Brenda, and Babies

Let us recall this picture from my last post, of our dear family friend, Brenda,

Brendie meeting Ava.

Brendie meeting Ava.

and how she came to see us despite being so very ill.  Fortunately it’s hard to see in this shot, but she literally looked like a corpse:  blue skin, purple lips, black fingertips, skeletal frame, all signs of her late-stage degenerative lung disease.  Just after this picture was taken I quietly left our gathering to have a small cry on my step-mom’s shoulder.

Illness notwithstanding, her lack of oxygen, and subsequent lack of coloring, were partially her own fault.  The tubing in the picture was for her oxygen supply.  As you can see she needed to breathe through her nose in order to get that oxygen.  Brenda the Chatterbox, however, couldn’t suffer silence in a room full of people, not even long enough to inhale through her nose every so often.  Eating dinner was downright impossible:  eat, talk, and breathe at the same time?    No way.  Nothing is more humorous to Brenda than her own shortcomings, so we shared a good laugh at her inability to get any of that oxygen sitting right there on her face.  As she left, my dad made sure we each actually said the words “good-bye” to her, because, he said, we’d never see her again.  Pessimistic, and a little mean, as it sounded, he was right. She succumbed to her illness a month later.

The world is duller without her bubbly personality, her easy conversation and sense of humor.  She is sorely missed, but undoubtedly in a place of comfort and peace.  ❤

I forget that I am not friends with the entire world on Facebook.  While this is a good thing, some people are missing out on the pictures I often post of our little beauty.  So get your smile ready.

Playing at the park.

Playing at the park.

Too big for the dumb carseat.

Too big for the dumb carseat.

Baby selfies!  Not really...she just wanted to eat the camera.

Baby selfies! Not really…she just wanted to eat the camera.

Ava and Oma.

Ava and Oma.

More Oma and Ava

More Oma and Ava

Uncle Andrew making sure Ava doesn't have to play alone at 1 am.

Uncle Andrew making sure Ava doesn’t have to play alone at 1am.

Our sleeping angel.

Our sleeping angel.

Mommy and Ava in head scarves.

Mommy and Ava in head scarves.

She is 5 months old now and thriving.  She is very active, Doc says she is even a little ahead in development. I think she’s just impatient.  She gets frustrated with her own limitations.  She’s learned how to get herself where she wants to go through a series of wiggly maneuvers, however, so her frustration level is less than it was.  She can almost sit herself up.  And everything that can be grasped goes straight to the mouth.

Oooo I have another treat, too.  (If you know this family, don’t tell them that you saw these pictures. There might be more coming.)

Smushy!

Smushy!

Sweetheart!

Sweetheart!

Eeeeee!  I love those little faces!

While looking for pictures for Brenda’s memorial, my step-mom found some from when Jess was about a year old.  Check this out:

My grandmother with Jess, 1994, and Ava, 2014.

My grandmother with Jess, 1994, and Ava, 2014.

Ava did not inherit those big brown eyes: she has her Daddy’s almond-shaped green ones.  She does, however, have Jess’s nose, mouth, and chin.  My grandmother loved that I inherited my dad’s mouth.  I always thought it was an odd thing to appreciate, but now that I see it on my progeny I allow myself the same oddness.  Especially because we all inherited this feature from my grandfather, so it’s fun to see it perpetuating.

Brief update on school:  it’s going.  This semester I have English 1C, officially called Intermediate Critical Thinking and Analytic Composition or some such nonsense, and English Lit (round 2).  It’s rough, but it’s been rougher, and I really like both of my professors, so I’m pushing through.  I spent the day reading Charlotte Bronte’s Villette for English 1C.  Not a bad way to pass a weekend, I say.

Yikes!  It is 5 am!  I should go to bed, yes?  Good night good people.

Noncation 2014

I fully planned to do my usual Noncation timeline this year.  Every time I work on it, however, I quickly lose interest.  So I’ll just skim over the highlights.  I hope you don’t mind.  I won’t change it if you do.  So there.

The folks left Sunday morning for points unknown.  As it turns out, their vacation, which is my noncation, was really more of a stay-cation.  Their first stop was a beautiful Hindu temple about an hour away from home.  Their last stop was the city of San Bernardino, also about an hour away from home.  Bold, these people.

In the meantime I rented a car, loaded it with a small entourage, and drove to my grandmother’s house to introduce her to Ava. Finally!

Ava and her great-great-grandmother.

Ava and her great-great-grandmother.

And her great-grandpa.

And her great-grandpa.

The surprise of the day came when family friend Brenda joined us.  She is very ill, so her presence was extra special.

Brendie meeting Ava.

Brendie meeting Ava.

