May 2016 bring all of us our best year yet.
And may Peace be in everyone’s heart.
Yesterday I told you about part one of our Christmas. Today I bring you part two!
Amara must have asked me at least three times if the Snow had arrived yet. I reassured her it had arrived, been wrapped and was under the Christmas tree for her and Fred to open the day after Christmas. I guess Fred had asked his parents about the snow, too.
Fred and his parents always join us for Christmas dinner the day after Christmas. For the last 4 years, I have gotten Fred and Amara instant snow. There was almost a crisis last year when I thought they were probably bored with it and I wasn’t going to order any. Crisis averted thanks to Amazon! Needless to say, I now order in advance!
Last year’s SnowVenture included the addition of food coloring to the snow. So of course, they wanted to do that again. I told them they could each take one color but since they wanted blue we just had blue snow – of course they used up two bottles of blue food coloring! I am so glad I was the one taking most of the pictures. The kids are really respectful whenever I have the camera in my hand. They always love chasing Fred’s Mom and they did an exceptional job of that this year. Not to mention that Amara got Grampy really good!
Enough of telling you about it I am just going let you look at the pictures.
We had a two part Christmas again this year and so Christmas was twice as fun! Let me tell you about Christmas Eve first. We always spend Christmas Eve with the Kids. Amara is lucky to have all of her grandparents close by but on holidays, it is a lot of work for Mommy & Daddy. They spend Christmas Eve at our house; they have brunch on Christmas Day with Justin’s family and Jenna fixes Christmas dinner for her Dad that evening. No wonder they are exhausted when it is all over and as I’ve mentioned before, I am glad we get them first! While they are still fresh!
Dinner was wonderful and the gifts were spectacular! Amara made me a cute ladybug using her 3D pen! Jenna and Justin are both very creative and over the years, some of the best gifts they have given us are ones they have made.
The first year we were married Jenna created this amazing photo for Richard. It looks like a map of the world and you can’t tell well from the photo but it is made up of tiny little pictures of Amara. Richard has always loved maps and globes and it hangs proudly over the television. I would love to have her redo it someday. (If you click the picture it will become larger and you can almost see the little photos.)
Last year Justin made Richard this really cool clock from a plastic globe! Making that clock was not easy either. Justin had a very difficult time cutting the globe in half but it was worth it. It is certainly unique and hangs in our dining room.
Then there was the year they gave us the freezer that lives happily in the garage. OK, they didn’t make it but what a great gift! I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of it but for months afterwards, I used to proudly announce to Richard, “I’m going out to the garage to our new freezer!” I love that freezer!
So knowing that my children are creative, I sent Justin an email a few months before Christmas asking him to build this house for Shebee. Shebee just will not sleep all night in the house and I worry about her being outside at night when it is so cold.
I had completely forgotten that email. I don’t even remember where I got the picture! And on Christmas Eve, the Kids gave us this!
Isn’t it amazing? Justin insulted it, put in a cat door and even installed a vent for extra air! They got a little cat bed and a towel to make it extra comfy! Amara did the painting – I love the brickwork around the door!
We don’t know if Shebee has slept in it yet but she has been in it. The first night we brought in the front room to try to get her used to it. Richard even lured her in with some cat food. Now we have it on the patio. I haven’t put the lid on, as I want her to get comfortable with it first. I really hope she comes to like it!
It was a great Christmas Eve! I will be back to tell you about the day after Christmas.
UPDATE: The software that Jenna used to create Richard’s amazing map is called AndreaMosaic and it is free!
This is not a happy post but I feel like I have to talk about it.
We are fine. Amara and her family are fine but life at Amara’s school is not fine.
Some of you may have read about it already on Facebook but let me explain what I know. Last Tuesday afternoon, during Thanksgiving week break Jenna, Amara and I were out at the grocery store together. Jenna’s phone rang and as she stood there talking I swear she went green. I was sure something had happened to her Dad. When she got off the call, I think she told me it was the Principal but I know she didn’t want to talk in front of Amara. A few minutes later, her phone rang again and she simply handed it to me and told me to listen. It was a recorded message from the Principal that went out to all parents. I think by the time the recording was done I might have been green. That first call Jenna got was to let her know the robo-call would be going out and that she should prepared to have her phone start blowing up! It did! When things go wrong, people call Jenna and something had certainly gone wrong.
