Camp Out, Pig Out

This is the eleventh year that four friends and Gramps and I have gone camping together for a long weekend in the spring. We have known each other for many years. In fact, one friend Ethel and I have known one another since the sixth grade. We have seen all the good, the bad and the ugly in each other many times over.

It started innocently enough with a group camping trip. We traded meals and that’s when we found out that Bill or Mr. Bill as we call him, was a master cast iron chef. He then became our breakfast guru.

Breakfast soon became a bacon lovers delight. Bacon does go with everything, you know! As in bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, bacon and ham, bacon and cheese, bacon and potatoes, bacon and . . . bacon. There are so many ways to eat bacon, as we discover each year.

Breakfasts lasted longer each year. First an hour, then two, now up to three hours including dessert. Yes, we have dessert for breakfast!

We have found that breakfast is so spectacular and lasts so long, what with all the courses and talking and more courses and more talking, that we usually don’t plan lunch anymore.

There is a mid afternoon snack. Something healthy, like brownies or cookies. Then a big dinner planned and served by one of us. It’s really just a big eat fest. Hence, the name – Camp Out, Pig Out. It has since been shortened to COPO.

Since Gramps and I are retired, we are the scouting party and arrive a couple of days early. We set up camp, get nearby sites for everyone and test the local sights and cuisine.

On Friday afternoon the other two couples arrive and set up their rigs. I always serve Friday night dinner because I have the time to cook while they are traveling.

This year we are having homemade grilled hamburgers (nothing better!), potato salad, fresh tomatoes, chips, guacamole and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Sound good?

On Saturday morning, of course, is a mega breakfast, Mr. Bill style. Bacon, bacon and more bacon. Yum! After this artery stopping meal, we usually divide up – men go fishing and/or boating, women go shopping.

In other words, the guys head to the nearest body of water, attach bits of fish/hot dog/bait/etc on the end of poles and sit for hours waiting and waiting. This activity is called fishing and men love to do it, talk about it, plan for it and buy equipment for it. Our men are no different.

Every year they go fishing. Every year they catch nothing. Every year they have a great time. Go figure!

The ladies, on the other hand, go shopping or sightseeing or both. We have been to antique stores, quilt shops, historic homes, museums, gardens, gift shops. And we have been successful every single time!

Oh yes, we have never come home empty handed. What glorious things we have found. What fabulous memories we have made. What fun we have had.

For several years now, Ethel has made matching T-shirts for the three of us ladies. One year as we were out shopping in our three identical shirts, I convinced a shop owner that we were triplets out for a day of fun. The other two were exploding trying to keep from laughing and I was having the time of my life.

Over the years, our COPOs have been varied. We have weathered rain, hail, scorching heat, wild fires and floods. We have had sick people, injured people and the forever healthy people. We have tried cooking all sorts of foods (except fish. We’ve never had fish!) and gone out for food.

 

One year our grandson Mac came with us to the annual COPO. It took about an hour for him to feel comfortable going in and out of everyone’s camper as if he lived there. Everyone became family to him about one minute later. He was fascinated with the super bacon breakfasts. And of course, because he is male, he went fishing with the boys. I’m not sure what he really did all day.

We gals brought treats for him from our shopping trip. It’d seemed only fair. He was nine and he had put up with the fishing thing all day.

Eleven years of these grand memories and here we are again! It’s Thursday night. Everyone will be here tomorrow. Saturday morning will be an eleventh breakfast extravaganza.

Then the guys and a fishing guide will hit the lake for a day of fishing. Maybe the guide will change the day’s outcome.

We ladies are going to a Quilt Show and maybe some antiquing. Whatever suits our fancy at the time.

Saturday evening will be dinner at Myra and Mike’s camper with the traveling tablecloth we use for every meal. Then we build a campfire and sit up late – maybe lil about 11:00 or so. Hey, we’re old!

Sunday am will find us back at Mr. Bill’s with the traveling tablecloth for super breakfast #2. What a way to end a COPO. Total PIGOUT!!!!

It’s Thursday night and I can’t wait. Hope it doesn’t end too soon.

Advertisements

Grand Things Kids Say

A couple weeks ago, Gramps and I took Mac to the lake in the boat. (It is still very hot here is Texas!) We went all around the lake and then decided we would beach the boat so we could do some swimming and wading in the cool water. Mac had his life jacket on and jumped over the side of the boat, making a very large splash. His comment – “What a huge displacement!”.

