Thursday, April 3, 2014

For Gigi ... A Letter to Heaven

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Today there is a happy celebration in Heaven as it would be my beautiful grandmother Gigi's birthday.  Gigi was definitely the most important influence on my life and it became crystal clear to me how deeply when I was asked to write the eulogy for her memorial service a few years back.  I decided to send a letter directly to God explaining what amazing treasure was on it's way.  It is a letter meant to bring smiles and giggles.  Thanks in advance for allowing me to share that special letter with you today as we honor her memory:)


Dear God,

On the day I was born, you bestowed upon me a truly precious gift...my grandmother.  Gigi, Mimi, Gram, Grandma...she had many names, but one heart overflowing with love for her family. There's not a day that goes by that Gigi doesn't influence me in some way. 
 
PhotobucketSometimes it’s the crocheted potholders I use when getting Catherine's pizza out of the oven.  Some days, it's watching Catherine put on her lip gloss and earrings to start her day because Gigi always told her that's what ladies do...(sorry, Gigi...I haven't been able to convince her about the bed making thing yet! I'll keep working on it!) Or it could be Connor wanting to take us all down in a game of Monopoly...Gigi turned Connor into a total Monopoly addict!  Not to mention, she turned the entire family into a bunch of card sharks!

Sometimes, it's playing "Riddly Riddly I Dee Dee" with the kids or finding pictures in the clouds...Steph and I have learned the value of a good Word Find puzzle or a game of Solitaire from Gigi...You could always count on Gigi to have a great Word Find book laying around!

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Every morning I see Gigi when I fold the pink and white blanket she made for Catherine as a gift on the day she was born. That is an heirloom that Catherine will treasure forever. And there hasn't been a single Christmas in my adult life that my Christmas tree hasn't been covered in crocheted snowflakes compliments of Gigi.  

Every time I drive my car, I have Gigi to thank.  She took me out for driving lessons in her green Maverick when I was 16.  We had some good times in that green machine even if she did pull a few Starsky and Hutch moves across route 23 on more than one occasion!  

And of course, there is the infamous Poptart incident....I can thank Gigi for making sure that I will never eat a piece of bologna EVER...I walked in the kitchen one sunny day to find Gigi enjoying a strawberry Poptart and bologna sandwich!  Gross!  But put a lima bean in her face or a glass of water with ice and you'd have thought you were trying to torture her!  

I can't count the times we dressed her up and she patiently donned whatever costume or hat was requested...she always did it with good humor...even if it required wearing fake boobs with tattoos!  Which leads me to a few things you need to know, God...

Although Gigi seemed to be very sweet and innocent, she could be quite ornery on occasion!  Like the time I spent the night with her and she woke up at 2 am giggling like crazy!  She fell asleep with her dentures in and they fell out into the bed.  After searching around the covers, we discovered the wayward dentures...attached to my leg!  She had a bad case of the giggles for the rest of the night and I slept on the couch after that!

Or how about that time when she paid a stripper to dance for me! What in the world!!! Hello! I'm the modest grand-daughter! Oh, and let's not forget, tossing back a few shots of Jack Daniels with Clay and Stephanie!  And I cannot even count the times she put "bunny ears" behind me when the kids were around.  There was also that game of late night Ring Around the Rosie out in my parent's front yard that still remains legendary to this day.  Good times are coming to Heaven, God!

PhotobucketBut the most important thing for you to know about Gigi is how much she loved children. When she worked at the hospital, she used to hold the newborns up to the windows so Steph and I could see them.  When Connor was born, I called her the Baby Whisperer because she could calm his marathon crying episodes in a matter of minutes. She had no problem playing GI Joe with the boys, dolls and dress up with the girls or board games with both.  She even ate a heart-shaped cookie made out of Playdoh because Catherine "baked" it for her!  No joke...took a bite and told her it was delicious!  She is truly the best grandmother in all of your creation.

        I can't imagine what my life will be without her...she has been my confidant and my sweet best friend...and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.  I noticed recently that I can see the shape of her hands in my own...Thank you, God for giving me her hands...may they give the same deep love to my family that hers gave to me...I will honor her memory by using my hands to bring happiness to those I love just like Gigi did...Her hands were busy hands...holding those she loved, helping with chores, making good food, a healing touch when a loved one wasn't well, writing cards for all occasions, making beautiful things, and of course, putting on the lipstick and earrings.  She was a class act and you’re really lucky to be welcoming her home.   

