Friday, February 24, 2012

visiting a cemetery

After lunch I came back here, got the car and picked the kids up at 3:30. We went to Herndon to Chestnut Grove Cemetery. I wanted to see if Aiden and Sky would like to pick up flowers, “Flowers Down!” like Nora and Tyler do. And they do.

We talked about how everything dies, even people we love but, they always remain in our hearts. We can come to this stone, in this place and remember them in a special way.

Vases that had fallen we set right. Stray flowers that didn’t seem to belong to anyone we’d place at a stone of someone who had no remembrances. We’d talked about the people’s names. There were many Elizabeth’s and Katherine’s, but not Theresa’s Katherine. A funny last name was Honeychuck. We decided we liked Rossi better for a last name.

We found a white teddy bear, as big as Nick, and sat him back on Joshua’s headstone. He was only two. We think he had two fun years hugging and loving everyone and everyone hugging and loving him.

Most of the stones, we discovered, were squares and rectangles and several of them were heart shaped. Sky liked those the best.

Some had secret compartments with pictures inside. The ones with lambs we knew were children. Some had no dates, so we knew those were people who hadn’t died yet, but they will one day.

There was a mighty hill waiting for someone to roll down. When Aiden shrieked as he rolled 100 mph he scared 6 deer in the woods nearby. They came galloping past us like a cattle stampede in a movie.

A nearby dog in a fenced in back yard was barking at us so Sky barked back and scared him. He turned around and ran home.

We straightened statues that had toppled over and righted American flags. Every time we did that they would say the pledge with their hands over their hearts. We were a very patriotic crew, just ask the man from WWII named Frank.

We decided that the people who died were looking down from heaven. They were very happy that we were visiting them. Everyone once in while Aiden and Sky would ask me to read he name of whose stone it belonged to.

For some reason Sky loved a nondescript stone with the name Ella on it. She traced the carved letters with her finger and said, “Ella, I don’t know you and I sorry you died. I hope you had a happy time. I love you.” She kissed the stone, patted the top of it and skipped away.

I got tears in my eyes and I looked at the wisps of clouds in the sky and said in my mind, “Ella, I know you are smiling this very minute.”

Aiden was concerned about a woman whose stone had several lines saying she had “eminent kindness and love and was consumed in fire, that took her life in her 27th year.”

What happened to her? Was she in a car? A house? Why didn’t anyone call 911? Aiden had so many questions.

I told him it was a mystery. Her family would know and remember.

“Sky, don’t worry,” he said compassionately and draped his arm over his sister’s shoulders, ”I won’t let you ever die in a fire. I’d call 911. Ok?”

“Thanks, Aiden.” They ran off to find more downed flowers.

Aiden found a picture of a young man who had a bottle of beer tucked into his flower arrangement. “I guess his friend brought him a drink.” Well, maybe.

The favorite stone was shaped like a motorcycle with an inviting seat carved in it. They both took turns in the drivers seat. Don’t you know some biker dude in Harley Heaven is cracking up watching them.

We had so many lessons in the graveyard from math and reading to kindness and compassion.

Aiden carried a large pink silk lily that he found for a long time. I reminded him to find a stone to leave it at. He insisted that he wanted to take it home to give to mommy. I reminded him that we don’t take things that don’t belong to us. Well, he explained, he loved his mommy and wanted her to have it because she was a good mommy.

What if we found a stone that said “MOTHER?” Maybe that mother was a good mommy, too. Would he leave it for her? (I think he was banking on the fact that we wouldn’t find such a stone, so he agreed.) I found a FATHER stone and suggested there might be a MOTHER stone nearby, and there was. He placed the lily tenderly on the “th” of “mother.”

I asked if he wanted to say anything. He thought for a minute and said, “I hope you were a good mother, too.”

He looked to me for approval. I smiled and I said, looking again to the sky, "Aiden you are making so many mothers smile in heaven right now it’s too many to count." He shrugged his shoulders and headed off to the car with a hop and skip in his step.

I love cemeteries. I love teaching my grandchildren are not afraid of them and honor he past.

I see Aiden maturing and understanding and being able to rationalize accepting an answer of “no” when he understands the reasoning. I see Sky’s compassion and sweetness in her gentle touch and voice. What good, good children they are and what lovely people they are growing into.