She had a difficult time of it, but she wasn’t about to miss out on meeting Ava.  We were so grateful that she could spend the day with us.

Incidentally, Miss Ava is 3 months old now.  She’s a perfectly beautiful little thing who is entirely too sassy for her nonexistent vocabulary.

Ava Grace at three months old.

Ava Grace at three months old.

Five generations:  me, my grandmother, my granddaughter, my dad, and my daughter.

Five generations: me, my grandmother, my granddaughter, my dad, and my daughter.

With all the people and excitement, Ava spent the day over-stimulated.  We thought she’d fall asleep on the way home, but we thought wrong.  We thought so very wrong.  She wailed the entire time.  We stopped twice to calm her down, but she resumed her crying as soon as she was back in the car seat.  Nothing like three hours of cacophonous baby fury to sap the energy out of you.

On Monday Ava’s parents had a home maintenance problem to repair, so I babysat all day.  Normally I have my youngest sister with me to help, but since she was away on the epic stay-cation I was flying solo.  Sunday must have ruined Ava’s thirst for adventure, because she screamed every time she was in a car.  By the end of the day my nerves were frayed.

Some calm in the storm came when we visited my sis-in-law and her two babies.  Ava took a nice long nap in a swing while I had a serious conversation with this angel:

The calmest baby in the world.

Smushy’s new sister!

She is only two months younger than Ava, and Smushy is only a year and a half older, so I have a feeling the three of them are going to be thick as thieves.  This new one is the calmest baby in the world.  I can see Ava bossing her around.  So I talked to her about not being a doormat to her cousin.  She stared at me smiling the whole time.  And then slept like a log.  Her mommy said I wore her out talking so much.  I think I bored her to death.

Tuesday was blessedly uneventful.  I went grocery shopping and cooked dinner.

On Wednesday Drew started back at school.  Tenth grade!  I forgot to take pictures.  He looked so nice, too.  😦  In order to stay in Drama he has seven classes this year, which means school starts at 7:00 am.  That is soooooooooo early!  *cry*  We made it on-time, though. 

At about noon I noticed there were phone messages.  One was from the high school, left the day before, saying the first day of school started at 9:15.  Whoops!  Drew said it was okay:  he found a friend whose parents also failed to get the message. Freshmen had to be at school by 7:30 for orientation, so Drew and his friend occupied their time by sizing up the fresh meat.

Later in the evening I sat at the kitchen table, eating dinner by myself, watching a recorded TV show, enjoying the peace, minding my own business, when our intrepid stay-cationers arrived home unexpectedly.  Not that I expected them on any particular day, but I had hoped we’d get an extra day of peace.  Alas, it was not to be.  My sister marched in and said my car was in their way, Mom asked why I made dinner, and my step-dad wondered what this country is coming to when a little girl in Tennessee gets in trouble for saying “bless you” to a sneezing classmate.

Thus ended Noncation 2014.

At least I got a souvenir.

At least I got a souvenir.

Sunflower and Hollyhock Seeds

How do you know when a sunflower is ready to harvest?

The bees won't tell you.

The bees won’t tell you.

The ladybugs won’t tell you.

The passion vine masquerading as a tree won't tell you.

The passion vine masquerading as a tree won’t tell you.

The grubs don't know.

The grubs don’t know.

The four o'clocks don't care.

The four o’clocks don’t care.

Sahara's not talking.

Sahara’s not talking.

The silk floss stumps might know, but who can understand their accent?

The silk floss stumps might know, but who can understand their accent?

The marigolds think you should figure it out for yourself.

The marigolds think you should figure it out for yourself.

The branching sunflowers, they're too pretty to be bothered.

The branching sunflowers, they’re too pretty to be bothered.

The cut sunflowers have more important problems.

The cut sunflowers have more important problems.

Sahara still isn't talking.

Sahara still isn’t talking.

The ripe sunflowers themselves might give you a hint.

The ripe sunflowers themselves might give you a hint, but…

It's the squirrels.  The squirrels will let you know.

…it’s the squirrels. The squirrels will let you know.

How do they get the shells onto the TOP of the flower?!

How do they get the shells onto the TOP of the flower?!

So several of the sunflowers that Jess planted in Ava’s garden have been harvested and laid out to dry. She didn’t get much into the garden before she got too big to dig anymore.  The sunflowers and a smattering of marigolds, that was it.  We tried spreading a wildflower seed mix but nothing took.  I started some new seeds in peat pots this week, so hopefully those will give us a little color before the summer is over.

