Tag Archives: Jonah Bear

“You’re the BEST PAPI EVER!”

This summer, The Complete Package participated in the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally in Austin, Texas. One of the best events during the rally is a motorcycle parade that runs from the fairgrounds to Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. For this event, Congress Avenue from the state capital building to the river is closed. Motorcycles leave the fairground in the early evening and create an 11 mile-long motorcycle parade into downtown, past the capital, and onto Congress Avenue. That’s 11 solid miles of motorcycles, riding 2 across, involving thousands of bikes. It’s an incredible sight to behold.

This year, My Baby and I took the kids to Congress Avenue to see the bikes and watch their Papi ride in. We cheered, we bought big sparkly light-up wands for the kids, and we waved at all the riders. As the bikes filled Congress Avenue, the riders parked, got off their bikes and walked around. Bikers swapped stories, families visited friends, and grown-ups and kids alike walked around looking at motorcycles, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over their favorites. This year, Jonah’s favorite bike involved custom LED lights that flashed and changed colors. He thought it was the coolest bike, and the gentleman that owned it was kind enough to let him sit on it and have his picture taken. He loved that.

Fast forward to this August when TCP decided to install LED lights on his new motorcycle. Lights that flash and change colors and do all kinds of cool things. So when Jonah Bear came for his week-long summer visit (Jonahpalooza), TCP waited until nightfall to take him out to the garage for a little surprise. As Jonah and I watched, TCP turned off the overhead light and with the push of a few buttons on a hand-held remote, he blew Jonah Bear’s mind. It started with “Whoa!” and morphed into “Cool!” and ended with a giant bear hug and a booming “You’re the BEST PAPI EVER!” For me, it was ‘cue the waterworks’ but for Jonah Bear it was ‘cue the rock-n-roll music’ as he launched into a spontaneous air guitar performance the likes of which I have never seen.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this kid to pieces?

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Pineapple Update: Day….Heck, I forget.

Our first pineapple, along with the sprouts she spawned.


Honestly, I’ve lost track of what week this is in our “sprout to fruit” home-grown pineapple saga. All I know is that it has been a while since I’ve posted an update, and we’ve had significant changes this week. That’s right. Our baby pineapple is about to fully mature. She’s just starting to take on a yellow hue that indicates she’ll be ripening in the next few weeks. We’re so excited!

We called the kids and we’re tentatively planning a get together in mid-September to harvest our first pineapple – just in time for Lilly Bug’s second birthday. If you remember, Jonah called “dibs” on the first pineapple. He has his heart set on a pineapple upside-down cake, and he hasn’t let me forget it. That boy has the memory of an elephant.

So stay tuned, kids. In a few weeks, we may be harvesting and dissecting and baking with the grandbabies. When we do, I promise to snap photos so you can see us celebrating the life and sacrifice of our first ever pineapple. It took us six and a half years to get here, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth the wait.

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LillyFair & Jonahpalooza: The End

The Complete Package and I just wrapped up two glorious weeks with our grandkids. For the first time, we decided to give them each their own special week at our house. Together, they are a whirlwind of constant motion and commotion. But separately, we are able to focus all of our attention entirely on each of them and give them one-on-one time they don’t normally get.

We started on Sunday, July 17th with our first annual LillyFair. After spending a long weekend in Austin visiting family, I brought Lilly home for a week of Yo Gabba Gabba, dress-up, baths in the kitchen sink and lots of snuggles. After 8 days, we feel like we’ve gotten to know our little Lilly Bug much better. She’s a pistol. She’s funny and lively. She loves music as much as she loves food (and girlfriend LOVES to eat). She has a small collection of favorite words. Her two favorites are Papi and snack, and sometimes she uses them in the same sentence. She’s a sweet little elf.