The previous Friday a student went home and told her parents that she had been sexually assaulted after school in the bathroom. We later found out that it was a 9 year old girl. We don’t know who she is and we don’t want to know who she is but our hearts go out to her and her family. The young girl gave a very good description so we are all hopeful that this monster will be caught.
Yesterday the school held two meetings to discuss with parents what had happened and the new measures that are being put in place to insure something like this will never happen to another student. There are new cameras, there will be changes to drop off and pick up. Parents who want to go on campus are still welcomed to do so they just need to go through the office and get a badge first. Theoretically, parents were supposed to do that already – just not at drop off or pick up. Change is hard for all of us but all of these changes are being put in place to protect our children. They don’t have all of the changes figured out yet but are being very proactive and I really felt the Principal was
listening hearing the parents as they voiced their concerns. It is just sad that it had to come to this.
When they have this monster in custody, I will update this post. In the meantime, hug your children close. There are just too many bad things going on in our world lately.
Looking back over the last few years, I never seem to get much posted in November. November is always busy and I always get behind. So let me catch you up on what has been going on.
Movie Night was actually October 30th but we will include it anyway. Movie Night is always fun and this one was perfect and went off without a hitch. Not only did I get to be a Greeter but this year we had another Greeter – another Grandma! The PTA screened The Nightmare Before Christmas and students were allowed to wear costumes – just no masks and no weapons! They’ve never been able to wear costumes to school so this was extra special. The weather was perfect, too!
One of the highlights of Movie Night was when a 1st grader came up to me with their Mom and said “Hi Grandma Kc”. His Mom asked me if I was one of the teachers. I explained that I am the Box Tops Chairman and his class had won the October Box Tops contest. We had treated them to a mini-cinis and milk and juice breakfast! Jenna always introduces me to the classes as Grandma Kc and the little ones especially love calling me that! I was beaming!
Once Halloween was over, I was able to reserve my Cat in the Hat costume for Read Across America in March. I can’t wait to be the Cat again! One of those feel good moments was when one of the PTA Mom’s told me that her son asked if the Cat in the Hat was coming back again. She asked him if he liked it and he told her “it was the best day of the year!” I am so glad the PTA is having me do this again. I had tried to reserve the costume in October. The costume shop was crazy getting ready for Halloween so this was one of the things on my To Do list for the second week of November.
November was also the month that Amara attended her first school dance! Keep in mind our little girl is in the 6th grade! The dance was from 2:30-4:30 on a Friday afternoon in the Media Center. I had seen some of the photos they had posted of the students decorating it the day before. The theme was Emojis and the Media Center looked wonderful. I didn’t go but Jenna was a chaperon and she and Amara called me on speakerphone the minute the dance was over. “It was awesome, Grandma!” They loved the DJ and Amara and her friends had a wonderful time!
While we have been having typical awesome California weather and our fruit pop sales have been great, the weather is starting to get cooler so the PTA invested in a popcorn machine! We spent a few hours at school one day setting up the new machine and trying it out! Just happened to coincide with the teachers lunch schedule and since we were using their break room to test the popper we let them sample it for us! I can’t wait until our first sales on campus!
I also got to help out at Science Night! I can’t tell you how cool this was! One of the science teachers spearheaded the event – something else that had never been done before and was a huge success. Parents and students were both invited and the turnout was huge! There were tables set up with science experiments and demonstrations. Of course, the best one was Justin’s table! Amara’s Daddy is an engineer with the robotics company that makes Lane Hawk. You might have seen it at your grocery store. It scans the underside of your shopping cart so that items aren’t missed. He did a great demonstration of the software and how it works. The kids (and teachers!) loved it. They had also recruited local scientists and had them in classrooms where students could individually “Ask a Scientist”. The kids loved this and the lines were long! At the other end of the campus, they had classrooms set up with hands on experiments like building bridges and making slime. The PTA had brought in food trucks and again we got lucky with perfect weather. It was a great evening.
The next day was Italian Street Art. The PTA sponsors this event for 6th, 7th and 8th graders. I have gone the last 2 years to help and to take pictures. This year was the best because Amara is now in the 6th grade and so she and all of her classmates were involved. It was a little bit warm but the students truly enjoyed themselves.
The last morning of school before the Thanksgiving break, the PTA organized a breakfast for the teachers and staff. Of all the things that have been going on that was the only one that didn’t get me extra hugs from Amara. I didn’t see her that day but I did get extra time with her Mommy and that made it a great day.
