How Benjamin rolls! Plus, GRAND Social No. 342 link party for grandparents

How Benjamin rolls! Plus, GRAND Social No. 342 link party for grandparents

How Benjamin rolls!

Saturday was Jim’s birthday, and Brianna and Patrick arranged a family gathering at a new burger spot in town in recognition of burgers being Jim’s forever favorite food.

It was great to have all our local immediate family in attendance.

Kudos to Tyler for managing to get a shot that included everyone at the table!

While we were all gathered together to celebrate Jim, we soon were raucously regaling Benjamin for a milestone move made right before our eyes.

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Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real

My mom is struggling to survive stage 3 lung cancer. My firstborn will soon deliver her firstborn any day now. Somewhere in between my utter despair regarding the one end of life’s spectrum and my sheer delight related to the other is the space where I, a writer and blogger, should be writing and blogging.

But I don’t feel like…

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Flashback: Everyday inspiration

Flashback: Everyday inspiration

I'm not a world-traveler who finds inspiration in ancient ruins, artful masterpieces, or in architectural—or natural—wonders.

I'm also not one of the fortunate few privileged to find inspiration in luculent discourse with the likes of Maya Angelou or other great orators of our time. (Although I have heard in person the likes of Kurt Vonnegut. And David Sedaris. More than once.)

No, I don't get my inspiration from such high-brow—and high-cost—pleasures. Yet.

Instead, I find inspiration—the impetus to be bigger, better, and more than I am—in everyday things. Things such as…

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Grandma challenge: How full can she fill forty-four hours?

Grandma challenge: How full can she fill forty-four hours?

My desert-dwelling grandsons and their parents visited my house last week—for forty-four hours. The family had taken a road trip to Vail for a wedding, and Jim and I were fortunate they fit in a stop at our place on their way back home.

I was thrilled to host them and was determined to squish as much into the visit as possible, unsure of when I'd see Brayden, Camden, and Declan (as well as Megan and Preston, too) again.

As all three boys have birthdays in June…

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Brain drain... On lo mein, cracked pots, and other loves

Brain drain... On lo mein, cracked pots, and other loves

Wherein I ramble on...

Brianna is starting to show. And that's pretty darn awesome. She and Patrick find out next week if their first baby is a boy or a girl. I'm hoping for a girl... yet wonder if it's wrong to even consider hoping for one gender over another considering what they've gone through to get this far. Of course I'll be thrilled with another grandson but as this is likely my final grandchild, adding a girl to the grand group seems fitting. (Don't tell anyone, but I do think it's a girl.)

The life God intended. Conversations and situations

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Throwback Thursday: Thoughts on My Daughter's Miscarriage

Throwback Thursday: Thoughts on My Daughter's Miscarriage

This #TBT piece—originally published October 18, 2015 on Purple Clover—underscores the appreciable blessing of my daughter's recent pregnancy announcement. Thank you for reading.

My daughter lost her baby last week. A miscarriage in the first trimester.

Coming from an abundantly fertile family, it's hard to wrap my head around that. My mom had seven children. Three of my sisters had several children, and a number of those kids had kids. I had three children myself, and my middle child had three children, too.

All of us had no problem. Yet it's a problem for my oldest child, Brianna.

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Saturday movie review: The Hollars

I have a soft spot for movies about messed up families. If dysfunctional families were a film sub-category, you know, like coming-of-age is, I'd have to say it's one of my favorites.

I don't simply have a thing for dysfunctional families. I come from a dysfunctional family. And, trust me, if a film were made called The Aukemas (my maiden name) and based on the Aukemas (my family of origin), it would not make for enjoyable viewing.

THE HOLLARS, though, is enjoyable to watch. Trust me on that, too. The dramedy puts fun in dysfunction and proved a pleasurable hour and a half with the Mom, Dad, and two adult brothers who make up the fictional Hollar clan.

the hollars on DVD

I give (most of) the credit for that fun and pleasure to John Krasinski. Sure, he played the youngest Hollar brother to perfection, but his acting takes a backseat here to his directing (he also produced it).

His first time in the director chair, Krasinski — working with a stellar screenplay...

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Saturday movie review: Captain Fantastic

For the record, I'm a big fan of Viggo Mortensen. I think he's one of the more subtly amazing yet underrated and too often overlooked actors out there. So when I read that he received a Best Actor nomination for his role in CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, I thought, Well good for him! It's about time.

I then immediately thought, But that's certainly not a film I'll be watching. Because I don't care much for super hero movies and having seen no trailers or such, that's what I figured it was.

Captain Fantastic movie

I'm here to confess I'm an idiot. Not because I don't like super hero movies, but because CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is so very not a super hero story despite the super hero sound of the title. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is a super dad story. A story about a good dad with good intentions. A brilliant dad with grandiose ideas when it comes to life in general and raising his kids in particular. Lofty ideas. So lofty, in fact, they border on lunacy.

And Viggo Mortensen does an insanely fantastic job portraying that extraordinary...

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I say that shutting up is hard to do

Dear Mr. Sedaka,

You were so right. I know that it's true. Breaking up is hard to do. Especially for teens, when true love seems a fickle, heartbreaking foe.

I do know how difficult breaking up can be. I've been there, done that. Long, long ago, admittedly one of the billions of boomers who once sang away heartbreak blues crooning along to your catchy, comforting tune.

I'm decades removed from being a youngster longing for love. And in the years since breakups with beaus broke my heart, I've found something more difficult to do than breaking up, Mr. Sedaka. And that's shutting up.

Trust me: It's waaaay harder to do than breaking up.

I'm not talking about shutting up regarding social or personal injustice. No one should ...

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