At 22 months, she plays hard to the very brink of exhaustion and loves to sing, especially in the car. She can’t get enough Yo Gabba Gabba, which she calls Baba, and she has a crush on DJ Lance Rock. When he walks onto the TV screen in that orange jumpsuit carrying his boom box, she giggles and lights up like a firefly. Her favorite part of the show is the silly faces segment.

Every time the kids visit, I make them something. It might be a costume for their dress-up box or sword holders for pirate swords or spy glasses made from paper towel rolls. It’s something I love to do, and the kids love it, too. For Lilly Bug, I recycled some of Jonah Bear’s old t-shirts to create Yo Gabba Gabba character shirts. First, I created Muno’s trademark lumpy orange body using felt and French knots. I love Muno. He’s cool. Lilly loved the color and the textures.

Next, I reworked Plex the robot on a red t-shirt using felt & embroidery thread.

If I’d had another week, I might have crafted a Lilly-sized DJ Lance Rock, but time ran out, so we’ll never know if I could have pulled it off. I’m thinking Papi should rent the costume and surprise her some time. She would lose her mind. As if her Papi isn’t already her hero. Papi would rock as DJ Lance Rock!

Last Sunday, we met My Baby and Bama Boy for lunch to trade Lilly Bug for Jonah Bear. Jonah loves coming to visit, and has since he was a little tyke. Now that he’s 4 1/2, he’s an old pro at coming to visit. He had his little suitcase packed and was ready for adventure.

We kicked off Jonahpalooza with a movie night. We made popcorn, broke out a bag of gummy worms and watched his new favorite movie, Rango. He spent the week playing dress up, watching his favorite cartoons and taking private swim lessons. We had picnics and rode bikes and visited the science museum to see the dinosaurs. Jonah is all boy, and is the total polar opposite of his little sister. While Lilly’s switch is always set to “high-energy”, Jonah is active but also sweet & tender and has his quiet moments. He’s thoughtful and polite and big-hearted. He loves to read and tell stories, and his imagination is astounding. He’s exceptionally smart and very creative. This week, Jonah asked for a new Bolt costume. It’s one of his favorite movies. And of course, I never say “no.” This time, Jonah was big enough to help cut the fabric and sew on the machine. Here’s the result, complete with a carrot dog toy.

Here’s our sweet boy learning to float like an ice cube. Hi, Kaki!

And here’s Jonah at the science museum with the T-Rex. Run, Jonah!

In all, we spent 16 days with our grandbabies. Our house is a mess, our refrigerator is empty, and our energy is completely sapped. But you know what? It was a fabulous 16 days. I know everyone thinks their grandkids are the cutest, the smartest and the greatest. But in our case, it’s true. {wink}

And we already miss them.

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Meet House Guest #2 – Jonah Bear!


I don’t know what you’re doing this week, but we’re smack dab in the middle of Jonahpalooza. That’s right – 8 1/2 glorious days of the Jonah Channel. All Jonah; all the time. Last week was LillyFair. We got our girl time on in a big way. Our little Lilly Bug is a firecracker. At almost two, she kept us on our toes and laughing all week. What a hoot! On Sunday, we met Our Baby and Bama Boy to swap kiddos. I meant to post something then to let you know that Jonahpalooza had officially kicked off, but we’ve been busy around here. Real busy.


We’ve been going to swim lessons. A certain 4 1/2 year-old is learning to swim like a sailfish. Why a sailfish? Because his Papi told him that a sailfish can swim faster than just about any other fish and if there’s anything Jonah is determined to be at this tender age, it’s fast. That’s our friend Kaki with Jonah Bear. This is their second summer together. She’s a good swim teacher; she knows sailfish.

We had a fried chicken picnic at the park and played hide-and-seek with Papi.

We’ve watched Rango “sixty-eleven times” (and it’s playing again as I type this). Jonah Bear likes to watch a movie over and over until he’s memorized the entire script and all the songs. Our boy’s got a mind like a steel trap.


