Thursday, November 23, 2017

it's thanksgiving~

every year at about this time I start to think about my grandmother
irene isabelle (hardwick) baldwin.

she was born on November 25th, so celebrating her birthday at 
thanksgiving was special.
like her.

I've written about her before, but i'm going to go back a bit further
and tell you more about her life. (*these memories are my own... 
if my family is reading this and has corrections please leave them in the comments section). : )

irene was born in 1913, the 5th of the 6 children born
to dora (cordeman) hardwick and james oliver hardwick.

dora and james had 5 daughters and one son.

& opal

my great grandmother dora died of pneumonia quite young leaving her husband,
a farmer in central minnesota, with no one to help with his children.
this led my great grandfather to marry not one,
but 2 mail order brides from the southern part of the 
united states.

i used to love when my gram told my sister and i stories about her childhood.
some of the things I remember are that the children were expected to work hard and their father
was a stern disciplinarian. there was NO talking allowed at the
dinner table, he believed children were to be seen and not heard. 

she told us that their life was happy and playful when her mother was alive, but
all that changed with the 2 stepmothers. they weren't nice to the children and
i'm guessing they were probably overwhelmed by moving so far from their families
and living in the frigid north country + having all those children to take care of.
*both the mail order brides
ended up divorcing my g. grandpa and they got most of his money,
leaving him quite poor at the end of his life.

my grandma met my grandpa when she was 17.
her sister was dating a guy with a brother. They invited my gram to go on a double date
and the sisters ended up marrying those brothers!
(gram told us once that my grampa was "the catch of the county". )

eventually my grandparents found themselves expecting a baby and
even though they were young, they were in love and had a baby on the way so they
married and started their life together.
they went on to have 6 more children, including a set of twins of which my
mother was one.

my grandpa was a farmer and they rented a big 
two story farm house on the banks of a river.
can you imagine how our generation would feel if we had no running water
or indoor bathrooms,
if we had to raise most of our food and wash clothes with
a ringer washing machine, with no dryer?
can you imagine how many potatoes my gram must have peeled to feed her 
family of 9 all those years?
it seems like a hard life but when my gram told us stories of those years
she was never complaining. i always felt
like she loved her life. i remember her saying that her sisters, (who were her best
friends) would tell her that they felt soooo sorry for her with all those kids but
she loved having a big family.

in 1966 my grandparents lost one of their 30 year old twins (my mother) to a brain tumor.
 that left me, my sister and two young brothers with no parents.
(my dad had deserted our family) and suddenly my grandparents had to decide
who was going to raise the 4 young children.

it turned out that they decided they would raise my sister (9) and i (7), and
one of my gram's nieces adopted my two little brothers who were
4 and 18 months.

although my mom had been very ill for a few years, her death was not expected.
my gram was 53 years old and her youngest son still lived at home and farmed with my
grandpa and now all of a sudden they had 2 more children to raise.
~ seriously.

 my grandparents were strict  (down right scary at times-truth be told)
and they expected obedience from my sister and i, but they also provided the
structure and stability we surely needed after we'd lost our mother.

so here they were with 2 more girls.
2 girls who weren't going to be any help in the field or milking cows.
*our uncle paul nicknamed us "the  houseplants".     : )))
 2 more girls that were going to need acne cream and tampax,
bras and braces,
prom dresses and class rings.

they worked hard their whole lives and never had a lot of money.
my grama ended up a widow living on nothing
but her social security check.
all $200 and some dollars a month!
 she never talked about money or complained
or ever appeared to want what anyone else had though.

my gram loved her simple life.
she went to church and she gardened.
she refinished a ton of furniture. she sewed and knit and made quilts. she fed the birds.
she had a dog to keep her company-
(she had no time for cats btw),
she had a fun group of girlfriends and a great big family
that loved and admired her.

she could whip up a meal to feed surprise company with nothing
but a can of beans and a lemon.
(i kid) but she really did continue to feed us all the most delicious meals,
right up until she left us too soon, at the age of 73.

