Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for zilch, zero, nada

Okay nada doesn't begin with the letter Z, but it fits. Today we conclude the April A-Z blog challenge, and I'm back where I started.

Only not.

I had a sorta kinda theme when the challenge began, which was to empty my brown paper bag. That bag was a catch all for the many photos I intended to get to eventually, only it seemed like eventually actually meant never. I decided to blog my way out of that paper bag, and inadvertently ended up blogging about motherhood.

Here is my bag on Day 1-

...and on Day 30-

Zilch.  Zero.  Nothing to see so move along.  Whoohoo! Go me!

This challenge was so good for me from an organizational standpoint. That brown paper bag was not my only photo stash, so besides emptying, filing, and scanning those photos, I also made a very significant dent in my blue box and my clear tub. The photos stored there were more recent and mostly in envelopes by date, so not nearly as stress inducing.

I'm on a roll and now that the photo boxes are dated I can easily file. Some I'll add to scrapbooks because scrapbooking feels way less daunting when your photos are in chronological order. I'll likely make a few photo books too, because I enjoy paging through them.

Finally, I'm going to bind these A-Z posts into books for my daughters. After all, they're the stars of the show.  I like to think that someday they'll have children of their own, and will crack open their book to find a kindred spirit in their own mother at various stages along the parenting road.

The biggest and best thing I've gotten out of the A-Z this time around though, was not photo organization, but something else entirely. I remembered how much I love to write.

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Volume 123

If you're looking for the final installment of my A-Z blog challenge posts you'll find it by clicking here. Of course you're all welcome to join in the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge...here are this week's questions-

1.  This week's Hodgepodge is Volume 123.  What's something you've done recently that was as easy as 1-2-3?

2.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge also happens to fall on the first day of May ...what is something you may do this month?

3. The Englishman Horace Walpole is credited as saying, "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think"  How do you see it?

4.  May is National Hamburger Month...how often do you eat a burger? What are your must-haves when it comes to burgers?  I assume you vegetarians won't be celebrating so tell us what you'd like instead?

5. Pansies, petunias, geraniums, impatiens...of the four mentioned, which is your favorite in a patio pot? Will there be pots on your patio this spring? (Or whenever spring comes to your part of the globe?) Who does the gardening at your house?

6. When did you last (literally or figuratively) shout "Mayday, Mayday!"

7.  Say farewell to your April in ten words or less.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yesteryear

I thought about going with yesterday as opposed to yesteryear, because yesterday I was here-

Since I'm blogging about motherhood, yesteryear it is.
Yesteryear I was here...

...in a world where little girls wore pink piglet shirts and pony tails in their hair.

Where they raced the surf-

and shook hands with Santa.

Their eyes were full of wonder-

...because the world was very big and they were very small.

In yesteryear little girls sat side by each on a warm summer day-

They wrestled fish from a hook-

...and words onto a page.

It was that magical place where a little girl shared the secret of life sittin' on a rock.   

In yesteryear little girls dreamed of castles and queens and a great big tomorrow.

"Write in your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for eXotic

It's Saturday and its the letter X and I'm somewhat pressed for time so this one's gonna be short and sweet-

St. Thomas 2002

The first time my girls ventured outside the continental United States. 

A fun-filled family Thanksgiving.
Turquoise blue waters and gentle island breezes. 

One year later we would be eating Thanksgiving dinner on a train bound for Paris.

Oh the things we don't know we don't know. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Worry

What would a whole month of blogging about motherhood be without mentioning the universal language of our species-worry. I've mentioned it a time or two on my blog, okay 48 times according to my search bar, but whatever.

I grew up on the bend in the road, a spot where the slight hill that was our street began to flatten out before intersecting with a neighborhood cross street. When I first learned to ride a bicycle my dad walked me and my too big bike to the top of our hill, set me on it, and sent me flying.  Literally.  Well, almost literally.  I remember being terrified and exhilarated. Angry, hurt and, once the dust settled, proud.  There was not a helmet in sight.  Knee pads, wrist guards, and some might say good sense were nowhere to be found either.

My daughters were dressed like professional sportsmen to ride bicycles. They wore knee pads and wrist guards to roller blade, shin guards to play soccer, and mouth guards to protect their expensive smiles during lacrosse and field hockey matches.

