WPC: Carefree grandkids

I’m feeling really carefree at the moment, having just finished my packing. Next time I post, it will be from the cruise ship in Basel. Yay!!

Here are some carefree grandchildren pics. Don’t you just love the way children’s faces shine with happiness when they’re having lots of fun?  Of course in this first one you can’t see Sienna’s face, but her legs look pretty carefree to me. :)

Sienna at the pool.

Sienna at the pool.

The trio  having fun at a Florida mall play area.

Having fun at the mall.

Having fun at the mall.

Sienna's visit to the aquarium in South Africa.

Sienna’s visit to the aquarium in South Africa.

Taylor at Great Grandma's 100th birthday party

Taylor at Great Grandma’s 100th birthday party

Hope you’ll all have a wonderful carefree weekend, but do take care. :?

To visit the WordPress photo challenge this week, just click here.

Thoughts on Mom’s 88th birthday

Thank you so much to all of you who left messages of congratulations to my mom on her 88th birthday.  I read each and every one to her, as well as the Facebook messages. She said, “How very kind people are. Tell them I really appreciate their wishes.”

On Thursday, hubby and I went to fetch her here for the weekend, and met my sister for lunch. Those of you who read about the “elusive turquoise top” which I was trying in vain to find for her birthday which is today, may be amused to know that we walked into a boutique at the centre where we went for lunch, and found the perfect one, and it wasn’t turquoise at all, but a mélange of soft greys. It waved to sister, almost as soon as we walked in the door. Crisis averted. :)

That evening, just as I was about to start preparing supper, the door bell rang and there was a courier with a cardboard box addressed to mom. She was beside herself with excitement, never having had a couriered parcel before in her whole long life. It was from my daughter in Johannesburg, and contained  yummy chocolate goodies. Her thoughtfulness really made mom’s day complete.

IMG_2168

On Friday, we took mom down to the bench at the top of our beach steps, and there we sat for quite a long while, watching the waves and the ships. It was a very special time for both of us.

DSCN2070

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sea air.

DSCN2072

Saturday morning was my day for playing piano again at the mall, so hubby brought mom along to listen, and then we went for a tasty lunch and a bit of shopping. Helping mom to negotiate her way through the crowds of shoppers, I couldn’t help keenly feeling the reversal of roles. I remember when I was a child, having to run to keep up with her as she strode along the street, walking the mile or so into the town because it was “quicker than waiting for the bus.” “Step it out, you’ve got long legs.” she used to say to me. Now I hold her arm protectively, as she’s not too steady on her feet, and I’m afraid she might get bumped by some passing stranger who doesn’t know how special she is. I know it comes to all of us who are fortunate enough to have elderly parents, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of heartache as I see how frail she is. I’m so glad that something which hasn’t changed over the years, is her sense of humour. When we’re together, the smiles and laughter come thick and fast. She sees the funny side of everything, and I’ve inherited this sometimes embarrassing trait. My sister is the same, but even worse, and when the three of us get together, you might be forgiven for assuming that we’ve been let out for the day from some institution for the insanely comical. I’ve also passed this gene on to my daughter, and our long-suffering husbands have  just had to learn to live with it, bless them. :)

On Sunday, mom’s birthday dawned bright and sunny, and as usual I took her tea in bed. There she lay, her slight form hardly making a bump under the bedclothes, and I couldn’t help joking. “Happy birthday mom. You’re two fat ladies today!” She replied with a laugh, “That’s exactly what I was thinking when I woke up and realised that I’m 88 today. She had Facebook messages from family overseas, my daughter and granddaughter phoned from Johannesburg, and my sister and her husband phoned from Lesotho where they are spending a few days in freezing cold temperatures. Hubby’s 99-year-old mom in England also spent a good half hour chatting to us all. I then made a really nice lunch, and one thing I will say is that mom has a great appetite for her size.