gram's life was certainly not without struggles and heartache, after all she lost her
mother when she was young and a beloved daughter (and that was
just the biggest hurdles they overcame.)
she wasn't perfect-she was human- but she was one tough cookie who focused
on her blessings.

gram said many times that she felt like she was already in heaven
here on earth, because of the life she'd been given.

 how absolutely wonderful is that?

it's thanksgiving week and like most of you i am just more consciously
aware of what i am thankful for right now. i read an article in a magazine
(magnolia journal) that really started to churn up memories of the life i had
with my gram and gramps and all the subtle ways they taught us to appreciate
the little things.

family is our greatest blessing.

if you have people to love, that love you back, you
have what the whole world is longing for.

i have been blessed and hope you feel that way too.

happy thanksgiving dear ones,

xo, beth

this is my beloved gram, holding my precious baby girl on the day she was born.
this woman started out as my grandma, but became my mother and even though it's been 31 long years since she left us, the treasured memories
of her are stuck fast in my soul.

Friday, October 27, 2017

all of God's grace in one tiny face~

you guys~ he's here
our grandson is here!!!

 one month ago today, little colton james was born.

:  ))))))))))))))))))))))))

my daughter is a momma!
our son-in-law is a daddy,
 lars and i are grandparents
cole and eric are uncles -aka "funcles"!

*pretty much our favorite names ever.

i read a quote that said
"one day, right in the middle of an ordinary life, we were given
a miracle" and that's pretty much how this precious little boy feels to us.

our little bubbie was due on oct. 16th so we were all pretty dang surprised
by his early appearance on sept. 27th.

                                                    one month before the birth.


the evening of sept. 25th  Ad text me and said " mom, my water broke at home
and we're at the hospital"...
eeeeeeek! it was happening!
i went to bed all nervous, anxious, excited, happy, 
full of anticipation and it was hard to sleep (but i did). haha

the next day we got a couple texts from the kids saying that 
things were "progressing as expected".
: )

at about 7 p.m., one last text came that said she was
about half way there and that maybe baby would be born
around midnight.

so i stayed up till midnight, 
praying, reading, scrolling thru pinterest and instagram
and waiting for "the call".

i know it's not all about me, but hey this is my version of the birth story. ; )

i woke up a couple times during the night and checked my phone
and finally at about 4:30 a.m. i saw a text
that said that the baby had been born and was in the NICU.

well~ i sat up and just started sobbing. tears of joy and also fear because
we didn't know what was going on but I heard NICU and I was scared.

turns out baby's beginning was rough and he needed extra care
for the first several days of his life.

a. ended up having a C-section and she and chris were both worn out and worried,
but you know what else they were?
freaking amazing!

can i just repeat that?
they were freaking amazing.

the grace, gratitude and strength they showed in the week they were
in the hospital, is something
i'll never forget.

(grampa tim and i may have cried more tears than c. and a. did).
hey we can't help it, we're extra emotional!

i'm not going to completely sugar coat things.
it obviously wasn't the sweet beginning they were expecting.
the kids didn't get to hold their little love or really see his whole precious face
until the 4th day when he got off a cooling pad and a bunch of the tubes came out.
one by one though they came out and our little bubbie showed us how
remarkable and resilient babies can be.

colton had an amazing team of compassionate nurses and doctors that
cared for him and got him over the hump and ready to go home and 
we can't thank them enough. let's fast forward to day 6 when they were finally given the good
news that they were being discharged.
Woo Hoooooo~
colton had met all criteria to go home!

a. did tell me that she said to the nurses,
"you'll be by every 3 hours to check on us though right?"

things are going great now and mr. big has gained enough weight
that momma says his little legs are getting some "chub" on them. : ))
we're all pretty much in complete love and mom and dad
text photos of him to the one who's not holding him (but wants to be)
from the opposite ends of the couch.

so here we go- with no apologies whatsoever this time-
 here's a million photos of the beginning of our little colton's life!


