Posts Tagged ‘grandchildren’


“When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

A trip Up North usually, happily, involves a bowl, ingredients, stirring and baking and more than one cook in the kitchen.

Not hot buttered toast, nor contented cats, but, the quote is a favorite of mine, as are these two cherished charmers.


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The door opened and there they were!

It seemed like forever since we had been with our Up North family. Late at night from far away, they tumbled in with boxes and bags and suitcases, and with all the pent up energy that had been stowed away during their long car drive. Hugs and kisses and then they, and we, all bedded down for the night and a week of being blissfully busy.

I feel inordinately blessed that our grandchildren feel at home and comfortable with us and that they settle in swiftly while upping the ante of energy, at least as far as this granny is concerned.

Life is grand!

So it was, on that very first day, that breakfasts were eaten, the garden explored, bikes and scooters employed and impending adventures discussed, bringing us all to the Morton Arboretum to track down the infamous trolls guarding the grounds.

Wow! He’s big!

Uh, this one is going to eat Ezra!

Papa rescued Ezra, who found a rather large footrest to settle upon for a bit.

“Yia Yia, do you know that flowers look better in a picture when you show them with your hand?” said Kezzie. Our citizen scientist and budding photographer then proceeded to demonstrate how. .


Such a sweet boy, waiting for his treat to arrive.

Kezzie, the afore-mentioned citizen scientist, noticed something moving in the grasses at the pond just outside the large expanse of windows in the Visitors Center. What’s a gal to do when she sees such a thing? She takes her Yia Yia’s hand and leads her around the pond to find it – and we did! All markings lead to a Black Capped Night Heron. Searching for the heron mushroomed into an enjoyable walk, looking at flowers and for turtles, hearing crickets and spotting dragonflies. Eventually, a search party (Papa and Auntie Jenny) were expedited to search for us – and found us!


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When not in the kitchen baking with Kezzie, or stuck in the computer’s photo booth with this young man, we have been off on mini-adventures to familiar places with our Up North family who came for a visit.

Ezra has grown so much since we last saw him. He amazes me with his burgeoning intellect, eagerness and inquisitiveness. His attention to detail astounds me as he carefully builds tracks for his Thomas engines and shows signs of reading readiness. He’s a charmer, for certain, and knows he “has me” with just a pleading look in his sky blue eyes. Life is full speed ahead with Ezra.

I remain smitten.

We visited the Morton Arboretum’s children’s garden on a sunny but brisk March afternoon.  Kez & Ez explored the many features, including this rope challenge. I find it quite wonderful that places like the Arboretum have developed areas of their acreage for youngsters. Child-friendly, fun environments that bring children out into nature, developing respect for trees, flowers, animals, and all that our good earth provides.

Our adorable tree hugger,  this bundle of energy brings so much joy to our lives.


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We baked. We always do.  Shortbread, granola, a chocolate Bundt cake for Papa’s birthday. Still, there wasn’t enough time for this sweet young lady and me to have one last cup of tea.

This charming lad and I watched Thomas the Train and cuddled in early morning before breakfast before he turned into a thirsty Minion after he and his cousins and sister rode bikes and scooters round and round the front island, laughing and screaming as children do when having fun and expending energy.

Kez and Ez did what children in the Midwest do in summer; they caught lightning bugs (fireflies) in jelly jars, the lids with small holes punched out. Pure childlike glee at seeing them light up the night.

I am missing them. The house is quiet and the hours still, but, grateful for such a good week together with them, their parents, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jason, and watching them interact with cousins on both sides of their family.

It is always nice to have photos to share. I hope you won’t mind if I do.

Our citizen scientist was quite knowledgeable about Monarch eggs and caterpillars. As soon as she heard me proclaim “there are two Monarchs floating around the front garden” she took to finding eggs.

Once upon a time, Ezra’s Papa (aka Antler Man) sat in this very same rocking chair with his own great-grandfather.

Whether riding furiously around in circles, measuring ingredients for a cake – or measuring who is the tallest, these two darlings brought smiles to my face and joy in heart. A grateful heart and big thank you to their Mommy and Daddy for sharing them with us this week.






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IMG_1127I’m out and about today, restocking the pantry, washing clothes after a week away, garden club activities leading up to the  July 12 garden walk, weeding the garden here on the Cutoff, and on and on we go.

I want to show you the masses of bee balm – with bees on them – that opened whilst we were up North and give you a measure of our success with how tall the grasses and compass plant have stretched since we’ve been away. The weeds. Ah, the weeds. They are abundant this year. It is what it is and I’ll be like Scarlett and worry about them tomorrow. For now, I hope you don’t mind my sharing a few photos of the grands, who charmed and challenged us this past week, and are growing even faster than the weeds in our yard.

