Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Traditions make great memories

If you think back to happy and fun times, it probably involves some family memory or tradition you have shared.  I recall a couple traditions from my childhood that bring a smile to my face each time I am reminded of them.  Each New Year's Eve, my sister, cousin and I would spend the night with our grandparents.  We would arrive in time to grocery shop with Nana so we could each pick out our own selection of "junk food".  She would help us make dip for our chips, cookies and anything else we wanted to "whip up".  Nana would sit up with us while we brought in the New Year but Gramps never could make it past 8:00.  She never complained about the mess we made in the kitchen or the numerous blankets and pillows we used to make tents in front of the TV.  The fun memories of those New Years Eves will be with me forever.  Another favorite tradition of my childhood is shooting off fireworks with our neighborhood families each holiday. 

Making memories with children cultivates happiness.  Shared memories can foster a loving, healthy environment for the entire family unit.  Each year for the past five years my family has spent a week together at Hilton Head, S.C.  There are currently nine of us and next year, with our new addition, we are planning on ten.  Once our children graduated from college and began to set up their own households, we decided we needed to begin a tradition that would bring us all together.  We needed a place that was far enough away from home and work that those "workaholics" in the family would not be tempted to check in but close enough that we didn't waste a lot of time traveling.  The first year there, we fell in love with the bike trails, golf courses, ocean, shopping, horse stables, restaurants and many other things about that beautiful island.  Our days are fun filled and our evenings are spent grilling out, playing board games, cards and putting together jigsaw puzzles.  A lot of good conversation at the dining room table!  This year we burned the midnight oil and managed to put together 5 puzzles.  Fun Times!!  

Sharing a moment with hubby on a cold winter day!

The little guys had a blast on the beach with Mommy

What a way to bring in the New Year!!

Our little sand angel!

Hours and hours of bike riding

On my bike and ready to cruise

Lots of exercise helps with early bedtimes for the little guys

Me and my beautiful Mother

A rare moment!

Having a ball in the sand


and more puzzles!!
Making traditional memories and building bonds with my children, their spouses and my grandchildren are extremely important to me.  When we get together, we share stories and memories of our times there and I am sure we will be telling those tales for years to come.  It warms my heart to know that my grandsons are growing up with such treasured memories. Terreckly, Kathy

Challenger Disaster...25 years later

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Disaster that happened 73 seconds after liftoff and just over an hour from my home.  On a clear cool Florida morning at the Kennedy Space Center off the Cape Canaveral coast, history was about to be made.  It is estimated that over half of America's students were tuned in as the first school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was being sent into space with 6 seasoned astronauts.  She was a social studies teacher from Concord, N.H. with a husband and children.  She had beat out over 11,000 other adventurous teachers for the opportunity to soar into space for a once in a lifetime experience.  With her husband and children and millions of Americans watching, the unexpected happened.  Just after takeoff, the Challenger blew up in the sky sending metal and bodies into the Atlantic ocean several miles off shore.  

My memories are still very clear of that January morning.  I was working in a dental office and  had headed outside with a couple of coworkers to search the eastern sky where I had watched so many space shuttles blast off.  There is a thrill in seeing the long white line of smoke that trails that shiny silver dot in the sky and then watching for the booster to drop from the sky.  Space shuttle flights had become fairly routine but on that morning, our eyes were opened to the dangers of space travel that nobody likes to talk about and the fragility of life.  5...4...3...2...1...blastoff...The white line began to form in the sky and almost immediately, it was like a fireworks display that had gone bad.  We stood in amazement starring at the sky hoping somehow what unfolded before our eyes was actually not really happening.  Unfortunately, America lost seven lives that day and impacted millions more.  This was not supposed to happen.  This shuttle was different as it was carrying a young hometown Mother and school teacher who's mantra in her classroom might as well  had been "reach for the stars".  It left our country in a state of shock and disbelief that a space shuttle carrying seven vibrant Americans could actually explode in front of millions of people.   The disaster was contributed to design flaws in the O rings on the rocket.

The image of that disaster will forever be in my mind.  I pray this morning for the families of the victims that have had to somehow move on without their loved ones. 

The Challenger explosion
The crew

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreams For My Grandsons.....

What better time then the beginning of a new year to reevaluate your goals and dreams.   My goals remain "my goals" until they are achieved but my dreams are ever changing, depending on what stage of my life I am in.   Sometimes I dream about things that will probably never happen, like winning the lottery or being a size 6,  but mostly, my dreams are things I hope with all my heart will actually happen.   Life has a way of accelerating as we get older.  Days get shorter, and promises we have made to ourselves gets longer.   Recently, I compiled a list of "hopes and dreams" for my precious little grandsons.  One of the great things about blogging is that I not only have these things in my head, I put them in writing so my loved ones can hopefully, one day read them.  I am sure in the years to come, I can add a few more things to my list, but for now....
Dreams For My Grandsons
That they pray often and depend on God for daily guidance, comfort and strength.
That they know how deeply they are loved by their family
That they love themselves
That they show compassion and kindness to others
That they have respect for themselves and others
That they accept responsibility for their actions
That they have the ability to forgive
That nice really does matter
That they appreciate nature as God's gift to the universe
That they contribute to their church, community and society in a meaningful way
That they work hard but know how to play hard
That they develop a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves
That family, friends and traditions are always worth the effort
That they are honest and always keep their word
That they understand the value of patience
That they never stop listening and learning
That they exercise their body and mind often
That it is okay to cry
That they allow fear and adversity to make them stronger
That they learn from their mistakes
That they set goals and achieve them
That they create a strong bond of love for each other that connects them for a lifetime
That they are blessed with the happiness that a wife and children can bring
That they know, their spirit, their soul is the most enduring part of their being.