Treasure her, God....she touched so many lives here on this Earth with her generous heart and her smile.  Make sure she has her "shows" up there...I know All My Children might be cancelled down here, but I'm sure you've got some pull on that side, right?  Give her some Poptarts and bologna, some baby angels to love on, and she'll spread the love up there as well. Thank you for loving me so much, Lord, that you gave Effie Eunice Lauerman to me as my grandmother.  I will wrap myself in her memories for the rest of my life...that is the blanket that she made for me....

Love,
Dawn  


Fun Facts about Gigi

She liked to shake her booty

 
She loved babies (she was a baby nurse!)



                                                                   (Gigi , Connor and Cat)
When Gigi was born, she was so tiny she could fit inside a teacup!
She made cool stuff like blankies, snowflakes and awesome noodles (that are illegal in many states!)


She liked to play with us, get her groove on to some funky music and dress up in fancy costumes

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Is this lady cool or what????
****WARM FUZZIES****

Gigi was always good for a fit of giggles!
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(my awesome nephew, gigi and pre-tween caveboy) (gigi and pre-tween caveboy)

She was always a snappy dresser!
(Check out her fabulous polka dots!)

If you asked her nicely, she'd wear all kinds of hats

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She LOVEd to be a goofball!


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She's a true Princess in my book


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(Gigi with Catherine on her 1st birthday)

We miss you so much, Gigi each and every day!

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday in Heaven, Gigi!  Love you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Wee Drop of Irish (or Cloudy With a Chance of B*tchy Part 2)


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
How about a wee stroll down memory lane?  Thank you to everyone who messaged me about sharing this blast from the past again this year:)  (yes, Maureen...I do read your emails too!)  Even though it was originally posted in 2009, not too much has changed (says Dawn in her "I can't believe I have PMS every single year at this same time"  happy (think Pharrell singing "Happy") voice.  So grab a cup of Irish coffee, Jameson whiskey, Guinness or whatever suits your fancy on this fine St. Patrick's Day and let me share a tale of whimsy with you.  (and may the luck of the Irish be with you if you come my way today!  Don't say I didn't warn you!)   



Oops! What's she doing here again? Wasn't she just here a month ago? UGH! The nerve! We had so much "fun" last time she was here, didn't we? 

Well, since I have a full day of Irish activities planned, I guess I better be gettin' my Irish on....hmm...let's see...maybe I'll go drink some breakfast.




(That's right, Mr. Bailey's Irish Cream Cup...It is delicious!)  And while we're at it, a traditional Irish breakfast sounds just lovely!  (what?? Chocolate cupcakes with green frosting isn't Irish enough for you???  Did you see the duck at the top of this post???)


Ok! Time to get dressed for the day! (she says, wiping crumbs and frosting from her mouth)  What? Not appropriate attire for a mom?


Don't get your shamrocks in a wad...I'll probably really wear my yoga pants with this top....(Kim, I know you want one of these...)


Now that we're dressed, we can freshen up a bit with our mouth spray just for this occasion!  



Ok family & friends..I know what you're thinking right now...(for good reason!)


I guess ya'll are lucky it's Irish day and I may have a few quiet moments (unless that mouth spray really kicks in good...)

Time to get the kids and head out for some Irish fun activities that I don't feel like doing because all I want to do is eat chocolate and watch rom-com chick flicks   (....not my fault...again, please refer to duck at the top of the post..)



(Is it hot in here?...cause I'm thinking it's really hot in here...can someone turn on the *$%#! air conditioner?!)




(especially this one...)

Oh...sorry...hormones got carried away there for a second.  Oopsy!! ...what I really mean is this...
A gorgeous British fellow stole my heart, you know...sorry Bono, gotta say good-bye this St. Patty's Day...my heart belongs to my British guy:)  (insert bluebirds of happiness, romantic music and fluttering hearts here please)

Time to pack a lunch since we'll be travelin' to Irish dance performances and there's no time to drink eat before we leave!





(Don't worry....Nana's driving...)

Oh! Can't forget my gum! You know me...I stress chew when that stupid duck up there comes to visit...


