Thursday, August 25, 2016

The best day of 2016

Image courtesy of Luis Caleron

Today was the best day of 2016 for our family. This morning, we officially welcomed my granddaughter, Luna, into the fold. Even though she's been part of our hearts from the day she was born, over 10 months ago, today, she got a new last name and a permanent home with my daughter and her husband -- her mom and dad.

I watched with much emotion and pride as my daughter was sworn in during the court session. She spoke with confidence and warmth as she promised to treat this child in the same way as her biological son. I wanted to interrupt and say, "Of course, she will. She always has." But I kept quiet. Surprisingly, I also kept my tears at bay, somewhat. At least I didn't have to reach into my purse for a hankie. 

The judge was amazingly kind and welcoming to all of us, allowing pictures during the proceedings. Afterward, she posed for pictures with the family. There was such joy in the room.

Luna, I didn't get the opportunity to swear my devotion to you. So I'll do it here, for everyone in the GG community to witness.

I, your loving grandma, promise to always treat you like the treasure you are. Like the treasure your brother and your three cousins are. You are all the same in my heart and you always will be.

I will be here for you to share in your joys and your sorrows, your accomplishments and your disappointments. 

I will brag on you like nobody's business, because Luna Bean, that's what grandmas do.

From the time you were just a wee, bitty newborn, I sang this song to you. I wrote it with you in mind and, don't tell the other kids, but it's my favorite of the songs I've written for my grandbabies. I'm singing it now with tears streaming down my cheeks. Tears of sheer and utter joy. 

Luna, bright as the moonlight
I want to tell you
Everything's gonna be all right.

Luna, just like the moon shines
I promise you that
Everything's gonna be just fine.

Fine, it is. So fine, indeed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Van's Back to School Giveaway! Win a gift pack worth $325!

This is a sponsored post by Van’s International Foods and facilitated by Conservamom 

Waffles were a big part of my childhood. I remember my mom whipping up my Grandma Carrie's recipe on a Saturday morning. I liked mine plain, with just butter and sugar. Sometimes we'd have waffles for dinner. Mom would make chicken and gravy, with peas, and spoon it over the waffles. Being that I was a picky eater (peas ... ewww), I still opted for butter and sugar. And Mom let me.

I made my share of Grandma Carrie's waffles for my own kids and now they make them for theirs. But sometimes, busy moms just don't have time to make waffles from scratch. That's when it's time to reach for Van's waffles.

In celebration of National Waffle Day, Van’s Foods is sharing some easy and delicious breakfast recipes to make busy school mornings happier for the whole family. Quick and wholesome options like Van’s waffles offer protein and whole grains moms can feel great about serving and are so delicious kids love eating them. Van’s is also offering a chance to win FREE Van’s waffles, a deluxe brushed stainless convection/toaster oven and $100 gift card. 


wafflepizza2 wafflepizza 


And, if you’re looking for a sure fire way to get a breakfast-time smile from your kiddos, check out this awesome video on how to make sunshine waffles:


There’s a Van’s waffle for every member of the family celebrating National Waffle Day – from kid-favorite Van’s Minis (with 27 grams of whole grain per serving) to Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles (free of gluten, dairy and egg) to Van’s 8 Whole Grains Waffles (with 7 grams of fiber). 

For more easy recipe ideas and to learn more about Van’s Foods, please visit

Van’s waffles are available at grocery stores, mass merchandisers and natural food retailers nationwide. To find Van’s waffles in a store near you, visit: 

To enter to win some delicious Van’s waffles along with a deluxe convection toaster oven and $100 gift card and a few other goodies, fill out the entry form below! Giveaway open to US residents only. Ends on 9/10/16 at 11:59pm EST. 

You can find the complete list of Sweepstake Rules here. 

Disclosure: All opinions are 100% mine. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.All opinions and experiences are Conservamom‘s. Open to Continental US residents only , must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted through email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What if he hadn't died? A short story.

Yesterday would have been my late husband's 61st birthday. It made me stop and wonder for awhile what he would be like today if that spiteful fire had not stolen his life from him nearly 27 years ago. Instead of wondering, I woke up this morning and decided to write about the life together we didn't have. Maybe it will motivate you to do the same about a loved one you lost too soon. Write a story of how things might have been.

Image by George Hodan

A Normal Life

Jim walked into the kitchen, his sweat-soaked t-shirt draped around his neck. The sight of his tanned chest and muscular shoulders still took my breath away. He leaned down and kissed me. 
"Your head is burned. Why didn't you wear a hat? You're going to end up with skin cancer," I said, taking his tennis racket and putting it in the closet. A basketball rolled out and I kicked it back into place before closing the door.

