Saturday, November 30, 2013

Only Four.

Ducks. On our Big Tank. (Which is no longer “big”—due to the severe drought we’ve been having for years in North Central Texas.) Y’all remember when we had SIXTY ducks? (See Duck...Duck...on December 17, 2011). Well, this morning, I walked with My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and Teddy Buddy Boo Bear. To our gate and back. One mile round trip. As we got close to the Big Tank, four ducks flew away. It was a wonderful sight to see. But, at the same time, sad. Because I have a feeling the other 56 ducks have found a tank with more water at which to rest their weary wings—as they fly South for the Winter. Perhaps I’ll be able to report, soon, that we had more ducks come a'callin'.

This year was TLC’s husband’s family’s turn for Thanksgiving. Since our sons live far away and we opted not to go to Houston (we’d just been a few weeks ago for two grandkids’ school programs), we had lunch in Ft. Worth with dear, dear friends. It was marvelous! And I drove! Yep. Moi. I did a darn good job, too. Thank you very much.

Yesterday I did something I’ve never, ever done before. In all of my 59 years of life. I put up our Christmas tree EARLY. For me, that is. (No standing ovations are necessary...your applause is enough. Truly.) I normally go through this dreaded process (Keepin' it real and being bluntly honest.) on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It is an ordeal. Y'all know this. You really do. Once it's up? Magical JOY. Until then? Oh, Lordy. 

(Let me explain further: We've had this particular tree for fourteen Christmases. About five years ago, MSH started begging me to buy a new one. It takes him a minimum of two hours, each year, to find all the little lights that aren't working. Causing lots of other little lights not to work. My point to him is this: Yes. We could buy a new tree. For a minimum of $300 (If we got the same size or bigger and I found a good sale.). And we could have the very same problem. Every year. Lights that don't want to cooperate. I do try to help him. I only seem to frustrate him even more. I've found Christmas music does seem to soothe his soul.)

If you’ll recall, last year I put a tree up quite late. Life had been hectic and I'd been unable to get decorating into my crazy schedule. In honor of the Sandy Hook victims (See Perspective on December 22, 2012), I'd found a smaller tree. I lovingly placed 26 ornaments on it. Going back to this makes me get tears in my eyes. It becomes overwhelming. To let yourself go to The Pain. A second Christmas, for all of the victims’ families and friends, without their Angels. Horrid. Senseless. Heartbreaking. I doubt any of us will ever, ever forget this tragedy. We shouldn’t. Never. May God bless those who lost their loved ones. May God bless us all. (I plan to always keep this little tree. In fact, I plan to give it to LL someday. For her room. I'll tell her the story. I'm confident she'll treasure it's significance.)

Let's get happier. Here’s a picture of our Christmas Tree 2013:


Yes, Ms. Darlin' Piggy Gal, it's going to be extremely interesting to see how Little Leighton (LL) handles this challenge. I’m thinkin' I’m going to be saying:

No No, LL, let’s don’t touch that. No No, LL, let’s don’t play with that! NO NO, LL! LL, let’s not make Grammy say ‘No No’ anymore, okay?”

Distraction. Lots o’ distraction. My Plan.

Bring it on, December...we’re ready for you and happy you're almost here!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for -- a healthy family, a warm home, yummy food and, most of all, My Little Leighton. My Sweet Dad (MSD) loves Thanksgiving. It's his favourite holiday. He spends days planning and preparing the most perfect feast. If I had to choose only one meal to eat for the rest of my life, it would be MSD's Turkey Day Extravaganza.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a fun list of the seemingly small, yet wonderful, things I'm thankful for right at this moment.

1. A visit from ELC. They're always too short. I had my kitchen and living room painted about a week ago, and she's helped me rearrange, revamp and redecorate. She has the best ideas.

2. The Kroger Mini Cinnamon Rolls sitting on my kitchen counter. You can't imagine the amount of willpower it's taking to not eat at least 5 of them rightthissecond.

3. The Starbucks Latte that will accompany said cinnamon rolls in the morning.

4. Christmas music. Honestly, I could listen to it all year. It genuinely makes my spirits bright.

5. Warm scarves. A big, ol' cold front visited Texas this week. It has been CHILLY.

6. The Little People Nativity Set on my coffee table. LL ADORES this. She loves to point out Baby Jesus and his "Mama" and "Dada," and she happily totes the cute little sheep around the house.