Joy supreme.

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“Have courage and be kind” . . .


. . .  and so, we put our heads down and pushed into the wind on the birthday of a little princess. Mommy, Aunty Jenny, Yia Yia, and the little girl just turning five embarked upon a girls’ day out on Sunday to see the new Disney movie, Cinderella.

How can I possibly describe the pure joy of viewing a fantasy fairy tale with the three most cherished girls in my life? We shared tubs of popcorn and Skittles and giggled at the Disney short feature about Anna and Elsa, the movie Frozen’s lead characters. That the feature was about a surprise party for Anna on her birthday just added to magic. We pretended (okay, I pretended) that Anna and Kezzie have the same birthday. Why not? I’m the grannie and grannies can make up whatever they want. Bippity boppity boo.

An underlying theme in this version of Cinderella are the last words Cinderella’s mother speaks to her, “have courage and be kind”. Not bad advice in fantasy or real life.

As grandparents with grandchildren who live very far way, the moments of being near our little ones are often infrequent, so, like many of you we have to seize what moments we have and savor them to last a bit longer when distance keeps us apart. So, we have these few days, and will for the next few, going for walks, cooking, enjoying our meals, playing, reading stories, hiding in blanket forts and engaging in adolescent concerts.

I’ll be busy for a few more days, my friends, so, here are a few photos of our time so far, as we make the most of our time together in the next few days.

Ezra chilling out with Papa, and dressing against the chill for some fun in the yard.


IMG_7144Making music together.


Helping Yia Yia make eggs for brunch with Aunty Jenny and Uncle Jason,


and birthday celebrations.DSCN7639 DSCN7641

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It is such a joy to have someone who wishes to sit with you on a sofa and listen to a watch tick.  Penelope Fitzgerald

DSCN7323When I first saw this quote on Nan’s blog, Letters from a Hill Farm, I knew I would eventually pirate it to the pages of the Cutoff. Fitzgerald’s quote speaks volumes about the sweet moments of being with children. It is the simple, quiet (or not so) moments that are endearing and that keep us company in the off hours when they are not with us.

As I’m nearing my time to leave for home, the tender moments of being with Kezzie and Ezra are all the sweeter, as is my time with their Daddy and Mommy. I will soon get in my car, packed with my belongings, and a few of theirs; their sweet child smells and their soft padded tread, as well as enough loud and enthusiastic sounds that could fill a sports arena. I will pack their endless questions and propositions. “One more time, Yia Yia.” The whys and whens, and the inevitable poopies, Yia Yia” ). In will go the yogurt smudged sweater and the slightly bent emery board.DSCN7353

Gone is my little notepad, now Kezzie’s Journal. Can you imagine that? A kindred spirit if ever there was one. Her first entry is a picture and a fine one at that.

As I mosey down the long road toward home, I’ll wonder if Ezra will finally call me Yia Yia instead of Jenny – once I close the door – and if Kezzie will still feel our cuddle times when I’m no longer there and I will hold the gentle bliss that comes from listening to a watch click.



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close up of flowers. . . I have so many words tumbling around in my head that want to set down and rest on a page. I want to talk about Mr. Selfridge, to show you the daffodils that are starting to bloom, perhaps share a story of when I left my lips in Oak Brook or a poem that has been sitting, waiting for the right moment. First things first, my friend. First things first.

This is a close up of the flowers whose shadows were in my previous post. They sat on Katy and Tom’s table, so cheery and bright, while we were up north visiting. I suspect that a few stems are still brightening the room.

The weekend was filled with Easter and Kezzie’s birthday. Now that she is three, she has a very good understanding of what birthdays mean; presents and cake! I asked if I could bring the cake, which was fun to make and assemble, but, forgot the candles. No matter. Tom (the younger) just lit three votive candles and we sang Happy Birthday while this birthday fairy spun round and round atop the music box cake turner that was used when I was a child.

fairy cake for Kezzie

Lighting Candles for Kezzie's B-Day

Yummy b-day cake


All the while, Ezra stared and ate some cereal, which he enjoyed. I don’t why we take pictures of babies with food on their faces, but, we do. He is such a pleasant little guy with a most willing smile that grows quickly into a belly laugh. He is cooing and scoots around on the floor like a little round airplane just waiting for take-off.




Easter morn dawned, sunny and cold; so cold that the Easter egg hunt needed to be brought indoors. Keziah was most interested in playing with the tub toy from Auntie Jenny and Uncle Jason, while Ezra seemed to be contemplating his next move. Life is so grand when seen through the eyes of a child.


Bunny Scrunchy in K's hair






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