Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter Wonderland

I'm not traveling to one of the snow-covered northern states to experience a winter wonderland.

I'm not referring to a movie by that title or some literary work.

I'm talking about my own little house in Winter Haven, FL where coming home causes you to wonder what you're going to find when you land there!  (Corny, I know!  But stick with me.)

Frank and I finished up with a hospital visit yesterday and headed home in the rain just before dusk.  He had started coughing and I was just plain tired! 

We were both thankful that Meagan had called earlier to say she'd have dinner ready when we got home.  Pajamas, hot tea and maybe a lighthearted movie seemed just the ticket.

My prince charming pulled as close to the door as possible in an attempt to keep me dry.  I dashed in through the garage; shaking rain off my jacket and hair.  When I looked up, I discovered our living room was FULL of people.    

It was like a scene from a movie where the camera slowly pans the room revealing face after face the audience doesn't expect to see.

The first surprise was Noah. 

Just as I stepped in the door, he turned around to get up and come hug me.  Only.......his little bottom was completely exposed! 

I guess my face registered the shock of being mooned by my two-year-old grandson.  Meagan quickly offered the explanation, "We started working on potty training today.  That's why he isn't wearing a diaper."

Spencer tackled me from the side and flashed that trade-mark smile that could light up Broadway.  "Hi, Noni!  Are you glad to see me?"  As though he had to ask!

My ears caught a voice I don't often hear.  I looked over and realized that our neighbor from across the street was sitting next to Meagan.  "Bet you're surprised to see us here!"  Oh, and her husband.  And their six month old was grinning at me from his car seat which bobbed on the coffee table.

"Hi, guys!"  (Thank heavens for automatic pilot that seasoned pastor's wives can engage at any moment.)  I gave a wave and smiled. 

It's such a great thing that this young couple has become friends with Meagan and Nathan.  They seemed just as comfortable on our couches as my own children - that truly does make me happy.

I spotted Madi rolling on the floor near Meagan's feet.  She made her presence known with short bursts of displeasure over being ignored. 

Joy walked into the living room and waved.  She was just behind Abby who sort of charges into rooms these days.  (We're celebrating all Abby's achievements in the potty training realm, too.  She has graduated to the status of "Nearly Complete!")

"Noni!"  Abby's precious smile and open arms can melt any heart. 

"Hi, Mom."  Joy's weary voice.

"Hello!  Hello, my babies!"

One more scan of the room and I spotted Zachariah waiting patiently in his car seat near the door.  Connecting with him meant dropping to my knees so I could be captured by those magnificent blue eyes.  The toothless grin, the dimples, the coo of recognition!  He made me forget that I was tired and that my knees don't like dropping to the floor anymore.

A second round of greeting took place as soon as Poppa walked into the room.

"We were all just getting ready to leave."  Our little neighbor's comment sounded almost apologetic.

"You're fine!" I quickly assured her.  "It's raining pretty hard.  You don't want to leave right now."  I stepped over to tickle the foot of their baby boy.  "Hello, Tyce!  You're getting soo big!" I glanced over to see his daddy beaming.

"No, we have to go!"  Joy began corralling her angels.  "I have practice at the church in thirty minutes."

Dad reopened his umbrella and began ferrying little Schreck bodies toward the car.

Richard and Kristen gathered their gift from heaven, slipped back into shoes and made a dash for their house.

I picked up Madi to wave good-bye to them.  Somehow, Noah managed a farewell lap around the living room while riding his trike - bare bottom and all!

When the door closed on the last guest, I took a deep breath, smiled and shook my head.  Yep, my home is truly a WINTER WONDER LAND!

And I wouldn't have it any other way!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter - FL Style

It's C.O.L.D.!!

Even here in central FL where the sun shines about 95% of the time, it's COLD!

I watched the sunrise this morning snuggled into my prayer chair and layered with blankets.  Steaming coffee warmed the mug and my hands.  Gracie (the goat-dog) tucked her chubby black and white self in as closely to my hip as possible. 

But she just kept shivering so I grabbed Frank's Carolina blanket and draped it over her trembling little frame.  Only then was she able to settled in and give the deep contented sigh of a canine in a state of perfect joy!  That dog is rotten!

Frank had to scrape the windows of his car before he could leave this morning.  That happens about once every two years.  We've all been scrambling to find jackets and boots and T-shirts that layer well.  I have now rotated twice through all THREE of the turtle neck sweaters I own.  That's actually somewhat of a record. 

The sandals we normally wear seem to smirk at us from their spot on the self.  This weather calls for SOCKS!  (I only have two pair that are "boot appropriate."  Quite a change from my NC days.)

But you won't hear me complaining!

I love the snap of cold.  I do not miss the mosquitoes nor the flies.  I love the steaming soup and cups of hot chocolate.  I do not miss running the air conditioner 24/7.  I love jumping in the bed and sticking my cold feet on Frank's warm leg!  (Definitely his least favorite part of winter!)

Now, I'm well aware of the terrible blizzard that has paralyzed the eastern half of the United States.  And I have great empathy for those shoveling snow and trying to manage this weather without electricity.

But I also know how things happened for the vast majority of you as soon as this snow was predicted.  There is a "Snow Days Protocol" that must be followed.......... 

  • Mad dash to the grocery store.  
  • Rushing directly to the bread aisle and picking up one loaf each of pumpernickel and rye because that's all that's left.  
  • Milk!  
  • Eggs!  
  • Popcorn!  
  • Chocolate!  The essential food items for making it through any blizzard-type conditions.  

My sister (who still lives in NC) said they could live on French toast for days if necessary!

It's true.  Our temperature will make it into the 60's around here today.  And yes, people are dressed as though we've all been transported to Alaska. 

The lady who checked me out at the grocery story yesterday was wearing gloves!  She moved here from Ohio five years ago and is certain that her blood has thinned.  This causes her to not tolerate our cold weather well, at all!

I guess it's all relative, right? 

I certainly hope you have the privilege of staying near hearth and home until this weather passes!

Thanks again for your patience with my limited postings.  This week I begin meeting with a fantastic group of college women.  I can't wait to hear their perspective on the topics I want to write about!