7. Free shipping. After LL's arrival, the majority of my shopping became "online." I get super excited when a store offers free shipping.

8. Pictures. I love looking through old pictures, and I love our (first ever!) family photos we had taken recently. I can't wait to share a few of my favourites with y'all.

9. Ribbon. I think I "officially" collect ribbon.

Happy (early) Turkey Day! Bring on the pie!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Club

A week ago today, The Three Leightons made a quick trip to Granbury. Y’all know how much we adore this sweet, quaint, FUN little Texas town (I believe we’ve mentioned it in at least three previous posts but I'm currently too lazy to look those up. Forgive me.). TLC had a couple of stores she wanted to browse. Little Leighton (LL) and I mostly just went along for the ride.

After about 90 minutes of visiting three-ish stores located at the Courthouse Square (a Square full of charm), we departed. We wanted to make a fast stop at a precious store called Cherished Heart, located about two miles from said Square. One really needs a good, solid hour to browse the exquisite and unique little trinkets in this shop. We had about forty minutes before we were certain Princess LL would crash.

I was carrying LL around the shop when we came upon a Cute Little Lady (CLC) who appeared to be 33ish years of age and a Pretty Little Angel somewhere near LL’s age. The Cute Little Lady and I locked eyes and smiled. She, also, was holding PLA.

LL and PLA noticed each other and stared. LL then got excited. (Because, of course, we all know babies and toddlers have an innate ability to be fascinated by other babies and toddlers.) LL waved and waved and was saying something to me I wasn’t quite understanding. I think it might have been:

“Grammy, please get me close to that little girl that I know is my age and could be my friend!”

 
ELC to CLC: She is CUTE. How old is she?

CLC: Thank you! She’ll be fifteen months soon. How old is yours?

ELC: This is my granddaughter and she’ll be sixteen months next week.

Let me pause to tell you PLA had more hair than me, TLC and LL all put together. Well, it was short—but VERY thick. Auburn. Beautiful. (LL’s will get there. We have faith!)

ELC: What’s her name?

CLC: Leighton.

At this point, with my mouth opened wide in complete surprise, I looked over at TLC (who was standing nearby). Her mouth was also wide open. We smiled. Then laughed. CLC might have thought we were acting a teensy bit rude.

ELC: Do you spell it “Leighton?”

CLC: Yes! And most people try to spell it “Layton.” I can’t believe you knew!

ELC: It’s because that is all three of our middle names! It was my grandmother’s maiden name. She was born in England.

CLC: Really? Wow. That is crazy.

ELC: Seriously! What are the odds? Is that a family name for you or your husband?
 
CLC: No. My husband and I and our other two girls all have names that begin with "L." So that's what we were looking for when I found Leighton.
 
ELC: One of my dearest friends, Drew (see my “Ane and Drew” post on October 1, 2012), gave her daughter (she’s a few months older than TLC) the middle name of Leighton and now her granddaughter has it, too. Also as a middle name. We need to start The Leighton Club!

CLC: Our other two daughters pronounce it funny. They emphasize the first syllable pretty strongly. We just laugh.

At this point, both Baby Girls were getting heavy and we all instinctively knew it was time to move on.

I couldn’t wait to text Drew and tell her what had happened!

The Three Leightons have decided our Club will include two Honorary Members:

Ms. Drew…

AND

…another one of my most dearest and cherished friends, Lizzie. When she was pregnant with her second child, over thirty years ago, she was going to name a girl Leighton! She’d learned of my name after we met in college and loved it. As fate would have it, she had another boy. (She did give him a first name that starts with  “L!”) But her intention shall now be rewarded! We’re sure she’ll be thrilled. (You can see what Lizzie looked like 40 years ago in the picture in the above post. She's the lovely young gal who is standing, to the far left, with a classy hat on and toasting with a Coke. That's my story and I’m sticking to it.)

ATTENTION: If your name is Leighton—contact us ASAP. We'll happily reward you with membership in this exclusive (As you read exclusive, in your mind, please say it with a heavy British accent. Because, at all of our meetings, everyone will be required to talk that way. British-y. 'K?) Club.