"You worry too much." He opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of orange juice.

"Don't you dar--" 

Too late. He unscrewed the lid and drank directly from the bottle. Then he smiled at me and put the bottle back in the fridge. "I'm hitting the shower."

Leaning against the counter, I watched him take the stairs, two at a time. Here I was, not even 60 yet and barely able to walk up to the second floor. His stamina amazed me. At 61, he still embraced life like it would last forever. Even though I worried about him constantly, the fact was he would most likely outlive me. I worried about that, too. 

We'd been inseparable for the past 36 years. Even though I relied on him to take care of the things I couldn't do physically, he seemed entirely dependent on me. I'm not sure what he'd do without me. He was just a few short years away from retirement (thank God) and I couldn't wait for him to be away from the chemical company where he had worked for nearly as long as I'd known him. Even though the pay was good and kept us comfortable, it wasn't a safe place.

Still, he as doing a lot better physically than I was. I hadn't even poured my second cup of coffee yet and he was already home from his weekly tennis match. Every Monday, he and Doug played tennis on their mutual day off. After his shower, Jim would be outside again, mowing the lawn before the extreme summer heat bore down upon us. I'd insist on the hat this time.

Jim and I were best friends. After our daughters grew up and were off on their own, he supported me completely in my pursuit of a writing career. Having a flexible schedule worked well with his swing shifts and I had the freedom to meet with my writing friends whenever I wanted. My tribe. 

Freshly showered, Jim interrupted my thoughts, hugging me from behind as I gazed out the kitchen window. I breathed in the scent of him. He kissed me on the back of my head and reached for the coffee and my mug. Always the servant. Handing me the filled cup, he asked, "So what's on the agenda for today?"

"I thought you were mowing the lawn," I said.

"That was the plan, but it can wait. Besides, I just showered and I don't feel like getting all sweaty again."

"Yeah, I wondered about that."

"Let's take off for the day. Want to go swimming?"

"Seriously? And be seen in public in a swimsuit? No thank you."

"Seriously. I want to show off my beautiful wife and her hot body."

"You're crazy. Not happening. If you want to go swimming, call Jess or Bethany and see if you can take the kids to the pool."

"I could. But what I really want to do is spend the day with you. Hiking in the woods? How are your legs today? Fibro acting up?"

"No. They're pretty good. But it's awfully hot for hiking."

"Okay, honey. You decide. I just want to spend the day with you."

"The mall?"

I watched as Jim tried to control the contortions of his face, knowing the mall would be the last place he wanted to go on his day off. 

He chewed on the inside of his cheek. "Sure. If that's what you want to do." He feigned a smile.

Laughing, I let him know I was joking. I couldn't help feeling like the luckiest woman alive. I whispered another suggestion in his ear and, joining hands, we both headed up the stairs. Looked like he was going to get sweaty again after all.

Monday, August 22, 2016

And it's back to school. How are you feeling about it?

Picture by Holly Chaffin

The kids in our school district returned to school today and I can't help thinking that can't be possible. But then I remember thinking that every single summer when my kids were growing up. Back then, summer truly was three months long, yet I was never ready for school to start. Unlike other mothers I know who cannot wait for the school year to begin, I always was filled with regret of all the things we didn't do.

And here I am again, with grandchildren returning to school and I'm regretting missing out on some of the activities I'd planned back in June. Since I don't have kids or their toys or their laundry underfoot, I guess it's easy for me to say that I'm sad the school year has begun. Whatever happened to waiting until after Labor Day and letting kids be kids, not students, for a couple extra weeks? 

Ahh well, it's that old adage that the only thing constant is change. For any of you grandparents out there, you know what I'm talking about. Things sure are different these days. Gone are the days of kids meeting up for a ball game or playing tag around the neighborhood. Now it seems the only thing that gets them outdoors with others is the pursuit of pretend characters they can only see through their smartphones. And why exactly do so many young kids even have smartphones?! I guess my age is showing.

To all you moms who are celebrating the early start of the school year, enjoy your alone time. I know it's important. And to the others who feel a bit like I feel, I understand. The sound of the school bus pulling away with your precious cargo inside just might elicit a tear or two. That's okay. The process of letting go has begun. Hugs to you.

So... which side of the fence are you on? Champagne or hankies? I'd love to hear how you're feeling in the comments below.

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