Speaking of seeds and color, I harvested a ton of hollyhock seeds.  I started to put them into packs of 40 seeds each, which worked alright for these

hollyhocks 3

The purply ones

and these

hollyhocks 11

The whitish ones

since their seed heads took longer to mature.  However I had literally over a thousand seeds from this one:

The pretty pink one

The pretty pink one

Instead of counting out seeds I just threw about 100 seeds into each pack, and stopped after 12 packs.  I went through the plants yesterday and collected roughly another thousand seeds (pink and some white).  Please, if you’d like some hollyhock seeds email me your address and I will give you more than you can use.  Bees love love love them.

And in a month or so I’ll have some sunflower seeds to share, too.  Giant Greystripe, I think.

And last but not least, a gratuitous pic of Ava looking like the sweet babydoll she is.

And last but not least, a gratuitous pic of Ava looking like the sweet babydoll she is.

“You have a body, it works now,” said Ava’s mommy. “Use it!”

On Tuesday morning, Dr. Preema made it happen.

Introducing Ava Grace

Introducing Ava Grace

Here she is!  6 pounds 11 ounces, 21 inches long.  A far cry from the 8+ pounds Dr. Preema predicted, but a very healthy size for a newborn.

Sleeping angel.

Sleeping angel.

She is so very precious.  Of course we have to think our children are precious; otherwise we’d wise up and eat them while they’re young and tender, before they get smart mouths and body odor, before they even think about repeatedly making poor decisions from which we must repeatedly bail them out, only letting a select few rise to adulthood for the sole purpose of perpetuating the species.

Not that I ever thought about it.

Jess and Ava

Jess and Ava

Still, my first grandchild is a terribly wondrous, beautiful little human.  I think we’ll forgo the barbecue and let this tiny girl perpetuate.

Jess is doing great.  She’s glad she had a cesarean; the epidural was the worst part, and if you’ve ever experienced or witnessed childbirth you know that in a regular delivery the epidural is the BEST part!  She is still restricted for a couple weeks but she is up and about, trying to deal with hormones that flip-flop like a slinky descending stairs.  Daddy has been doing a great job of taking care of them.  He’s clueless, of course, and so is Jess for that matter, but they are doing well so I bite my tongue.  Ava is in good hands.

Ava and Oma

Ava and Oma

I have been an Oma for four whole days, and so far I love it!  I knew stuff I didn’t even know I knew, ya know?  Like how to calm our little Ava down even when she’s in the throes of a hot red anger.  Or how to keep her awake to eat.  Or how to keep my Jessie from becoming a panicked mama wolf pacing the room whenever her baby cries out of reach. And how to do these things in the middle of the night with no sleep.

The new family

The new family

The new family went home last night, to Daddy’s house since this house is a madhouse and, with this horrid weather, a hot house.  I thought it best, since he has been doing such a good job, that she spend the weekend there in the A/C. I’ll take care of them Monday when Daddy goes to work.

And so will Uncle Andrew.

And so will Uncle Andrew.

And Great-Aunt Shelly

And Great-Aunt Shelly

And Papa Joe

And Papa Joe

And Grandpa will visit.

And Grandpa will visit.

And Great-Grammy

And Great-Grammy

And Godparents

And Godparents

And lots of other people I don’t have pictures of.  Jessie and Ava will be well cared for.

Being born is hard work!

Being born is hard work!

.

Spring Color, 2014 Edition

Happy Mother’s Day!  I’m a month late posting this little photo project, but, you know, I had a lot going on.

The color mood of the yard that day was a dreary dusty grey.  I decided to focus on the little spots of technicolor polka-dotted around to see if I could capture a rainbow.

Red tomatoes

Red tomatoes

Red, orange, and yellow lantana

Red, orange, and yellow lantana

Orangish plank of wood

Orangish plank of wood

Yellow chrysanthemums

Yellow chrysanthemums

Turquoisey garden stake

Turquoisey garden stake

Blue snow scene on a metal can

Blue snow scene on a metal can

Fuchsia bougainvillea

Fuchsia bougainvillea

Pink hollyhock (my first ever!)

Pink hollyhock (my first ever!)

And a giant ugly man-eating grasshopper!  GROSS!!!

And a brown, giant, ugly, man-eating grasshopper! GROSS!!!

I am terrified of grasshoppers.  And most other insects.  And rodents.  And amphibians.  And reptiles.  In that order.

By the by, this is my last post as a non-grandmother.  Ava will arrive via c-section either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  Next time I post I will be an Oma!  Eeeeee!

Don’t Tell Andrew

Don’t let Andrew know you saw this picture.  Top secret stuff, this is.

This weekend is his high school’s production of Peter Pan.  He plays a pirate named Holland.

Holland the Pirate

Holland the Pirate

During lunch today the cast performed a scene in the quad. He had to wear his costume and give a speech in his classes to advertise it.  He didn’t mind, of course.  He says the costume is more comfortable than street clothes (although he hates the boot toppers) and he never minds being the center of attention.