Smooches,

ELC
(President/CEO/Oldest and Wisest Leighton At Least In These Here Parts Because I Thought Of It And I Said So—ha!)

Friday, November 22, 2013

sittin'...and thinkin'...

Sometimes I just sits and thinks…

And sometimes I just sits…

Back in the 70s and 80s, this quirky/funny/silly little saying could be found everywhere. T-shirts. Coffee mugs. Posters. I had the mug. It tickled me. Mostly because it could’ve been my personal motto. My life—summed up.

I’m not athletic. Never have been. Never will be. No volleyball. No basketball. No track. I was on the drill team at my high school. In fact, I was one of five officers my junior year and one of six my senior year. Lieutenant ELM (M=Maiden Name), if you don’t mind. I loved it. I fancied myself a wannabe professional dancer. Someone with a natural gift, because, of course, I never took lessons. (Well, that’s not exactly true. I did take dance for a very short time when I was about five years old. Ballet was not my cup of tea, apparently. I vaguely remember crying quite a bit, on the way to class. Begging my mother to take me back home. She finally gave in to my sad pleas.)

I’ve always hated aerobics. I tried “step” aerobics when TLC was about six or seven years old. A friend of mine was the instructor. She taught at the Recreation Hall in our small town. There was a BIG mirror for all of us to watch ourselves. Check our technique and progress. Darn that mirror. I was shocked at how horribly bad I observed myself to truly be. I couldn’t keep up to save my life. The mirror actually served to confuse me even more than I already was and I only lasted three or four sessions. Too frustrating. Too humiliating.
 
I also tried Yoga, in a mostly Senior Citizens' type group, for a few sessions about seven years ago. I was probably a tidbit better at it than aerobics. And I was, more than likely, the youngest one there. Which is always good for your self-esteem. However, it made me dizzy. Chow Yoga.

I do love to walk. Hike. Nothing serious or strenuous. Just a skosh over a leisurely pace. I’m also not dedicated to walking. Like I need to be—at my age of 59 closer to 60. Yikes. Every day I wake up promising myself to walk with intention and for at least two miles. Every night I get in bed disappointed in myself. Sigh. (My other motto: There's Always Tomorrow.)

Yep. I like to sits. On my bed. On a couch. In a comfy chair. In a car. At a cafe. In a movie theatre. Sitting is my passion. (It's looking like it could also be Little Leighton's preference, bless her heart. Darn genetics.) I love to read. Watch TV. Snooze. Write. Dream.

Where am I headed with all of this fascinating trivia? We had a cold front hit North Central Texas last night. Got some rain (Yippee—although it was only a teeny tiny drop in the bucket. We need a major rain "event" to help us in this scary and discouraging drought. Don't get me wrong. We are grateful for the blessing. No matter how small. Promise. Thank you, Dear Lord Almighty.) near midnight. According to the weather professionals (Who, by the way, have one of the few jobs, at least in America, that allow you to make lots of money and never have to be right, right?), we’re to have a high chance of freezing rain for several days. (They like to cover their you-know-whats by giving us the worst-case scenarios, since they've been caught, many times, being completely/totally/grossly and dead-you-know-what wrong.)

So, here I am. It’s Friday. It’s cold.  It’s semi-dangerous to leave our country casa on top of our big hill with the prediction that our steep road could be hit with ice while we’re gone. Today seems to be a perfect day to…

Sits. (I currently have no plans to Thinks.)

Gotta scoot. My couch is calling...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Team C

Little Leighton (LL) is soon to be sixteen months old. In her teeny-tiny life, she has spent quite a lot of time at Grammy and Pa-Dad’s casa. But she’s never stayed with us by herself. Just her. And us. Until this past Friday night.

TLC had learned on Wednesday that a contractor she was hiring to paint her kitchen and den could come Friday. He'd said it would take him one day. Although he didn’t think the fumes would be too much for LL, we all agreed she’d be better off coming to our home for a night. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I could barely contain our excitement!

We actually cleaned our house. For a 15-month-old who has no clue it needed it. We made sure we had the right milk (organic whole only, don’tchaknow), fruit, snacks, veggies, etc. I checked my diaper inventory. (I have enough for her to stay a month, of course.)