DSCN2102

Just before I served our sticky toffee pudding, we had a Skype call from our son and family in New Jersey, and mom was so thrilled to see her grandson and his three gorgeous children. Little Taylor was also celebrating her 4th birthday, and Sienna kept jumping down off her dad’s lap to show us how she can do cartwheels. Two-year-old Max came to say “Hi” and then he was off on his own mission. Isn’t Skype just the best thing since sliced bread?

426630_10151701814655362_930283872_n

Now mom is back home in her little cottage, and I’m sure her neighbours were glad to see her back. They all love her to bits, and gathered together to see her off on Thursday, and wish her a very happy weekend, which I know she had. That’s another thing about my mom. She never takes anything for granted, and is always so grateful for each little thing and every act of kindness. My darling mom, may you live to enjoy many more years.

Family visit.

Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old. ~Mary H. Waldrip

Today our son and his family arrive from New Jersey and will be staying with us for a week.We’re so excited to see them all again, especially as it’s Max’s second birthday. He’s such a happy little chap, as you can see from this photo with his sister, out enjoying the snow a few days ago.

485380_10151505421735362_1633358581_n

Their big sister will also be here, so there will be seven of us here, instead of just us two, and I’m sure the house won’t be anywhere near as quiet as it usually is. :)

396085_10151160096655362_1569111494_n

Hubby and I will be on our merry way to Palm Beach airport when you read this. This is supposed to be the Sunshine State, so I hope the weather improves for them, as it was raining cats and dogs all yesterday afternoon and evening, and today is very grey and cloudy. Max is having a birthday dinner at the club tonight, with balloons and candles, and we’re driving to Disney early tomorrow, so that should be a fun and exciting day, especially for the children.

I probably won’t be around on the blogs for a few days, unless I get time to post a couple of pics, so just chat amongst yourselves until I reappear. Wishing you all a great weekend. See you soon.

 

Jake’s Sunday Post: Natural Resources

“The nation behaves well, if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation, increased and not impaired in value.”   ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Jake’s Sunday Post theme this week is natural resources, and there are so many ways one could approach this challenge. Wiki defines the term like this, “Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form…………..Some are essential for our survival, whilst most are used for satisfying our wants.”

One of the world’s most used, non-renewable natural resources, is oil, and it’s being used at a rate much faster than nature can create it. I was fascinated to see several pumpjacks, popularly known as a ‘nodding donkeys’, when we were travelling through the countryside, on our way to Mount Rushmore.

Another natural resources has to be our magnificent wild animals. Sadly, because of man’s greed and ignorance, some species, like these rhinos, are becoming in danger of extinction. Rhinos have been around for over 50 million years, but the world population of rhinos has dropped by 90% in the past 30 years. Since the start of the “poaching epidemic” in South Africa in 2008, the country has lost over 1500 rhinos. Because of a belief by some people, that powdered rhino horn has the power to cure many medical conditions, from impotency to cancer, it is selling on the international market for $60,000, and is more expensive than gold, platinum and cocaine.

I love to visit our wildlife parks in South Africa, where the emphasis is on conservation and the protection of  various endangered species.

The big cats are definitely my favourites.

Water, as we all know, is a very necessary natural resource, but for those of you who don’t like to drink it neat, here is a pic of the Cave Spring Hollow in Lynchburg TN, which has been the water source for  Jack Daniel’s whiskey, for over 140 years.

Of course, we all have to eat to survive, and yesterday, I paid a visit to our favourite local grocery store. On display were many examples of natural resources which had been grown and harvested especially for human consumption.

In spite of Thanksgiving a couple of days ago, there were still plenty of these left. It seems that turkeys aren’t in any danger of becoming extinct, at least in America,

Many more sources of protein are available from our natural resources under the sea,

and I bought some of this lovely fresh salmon for dinner this evening.

Of course, when all’s said and done, I’m sure you’ll agree that the most precious of all our natural resources, which needs to be nurtured, protected and treasured, are our children, for they are the hope of the world tomorrow.