                                      me seeing my girl for the first time after her delivery.
*i was getting over a cold so i wasn't able to go in the NICU
and see baby C. for a few days.
thank God they all took photos for me and chris even went in the
nursery and face timed with us so i could see him.

i was worried about the baby, but i was also worried about my girl.
she'd just had a major surgery, but man she was a trooper.
i never heard a single complaint from her about her recovery.

grampa meeting colton for the first time. 
he looks big here, but he really wasn't.
6lb. 8 oz. of pure love.

i love this photo. on the left are grampa tim (in front) and lars.
 on the right are uncle jake (in front) and the proud new daddy.
these 4 men are going to be a huge part of colton's life and i just love
the 4 of them surrounding him with love (and emotion). 

this is day 4 when i was finally able to go in the NICU.
all i wanted in the whole world was to see my daughter holding her sweet baby,

*someone bring us a box of kleenex already!

the two grandmas took care of kenzie, their fur baby while the kids were in the hospital
and we brought a. down to see her for a few minutes
and get the only whiff of fresh air she had in a week.
smiles all around!!!

colton already had a job chart from day 1~
: )  

a little jaundiced, and a whole lot precious.

we were moving mom from her own room to colton's room on the NICU floor here.
luckily she got to stay the extra days baby was hospitalized.

when i got this photo via text, i cried again.
homeward bound.

99% of those photos were from cell phones, but of course when you are a
photographer and the brand new gram you swoop in to take newborn photos.
the rest of these are from our newborn session and there's not a lot
that needs to be said other than,
maybe this is a peak at what heaven's going to look like.

day 16

so it is with the utmost joy that i'm sharing adria, chris and colton's story.

every day is better now with this little boy in our lives.
he is our wonder boy and we feel completely blessed.

*i also want to say thank you for the outpouring of love and support
for our family and especially for
 all the prayers sent up for this little love. it comforted us
greatly and we love you.


grama b.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

2 showers & 1 lucky baby~

you guys! there is a very special baby on it's way to us.
it's almost time now for my grand baby to be born and there have been lovely parties
thrown by lovely people to celebrate babies life and
help mommy and daddy gather the 1001 things
pinterest says you need to bring a child into the world these days.
: )

*I swear when I had my kids you needed:

some cloth diapers and a plastic diaper pail from pamida
6 sleepers
6 bottles in case you weren't nursing and a can of enfamil
a bottle brush
4 bibs
4 flannel receiving blankets
one heavier blanket
a few white onesies
a bassinet or crib
one car seat
& 2 pacifiers.

done. ready for baby to come!

the list now a days fills a couple pages. there are these new straw things you
"suck" mucus out of babies nose with. everyone has video monitors so you
can watch what's going on in the nursery at all times. there are special decorative grass 
mats to dry your bottles on. there's this giraffe that if your kid doesn't
have- he or she will
never get into preschool.
there are strollers that you're going to need the engineer next door to
help you figure out. (the car seat, highchair and potty chair all snap into it).
*just kidding
speaking of car seats~you new parents will be buying about 3 of
them...for all the different weights of your baby over the next few years.
you need a white noise machine, a bouncy chair that will so totally entertain your
baby that you may get a shower every few days~
you need a special little bassinet for by your bed, a pack and play for travel,
a crib for their rooms that will transition to a toddler bed~ then a single bed and
then it'll go in their dorm room. (again, I kid).

you need organic cotton "everything" - oh wait bamboo is ok too!
you need swaddle blankets to wrap your baby up in like a burrito and these 
special sleep sacks because you can no longer use blankets in babies cribs.
or pillows or stuffed animals and remember- lay baby on it's back only.

it's all just so new and different from the way us "gramas" used to do things,
but I am 100% ready to wrap up my burrito grand baby like they've told us. whatever is good
for the baby is what i want too! * thank goodness
they haven't decided rocking is bad.

i'm going to rock and cuddle and read books and sing 
my little songs in my weak voice to this baby and I
cannot wait! maybe baby won't even know for a while that
this grama can't sing.

