97 Years of Life and Counting

This lovely lady was born in 1915.

Yes, I thought that deserved to be in large print.  My mother's grandmother is 97 years old, still lives on her own and {until a recent surgery} still drives herself to Bingo night.  Quick wit.  Catches on fast.  She wants me to get a Facebook account started for her, and wants me to help her get her poetry published on the Internet.

It's not difficult to imagine Granny young.  Even my age, back in the 1930s.  No doubt she was just as spunky and hilarious as she is now.  But to imagine the world that has evolved around her, and to imagine what she's seen in her lifetime??  She's seen the world go from horse and buggies to space craft.  From hand-written letters to text messages.

It was Roy's idea to get her oral history recorded on video.  Granny has authored many poems that she's kept over the decades, but she's never written down a plain history of her life.  So we busted out her old photo albums, got a camera ready, set her up with her little oxygen tube, and spent a few days traveling with her through 1915 to 2012. 

Derailing here for a moment... one of the first things I asked Granny was, "How did you live in Arizona without air conditioning????"  Because sometimes I can barely live in Arizona with air conditioning.

She leaned back in her chair and said, "Well we had screens.  You know, you had to let the air blow through your house, so you had screens up as some walls.  And when I had my little girls, I remember one summer when we lived in the orchards in Mesa...  nine babies died that summer, from the heat.  Nine of 'em.  But my babies never got sick.  I hung wet sheets where they were playing and let the breeze come through them.  Cool 'em off."  Plus she said she'd let them play in the hose all day, which was probably Heaven.

No, that has no historical significance, it's not something that changed the world.  But it makes you think.  And it makes me sweat, just thinking about it.

Granny's advice for others?  {And trust me, this is a woman to take advice from.}
She said family is the key to being happy. 
Love your family and be happy. 
Pretty simple.

And look at our family!  We've got five generations right here {the fifth being inside of that mountainous bump, of course.}

We want to do this with all of our grandparents that are still here to tell their story.  The more I learn about our family's history, the deeper my own roots grow.  I know myself better because I know them better.  Granted, this is a project that could take us years and years, but it's something I feel passionate about.  As Granny spoke there were several times I realized that the decisions she made in her life have greatly affected my own.  Even my existence!  We don't realize how much our lives are woven into those of our ancestors.

While we're recording the history of our ancestors, we're also recording our now.  Check it out, I've started printing out our blogs!

There is very little I write about that is huge and life-changing, but it's ours.  It's our own adventure, filled with beautiful disasters, luck, and something more than chance.  Without realizing it, we are making our own decisions today which determine the kind of future our decedents will have tomorrow.

Worth the Weight

Pregnancy: the only time in a woman’s life that she can brag about her weight gain.

Our first doctor's visit I was told that the goal was for me to gain between 25 and 35 pounds by the end of this thing.  Call me an overachiever, because I’ve already gained 32 pounds and I still have nine weeks to go!  The doc said he wouldn’t be surprised if I end up more in the 40-45 range.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor I asked why… “Why meeeee?”
I got the “everyone is different” speech, followed by a very polite, “But if you find yourself eating straight out of the ice cream carton, cut back.”


Craving sugar has not been my problem.

 OK, maybe just a little bit.  Just little sugars, like M&Ms and Lindor truffles.  No spoons required!  So it's harmless, right?

But my biggest pregnancy craving?  Ice cubes.  Not just any ice cubes, either.  Ice cubes from Grandma and Grandpa’s freezer in Pinetop.  Unfortunately {or fortunately}, fresh mountain water is four hours away, so the ice from our freezer at home works fine.  The ice cubes at work are square and hard and I should be avoiding them... but I chew it without even realizing it!

Recently I read that craving ice is a sign of anemia.  And yes, I actually am anemic.  Check me out, supporting the old wives’ tales.  Although I’ve been told by the doc to double up on iron pills, I’m not always that great at remembering.  I figure I better start remembering before I crack all my teeth!

On a “feel intensely” note, being this big is awesome for feeling Roo move around.  I can almost maybe possibly distinguish different movements- whether it’s his head or his feet, whether he’s startled or just stretching.  He gets the hiccups every so often.  He doesn’t like the sound of the blender {and his daddy is really into blending breakfast smoothies these days, poor lil’ guy}.

Before now I couldn’t feel him when I was on my feet.  I assumed maybe the rocking motion put him to sleep.  Now that seems to be when he moves the most, like he thinks he's on some roller coaster ride or something.  Yes, sometimes it feels a little uncomfortable, but it’s so cool to be so close to him, and I feel like I’m getting to know him better and better each day.  It’s almost enough to choke me up!  I wish I could describe exactly how it feels, but words fail me.  There are none.

It helps me better picture the end result.  Speaking of which...