Meghan jogged down to meet us at Chick-Fil-A for dinner. We were all starving and ate everything. There was even room for Dairy Queen for dessert. Sky pooped there, finally, and now she was even a more happy camper.

Miss Marcy had Nick ready for bed so we played with him for a while, put him down, got ready for bed ourselves, had a nice long story and everyone was sound asleep by 8:33PM.

I watched a movie, had some tea and slept soundly myself.

-- Nana Beth

baking with nana beth

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Andrew and the Steam Shovel

Aiden’s class was getting assembled for stories in his classroom when we arrived.

In the new book I gave Sky there is a picture of men sawing blocks of ice in the old days, just like the first story I was telling them about my Uncle Johnny and Uncle Walter cutting ice as teenagers. As I told the story I had Aiden walk though all the rows of children showing the picture. Of course, Sir Speedy, wasn’t going slow enough for anyone to see so I needed to tell him to slow down. Then he paused perfectly for each child as if he was counting seconds for each child.

In my story the horse and sleigh fall into the hole in the ice and Johnny, in his new red plaid jacket, jumps in to push the horse out. The horse does get out but Johnny’s mother, Eva (Grandma Blazy’s) is not happy that Johnny didn’t put on his work clothes. She pulled him by is ear all the way home because he had his good coat on.

Aiden was sitting in a chair facing his class, still hold the picture on his lap. So when I came to the part of the story with the ear, I went over to him and pretended to pull his ear out of the chair and across the room.

He was pursing his lips together so as not to smile (such an Adam thing, I had to laugh). All the children started to laugh and I was dragging him by his ear. He couldn’t contain himself; he had done that straight-line smile from ear to ear and his cheeks turned pink.

Then Aiden sat joining the rest of his class for the next two stories. The third story was How Benjamin Saved the Zoo.

In the story Benjamin is about 3 and Adam just turned 5. I accompanied Adam’s 1st grade class to the North Carolina Zoo. Benjamin came, too. Benjamin got lost and we found him in a fountain collecting all the pennies and putting them in his pocket. He said he had found a fortune and he was going to buy me a new house, dad a new car, himself a horse and Adam a new bike. “You ROCK,” Adam said.

Aiden laughed out loud. A few kids nearby were saying things like, “That was you Daddy?” Aiden nodded his head, yes. He loved that part of the story.

Then Adam led everyone in several chants saying, “Benjamin saved he zoo!” Of course, the more I saw the children loving to chant along, the more crazy chants we did, or Adam, supposedly did. Aiden was grinning to beat the band.

The class made up a never heard before story of “Andrew and the Steam Shovel” that I have written up under a separate cover.

We had so much fun, took the whole hour and left them begging for more. Maybe, I’ll get invited back again.

-- Nana Beth


Andrew and the Steam Shovel

By Beth Ann Rossi
As Told To by the Kindergarten Classes of Nysmith
February 23,2012

Once upon a time in the town of West Ox there was an enormous dog. He was as pink as pink as the prettiest hair ribbon. He was a happy dog. When he smiled he smiled so big his cheeks exploded from his skull. His name was Andrew.

Andrew loved to play and hike and jump. Everybody loved Andrew.

One day a steam shovel drove into the lot next door. It started to dig the earth. It sh-h-h-h-h-h-oook the ground and dug up Andrew’s bone. I wasn't just any bone; it was Andrew’s all time favorite bone.

Andrew ran out of his house, under the fence to rescue his bone.

The seam shovel operator blasted his horn. “B-B-B-BEEEEEEP!”

Andrew quickly grabbed his bone and ran back to his house. He was too big to hide under the table and too big to hide under the couch. He didn’t know where to hide.

Suddenly, a comforter fell off the couch and fell on top of him. He was even more scared so he began to run.

He ran out of the house and under the fence. He couldn’t see where he was going because the comforter was blocking his view.

The steam shovel operator saw what he thought was a ghost dog.

“Woof, woof, woof,” barked Andrew.

The man got so scared he jumped off the machine and ran away.