There's a little blurb that periodically makes its way around Facebook saying something along the lines of, "I never wore a helmet or a seat belt and I made it through my childhood unscathed'. True, although I imagine not everyone can say that.

Our parents let us lay in the back of the station wagon when we traveled because that's just what people did in days gone by. They didn't slather us in sunscreen when we went outside to play or ask for passwords to our Internet accounts either.  Because we didn't know then what we know now.  We know it makes sense for kids to wear helmets and seat belts and tansun lotion as we call it around here.

Every generation wants the best for their kids. I'm pretty sure mothers from the dawn of time have been worrying about their children, doing what they can to keep them safe and protect them from harm. Mothers have always done what they could to preserve the innocence of childhood for as long as possible.  While times have changed, the heart of a mother really has not.

Worry is still her enemy.  

There are things we parents have some control over (whether or not our ten year old wears a bicycle helmet) and things we have little to no control over. I won't list those things here because every mother has her own list at the ready, no need for me to add something from mine that hasn't occurred to you yet.

I do wonder though, is there more evil in the world in 2013 or just more knowledge of it thanks to the Internet and 24/7 programming? More access to it thanks to the digital age?

We mothers, we listen to the experts, we try to pay attention to new products out there and old products being recalled.  We watch the news, talk with other mothers, lock our doors and show i.d. in order to enter our children's schools.

Still we worry.

We strap our babies into car seats and insist the grandparents do the same. We teach our children to stop and look both ways before crossing the street. We tell them not to accept a ride or anything else from a stranger. We buy bike helmets and wrist guards, and we slather SPF 50 on an impatient seven year old before she jumps back into the pool.

And still, we worry.

What do we do about all those intangible things that keep us up at night, the things a helmet or a seat belt just won't fix...a child's broken heart, their disappointment, hurt that's on the inside?

Deep down we mothers know our list is not crossed off, that it will never be crossed off. That once you have a child your heart is forever more open and raw to every joy and pain that comes their way. All the worry in the world can't change that.

So what is a mother to do?

Do you know that the Bible commands us not to worry?  It's not a suggestion, it's..."Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything..."(Phil 4:6)  When I tell my children 'Don't' I mean it.  I am not suggesting they not do something, I'm telling them no.  Don't do it.

I know there are people reading here who will think this sounds cliche, but for me prayer is the key to what I desire more than anything else as a mother and as a human being- a calm and gentle spirit.

There is something so comforting to me as a mother to know that ultimately I'm not the one in control. Yes I have to do my part as the parent, but God knows and loves my children even more than I do. That thought is almost unfathomable, yet its true.

When I was a child and would feel anxious or overwhelmed my mother would sometimes sit on my bed and say, 'tell me everything you're worrying about and I'll worry for you'.  I remember the tremendous sense of relief I felt at saying aloud all the things I worried about or feared the most. Fear and worry have always gone hand in hand for me, and just knowing my mother was there to help carry the load made it all seem less big.

That's still true for me today. When I start feeling anxious about anything concerning my children I call up all the verses I've learned throughout my life relating to worry...I say them out loud and to myself. I pray and hand those cares over one by one to the One who actually holds the future in His hand.

If I could offer only one piece of advice to mothers everywhere it would be to pray. Parenting is hard, in fact it's downright scary sometimes, but you are not alone. The same God who set the stars in the sky wants to know what it is that keeps you up at night, what lays heavy on your heart, what is worrying you.

He knows children can be difficult, but He is bigger than our biggest fear. He can soothe the deepest worry. He is able.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for When We Were Very Young

Emphasis on the very.

I came across this photo while sorting through my brown paper bag and knew I would include it somewhere along the path from A-Z.

This photo was actually taken by a professional photographer and yes, we paid good money for this gem.  This is one of those pictures that sends my mind spinning in several directions, so where to begin?

My first thought is that I distinctly remember this photographer was no match for my 10 month old. Or my normally super easy-going, cooperative-except-that-day three year old. Holy moly what a morning!

Here's the deal-my sibs and I had this idea that we wanted to surprise our parents with a family photo, you know...all their children and grandchildren. Lovely, yes?  We were all spread out per our usual way of living so it was decided everyone would come up to our house and I'd arrange for a photographer to take the photo in his studio.  There would be 8 adults plus my two girls and my niece who was four.