so anywhoooo, there were these amazing parties for adri and her baby.
the first one was hosted by baby p.'s auntie brandy and auntie lacey.
when daddy's side of the family throws a party, it's a biggie.
the grandmas, aunties, cousins, cousins friend's neighbors and
the FedEx man all come. it is so lovely how they love to 
acknowledge all the special events in their family and celebrate together.

the girls had ahhh-mazing food for the shower-salads, fruit breads, chicken sand-
wiches, many kinds of bars,veggie trays, fresh fruit...oh man it was yummy!
they had a couple of really unique games for us to play and then the gifts

oh my the gifts!
Ad got soooo many precious gifts for their baby I was just blown away, but
what I really want to talk about is this cake!!!!!

i think they call these "naked cakes". auntie b. ordered the cake but then she did the decorating and
if you're on pinterest or follow martha stewart you've no doubt seen them. they are soooo my daughter's style and the girls planned their party around a woodland theme. the little garland of shiny gold discs was reminiscent of the kids wedding and it was held up by real twigs! the little woodsy animals and trees were just adorable and it perched on this cake plate was the cat's meow!

<------  brandy       lacey  ------>

how ka-ute are their shirts?

check out the Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, the adorable baby animal framed prints that were a gift from the aunties, and the prize bags lined up for games!

grandma p.       momma to be        and me!

I've gotten to know these fun relatives from bridal showers and the wedding and they
are just the best!

more of my favorite guests,  making dishing their plates look very serious.

the gift opening took a long time. there were over 30 wonderful women in that room, and we were
simply blown away by the lovely things given to a. and c. for baby p. !
ad, saying thank you to everyone...

and let's take one more look at this cute cake!

i am so grateful that my girl married into this wonderful,
caring, supportive, FUN family!!

thank you to any of you reading this for sharing this special day with us.


i decided to do both these showers in one post so here goes the next one. : )

this party was just last weekend, and was hosted by two of my best friends.
mary and cheri, knowing ad's love for the outdoors and the fact that
the babies nursery is done in a woodland theme, went with that look too!

i just love how the hostesses of these two parties had no idea what the other shower
was like and there were such fun different ideas around a common theme.

cheri had been at a friend's cabin and she scoured the woods for birch bark, pine cones, acorns and pine boughs that they used to decorate the tables.

the food was so delicious and amazing at this party too. seriously, for someone who doesn't like to cook, i am so appreciative of tables full of yummy food that someone lovingly prepared for us!
there were egg bakes, warm bread and cinnamon rolls, fruit skewers, cheese and crackers, a spinach salad and for dessert? bundtinis for the win! 

<------  cheri       mary   ------>

eric's girlfriend corinne, ad and friend jess (who's preggos with her 4th baby) : )

g-ma alice and ad

a very special onesie from a very special girl, lexi, who is a ballerina with the new york city ballet.
she has a strong loyalty for her home state of mn. and wanted baby p. to have a mn. shirt!

my daughter's motto has been "i do what i want" since she was about 15, so when i saw this onesie i wasted no time putting it in my cart.
: )

this was one of the gifts ad got from her brother. it had a story too. when she was 4 days old 
i took a photo of her with a little (very little) stuffed pig and they were the same size.
he bought baby p. a stuffed piggy of it's own.

me and my girl. 
i can hardly stand how beautiful she is pregnant. it kind of makes me choke up whenever i see her.
pregnancy and birth is such an absolute miracle isn't it?
to think there's a little person growing in her beautiful round bump that
is going to be born and change our world is just
the best.

and to end, here is a pic of ad, her big brother, (who may rival me for most excited about this baby's birth) and jess.
eric wasn't really at the shower, but he dropped corinne off and came in to say hi.)

to say adria and i are grateful to all of you who came to these parties is an understatement.
to the hostesses who spent so many hours planning and cooking and setting up for these
lovely, lovely parties, we just love you.
thank you!

we just love you. 

it won't be long now and when you have so many people
(a whole village!)
who love you and can't wait to share in the joy of
a new life... 
well, it's going to be amazing.

xox, b.