Andrew shook the comforter off. It was nice and quiet and peaceful in the lot. He spread out the comforter and lay down upon it for a nap.

As he chewed on his favorite bone he thought, “I sure do like stories with a happy ending.”

He smiled so big his cheeks exploded off his skull, again.

storyteller visit the rainbow fish class

I sat in the office while I waited for 9 AM to enter Sky’s class for storytelling. That office is a well-oiled machine of the nicest, friendliness people. I wish I knew what kind of happy pills they must take every day to be this way. I had a big talk with Steve Currie and the other ladies there. I got nostalgic for my old teaching days and had to remember that yes, I really loved teaching and I bet I was darn good at it, too.

Sky was connected to me like Velcro when I came into her room. If I turned quickly I would have stepped on her. I sat her in a chair next to me facing the class holding the book with the picture in I wanted her to show her class at the right time in my story. She adjusted her hair several times and swung her feet back and forth as if she were a little nervous. As soon as I started telling the story she relaxed and began to listen like the others. When I asked her to walk around showing everyone the picture she took her time. She paused at one child then the next until she felt they had a good grasp of what they needed to see. I bet she would be a through teacher herself one day if she chose to do that.

I sensed she didn’t want to join the others after I finished the first story, but she wasn’t getting a good view of the stories I was telling. She loved being in the front of the class.

In one story I was telling of myself as a little girl getting locked in the cow barn at night and how scared I was. I was really scared of the bull, especially. When I snored loudly, like the bull, the whole class reared back, teachers too. Sky, rocked backwards so hard she almost hit the floor. These children were listening so intently, they were there, with me, step by sep in the dark. It amazes me, the power of the word, and their imagination, that had gotten them scared of a bull that existed over 60 years ago.

Sky’s class were the best listeners. They asked wonderful questions, understood the story line and laughed at all the right places.

Sky was really happy and proud. She looked like she wanted to burst with joy, her cheeks were pink. The more she was recognized or comments were made about the stories or her grandmother the more she beamed. Gosh, I was on a high of my own seeing her joy.

I got to stay for snack and sit at the chair next to Sky. They were given a slice of cheese and four crackers. They were instructed to fold the cheese in half and in half again so they could make squares to go on four round crackers. In less than three seconds Sky did it was others were asking questions and not understanding the directions. She sat patiently while she waited to the next task.

We talked to the other girls at the table about their favorite color and if they had brothers and sisters.

When it was time to leave and I waved good bye to everyone and thanked them for letting me come, I kissed Sky and said out loud, “I love this Sky girl.” Everyone smiled, especially Sky.

banana nut muffins by aiden and sky

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

street luge

super brown belt


Aiden practicing before his belt test.


nicolas is nineteen months old!

my happy little boy

Just awake from a long afternoon nap.

In his favorite nook waiting to be found, kissed, hugged, wrestled to the ground, tickled, and adored.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

nick at st. mary's playgroup

This playgroup is his Thursday activity with Teresa. His friends are twins Aidan and Brenden, Even, Bosha, Joseph, Claire, and Anna.

Nick is the biggest boy (in size) of the group but he's the youngest. That's my BIG boy!

oh man, I love a good kabob

Oh man, my Bobba, my Kakas (mom's uncles), my mom's cousins, my dad, and my brother...we all LOVE eating kabobs...we just love it. Put it on the grill and we'll eat it up, man. We hang out by the grill and eat it as it come off the grill.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I LOVE this face!

nick at wednesday swim practice

One day I'll be posting about his Olympic trails here....sigh

He loves his swim coach and she loves him...look at that trust! He swims with me on Saturdays and I have to admit, he looks more comfortable with the coach!

Teresa takes Nick to swim practice on Wednesday. Nick also has practice on Saturday at the same time as Aiden and Sky....thank God for swim practice. It's fun, it's healthy and it's nice to get in the water when it's snowing outside!

He's home from swim practice and happy to spend some time outdoors before lunch.
Photos submitted by Teresa!

Monday, February 13, 2012

moon walk

You've seen Micheal Jackson do the moon walk but have you seen Moon do the moon walk?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Aiden loves this sushi spot...a couple of months ago he requested for his "birthday dinner". Very sophisticated of my little man!