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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Star Student: Love Being Little

Last week, We had a big assignment for Liz. She was Star Student. Each child gets to be Star Student for one week.

It's a big deal. That kid gets to bring in their favorite belongings, have their book read in class and bring snacks one day. They also need to make a poster listing their favorite things.

That was our project a week ago Saturday. I headed to New York on Sunday and knew we needed to do this poster and I also knew it was going to take awhile. Brian ended up doing the "Take a Mouse to the Movies" poster in December while I was in New York the last time. So, it wouldn't be fair to stick him with another poster.

These projects are really more family or "parent homework" because the instructions even say, "with Mom and Dads help." This poster took more than three hours to do. And, of course if you look at the finished product, it looks like it only took us 15 minutes. Ah, well. We're not that creative.

What I liked about it was she had to answer a series of questions for the poster. Her favorite food: Pizza, of course. Favorite activities: Swimming. Someone she admires: Her cousin Daniel.

When I asked: Favorite thing about yourself, she answered without a pause: Being little.

How cool, right? I was delightfully surprised and I hope that she continues to realize that she'll have a unique view of the world.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

60 happy years

It's a big day for my Grandma and Grandpa Shidler. They celebrate 60 years of marriage today. Sixty years. Four children, 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren (with 2 more arriving in months).

Recently, I was talking with someone who is getting married in the fall and she said she was asked in pre-marriage counseling to discuss her marriage idols. The couple whose marriage she admires the most.

For me, my marriage idols are unequivocally Grandma and Grandpa. Despite all of the changes that have occurred in their lives and especially a number of health problems they've faced in the last year, they have always remained an amazing team.

It's fun to think back to when they were first married 60 years ago. Their family grew fast - perhaps faster than they ever expected.

They welcomed my dad on Jan. 1, 1951 - just days before their first anniversary. Later that same year, they welcomed my Aunt Barb into the family. Yep, you did the math right. Grandma had two babies in a year's time.

And, if you ask her about it now, she'll throw her head back laughing still not sure how they survived that crazy time. As a mom now to two young children - five years apart - I can't imagine having two in the same year. Grandma always says, it was basically like having twins.

My Aunt Dee and Uncle Wayne came later (not in the same year). That family of six went all over the country on family trips. Their children still laugh about those trips that include sibling squabbles and adventures with wildlife - at least one bear.

When their kids grew they got to enjoy their grandchildren and more had freetime together as a couple golfing and traveling.

Now, they're celebrating birthdays and milestones with the great-grand babies. They're also spending more time at home and have faced health challenges in the last year.

For a short period of time last year, Grandpa needed to stay at a nearby center for medical treatment and Grandma was at home by herself for the first time in decades.

Even though they were no more than one city block away from each other, it was difficult for them both. For the first time in their marriage, they were physically living apart from each other even if just for a brief period of time.

For the first time in nearly 60 years, Grandpa had to endure food prepared by someone other than Grandma. And Grandma couldn't get used to sleeping in her bed without Grandpa beside her.

Over the years, they've had some neat anniversary celebrations. For their 25th wedding anniversary they went to Jamaica. I was actually born while they were away, and my first postcard was from them welcoming me to the family. Grandma often joked I was her Jamaican Baby because I was born while they were in Jamaica.

Today, they'll have a low-key celebration - content to be together.

Grandma will make a nice lunch or dinner. Grandpa will likely read the newspaper while Grandma reads a book and they'll probably both catch Wheel of Fortune in between calls from relatives. They might even squeeze in an afternoon nap at some point.

And, the most important thing is they'll be together just as they have been for 60 years.

Here's a couple of pictures my cousin Debbie posted. This is Grandpa in Germany in 1946.

Here's Grandma in 1948.

Their wedding picture taking 60 years ago today.

This is their 25th wedding photo.

Grandma and Grandpa on their 50th wedding anniversary.

This is a great picture of the two of them looking at pictures Christmas 2008.

The two of them together at Christmas time 2008.