Well, that's about it! We are off for the last of our Irish dance performances! March Madness is coming to an end!  Let's do a jig to celebrate!

Here's a little St. Patty's day sentiment from me to you...

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And from the bottom of my wee drop of Irish heart, I really mean that!  According to my dear Irish friend Pam, a "wee drop is all ya' need!" Here's to you, Pam! Happy St. Pats!

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!


p.s. No, family members, I have not taken up drinking as a new hobby. (Family members know I don't drink...well, not very often anyway...hee hee hee..) Just having a little fun on St. Patty's Day...cause that dumb duck is about to ruin my next week....which may actually force me into taking up drinking...who the heck knows? Quite frankly, I'm surprised I haven't become a super lush after the week I've had! Love you all!


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Tragic Tale of the Irish Dancer & Her Incontinent Mother

March Madness has officially descended up on our world as we are just days away from St. Patrick's Day.  Irish Dancer Girl will be shamrockin' all over the city of Tucson (Irish Dance style) for the next week to spread leprechaun love amongst the citizens.  While going over the performance list this morning, my mind wandered back to a time in the not so distant past where my sweet girl gave me a lovely surprise just before her very first St. Patrick's Day March Madness performance.  Thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane with ya'll and give you some giggles.  Sit a spell while I weave a tragic tale of the six year old Irish dancer and her incontinent mother.

One fine March day in 2009, Cat and I began our school morning cutting out shapes and chatting it up like two old ladies at bingo night. I had to (ahem) “use the little ladies room” for the 400th time in 20 minutes, and in the interest of safety, (because I’m one of those annoying over-protective “old” moms) I made Cat come with me...again. She hung out in her room across the hall until I had completed “my mission.” (Sorry, I’m trying to be delicate about this!) I complete "said mission" quickly (less than 3 minutes tops) and start across the hall to get Cat and resume our schoolwork. Her back is to me and she quickly calls out, “Don’t look in here, Mama! I have a surprise for you!” I sing out, “Yay, I love your surprises!” "Close your eyes!" she calls out excitedly!

After a few minutes, Cat meets me in the hall with her surprise. And yeah, to call it a surprise would be a mild understatement. My daughter is sporting some awesome Mia Farrow Frankenbangs! Did you catch that? Frankenbangs…Mia Farrow style…. This is Mia Farrow...

This is me upon seeing her “surprise.”


Typically, her surprises involve artistic drawings of me, maybe a tea party, or her wearing some shiny lipgloss, hooker style…not freshly cut Frankenbangs! 

Once I recovered from my shock and horror, (and made sure she still had her eyeballs,) I smiled and said “Wow! Look at you!” I clapped my hands (so I wouldn’t strangle myself) and grinned (while trying not to yank out my own hair)
, “How in the world did you manage that?” She holds up the blunt tip scissors we had been using earlier…the scissors that should still be in the classroom…the reason I made Cat come with me in the first place.

“I snuck the scissors with me!” She is so stinkin’ proud of herself. “I know you’re really busy and I wanted to help you so I cut
my bangs!” Oh…now I remember…I had casually mentioned during breakfast that I needed to trim her bangs that afternoon so they would be out of her eyes for her dance performances the following day and this weekend.

Oh, did I forget to mention that my daughter has 4 IRISH DANCE PERFORMANCES OVER THE NEXT 6 DAYS ALONE!!!!! (sorry for the hysteria….) How the heck am I going to fix this little "franken-bump" in the road!!!!???

She must have watched me fast track it to the crazy train because her eyes started to fill with tears and her chin began quivering. “I’m sorry, Mama. I just wanted to surprise you.” Aw heck! How can I be upset with that? Her intention was clearly to “help a sister out.” She knew I was overwhelmed and wanted to ease my load. It was actually an act of kindness. I scooped her up and gave her a huge hug. “I love your bangs!” I smothered her with smoochies. ( I also did the whole “no scissors on your own hair, or anyone else’s hair either” lecture.)

What to do?  I didn’t have any “Grow” potion like Alice in Wonderland, and Edward Scissorhands wasn’t in the neighborhood for a fast fix. I spent the rest of my day (and I mean, the ENTIRE day) searching the city of Tucson for black and white headbands to fit her small head, and tiny bobby pins so Irish dancer girl could rock a new look at her performances.  Let me show what we were dealing with here...


