Nana and Donny Go to School

Visiting my grandbabies in Japan allowed me to spend a morning at nursery school with my grandson, Donny.  Mama Emma arranged it so I could see what his day was like.

Here in Texas, we have tornado drills but in Japan, they do earthquake drills.  It was impressive to watch these teachers grab a go-to bag with little helmets and packs.  After putting the helmets on everyone each teacher then strapped a carrier to her back and placed a child in it.  Then they held another child in front as they huddled on the floor.  All of this took just a few moments to complete – it was a marvel to witness.

Outdoor time was a walk through town to a park nearby.  Again, it was remarkable to watch the teachers maneuver the children and keep them safe.  Each child had an orange cap placed on their head for easy identification and for the ‘walk’ they rode in what looked like a big laundry basket on wheels.

Playtime at the park was pure joy and filled with laughter, squeals, sand, bugs, and a snack. Although, not necessarily in that order.

When it was time for lunch I was invited to sit with Donny and share a taste of each dish the children were also having. Everything from the salmon to the soup and the green tea was delicious.

A delightful day getting to share ‘school’ with my grandson.  It was a great bonding experience and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the local Japanese did things their way.

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Visiting the Tokyo Tots

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to join the grandparents club knows the amazing joy of loving (and spoiling) the offspring of our offspring.

I’m so lucky that 7 of my 9 grandchildren live 2 miles away. I get to see them regularly and I’m very thankful for that.

My other 2 grandchildren live 6,469 miles away in Tokyo, Japan.   I don’t get to see them as often. However, I’m very thankful for the technology that allows me to video chat with them regularly.

I’m also thankful I’ve gotten to see them twice in the last 6 months.

In December, our son, Joshua, brought his expectant wife, Emma, his son, Donny and Emma’s parents, Takei and Kazue, to Texas for a visit.

We enjoyed their visit so much and had tons of fun spending Christmas with them and showing off some of the wonders of the Lone Star State.

When Joshua and Emma’s new son arrived in April we knew we wanted to meet Baby Alan sooner rather than later so my husband, Ronald, and I made the trek across the Pacific to spend time with them.

Alan is so adorable and that furrowed brow?  I’m totally owning it as he definitely gets that from me, his Nana.

Big brother, Donny, is just as handsome and at an ideal age for discovering new things every day.

For this trip my main objective was to give – and get – as many cuddles and kisses as two little boys would allow.  Luckily, they are still very young and weren’t opposed to Nana constantly loving on them.

It.Was.Wonderful

Snuggles, hugs, first baby coos, new baby giggles, toddler babbling and a lot of laughter from everyone made for a great vacation and visit.  It’s not easy being far away – I love them and miss them so much – but the life they have created is sweet and I cannot deny they are where they should be.

Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’

 

 

Smile – It’s Your Birthday

jar-dressed-funny
Joshua – 10 years old 

For the parents out there – have you ever said to one of your children, “I hope you have a child just like you”?  And, if you did say it, was it because they were being about as perfect as perfect could be?  Or… not? Maybe it was said in one of those completely exasperating moments.  I don’t actually recall if I’ve said that to my children. Chances are, at the very least, I said it to my son, Joshua.

Joshua is all grown up now and he and his wife just had their second son but, when he was a child he was always precocious and inquisitive.  His curiosity kept me on my toes and is now legendary when we reminisce about antics from his younger days.

When Baby Alan arrived a few days ago he had the small but distinct honor of arriving on his great-great-grandmothers birthday.  She would have been 118.  As I was thinking about my grandmother…and her birthday…and Alan’s birth/birthday…and Alan’s daddy (Joshua) my mind then drifted to my grandmother’s funeral.

I didn’t say my thoughts made any sense.

But, they did make me smile.

We were having a visitation for my grandmother at the funeral home.  She looked peaceful and pretty in her casket.  As it usually is the top half of the casket was open and we could see my grandma from the waist up.

Joshua, fairly young at the time – and always curious – climbed onto the side of the casket to get a better view.  As he looked at her he decided he needed to see the rest of her and pushed the satin drape aside to get a better look.

Pretty much in the coffin at that point, he yelled, “HEY! She doesn’t have any shoes on! She’s barefoot!  What’s she supposed to do when she gets to Heaven?  Why does Grandma get to go barefoot and I have to keep my shoes on??”

Inquisitive, enquiring, questioning, probing minds wanted to know.

Oh Joshua, how I love you.

 

Baby Alan, with every joyful ounce of a Nana’s love… You hit the jackpot with your daddy.  I hope you grow up to be just like him.

 

 

 

 

WPC – Experimental

Our son, Patrick, is a senior in high school this year and I want some nice pictures of him.  Always looking for ways to save a buck or two I decided to take some shots on my own and see if I liked what I saw.  He’s been playing marimba for the band since his freshman year and music is a big part of his life.  Naturally, I want  to include this monster instrument in some of the shots.

Being 18 he, at first, gave me nothing but scowls and eye rolls but, then, once we had a little smile-or-else chat (that’s the polite version) he cooperated and we actually even had a couple of laughs.

Round 1 was strictly experimental and I haven’t decided if I’m happy yet or not.  We will see.

Wanting some close-up shots I enlisted the help of younger brother Ben.  These may be the funniest of the series because there is no way to crop Ben’s rear end out without losing part of Patrick’s head.  Suffice to say there will be Round 2 because the shot hasn’t happened yet.