Hubs had a mustache.
I feel I need to mention that in case its not obvious. Ha. Hi hubs!

I wore my hair in a French braid.
Why did I think that was a good idea?
Who knows...let's chalk it up to baby brain.

I want you to know Daughter2 did not begin the day with that headband strapped across the middle of her forehead. It was adorably in place when we left the house that morning, but she was having none of it.  Prior to that day I  had visions of capturing some sweet mother daughter shots, all three of us in pink....sigh.  It was not meant to be.

I actually loved my dress, but by the time that photo was snapped I'd been wrestling the little cutie patootie in that way mothers with babies do from time to time. You know, where they somehow manage to get hold of your bra strap and then swing their arms and legs in an effort to get down, accidentally smacking you in the face. Yeah....that kind of mom fun. I know there are mothers out there nodding their heads.  Most mothers of small children have been on the receiving end of a stray foot to the stomach or an unintentional punch in the nose at one time or another.

Daughter1 looks distressed.
She was.
Under my smile I'm distressed too.

How can I put this nicely? The photographer did not have a way with children. At one point he actually shouted at my three year old. And we were paying him! All parents know if you want your three year old to stop crying all you need to do is shout, right? I'm pretty sure he was single.

Now to be honest she wasn't exactly cooperating, and I could totally relate to his wanting to shout but still, we were paying him! At the ripe old age of three little miss was a teensy bit fraidy scared in unfamiliar situations, and this was something unfamiliar. Plus, he wasn't exactly putting out that I love kids vibe. He was putting out more of an I'm gonna need to hit a bar after you people clear out vibe, and if I'm being honest I wouldn't blame him.

So we spent hours in his studio and I didn't buy the picture.  We bought one of the whole group together for my parents, but I didn't purchase any of just my little family of four.  This was a proof we were given to keep...something to remember the photo shoot by. Like I could forget.

Afterwards we all went back to our house and hung out in the backyard and made homemade ice cream and laughed a lot. I love my siblings. To this day we still say home made ice cream the way Daughter1 did on that day.

And now for the rest of the story...the next day we woke up and my darling little niece greeted us with a raging case of chicken pox.  Two weeks later to the day my two little darlings both woke up with their own chicken pox fun.  Daughter2 was ten months old.  It was the middle of summer and we had no air conditioning. Good times!

It's funny what you remember and what you don't. I remember feeling impatient. Also tired, annoyed, frustrated, disappointed, and cranky. Like my kids, only I wasn't coming down with a case of the chicken pox.

When I look at this picture twenty years later this crummy little proof is suddenly very precious.  That look on Daughter1's face, trying so hard to reign in the tears...her sweet little hands on my arm. I've secured Daughter2 in place like someone from the WWE which makes me smile.  I was learning. Those enormous blue eyes looking out at the world from beneath a well intentioned but misplaced headband.

The smallness of them.
Their helpless need of me.

I loved them so.
I love them still.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Expect the Unexpected in the Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've hopped over here via the A-Z challenge, you'll find today's letter linked in question #8. Course everyone is welcome to join the Hodgepodge here on Wednesdays...just answer the questions on your own blog then add a link back to your answers at the end of my post.

Here are mine~

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

The alphabet? 

I really do enjoy the A-Z blog challenge. It gets me excited about writing again, and makes me think too. I love having the alphabet as a guide, and I find myself pondering the next day's letter as I go about my day.  

It's also a lot of pressure. I normally don't blog six days a week, and I almost never blog on a Saturday, so that's a challenge. Keeping the Hodgepodge somewhat fresh every week also takes time, and on top of that I've had a couple of getaways on the calender in April so whew! 

I've had to do some planning and writing ahead, which I guess is how some people blog on a regular basis, but not me. I'm more of a write when I feel the urge as opposed to writing because the calendar says write. Perhaps I need to put writing on my calendar?  

2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned?  If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

I think its a combination of nature and nurture. Some children come into this world with a gentle spirit that seems tuned in to the needs and emotions of the world around them and they almost automatically extend compassion. Others need to have that modeled for them and it's our job as parents to do just that. 

