So, Birthday came and went, and I did not spontaneously explode. (although admit it, that would be cool to read about!) So I am still here, and doing the best I can to muddle through another day. This list will be just random thoughts again, since I actually had fun making last week's list. Plus, it doesn't make it so damn hard to make a list! If I find a tangent I like, I might run with it, just to warn you!
1) How is it that most kids' toys today almost always take forever to assemble? No longer are the days of simple snap and go toys. Now they all have bells and whistles, require batteries that you forgot to buy, and you always need a frikkin' screwdriver to finish it. Luckily, I have yet to have the proverbial problems on Christmas Eve/ Christmas morning... key word being YET!
2) In our house, the plethora of toys amazes me way too much. Now we had toys when I was a kid, but nothing like we have stored in the playroom. Hell, just saying that we have a playroom is amazing. When I was Patrick's age, we had a sunroom/porch off of our living room. We had good times out there, but there were windows that could break, and lots of other things we had to be careful of. The room we have here is awesome. One window only, in a spot that won't likely get hit or break. So they can go nuts out there!
3) Speaking of the house we are in, it was the house my grandparents lived in for 30+ years. It was very odd moving in, since it is still "Grandmom and Granpop's" house. Now my uncle owns the house, and has for years. He rebuilt the house, and put in an apartment upstairs. The house used to be a 5 bedroom house, with a store built in too. Now, the store space is cut in half, leading to the playroom, and the Post Office. Yup, our building holds the town's Post Office. Upstairs the area was also cut in half. There used to be a door in the bathroom leading to three other rooms. Now there is a sink and vanity, and it is sealed off. The other side of the wall is a closet in the 2 bedroom apartment with full kitchen and gorgeous living room. The people living in the apartment are usually family friends, and because of that, when my grandmother had her stroke, the friend called 911 and was at her side when the ambulance got here.
4) The room Kate and I sleep in is the room where my grandmother had a massive stroke in. Now, she didn't pass until 3 days later after all the kids and grandkids got to say goodbye. My siblings have all told me they would be creeped out sleeping in the same room, but I learned to deal with it. I look at it as the room where she lived, not died. To honor my grandparents, we have a picture of them in the playroom, which used to be known as "Grandmom's room". This room was always full of pictures of grandkids, family, and fun things for the kids to play with. Making it a playroom was a no-brainer. Grandmom would have wanted it that way. And now, she watches over the boys while they are playing. Grandpop is still alive, but living in a home. He loves seeing the boys, and We bring them to see him ever so often. But the picture of the two of them watching over the boys means so much to me.
5) Sad to think, but just a few years ago, I was blessed enough to have all 4 of my grandparents. Now, unfortunately, I only have one left. My dad's dad. His health is going slowly downhill, and he most likely doesn't have too much longer. I think this is good and bad. Good, because he isn't happy here without my grandmother, and it has been 3 years since she passed. Bad because I will not have him to enjoy my boys.
6) When Patrick was born, My grandmother was so proud. The first person to visit Kate in the hospital that wasn't our parents or siblings was my grandmother. I remember it clearly, I was sitting in the corner of the room resting, and there was a knock on the door followed by a pink and white blur. I have never seen this woman move so fast. She went right to Kate, gave her a kiss, and asked to hold him. My Uncle Tim was right behind her, and he actually saw me, and offered congratulations. Grandmom did after holding him for quite some time. I have never felt so proud, seeing the smile on her face, and the joy she had while holding him.
7) My mom and sisters hadn't expected Patrick to be born so early, and had planned a shower for Kate that wound up being after he was born. One if the neatest pictures I have EVER taken, (and I have taken a TON in my life) is of Patrick holding onto my grandmother's finger. He was only about 3 weeks old, and she was 81. Amazing. This was the last time I saw Grandmom before her stroke. It was a severe and incapacitating stroke that she never recovered from. I got to say goodbye to her, but never got to see her smile anymore. I am amazed at how much I miss it.