Thank you Science teacher!

Happy Birthday To You!

Birthdays come every year. When we are young, we can hardly wait for this annual event to occur. When we get older, we can hardly believe another year has passed so quickly. Birthdays are a reminder, not only to tell us we are getting older but that we are still alive.

Ten birthday cake candles against a white background

Gramps celebrated a birthday this week. He is now 73 years old. Neither of us, in our youth, imagined getting this old, but here we are. We had a wonderful BBQ dinner with all the extras, including a cake made by our daughter. (Mac says his mom makes the “best cakes ever”. I agree.) Family and friends joined us.

We ate, we laughed, we told “you know you’re old when” jokes, we gave gifts and we ate again. We sang “Happy Birthday” even though there were no candles on the cake. After all, a birthday is all about having fun and sharing it with others. And truly it has very little to do with presents.

family-celebrating-grandfathers-birthday-at-restaurant-ETWNCN

For kids, birthdays are especially important. Each one is a consistent marker of time and growth. It is a permanent memory, like a tree ring, of the past year of gain, loss, growth, learning and change. It is also a tiding of the future’s possibilities, the year to come, the time until the next birthday.The birthday itself should be a wonderful celebration of life. It can be of any sort to suit the child and/or the family – a party, a special meal, a sleepover, an outing, a movie, balloons, a cake, anything, anything out the ordinary.

balloons

Children need to feel every day, but especially on their day of birth, that they are loved and valued. They need some extra attention sometimes and this is the perfect day to do it!

I write a note to each of my grandchildren on their birthday. I tell them how much I love them, how glad I am they were born and how proud I am of them. Presents come and go, but they will always have my birthday notes. If they are ever feeling down or unsure of themselves, they can read my little letters and hopefully feel the love in my words.

Every birthday should make the recipient feel better, happier, appreciated and loved. Remembering our loved ones’ special days is our duty and should be our delight.

1bd47d69810993fc3af20ec4fd788807

Children adore being remembered and fussed over. I adore remembering and fussing over my grandchildren, so it is a win-win situation for us.

Wishing all my Sweeties a Happy Birthday, whenever it is!!!

 

 

A Day With Mac

Mac’s mother called to let all of the grandparents know that Mac had a few open days after Summer Rec ended and before school started. Between those ending and starting days and an upcoming vacation to Washington, D.C., there were a few days open to Grandparent time. We ended with him this last Wednesday for twelve hours.

Now Mac is eleven years and is able to entertain himself a good portion of the time, but when Granny and Gramps get involved, the expectations are raised. Plans are made to fill almost every minute of the day. Fun must be had on an almost continual basis.

We picked Mac up first thing in the morning. He spent about an hour on my phone playing a video game called “Simple Planes”. He built and destroyed numerous planes in that short hour.

a59e46ec3c0dc09a1812038faa55e66c

Then it was off the movies to see “Jungle Book”,  in 3D of course. It’s a great movie of love, loyalty and perseverance – good wins out in the end. And Bill Murray as a Grizzly Bear is just funny no matter how old you are! Mac loved it! We all did!

Child eating out with his grandparents in a restaurant

Child eating out with his grandparents in a restaurant

After the movie we went to lunch for burgers, chips, sodas and BBQ sandwich for Gramps. The music was very retro, so Gramps and I were humming along to songs from our college and high school years.

qwirkle~32016-a0T

The weather here in Texas is too hot for outdoor anything during the day, so home we went to play board games. Our current favorite is a game called Qwirkle, which is somewhat like Dominoes. Mac wins more often than not.

Unknown

Gramps and Mac watched a car race on TV together in the study. They rooted for their favorite cars and drivers. I have no idea who won! It’s a guy thing!

As the sun got low enough and the temperature lowered, Mac and Gramps rode bikes down to the lake near our house. They talked to the men who were fishing on the edge of the lake and rode their bikes back.

By then, everyone was hungry. Sweet Gramps made us a lovely dinner of baked chicken and sautéed squash. After getting full on nutritious food, Mac took a bowl of chips into the back room to read a book.

child reading a book on his own_1

An hour later, Mac’s mother came to get him. When she asked how his day had gone, he answered, “Fine. It was a normal day.” Normal day?!