We met TLC halfway—which is Ft. Worth—at 10:30ish Friday morning. We had an early lunch and she headed back to her home and her painters. LL, MSH and I headed to the country. We needed LL to stay awake—so as not to disrupt her Nap Schedule—for one hour. I sang and sang. (She doesn’t realize I’m not a great singer or that I don’t always remember all the words to Down By the Bay or Baby Beluga.)

Once we got home, everything went like clockwork. MSH and I worked like the TEAM we’ve been for over 36 years. We had no problems. Well, okay. I might be exaggerating a tidbit. Her naps are challenging. Meals? Not a cakewalk. She begins eating with great enthusiasm and cooperation. About fifteen minutes (if you're lucky) in, she loses focus and interest. Other than those two small issues, we’ve been in Grandparents’ Heaven.

TLC had a baby shower to attend in town, yesterday afternoon, for a friend she’s known since they were three years old. She came by for an hour-ish on her way to the party. It mostly served to confuse LL. TLC was gone for almost three hours. Just enough time to get in another challenging nap. The three and a half of us went to town (back for TLC) for an Italian dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. I'm not prepared to share with y'all what I did. We took my car. Suffice it to say it was a really stupid thing (I didn't have a wreck or get a ticket. I simply can't confess my geezer-like stupidity at this point). Rest assured we'll remember that dinner for quite some time. (TLC will never let me forget my mistake. Sigh. She'll be 59 someday.)
 
Our Two Gals will be here until Tuesday afternoon (TLC still comes home to the hair stylist we’ve all gone to for 27 years and she has a cut and color Tuesday morn.). Then they’ll head home. Darn. We’ll be very lonely. Tired—in such a magnificent way. But lonely.

We’ve already decided we’re going to try to do this at least once a month. MSH and I have our iPhone calendars ready to put in December’s Visit. WOO HOO!

I hope each of Y’all has had as splendid a weekend as we’ve had here in the country in North Central Texas! Chow...for now!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

twinkies

Y'all know how we Leighton Ladies L-O-V-E our big, Texas hair! To achieve that "height," we use hot rollers and velcro rollers.

Last week, when Grammy was visiting, my Little Leighton decided she needed some added volume to her locks and wanted to wear rollers (the velcro variety -- for obvious reasons) like her M'am (that's what she's taken to calling ELC and it positively cracks us up) and Mama.

(Why, yes, that IS a wadded up Kleenex behind my ear.
Hot rollers do, in fact, get REALLY hot.)

You're never too small for BIG hair, right?

Happy Friday Eve!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Keep Calm ...

…and Carry On!

Do y’all know where this catchy phrase started? The British government coined it in 1939 to motivate the Brits during the war. Now it’s all the RAGE. Has been for a few years, right? It’s everywhere. T-shirts. Coffee mugs. Posters. Etc. Etc. Etc. (Bet some English peep knows who thought of it and wishes that person’s family could get some royalty payments each time a new company/person/entity “borrows” it.)

TLC and I LOVE IT. Can’t get enough of it. Always look forward to those clever ones who come up with a new sweet/funny/deep/important idea for it.

We’re not saying we’re clever. Trust me. But we decided it would be fun for each of us to come up with nine (Yep. 9.) “Keep Calms and…”

TLC’s:

Keep Calm and…

...listen to Christmas music!

…stroll around Target

…sip a Starbucks Latte

…feed the ducks!

…be KIND

…organize your closet

…stay in your jammies all day

…DONATE—whatever you can

…take more pictures!

ELC’s:

Keep Calm and…

…PRAY FOR RAIN!

…read a book

…eat a cupcake!

…have a Vanilla Coke Zero

…watch Scandal!

…PERSEVERE

…eat more fruits and veggies (Right.Sure.)

…adopt a dog or cat!

…SAY YOUR PRAYERS!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Leightons to the Third

I've been visiting at TLC's since Wednesday. I go back to the country in the morning. It'd been ten days since I'd had a Little Leighton (LL) Fix. Ten LLOOONNNNGGGGG days. I go into serious withdrawal after about 72 hours of no LL. At seven days, it's getting scary. I've known for many moons now that I do best seeing My Girls every five to six days. All of us seem to need that time frame for a happier life.