This cutie is Kenneth Cade McAffee, born yesterday afternoon.

This is the little thing that was squirming under my hands when I was obsessively rubbing Andrea's tummy in Lake Powell.  This same little guy!!!  It's hard to wrap my head around that.  He was just in there, and now he's arrived!

Roy and I would have given anything to be there.  In fact, Roy was almost there.  He flew up to Utah last weekend to visit his sisters and also with hopes that he'd be there for the birth of his best friend's son.  I was literally driving to the airport to pick him up after his trip when Kenny sent out the text that they were checking into the hospital.  Sooo close!!!

But we have been talking to the new parents a ton.  Andrea is such a good, brave mama!  Both she and Kenny are so in love with this kid.  Both have told us that the experience is just mind-blowing, and they're excited for us to know what they mean.

So the weight is worth it.  Now if only I can handle the wait!

Nine weeks to go!

School's Out Forever!


The month calls in memories of new plastic backpacks and freshly sharpened number two pencils... or more recent memories of new intimidating professors and freshly wiped thumb drives. 

My husband, my siblings, and a lot of my friends are returning to school right now with new syllabuses for interesting {or uninteresting} classes.  As far as I can remember, this is the second September in my entire life where I'm not going back to school.


When Roy is studying his butt off I like to kick back and revel in how lucky I am.  But there are other times that I miss it.  I miss the environment of learning and the constant push for personal progression, and I miss being surrounded by other students and the "we're all in this together" mentality.

The business world is not like this.  But I don't think any world is quite like the world of school.

Study abroads... my favorite part of my college experience.  I'm trying to convince Roy that he needs to go on one and bring me along.  I don't care where- let's just GO!  Go while we can!  Before he's thrust out of the world of school with a diploma.

Last night I had a dream that we did a study abroad in LONDON!  Of course!  We were both students, though, and we lived with a couple from Japan.  Why?  I don't know... for some reason we lived in Notting Hill, which would be ridiculously expensive, so hey--maybe we were getting a deal from the couple?

Oh, London.  It was like returning home.  When we walked into the little kitchen the cupboards were all stacked with Hob Nobs.  I ate them immediately.  I told Roy we needed to bring armloads home with us.  We walked to Hyde Park and it was fall and the trees looked awesome.  There were double deckers and accents and little kids dressed up like they were on set for Mary Poppins.

You can imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning, far far away from London, England.  Three Septembers ago I was there for real.

I miss school sometimes.  But I miss school in London always.

Feeling Intensely

Here's a little something you should try:

Next time something happens to you {which really should be any second now} think about how that something is making you feel.  Grab onto that, dig your nails in and don't let go.  Feel it with everything you've got, a burning intensity, with a passion that fills you to the brim.

That's my new project for myself:  To feel more intensely.

Some big things are happening in my life right now, and I know almost all of them are fleeting.  Already gone are the days of feeling little flutterings inside me, getting giddy over the slightest movement that could easily be mistaken for bad lettuce.  Now I get rib-wrenching thumps!  Even as I watch this little guy rolling beneath my skin, I know that this too will be a memory in just a blink.  Next thing you know I'll be sending him off to kindergarten.  Or college!!!

Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I know about life: It goes on.”

I can't freeze moments, although I can try to keep a ghost of them in pictures and writing.  Time to start savoring--the good, the bad, the scary, the exciting--because I believe by doing that you are  living more fully.  Learning more deeply.  Loving more openly.

So here I am, intensely loving this bump.  I've still got ten weeks to go, and I'm sure they'll fly by.

Other things we are savoring:

** Roy started school again.  The opportunity of him being in law school is really a blessing.  Someday he'll have a job with clients and bosses and most likely a healthy helping of pressure.  School is such a short time, and we're keeping that in mind as he heads off on semester number three.

**My 24th birthday happened!  When Roy asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told him I didn't really need anything.  I said, "Just find a way to surprise me."  Who doesn't love surprises on their birthday?

So when a little elderly man busted into my office with a bouquet of flowers and balloons, I knew just what was up.  Even without reading the card that said simply, "SURPRISE!"

Eryn decorated the office for me, my boss took us out to lunch, and my best friend showed up with flowers and hilarious stories.  That night we went out with my parents and grandparents to a Spanish restaurant, which had a live band and all kinds of weird tapas.  LOVED it.  Then we extended the celebrations into Sunday dinner and ice cream cake.  Everyone made me feel so special and loved the whole weekend.  Blessed to be surrounded by all these amazing people.

**Labor day took us to the White Mountains.  Mason and Zac came up with us and we stayed with Grandma and Grandpa at their cabin.  Show Roy a few trees and he's on cloud nine.  Poor deprived Oregon kid... he misses greenery.  Intensely.  

Well, that's enough intensity for one day, I think.  Now it's time to savor some shuteye.