up an entire Costco shopping cart.  It simply said, "Everyone is buying one!"  That's great...just so "everyone" doesn't include me!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Been a Year!

What a difference a year makes...

Happy first birthday (and birthday cake), my darling Ella!

All my love, Grandma

(Even if I am a little late getting this posted!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Passing Storms

Yesterday and today have been absolutely gorgeous sunny days...a far cry from what the weather was like two weeks ago when we were hammered by ferocious winter storms. 

Walking through my neighborhood yesterday morning, I soaked up the glorious sunshine that was working to take the chill out of the morning air and I was struck by the contrast. Two weeks ago, we were right in the middle of some really dangerous weather that caused so much damage in our area.  And yet there I was, a mere 14 days later, soaking up the sun. 

But as I walked through our neighborhood, there was no denying that we had recently been through a major storm.  Trees are still  leaning and scarred by broken branches.  Sidewalks are piled high with mounds of fallen trees and branches, waiting to be cleared away.  The landscape of our neighborhood has been changed by the storms.

As I picked my way past these countless piles of brokenness and change, I was reminded that this life is full of storms that we must walk through.  And while we are in the midst of them, it sometimes feels like they will never end. 

Yet, today's sunshine reminded me that, no matter how bad the storms are or how long they may last, there will come a time when they have  passed, and life will go on.  We will probably not be the same people that we were before the storm and the landscape of our lives may have drastically changed, but sunshine will come again.

If you are in the middle of one of life's storms right now, I pray that you be encouraged to keep fighting the fight and hang on to the knowledge that one day, the storm will pass. And most importantly, know that you don't have to go through the storms alone. God has promised to walk through them with us and to sustain us until we walk in sunshine once again.