To find links to more posts on Jake’s fascinating theme, just click here.

Boys and their toys.

Jake’s theme this week is “Toys.” My kids are all grown up, and their toys are of the super expensive kind. My son has graduated from Matchbox cars, which he used to buy with his pocket-money, to the far more expensive and larger than life-size Mercedes GL SUV. He needs the space for three small children and all their paraphernalia. I’m so glad I don’t have to provide the pocket money to run it. :)

My grandkids have what seems to me, mountains of toys and stuff. These days are a far cry from the ‘olden days’ when we used to make our own ‘toys’ and games out of cardboard, paper, pebbles, twigs and suchlike. Anyway, I’m sure there is no going back to those days, so we just move forward into an ever more consumer orientated way of life for our children.

I have no toys as such to show you, but when we were out a couple of days ago, we pulled up alongside a ‘Monster Truck’, which was obviously this dude’s pride and joy. These things just crack me up. :)

Last time we were over in the US, hubby saw a couple of these side by side at the traffic lights, on the same stretch of road. The driver of the one alongside him, leaned out of the window and bobbing his head up and down, made a big thing of showing everyone his super cool shades, which were just like this. :)

I do apologise if any of you bloggers, your partners, or your spouses, drive one of these monster trucks, whilst wearing beer bottle sunglasses. I hope I haven’t offended you. :)

Thanks, Jake for always coming up with an interesting theme.

Weekly photo challenge ‘Together’

“Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next, you’re all-wise and prehistoric. ~ Pam Brown

For the weekly photo challenge ‘Together’, I decided to make it all about my precious grandkids. Love them all to bits. Kiss

This cute pic is of my son and grandson together in the pumpkin patch.

Then there’s this one of the two little granddaughters, together on the eldest’s first day at kindergarten.

Here are my two older grandchildren, together petting a  white Bengal tiger at the ‘Rhino and Lion Park’ in Johannesburg, when we visited them at Easter.

“Grandchildren are precious gifts, given to parents by their children.” Anon

AD is officially declared non-explosive. ;)

Hi there from London England. My status on Letterdash used to read, “AD loves to travel.”  I should really have qualified that statement and added, “but only when she arrives at her destination.”

One of my pet peeves is the taxi ride to and from the airport. The Limo’ arrived on time to pick us up; so far so good. We had three cases and two cabin bags, which is one case less then we usually travel with. The three cases would have easily gone in the boot if the driver had put the biggest one in first and the other two side by side on top, but no, he put the smallest one in first, the mid-size one on top, and then like the “Big Bad Wolf”, he huffed and he puffed whilst he shoe-horned the third case into the front passenger seat, after moving the seat back so that my knees were almost touching my chin. He swore that it weighed 75 lbs and when hubby told him that he’d just weighed it and it was only 50lbs, he said that it couldn’t possibly be. The fact that he was overweight and very unfit, didn’t seem to come into the equation. He informed us that because of “insurance rules”  hubby wasn’t allowed to even so much as touch the cases at either end of the journey. Luckily a very jolly Jamaican porter appeared as we arrived, and for a goodly tip, lifted each case, virtually with his pinky finger and transported them through to the check-in.

All the luggage passed the weight test, and off we went to security which was absolutely chaotic. When it was my turn to go through, I was directed to the full body scanner. I didn’t beep for  the first time ever, and thought I was home and dry, but as I walked triumphantly out of the booth, I was accosted by a stern-looking woman who wanted to give me the touch test. Having found nothing concealed upon my person, she then sent me off to someone else who informed me that I was going to be tested for explosives, but only after I asked what he was about to do to me. I knew that at this stage, it would not be in my interest to burst into fits of hysterical giggles, so I held my breath whilst he swabbed my hands and put the swabs through the scanner. He solemnly announced that I was clear and  was free to go, and I scurried back to hubby who was wondering where on earth I’d disappeared to. Why do I always get the special treatment? Maybe they’re suspicious of me because I look so unlike the profile of a shoe bomber. Chatting to our son later, he said that it might be even worse at Heathrow, so I’d better be prepared for a body cavity search on Tuesday. Aren’t sons so precious? Laughing