And we’ve ridden bikes (or photographed a certain boy riding bikes) at least once or twice a day since Sunday. Jonah Bear is learning to ride his Mommy’s old bike. It’s still just a tiny bit too big for him, but he’s determined to master it. And since Papi outfitted him to look like Tony Hawk (he’s a ‘safety first’ kind of guy), Jonah Bear has found his courage and is slowly gaining in confidence and speed. He’s enjoying it so much, he sometimes rides to the very brink of exhaustion. Sometimes a boy just needs to stop and take a break.

Yep. Jonahpalooza is on like Donkey Kong, and The Complete Package and I are in for the full ride. I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule next week, and I’ll share more Lilly photos. Until then, I’m committed to my favorite endeavor – being a Nana. Have a great week and an even better weekend.

And now…. we ride!

Uh… I mean, “We ride!”

Wait… that’s not right either. Let’s try this again. “We ride!”

There… that’s more like it.

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Musings on Austin, Motorcycles, Grandkids & Sleep Deprivation

Well, it’s Tuesday and I’ve just wrapped up 10 action-packed days with the grandbabies, Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. I thought I would feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a recuperative night’s sleep, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was up until 3:00am, and I’m feeling totally wiped out. So instead of crafting a dazzling literary recap, I’m opting for a random run-down of what transpired. I apologize in advance for taking the lazy way out. Forgive me. I beg of you.

1. Our adventure started June 10th when The Complete Package saddled up the motorcycle and Ziggy and I manned the “support vehicle” for our trip to Austin. It was our annual pilgrimage for the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally. TCP attends the bike rally; Ziggy and I spend the weekend with the kids. The ROT Rally is said to be the largest in Texas and one of the biggest in the US. Approximately 200,000 participants were expected. This year, TCP entered his new motorcycle in an open division contest and took second place in the Metric Custom category. Got a trophy and everything. My Baby and I took the kids downtown to watch the motorcycles parade past the state capitol and down Congress Avenue on Friday evening. Have you ever seen a motorcycle parade that runs for 11 uninterrupted miles and takes more than 30 minutes to pass? It’s pretty awesome, even if you’re not that into motorcycles. The kids were enthralled, and seeing their Papi ride by in the parade was a highlight. In their minds, Papi (TCP) is now a rock star. You go with your bad self, Papi. Here’s a shot of his bike, or as I like to refer to it – “the other woman”.

2. Bama Boy, our son-in-law, introduced us to his favorite meat market. It’s called Johnny G’s and it’s located in Manchaca, just south of Austin. It is best described as a small, family run meat palace. We bought two hand-cut ribeye steaks for Bama Boy and TCP (about 1.5″ thick) and two smaller steaks for My Baby and I. Then we snagged some smoked jalapeno cheese sausage and some spices. It’s a great little Mom & Pop shop, and those ribeyes were Uh-May-Zing.

3. Turns out Peter Pan is alive and well and recruiting Lost Boys in the Austin area. Who knew? If I could bottle Jonah Bear’s energy, I’d be a guhzillionaire.

4. If you take two kids and two adult women, put them in a car in the dark of night with a multi-colored flashing disco ball light stick and a cool blue light saber, add vintage rock music and park them at a Sonic Drive-In, you’re bound to draw attention. It may or may not have been a coincidence that a police cruiser pulled in just as we were leaving. Look, kids! It’s the Fuzz!

5. There’s no such thing as “too many pancakes” or “enough donuts.”

6. Behold the power of cheese! (Remember those commercials?) Hi, Lilly Bug.

7. After spending 6 days in Austin, I brought the kids back to Houston to spend the weekend at our place. My Baby and Bama Boy were celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary, so a kid-free weekend seemed like an appropriate gift. It was a total win-win for all of us. We wore those kids out. Wore ’em out good!

