sunbursts in winter

IMG_0870My dad used to say, “As the days get longer, the cold gets stronger.” Something about the way the earth takes weeks to warm after the sun starts to climb higher in the sky, apparently. All I know is that year after year he is right. If only I had a magic wand we would warm the No Co up in a hurry! This winter it seems as if we have had more than our fair share of cold, bitter winds blowing through.

There’s not much you can do about winter except look for bright spots to make it more bearable. Mine are named Henry, Oliver, Sadie, and Rosie! I can easily rise above cold-and-snow grumps by spending time with one of our beautiful, bright grandbabies.

One Sunday in January we had Rosie all to ourselves. Her Mama dropped her off early enough that I could take her to church. It was fun to introduce her to my friends and neighbors. Rosie is a sweet young lass and ever so agreeable. No matter how long since I’ve last seen her, she settles right in and makes herself at home. She plays and snuggles and wins my heart over and over again. This girl is going to be a mover and shaker — barely 6 months old and already crawling!

Last Saturday I had Henry for the day. I met IMG_0956up with him at toddler dance class. His mama left for work and GiGi stayed to play. Henry loves to dance, sing, play music (he hums a mean harmonica!) — generally, get his groove on.  This class is perfect for him; parachute play is a bonus! He came home with me for lunch and nap time, happy as a lark to hang out with GiGi. He is quite funny about playtime,insisting I am engaged. “Sit down!” he’ll say, pointing to the floor by the play barn and cows when I’ve given some hint I’d like a comfy chair and a cup of tea!

The next day I had Sadie for a few hours. It was her birthday! Daddy needed to do some farm work while big brother Ollie was feeding cows with Pops. Mama was putting final touches on party preparations. And Sadie desperately needed a nap. This girl does not sleep well and especially when congested. She wasn’t too sure about the arrangement when Daddy dropped her off with GiGi. But she was too tired to care for long. I was only too happy to oblige by rocking, rocking, rocking in a GiGi-bliss. Oh, snuggly cuddly sweetness!


She woke half-way through and looked up at me with droopy eyes. I closed my eyes and kept on rocking. She took the bait. My left arm was tingly by the time she woke for real. Then she was in a great mood and ready to play.

Sadie walks and is beginning to talk. She quacks and moos on command (which cracks me up) and has been saying several other words we are catching on to. (She must wonder why we are so slow!) She knows sign language for “please” which is as sweet as can be. Playtime and snuggles with a grandgirl are the icing and sprinkles on a GiGi’s cake.

Speaking of cake … we’ve had two birthday celebrations to lighten our winter weariness. Oliver’s birthday party was held mid-January at the ice rink. The smallest enjoyed sled rides on the ice and toddlers rode or pushed milk crates on wobbly skates while the older chids zip-zoomed their way in and out among them. Young and old enjoyed themselves but none so much as the birthday boy, I think. He is learning fast how to leverage a hockey stick!

IMG_0808 IMG_0815

Sadie’s birthday was a family-style dinner party, their home adorned as befitting a young princess with bright “bayoons” (as Ollie says) and fresh flowers in all shades of pink that give such hope for spring. It was a wonderful showing of the No Co tribe, aunts and uncles and cousins of varying degrees of separation. Newest cousin, Emily, made her debut. Sweetness. Thinking back to how Ollie interacted with newborn Sadie a year ago — what a difference a year makes!

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The birthday girl was somewhat overwhelmed with all of the hub-bub. Oliver took charge of the fun and games, directing the others to when to “Run!” and delighting in the chase. He sure knows how to get a party rolling! Then he’d pop over to the table and hop up on my lap to grab a bite of something “delicious” off GiGi’s plate.

Sadie didn’t have much use for the princess Minnie Mouse headband I picked up for her in Anaheim. In fact, she hated it! (Maybe next year?) She didn’t care for her first birthday cake much, either. But it warmed my heart to see her toddling around in the birthday dress and sweater set I knit.*

Each of them, just so lovable and sweet … and those smiles — like sunbursts in winter!

~ René Morley

*Even though I modified the pattern, the bodice was still a bit big. I thought about adding a satin ribbon to cinch it a bit but her Mama fixed it with safety pins! The dress is the Soli tunic, a freely downloadable pattern by Karen Semo of Uma Joy Designs. (I reduced the 2YO size and added contrasting i-cord trim to coordinate with the cardigan.) The sweater was modified from the Tulips Cardigan pattern available for purchase by Lindsay Peckny, Dream In Color Yarn.

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