This trip (TLC and I live two hours apart from each other--assuming we don't encounter accidents causing long traffic tie-ups or we're not forced to face the endless road construction projects all around North Central Texas--they are SOOOOOO annoying!), I've been marveling at how The Three Leightons (not to be confused with The Three Stooges) are tres in sync with each other. We have it down. LL's Daily Schedule--for naps, meals, playtime, etc. Our agreements about what we need to accomplish. What's a priority. What's not. The FUN we MUST have. The laughter we always share.

TLC lives in a neighborhood/community that has sidewalks! And a wonderful "pond"--with ducks, turtles, and other interesting "wildlife."

LL and ELC watching TLC feed the ducks!
 

TLC and I learned a long time ago we are VERY much alike--about 85% of the time. Our differences can be quite HUGE--but usually interesting. Occasionally challenging. It'll be fascinating--to both of us--to experience Little Leighton's character and personality development.

In Numerology (y'all know I'm obsessed with this!), LL and I are "compatible" numbers. I'm a 6. She's a 9. TLC is a 5. She's NOT technically "compatible" with me or LL. LL and I have decided to overlook our differences with TLC. It's the right thing to do. (Now please picture me winking at you...teeheehee...)

Tomorrow morn, around 8:45 CST, when I drive off, TLC will be standing on her front porch--holding LL. They'll be waving. I'll be crying. I always cry. Until I reach the Dallas North Tollway. That's about 10 minutes away. I'll take some deep breaths, think about My Sweet Hubby, Teddy Buddy Boo Bear and Morty the Cat waiting to greet me as I drive up our hill, and I'll be fine. I'll see My Girls soon. Next week, in fact. If the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise. (Not worried. We're in such a drought I doubt our creek's rising in the near future.)

Have a WONDERFUL Weekend, Dear Friends--wherever in the World Y'all are...

Monday, November 4, 2013

a case of the mondays...

I'm not sure if it's the rainy weather -- perhaps the end of Daylight Savings. (Could someone please try to explain that to a toddler?) Now that I stay home with Little Leighton, I'm only marginally sure what day it is about 50% of the time. However, today has felt like a Monday.

In the hopes of boosting my energy, I decided I wanted -- no NEEDED -- and deserved -- Starbucks for lunch. (Well, for my "second lunch." My first lunch consisted of an Almond Joy -- my most favourite candy bar EVER -- and a Twix. Leftover Halloween candy is too tempting. I need to get rid of it, like yesterday.) I was certain a Skinny Vanilla Latte and Cranberry Bliss Bar would get me back on track. Guess what? They don't have the Cranberry Bliss Bars yet. Boo hoo. I settled for a chocolate chunk cookie. It just wasn't the same. I should have asked them to warm it for me -- if they even do that?

Little Leighton and I had to run to the paint store for samples after our Starbucks stop. I have an itch to paint my kitchen and living room. I've narrowed it down to two colors: Urban Putty (which happens to be in all of the bedrooms at ELC's country casa) and Windsor Greige. I'm not going to lie -- I might be leaning towards Windsor Greige simply because "Windsor" makes me think of the Royals and "greige" is such a fun word to say! The colors are so incredibly similar.

We couldn't leave Sherwin-Williams without several pink paint sample cards for LL. This gal loves all things paper (and fabric and texture -- maybe she'll be a designer or an artist!). They kept her entertained for the rest of the errands. They were free. What more could I ask for?

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with LL's new Fisher-Price Little People Nativity Set. (I had been on the hunt for this specific one for several weeks and finally found it at my local Toys R Us. I even used a buybuy BABY coupon. I felt so scandalous. They, however, seemed happy to take a competitor's coupon.) Watching my Little Leighton toddle around, holding the little sheep and sweet Baby Jesus, is the most precious thing. She amazes me. Each and every single day. She finds joy in the tiniest things. She is a wonderful reminder to be forever grateful. She is my beautiful blessing.

I sent My Sweet Dad a video tonight of LL feeding herself with a spoon. After his ADORABLY excited reply, which included the "dancing woman" emoticon (this man cracks. me. up.), I told him I didn't know when my Baby had been replaced by a Little Girl. He said: I told you they grow too fast. Don't blink. (This wise advice from a father of five, grandfather of seven.)

I hope y'all are warm and cozy and snuggled up, watching The Voice (like I am!) right now.

Bring on Tuesday!