8) My Grandmom used to host a Christmas party every year, and invited all the grandkids to come and do some crafty things, have some hot chocolate, and just have a great time. Problem was, I would always seem to have something else planned that I couldn't get out of (like work). The last one she had was the one right before Patrick was born, and Kate and I made sure we were there. I had promised Grandmom I would make it that year, and made sure we were there. None of us knew it would be the last one. Part of the tradition was every grandkid would get a Polaroid picture with Grandmom and Grandpop while having the option to wear a Santa Hat. Both of us got a picture with them, and we also brought our digital camera too. There was one moment that I am proud of noticing, and it might not have meant anything if Grandmom was still alive. After all the grandkids were done taking pictures, I was standing in the room with Grandmom and Grandpop, and they were just about to get out of their chairs. But before they did, they leaned over and gave each other a kiss. I happened to have my camera ready, and got a picture of it. At the time, it was a "cute picture". Less than 2 months later, it brought tears to everyone's eyes at Grandmom's funeral.
9) Ok, enough sad thoughts. There is a great story of when my sister was born. She was born at 30 weeks, but was a HUGE baby for that age. 30 weeks, and she was 8 1/2 pounds. Some babies aren't that big at birth! So, she was in the NICU, and my Grandmom was looking in the window. There was another couple looking in the window, and happened to see my sister there. (Now picture this, she is 10 weeks early, and is 8 1/2 pounds. Most of the other babies in the NICU are lucky to be 4 pounds after a few days/weeks in there!) So the man looking in the window says to the woman, "Wow, that big baby must have been born weeks ago! Look how big she is!" To which my Grandmom smiles and says "That is my Granddaughter, and she was born only 3 hours ago!" Flabbergasted, the couple smiled and left, not knowing what to say.
10) I have learned to understand a phrase that my Grandpop used to say to my parents when we were all leaving from their house, and usually when some or most of us kids were screaming crying in the car. My mom's dad, in his amazing charm, would lean in the window, smile, and say to my parents "Ain't love grand?". I used to just write it off as a kid, not really understanding the comment. Now, all these years later, and having two of my own kids, I have had the nights where the kids were screaming in the car as I pulled away from my parents. And immediately, the thought comes to mind before my dad can say it to me, but he makes sure he does. "Ain't love grand?" he says with a huge smile.
11) While I was blessed to have all my grandparents for so long, my wife wasn't as lucky. Her mom's parents died young, well before Kate was born. Her dad's father died about 2 years before we met. I simply adore her Mom-mom, and she loves me too. Shortly after we started dating, Kate's brother got married, and I was invited to the wedding and the rehearsal dinner. My seat happened to be next to Mom-mom. The dinner was a lavish Italian feast, being a 7 course meal. However, sitting next to Mom-mom allowed me the honor of sharing her meal, thus making my meal a 14 course meal. "Oh Patrick, you are a growing young man, you need this more than I do..." Gotta love her!
12) Next year will be 10 years since that wedding, and apparently we are gonna babysit Kate's niece and nephew so their parents can go away. I don't have any good stories about her niece, but her nephew, Harry, I have been spoiling since he was born. EVERY present I have ever bought for him has been related to firefighting. His first present was a bib with a firehouse on it, and came with a Velcro Dalmatian. Yes I am serious! The older he got, the louder the toys got. I would go and find stuff he would like, but made sure it was noisy or silly, just to tease Ken and Lisa, his parents. Ken swore to me that "Revenge will suck brother!". I laughed it off, since Patrick is 3, and never got a loud toy from them... until...
13) His birthday present for his 3rd birthday came early, since they weren't going to be there to give it to him. We brought it home after Thanksgiving, and put it in the closet, almost forgetting about it until his birthday. Lisa laughingly said this was the gift of Revenge, and I should "make sure I enjoy it". Curious, I wondered if this was the year Ken got even with me. When Patrick opened the present up, I laughed out loud. Elmo's first Drum Set. Three drums and one cymbal. Sadly, it wasn't loud enough to get truly even with me, but it is a good step in the right direction. So Ken, If you are reading this, (I doubt he will, but anyway) Bring it on Brother! Elmo didn't work out well enough. Can you find anything to get even with me?