We teach compassion when we're patient with the people we live with, or those who cross our paths throughout the day, when we take care of pets, spend time with those who are sick or elderly, by volunteering, and also by calling attention to acts of compassion that happen around us or in the world at large. As is true of most things in parenting...we teach compassion by showing compassion.  

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

Depends on my mood, but I probably lean towards romantic comedy over romantic drama.  There are many exceptions, but I won't dig too deep here. I have the A-Z to get to still!

4. It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying, "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or disagree?

I do love a hot dog at the ballpark that's for sure.  
I also love a candlelit dinner at the Ritz.  

Can I like both? Do these two events compare? 
No. No they do not. 
I can love both.  

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

For starters there's an intersection near our home in dire need of a flashing yield sign. There is a yield sign in place but its a strange spot where the people going straight actually yield and the people coming across at the light have the right of way. That sign needs to flash.  

When you're the one staying straight it doesn't feel like you should yield, but there is in fact a yield sign there so YIELD! We use this intersection almost daily, and we also see a near miss there almost daily. Hubs says I need to call someone about it, but the trouble is that never occurs to me until we're actually in the intersection.  

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.

Two of my favorite songs contain a flower in their title-

Daisy Jane by America
Magnolia by Poco

7. April 22nd is Earth Day...do you believe in life on other planets?  That wasn't the question you were expecting was it?

Human life or just life? I was reading hubs the questions for this week and he had a lot to say about this one. I'll admit it's not a topic I've given a lot of thought.  

The Bible says God created the heavens and the earth.  It doesn't actually spell out that earth is the only place with life on it, but it also doesn't say anything definitive about other life out there. Clear as mud?

If I have to articulate what I believe it's this-I believe Earth is the only place with life like ours. That in this gigantic universe which we humans see only the tiniest fraction of, God created planet Earth and set man on it...man created in His very image.  That we're special, and the very smallness of the Earth in terms of the scale of the universe is a reminder of how very precious we are to Him.   

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Once again, I'm using this space as my A-Z blurb for today's letter...the letter "U". Ugh. That's one of my favorite words to use when blogging, although I almost never use it in real life. Somehow it just seems to work for me when I write.  I won't think too hard about what that means-ha!  

I'm not going to use the word ugh here anyway.  Instead I like this one-

U is for Unexpected
"Play is training for the unexpected."  Marc Bekoff

Life is full of the predictable, but also the unexpected, and nothing teaches you that lesson quite like parenting, does it? Kids throw up when you're dressed to go out. They run fevers when its not convenient, forget their lunches and library books, remember they have to make a poster for Social Studies just as they're climbing in to bed. They don't get the part, make the team, the Honor Roll, or that expected college admission. 

While I don't think we can ever be completely ready for the unexpected (then it would be expected, right?) I do think we can help our children learn to roll with the twists and turns this life brings. I think a big part of that is in how we, the adults in their lives, react.  

I'll go ahead and admit here this isn't my strong suit. I resist change and when my well thought out plans fall apart I don't always 'keep calm and carry on'. I will also say I'm a whole lot better than I used to be and I think the reason is this-my life these past fifteen years has been full of the unexpected.  

My girls lives have not followed the course I imagined when I birthed them some 20+ years ago. I never expected they'd have a very different high school experience than the traditional US experience, but they did. Never expected they'd live on one continent and I'd live on another. Never expected to be dealing with grief and the loss of a beloved cousin and niece, but we have.  

When I think about the unexpected that has come my way I think about trust. I think this is an area of my life where God wanted my attention, and to get it He needed to move me out of my very comfortable comfort zone.  Would the relationship I have with Him today be the same had I never picked up roots and moved across the sea? 

In this life we learn by doing. By experiencing. By conquering fears and facing challenges. By handling the big and little unexpected stuff that comes our way.  I know I want my girls to keep a clear head in times of trouble. I want them to plan ahead, but not feel afraid when plans go off course because plans will, at one time or another, go off course. 

I don't know many people who like change, but most of us have to deal with it somewhere along life's way. We can fear it or face it. Or fear it and face it and sometimes come out better on the other side. Sometimes I have to remind myself that unexpected doesn't always mean bad. My initial reaction might be negative, but when I look back with 20/20 hindsight I often feel a sense of awe. 