I said this last year but it bears repeating, I am so glad that we live close to The Kids and Amara and that I have the opportunity to be part of all of this!
Growing up in Jonesville, Michigan Memorial Day and Veterans Day were always big events. They still are today. Memorial Day always includes The Parade and for many years my Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Dick would march, in uniform, in that parade. When Grandpa got older the three of them rode together in a jeep. I was always so proud of them
As we celebrate Veterans Day today, let me tell you about my Grandpa and his 4 sons.
Grandpa served in the Army from 1916-1918 during World War I. He served 2 years overseas in France and Germany and he fought at the 2nd Battle of Marne where he was severely wounded. He had wounds through his abdomen and right arm. According to my Uncle Lynn, the German machine guns fired so rapidly that the bullets became so hot they cauterized the wounds or Grandpa might not have survived.
Years later 3 of his 4 sons would serve in World War II.
My Uncle Dick was the oldest of the 4 boys. At the age of 20, he enlisted in the Navy. He was stationed at “Pearl” as he referred to Pearl Harbor and it was where he was on December 7, 1941. 50 years later in 1991, he wrote an account of his military service and thanks to my Aunt Phyllis, I have a copy of it. Below are just a couple of excerpts.
“Enlisted in the US Navy in October of 1940. The day I was to report to Boot Camp deer hunting season opened and so received a card to report on October 15 with the next class.”
“December 7, 1941 … I sat reading the funnies at 8:00 AM when I heard 2 explosions nearby. Stepped to a porthole just as a plane with red circles on the wings pulled up over the Naval Air Station … I headed for my battle station on a dead run as all hell broke loose.”
Uncle Dick was on board the USS Pennsylvania, which had been moved out of dry dock earlier that same morning or it would have been sunk on the first run. Reading about it all sends chills up my spine. He served until 1946 with a rank of FC2c. See update below
My Uncle Lynn enlisted in the USMC Air Corps in June of 1942 at the age of 20, something he had always wanted to do. When I first started writing this post around Memorial Day I asked him to write and tell me about his military service. I found it fascinating that he was named after a friend of my Grandpa who was shot by a German sniper when he went out to repair phone lines. I never knew that!
Here are some excerpts from that letter…
“I flew off the Vera Cruz CVE-119 with torpedo bombers… We were catapulted off the flight deck at a hundred knots, the flight deck wasn’t long enough for the fly aways with a loaded torpedo bomber. …I was very lucky not to be hurt too much. The only problem was the 40mm rifles made such a loud crack that my ears still ring from the noise.”
“…I caught Jungle Fever and was sent to a hospital where they were experimenting with penicillin; it really was a wonder drug but they didn’t know how much was needed…I was able to join a squadron and flew off aircraft carriers from then on. The good thing about the CVE-119s they were built by Henry Kaiser so fast that there were a lot of bugs in them and we spent a lot of time back to USA for repairs and I was never out more than 2 months at a time.”
Daddy enlisted in Naval Air Cadets in spring of 1943 at age 18. Grandma must have been going crazy to have 3 of her 4 sons off fighting in the war. Dad went to V training – for soldiers too young for officer training.
Daddy was also sent to electricians and submarine school and was stationed on a sub in the Pacific. In 1946 he was discharged with the rank of Electrician’s Mate Third Class USNR. He was proud of his military service but he was also very proud that he could still get into his Navy uniform!
I wish I had asked him to tell me more about his service but none of them ever talked about it. I do wish I knew more.
Uncle Putt, who I have written about before, was the youngest of the 4 boys. Since all 3 of his brothers were away at war, Uncle Putt was allowed to stay home and help Grandpa with the farm. Years later, he would join the Hillsdale Police Department and protect the local citizens – a different kind of soldier.
Fortunately for Grandma, all 3 of her sons made it home safely.
Happy Veterans Day to all the soldiers out there and thank you for your service.
UPDATED: December 6, 2015. I spoke with Aunt Phyllis who corrected me on a couple of facts. The USS Pennsylvania had just been moved into dry dock. The USS Pennsylvania was considered the jewel of the Pacific Fleet and the Japanese wanted to destroy her above all. Even though it was in dry dock the USS Pennsylvania was badly damaged and 15 men were killed on board. Also Uncle Dick served with a rank of FC1c.
In honor of today being Pearl Harbor Day I am sharing on the GRAND Social.