Stay tuned.

 

WPC – It IS Easy Being Green When It’s Springtime in Texas

An ordinary Sunday afternoon spent enjoying my boys, my dogs and lots of sunshine. (The Hubster was out of town)

Luxurious Green-ness is abundant during springtime in this great state of Texas!

 

 

Stubborn For the Win

When your school is small and it feels like – for a variety of reasons – the deck is consistently stacked against you – the temptation could be to throw in the towel and give up.  But, make no mistake when you overcome the odds – especially when it’s your 8th grade year – and win……It.Is.Sweet.

Basketball runner-up

In fifth grade they came so close – only to be denied the Big Win.

Their sixth and seventh grade years were hopeful seasons with disappointing eliminations in the play-offs.

 

Early on the boys decided eighth grade was going to be their year.  Working hard, they overcame the odds and prevailed. Stubborn? Persistent? Or, just highly motivated?  Probably a combination of all three. Whatever it was – these guys not only took the basketball championship but, made history for our little parochial school (named for St. Paul) and brought home the 1st place trophy for baseball too.

Basketball semi

Going to the Championship!

The semi-finals was a game against the #1 team.  Excited about their chances our fans packed the stands and cheered loudly.  It was close but with 1-second left before the buzzer #31, Eli, did a Hail Mary for a 3-pointer, made the shot and won the game.

The championship game brought even more St. Paul fans and another close score.  But, in the end, the Packers prevailed and took home the trophy.  It was one of the best nights of their young lives.

Basketball champsThey Won! They Won!

Basketball champs8th grade Dallas Parochial League 2016 Champions

Basketball champsBen with the basketball trophy and his medal

Basketball champsHappy Moms – we were loud and proud

Several of the boys also played baseball and, wanting to make the most of their last season as St. Paul Packers, formed a team. With the basketball season complete they set their eyes on the baseball prize.

Baseball champsAn undefeated season took them to the last game of both the year and middle-school.

Baseball champs

8th grade Dallas Parochial League 2016 Baseball Champs

Baseball champs

Ben with the baseball trophy and his medal

Baseball champsWearing our matching Packer Pride shirts we happily posed with our sons medals

 Two championships in one year – these young men made all of us – parents, coaches, friends, teachers and administrators – super duper proud. No question it was a pretty exciting spring semester.

Eighth Gradeitis

Senioritis: that time of year when seniors in high school or college are so close to finishing but aren’t there quite yet. When time slows to a crawl, and it seems like graduation day will never arrive.

Eighth Gradeitis: Senioritis for 8th graders.

The next generation of 9th-12th graders are finishing their middle school years and are on the cusp of that great big new exciting world called high school.

My own 8th grader, Ben, said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I am soooo ready to be in high school.”

“I know you are – but you still have to get through these next few weeks of school.”

Saying that also prompted me to remind him to slow down and live in the moment.  Don’t forget about today because you’re so focused on starting high school.

After all – as an 8th grader he is doing many things for the last time.  Like the sports in which he participates.  High school will be much more competitive, and chances are he won’t be able to play volleyball, basketball, soccer AND baseball.

Also, for now, he and his classmates are the BIG kids on campus.  Next year….it’s back to the bottom of the heap.

I told him, “Be excited about your future but don’t live just for tomorrow.  Enjoy today and relish all the things you have going on right now.”

Isn’t that a good lesson/reminder for all of us?

The 8th grade class of 2016 – blink and it will be 2020.  Just like that they’ll be graduating high school.

May 6 8th grade class
copyright and photo credit to Don Chamblee Photography

Reminder to self – enjoy this remarkable young man now.  The next four years will go by way faster than I think they will.

Joshua 29:11 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Dance

Happy. Smiling. Living the moment. Enjoying the life.

Dancing.

One of many favorite pictures I have of my boys.

photo copyright @terezpics 2004

They were 3 and 5 years-old in this picture and now they are 14 and 16.  They are still apt to be just as fun-loving and goofy.  Just not as keen on me getting pictures of it.

Ben and Patrick under the railroad trellis

No matter – I love my boys to bits.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/dance/

A Spring Sunday

Sunday morning brought blue skies, warm temperatures and a sprinkling of clouds.  It was a beautiful contrast to the week  just finished, which had been dreary, gray, cloudy and rainy.

Having enjoyed Mass followed by lunch with friends, the weather was too pretty to stay inside.  So, with hubby out of town and, looking to spend some time with my boys, I coaxed my teenagers into putting on their shoes – and putting down the game controllers – to go for a walk.

After loading dogs, baseball gloves and the camera into the car we headed off to explore a newly completed walking/biking trail in our town.

A relaxing, laid-back time was had by all as we wandered, played, explored and enjoyed each others company.  The mild temperatures and rain ‘greened’ everything up – seemingly overnight – and the natural beauty we experienced was fresh and new.  Flowers and trees in various stages of blooming along with green, green and more green everywhere we looked.

I managed to snap a few good pictures; capturing moments on this journey called The Teenage Years.  At 14 and 16, my boys, in the blink of an eye, will be heading off to begin the next chapters of their lives and  I’m grateful for these moments of togetherness.

all copyrights belong to @terezpics  2016 and mycrazygracedlife.com