When I think of all the big and little unexpected happenings in my life I see how God was there. I still like to plan, still don't eagerly embrace change, but I do know when my plans go askew or change is in the wind I'm not going it alone, and that makes all the difference.  

I want my girls to know that too.  Their lives will follow a path that will sometimes take them places unexpected. God is there and you are His.  

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." 
Proverbs 31:25

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Too Too Something

Why are all the hard letters at the end of the alphabet?

Okay T isn't really a hard letter, but there are definitely some tough ones coming up before we cross the A-Z finish line one week from today.  Whoohoo!

I've been blogging this month about motherhood. Parenthood. Time and distance and perspective.  Grown up children and toddlers and family dynamics and memory. The feelings I associate with being a mother are hard to quantify. Hard to put into a nice neat paragraph because they spill over into all the small quiet spaces of my heart...the big wide open spaces too.

Mothers are often defined in terms of the various 'jobs' we perform-cook, chauffeur, referee, teacher, nurse, maid, counselor...the list goes on.  For me though, it's more about the descriptors.

It's just too everything...

...too quick

...too precious

...too much fun

...too sweet

...too exhausting

...too rewarding

...too thrilling

...too tender

...too golden

...too everything.  

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 122

Welcome to another week in the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  If you're visiting from the A-Z  today (or the universe at large) you're welcome to play along. Just answer the questions on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to share answers.

You'll find today's A-Z post featuring the letter T just after this one.

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

2. What is the nature of compassion?  Is it learned or innate?  Can compassion be learned?  If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

4.  It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us here in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or Disagree?

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.

7. April 22nd is Earth Day...do you believe there's life on other planets?  That wasn't the question you were expecting was it?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sisters

I've written a time or two on my blog about sisters, my own and my daughters as sisters, but in emptying my brown paper bag I came across a few stray photos I wanted for my blog.  I bind my blog posts into books so they're a scrapbook of sorts too.  An out of order scrapbook of randomness and a whole lot of words, but they're mine.

My girls are best friends. From the minute Daughter2 entered this world her sister adored her and vice versa. When the nurse brought the baby in to the room where Daughter1 was waiting, her first words were "Gimme 'dat".

They look a lot alike and in many respects they are alike, but they're also each their own person and approach life differently. Sometimes I think that's why they get along so well. They've rarely had a disagreement, which I know is unusual for siblings.

Just a couple of weeks ago Daughter2 asked her sister to bring a dress here for her to wear on Easter because apparently there was nothing in her own closet she thought would work. That's a topic for another day (Ha!), but Daughter1 brought a dress that was brand new, one she hadn't yet worn herself, and happily let her sister wear it.

They are separated by many miles now but talk regularly on the phone, love nothing better than being in the same place at the same time, and when they come home will often sleep in the same room even though there are rooms here to spare.

Although they've never said as much I'm pretty sure they occasionally commiserate about their parents. That's what siblings are for, right? As strange as it may sound I actually like knowing if I'm getting on a daughter's nerves (which I'm sure is almost never!) she can call her sister and rant. I think that's healthy and contributes to peaceful family life.

Sisters are good medicine for sad broken hearts. They know when to talk and when to listen. They give advice or offer to beat someone up. Kidding! Sort of. I distinctly remember telling off my own sister's high school boyfriend in the parking lot where he worked. It was very much out of character for me, but you don't mess with a sister!

Sisters are like my favorite pair of jeans. They're friendship and laughter and a hand to hold when life is scary or your parents tell you you're moving countries. Sisters are playmates and soul mates. They've got your back and tell you when your hair needs fixing. They know you...the good the bad, and the ugly, and that's okay.  Better than okay...it's a relief.

With my own sisters I feel like I can say anything. They can agree or not. Tell me I'm crazy, laugh with me, give me a hug, listen to me vent, or help me weigh out a problem. They say 'I know' and mean it.  They see all my faults and they see past them too.  It's more than shared genetics...it's also the shared language of a family, the shared history and experience that make sisters special.

I'm sure I've missed out on something not having sons, and I do look forward to sons in law one day. I also love my brother to pieces and he knows we all think he hung the moon. Still, I'm thankful every day that my girls have a sister.

