Month: November 2010

Goodbye Grandma

This weekend I lost my grandma.  She had been failing for a while, and just this year diagnosed with lung cancer.  It was only a matter of time, and we were praying that she would go peacefully in her sleep… but you’re never really prepared for the end.

Grandma & me in 2004 on my 24th birthday

According to some, I was very lucky to have known all four of my grandparents, and for as long as I did.  We were blessed to be able to see them regularly, beyond birthdays and holidays.  The first house I knew was right next to my mother’s parents; I was able to run across the yard to see Grandma Edna, play with dress-up clothes, beads, paper dolls, stuffed animals, and whatever else she might have for my amusement.  She and my grandfather were always very active, and did a flower and vegetable garden every year.  Before we moved, Grandma Edna planted a small garden along the fence just for me.  There was this one time, though, when I was there for lunch and she served liver salad…. I ate it, politely, hopefully with not too much of a grimace on my face.

Grandma & Gwen in February 2008

A few years ago, I was so happy to learn I was pregnant, and with a baby girl – Gwendolyn.  The first grandchild on my side of the family!  That same year, both my grandfathers suffered fatal injuries in freak falls; It was heartbreaking to witness their decline in the hospital, to see grandmothers lose their husbands, and to know that my baby would never know them. Within the next year, my father’s mother passed away – she had health problems, like many older people, but I believe she just gave up because the love of her life was gone.

Grandma & Gwen Christmas 2008

Grandma Edna was the only one left.  She held on, despite her sorrow.  She continued to garden, to remain as independent as possible.  She had a number of close calls, and at one point was more than ready to go except that she wanted to see her grandson – Josiah, my second baby – before she left.  She got her wish, and almost made it to his first birthday, and in fact passed away on Gwendolyn’s third birthday (their birthdays are two days apart).  I know she is Home now, with my grandfather, and those that have gone before her.  I often wonder – what is it like when one is reunited in Heaven?  Did she tell them about Gwen, about Josiah?  Do they know how much we miss them?

Gwen & Grandma celebrating her birthday, March 2010

Every now and then I’ll have a good cry for their absence.  Despite our grief, it is in fact a happy time, a time for celebration, because our loved one has lost her frail, earthly body.  But selfishly, I think how Grandma will never again pat my hand and say “Lovey,” or ask me if I can use some of her canning jars in the basement or help myself to some rhubarb from her garden.  My children probably won’t remember Great Grandma Edna who loved her grandbabies so much and lit up when she saw them, waiting patiently for her turn to hold them, then hugging them to herself with a content little smile on her face.

Grandma & Josiah, Christmas 2009
Grandma, me, & Josiah at Allie’s Donuts, April 2010
Grandma & Josiah (I think the last photo taken of them)

I have been so sad lately, contemplating life and all the changes we must face.  Even the good ones – my little girl turning three, my baby boy turning one and growing out of his babyness.  These things have a way of making you want to grab ahold of them, of the Good Stuff, relishing it and treasuring it while you can, knowing that time is slipping through your hands and will be gone before you know it.  I can never seem to Seize the Day because of all the mundance necessities that need my attention, but just for now, I’m shirking my duties and letting the laundry sit while I think about Grandma Edna and what a wonderful legacy she has left.  She was – in a favorite phrase of hers – “beautious lovely.”

Goodbye, Grandma.


It’s That Time of the Year…

Every year when Christmas rolls around I get that knot in my stomach, the pressure for having to buy The Perfect Gift for everyone on my Christmas list. Oh… and without spending too much money. We have started some Christmas traditions for our family – Christmas stockings for the kids, focusing on charity rather than lots of presents – but it’s still nice to find that special something for that special someone.

This time of year there is no shortage of deals and bargains to be had, and cool mom picks makes the job even easier by rounding up some of their faves “from cheap to chic.”

Take a gander at their list, and maybe you can take care of some holiday shopping and even put away some gifts with the fabulous coupon codes that their sponsors have to offer.

Holiday Gift Guide

No Poo

When I first heard the phase “No Poo” or “No Poo-Poo,” I assumed it had something to do with elimination communication or potty training.  So, naturally, I was intrigued!  However, as mistaken as I was, I was delighted to discover the benefits of this concept.  Simply put, No Poo is to stop using shampoo.  Sound drastic?  Hold your horses.  If you google the phrase you’ll come up with lots of links providing user tips and insights.  

According to Instructables, the benefits of No Poo include the following:

1. Shampoo is expensive.
2. Chemicals in shampoo can irritate and dry out your scalp and hair.
3. Chemicals in shampoo can be hazardous to your health.
4. Your body produces oil to naturally condition your hair and keep it healthy. Using shampoo daily upsets the natural balance and causes you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.
Read more on the No Poo phenomenon at Instructables.

As I was trying to find more information about the exact method and what different people had to say about it, I stumbled upon this blog article on greenUPGRADER.  I’ve been playing around with different ratios of ingredients, and while I don’t have it down to an exact science, here is my basic method:

Dissolve a spoonful of baking soda in a cup of warm water (you can bring the measuring cup into the shower and fill it with water from the shower head so it doesn’t get too cold).  After wetting your hair, slowly pour the baking soda mixture over your scalp and massage it in.  Rinse thoroughly.  In the same measuring cup, pour apple cider vinegar (I fill it about halfway between the bottom and the quarter cup mark); a drizzle of honey mixed in adds some conditioning.  Fill it with water again, stir around to incorporate, and slowly pour over your scalp and massage in the same manner as the baking soda.  At this time I like to clip my hair up and let it sit while I wash the rest of my body, and then rinse my hair at the end. 

I’ve been trying to live a healthier, greener lifestyle, and it’s so fulfilling when I find something that combines these benefits while being economical at the same time. 

Now excuse me, I gotta go wash my hair.