Gramps and I certainly had a great deal of fun and loved the time spent interacting with Mac. We love listening to him talk and explain things. We love watching his brain work. But this was anything but a normal day! Mac was still raring to go. Gramps and I were exhausted, pooped, worn out, wasted.

15dff124068b8d0b0574e8e55337e0ce_3-hidden-stresses-of-grandparenting-580x326_featuredImage

Mac’s normal day had taken the stuffing right out of us. All we wanted to do next was sit down, lay down and sleep. What a difference age makes!

 

Becoming A Granny

I remember well the day my grandson Mac was born. It was ten and a half years ago and I was there to see the whole event.

Unknown

I remember the feeling of awe and wonder at such a perfect little human being born after so much work by him and his mother.

I remember the overwhelming love I had for him. I knew in one tiny moment I would give anything to make sure he grew up happy and healthy.

I remember the instant bond I felt between us. One person older and the other brand new. One person experienced and the other having no experience at all. One person having lived many years and the other seeing life completely fresh and new.

images

I remember thinking – now I am a grandmother. A grandmother to this child. A first for both of us.

There were so many feelings of joy, happiness, completion, newness, all swirling around me. I was completely overcome and overwhelmed. I laughed and cried all at the same time.

love

Becoming a grandparent is the completion of one cycle and the beginning of another. Two forks in the same road at the same time. No wonder it is such an emotional time!

Becoming a Granny for me was the start of a new job – a most important job. I think it is the best job I’ve ever had. Everything in my life has led me to this job, being a Granny. All my experiences have taught me what I need to know to be a good Granny.

wedding

Being a Granny is also a privilege. Not everyone is given this particular lot in life and I don’t take it for granted. I’m thankful every day that I’m allowed to be a grandparent to seven wonderful kids.

I also think being a Granny is a reward for being in the right place at the right time. I have gotten grandchildren by many means – by adoption, by marriage and by blood. Gramps says if grandchildren were sold in stores, I would probably buy them too! I say, get them anyway they come to you! And be glad of it!

grandmother power

Being a Granny is the best and hardest thing I have ever done, but I wouldn’t change one minute of it. Being a Granny is the most fun I have ever had. Being a Granny is . . . . . GREAT!

Grand Things Kids Say

Laughing small kids on a white background

One weekend Mac came to visit us and we started playing Monopoly. Gramps’ playing piece was the hat, mine was the thimble and Mac’s was the car. The game lasted from one day to the next, as it often does.

It was becoming clear that Gramps was going to win, as he had all the hotels and houses. Whoever landed on one of his properties next was going to go bankrupt. Mac sat up straight and announced, “I’m going to sell my car!” and promptly traded his playing piece in for the horse. Gramps tried to convince him that the maintenance cost of a horse would probably be more than the car, but Mac was convinced his luck would change.

Gramps, of course, won royally, but what a laugh we had!

Let’s Walk

Every evening as the sun is setting and the temperature is becoming more tolerable, Gramps and I take a walk around the neighborhood. We don’t exactly power walk, but we don’t meander either. We walk fast enough to raise our heart rate and slow enough to talk.

stock-footage-shadow-of-man-and-woman-walking-in-autumn-park-join-hands

Part of the reason we do this activity is health improvement. Walking has a positive effect on almost every part of the body and on almost any problem you might have. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But it’s true!

Walking improves thinking, sleep, blood pressure, weight, the immune system and Vitamin D levels. It strengthens the heart, legs, butt, tummy and bones, and reduces stress and risk of dementia. What else can do so much for you while requiring nothing but shoes and a little time?

The biggest reason Gramps and love to walk is it is fun. We hold hands, talk, look at nature and visit with others walking their dogs on the same route. It is really a grand time for us. We share happenings from the day, bring up new ideas, rehash old ideas, make future plans. We listen intently to each other and laugh a lot. Sometimes we just walk in silence and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. What a precious time it is!

images

When grandchildren come to visit, they usually walk with us (or use a bike or a scooter or whatever). They love taking the walkie-talkies along for some added interest. One of them runs ahead with one of the walkie-talkies and gives a report of what they see i.e.. an ant hill, two toads and a robin. The kids see things we usually don’t, so it is an added treat. In fact, it is so much fun with the kids, we usually go farther. And the little ones like to hold hands too!

1

I can’t think of many things more fun, more positive or more healthy than just plain old walking around where you live. Can we walk?