BEFORE "do it yourself" bangs makeover....


AFTER...sporting her new look...

PERFORMANCE LOOK after "the makeover"


Yep, it's a bit "pageant" hair in it's look and her forehead looks like a watermelon, but she's still adorable!  Oh, those were the days!  My wee dancer girl now looks like this...



Fortunately, she has steered clear of the scissors and lets a professional manage her hairstyle these days.  Now, I used to be one of those mom’s that would read something like this and think, “What the heck is wrong with that person! That would never happen in my house! Hmpf!"  Well, let me tell you, people, it DID happen and I’ve been forever humbled by the experience! I am no longer a Judgmental Janie! No way, no how!

I have decided to honor this occasion with an award…that I created myself…because I was a complete idiot  (Hugh, I know you are truly appreciating this…)





The Hall of Shame Parenting Award goes to……..Dawn, for her shameful parenting skills, her inability to keep track of a pair of blunt tip scissors, and for her lack of bladder control for more than 5 minutes at a time. You are the winner, Dawn! Congratulations on your award!

I am even going to create another award here! The Snip-Snip, Oopsy! Clip Award!  This is awarded for haircuts gone bad, self inflicted bang trauma, etc.  I graciously accept this one too. 



The above hack job was committed on this doll by yours truly when I was young and innocent. Sorry, Mom! At least I didn't cut my sister's hair!

Now…I need some moral support here. It would really give me a lift if you can share a really good hair hacking story with me. Or even a really embarrassing parenting moment! That would work too! I’ll take anything…I’m desperate to see I’m not the only fool in town!


Fingers crossed that March Madness this year will be filled with Irish fun and no horrible hair trauma.  (at least until it's time to put on the curly wig...don't even get me started...that's a horror story in itself...Irish dance moms will totally feel the pain of that one...)  Hope you can get out to enjoy the Irish fun in your neighborhood!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

With Love, Jane and Mary (aka The Romantic Tale of a British Boy & an American Girl)

Sometimes it's the little things in life that have the most incredible impact. Sometimes it's when you are so frustrated that you want to give up, but decide to persevere that life can completely surprise you in ways you never imagined. For example, see this little photo?



This little charmer was a source of major frustration for me back in 2010.  It was just a little photo that I wanted to edit to add some fun to this blog post.   A simple process, right?  Ummm, not even.  It took me many attempts and hours to work this to my satisfaction.  I nearly chucked my laptop across the room because I was so frustrated.  However, my inner voice kept encouraging me to move ahead and on January 20, 2014 I was enormously rewarded for my efforts!

That is the day that a very important person came into my world all because of Mary Poppins and her magical measuring tape.  Miss Jane Austen also played a part in this matchmaking business:)  You see, a lovely British chap happened upon my blog post by searching for an image.  He noticed this photo and also noticed the little Jane Austen quiz linky on the sidebar.  He emailed me very kind compliments about my blog and shared with me that during the bike portion of training for a triathalon, he had traveled to and from Miss Jane's home in Chawton every Sunday.  That email was the beginning of a flurry of correspondence, online chatting and phone conversations that led to the lovely British chap hopping on a plane and crossing the pond!

What my sweet Brit didn't know was that "behind the scenes" lots of clues were being dropped on this girl by Miss Jane and Mary that her life was about to change in a way she never imagined.  (more to come on that in a future post...)  The moment he stepped off the plane and I saw those big brown eyes, I knew that something amazing was about to happen.  It was like we had known each other forever.  A romance blossomed and a new adventure lies ahead for us:)

I have done a lot of reflecting about what would have happened had I given up on that photo back in 2010.  Would he have found me some other way?  Was that little voice Cupid trying to encourage me not to give up that day because the reward would be so wonderful?  All I do know is that I am really glad I did not toss the laptop into the garbage when that photo editing became so frustrating and that even though it seemed like a small and insignificant thing at the time, it really was life changing in a very big way:)  Yes, it is a bit of a whirlwind, but the heart knows what is true.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart to the matchmakers Mary Poppins and Jane Austen (and Cupid, of course!)   Thank you for gently nudging us toward each other behind the scenes.  I will be eternally grateful for this wonderful new adventure that lies ahead with my charming British beau, Hugh because....





and he truly is....(insert romantic sigh here please...)  




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