They are too.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rain,Rain, Don't Go Away

Me and my sister want to play~

"Childhood is that state which ends the moment a puddle is first viewed as an obstacle 
instead of an opportunity."~Kathy Williams

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Quality Post

When we were raising our children the debate about quality time versus quantity of time raged loud and strong. I am of the mindset that children need both, that quality time spent with your children is valuable, but they also need gobs and gobs of your physical presence too.

Not necessarily sitting on the floor working a puzzle or playing tag in the backyard, although they do need that (kids are needy, aren't they?), but they need you to be around...in the house, nearby, available. There is something very comforting about a parent's presence,  in simply knowing they're near.  I don't have any statistics or data, but in my heart I believe our 'being there' helps build a sense of security in children they carry with them throughout their lives.

Of course when your 'kids' are almost a quarter century in years you take what you can get, which is usually quality versus quantity.

So, other stuff has been going on around here this month besides the A-Z challenge-ha! I'm determined to work one such event into my A-Z post today...

Q is for Quality Time

Hubs was in Japan for a week, and while he was away I took my own mother to D.C. to visit my Daughter1, her granddaughter.  Daughter1 has officially been working in our nation's capital for two years now, and my mom had never seen her home or office.
We accidentally timed our visit to coincide with the cherry blossoms at their peak.


Do you know I do not have one single solitary photograph of the three of us in or around DC?  I'm not sure why, I guess we were busy walking, and talking, and sweating (it was almost 100 degrees the two days we were in town), plus my mom said she needed her hair cut and colored and didn't want her picture taken so I obliged because I've been there myself.

I drove down to my mom's on a Tuesday afternoon, and we got up Wednesday morning to make the three hour drive south.  We had such a lovely time traveling...the sun was shining, there was very little traffic, and we just talked and talked.  I'd also burned Alan Jackson's Precious Memories tracks to a CD so we had us a little hymn sing too.  You're allowed to do that when you're alone in the car with your mama.

Since Daughter1 was working when we got to town, my mom and I headed straight to Arlington National Cemetery.  My dad is buried there, and we intended to go by his grave since she doesn't get to do that very often.  We have a pass that allows us to drive straight to the grave site, but on this particular Wednesday it was a bit of a challenge. We encountered a funeral procession so had to pull over.

I'm convinced there is nothing quite as moving in this nation we call home, as a funeral service in Arlington National Cemetery. We watched as the caisson came down the road, and we jumped a little at the 21-gun salute. We also shed a little tear as Taps was played...impossible not to as you stand in a sea of white crosses, and the sad slow strains of that poignant tune echo across the hillside.

After leaving Arlington we made our way to the hotel near Daughter1's apartment.  She phoned when she was on the train and I may or may not have gotten a little turned around trying to get to the train station to collect her, so she ended up walking home and we just met her there.  She's used to me.

My mom loved seeing her cute place and meeting one of her roommates too. We went to dinner and my mom shared some stories with my daughter about her early married days, and about my dad, and it was just a very sweet sweet time.

On Thursday my mom and I hopped on the metro to meet Daughter1 at her office.  We didn't literally hop, but my mom was quite the trooper with all the steps and the logistics and the heat. Did I mention it was hot?  We successfully navigated the train and went to lunch with Daughter1, and then she took us up to her office, and we marveled at her very grown up life.

You do that when your kids grow up.
They amaze you a little.
A lot, actually.

After lunch Daughter1 went back to work and my mom and I ventured onto the mall to see some more cherry blossoms.

The Washington Monument is encased in scaffolding as they are still repairing damage from the 2011 earthquake.

I don't think that's a job for just anyone.

My mom sat on a bench and people watched while I crossed three streets to get a little closer to the trees. It was hot. Did I say that already?

Thursday night we did some shopping, because shopping is my mom's love language, and then had dinner and went back to the hotel.  Daughter1 spent the night with us both nights and she and I had the best time chatting and then laughing ourselves silly reading through the posts on 'When Parents Text'.  I can relate a little too well and she knows it. That's partly what she loves about me.

Friday morning we had to send her on her way, back to work because that's life in the grown up world, and my mom and I headed home.  The weather was miserable, raining cats and dogs as the saying goes, but we made it back to her house, and then I drove another two hours home to mine.

Three generations all together for two full days, and not a single photo of us girls.  Lots of real live, honest to goodness quality time though, and precious memories that will last.