The flight was uneventful, except for someone getting ill just as we were about to make an early take off. An ambulance had to be called, and of course then there was the search for the person’s baggage in the hold so that it could be taken off. Is it very selfish to think, “Oh BOTHER!” on such occasions? Undecided The night passed in a haze of ice-cold air being constantly blown into the cabin and that non-stop noise as of “a rushing mighty wind,” which always makes me suspicious that one of the windows is open. We landed just after 9am and the weather here is very sunny and mild. The taxi from the airport was the typical London cab, with plenty of room for the luggage inside. We are told that our hotel room won’t be available until 2pm, so we’re sitting in the lounge whiling away the time until we can get in there for a shower and a change of clothes. I wouldn’t mind a couple of hours’ sleep before we catch the train into London and spend what’s left of the day moseying around. We’ve done all the sights many times, but I guess there’s always something new to see.

My daughter just put a pic on Facebook of my grandson who turned thirteen last Tuesday. Here is our family’s newest teenager with his big sister.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Chat again soon.

AD’s bumper family edition. ;)

Hi there again everyone. Well I’m back from “family leave,” which was a lovely and very special few days. Waiting at airport arrivals is always so exciting, and when we saw our son and the family suddenly appear around the corner, we shot out of our seats and hared along to meet them. The little ones were really pleased to see us again, and little Max was all smiles. It was hugs and kisses all round, and then off to get the hire car, and home. The girls loved their pretty room, and slept very well after such a long day.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny and we spent much of it by the pool. The children had so much fun in the water, and little S amazed us all by swimming properly for the first time, and doing somersaults and handstands on the bottom. On Friday, there was lots of entertainment for the children, including a hula hoop competition. Little S who is six years old, was very keen to enter, and did very well against the other contestants. They were giving out prizes of fun dollars, and she won quite a few of these in various competitions. We even won $100 bill, (enough to buy a tub of gelato at the restaurant), when we did a granny and granddaughter hula duo.

I think the guy was so amazed that this granny still had “the hula bones” as he called it, so he gave us the “Big money.” We ended up with enough ‘dollars’ to buy two tubs of gelato for the girls. Laughing

Little Max is such a cute and happy little guy, and just wandered around doing his own thing, picking up whatever he could find to play with.

Little T tired herself out so much, that at one point, the “sleeping beauty” spent some much needed snuggle time with her dad.

After lunch at the Oasis, there was a swimming competition in the lap pool, and little S was super keen to sign up for it. The first race was just one length, about 25 m, but instead of climbing out at the other end, she turned around and swam all the way back again. The organisers were most impressed. Not bad for such a small child who couldn’t swim until the day before.

She entered every race, including the Sombrero race. I think the hat was almost as big as she is, but she made it to the end.

I think she must have swum about ten lengths in all, and she was the youngest child by far.When it came to prize giving time, all the contestants lined up, and I could see her little face looking quite anxious, as she wondered whether she would get a prize.

Right at the end, she was awarded the first prize, a bag full of goodies, including enough chocolate to last for a whole year.

Sunday wasn’t such great weather, so we went to the local mall, where there’s a great indoor play area. This lady bug was a favourite with the two girls.

In the evening, we all went to the club for dinner, and then it was time for them all to leave again, and drive up to Disney where they will spend the next two days.
Hubby and I went to see a fantastic show, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow. When we got back home, the house seemed so empty and quiet. I actually had time to sit and do this blog. It’s going to feel very strange waking up tomorrow morning with only the two of us rattling around here, but I’m sure we’ll find plenty to occupy ourselves with, like cleaning all the little mouth and fingerprints off the mirrors and glass doors. They certainly do seem to hold a fascination for small children, don’t they. Smile

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.