8. This weekend, Jonah Bear and TCP made homemade cherry pecan ice cream and lasagna. There’s nothing better than men who cook, except for men who cook and then do their own dishes. At 4 years old, Jonah is really getting into the cooking part. We’ll work on washing dishes another time. As for TCP, the man can scour a pan. And no, you can’t have him. And no, he doesn’t have a brother.

9. If I’ve seen Disney’s Tangled once, I’ve seen it a millions times. Jonah Bear usually pretends to be the hero. Lilly is the leading lady. I’m usually the villain (totally against type, I know) and Ziggy is the sidekick. This time, Jonah decided the bad guys were cooler, so he played the roll of the Stabbington brothers (twins). That’s right. Just when you think one bad guy’s enough, Disney produces twins. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a really cute movie. My favorite character – the little old cupid dude at the very end. Makes me laugh every single time.

10. Jonah Bear cried when it was time to head home. I cried when he started crying. Then TCP started crying. I’m telling you, we were one hot mess. Everything you’ve heard about being a grandparent is true. There is such joy in watching your babies grow up and have babies of their own. There is such freedom in enjoying your grandbabies without the stress and anxiety you felt with your own children. You really do learn a lot with age, and there’s a great sense of peace that comes with knowing you didn’t screw it up. Our daughter is amazing. Our son-in-law is a blessing. Their children are the greatest gift ever, and in all seriousness, we couldn’t love them more. Life is good. Really good.

Now if you’ll excuse us, Ziggy and I could really use a nap. A really long nap.

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Hot Fun in the Summer Time

I’ve been holding on to these photos since Mother’s Day. Every time I look at them, I start giggling again. You have to understand, most days it’s just me, TCP and the dog around here. It’s quiet in our home. Very quiet. But when My Baby and Bama Boy visit with our two grandkids, all heck breaks loose. Fun, fabulous heck. Hilarious, giggly, exhausting fun. Mother’s Day weekend was no exception. Especially when The Complete Package, aka “Papi”, erected a DIY water park in the back yard. Since daily temperatures in Houston are hovering in the 90’s, it was an oasis. It started with the kids playing in the inflatable pools.

Then it moved to the new Slip-N-Slide. I don’t think I’ve seen one of those things since I was in high school. They’ve been greatly improved since the early ’80s. Gone are the days of a simple piece of plastic and a garden hose. Now they have a blue bumper down the side that shoots water to keep the slide slippery, and a “cushion” at the end so you get good and soaked as a reward for your courage.

We had a great time getting soaked with Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. But the most amusing part of the day had to be the to-the-death, no-holds-barred Slip-N-Slide grudge match between our daughter and her husband. It was amazing. And cut-throat. And hysterical. Thank you, God, for high-speed digital cameras.

Oh, to be young and enthusiastic! I’m not saying who won because we were all winners in my book. I will tell you that the grandkids were not the only ones to take a nap that afternoon. So, how are you planning to keep cool this summer?

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Nothing is better than family time.

The kids came to visit this weekend. Nothing is better than time with our kids. Lilly Bug is now 17 months old. She’s such a bubbly, sweet little pixie. She wakes up happy and the rest of the day just gets better from there. She’s a little chatter box, and is just starting to put together a few full sentences. Her vocabulary is expanding at an alarming rate. She laughs at everything, sings at the drop of the hat, and thanks to Jonah Bear’s toy harmonica, she learned to play hobo songs about life riding the rails with her Papi (The Complete Package). I love those curls.

Jonah bear turned four just before Christmas. That blows my mind. Where does the time go? He’s not a baby or a toddler anymore. Our first grand baby is a boy now, and his ability to think at such a strategic level amazes us. He’s a deep thinker and problem solver, and yet he’s also a sweet, compassionate soul. He is a boy who knows what he wants, and this weekend he wanted blueberry pancakes and fruity push-up popsicles. I love his sweet boy hugs & his big, beautiful brain.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a family weekend without My Baby and Bama Boy. We ate too much, we played Scrabble, we shared popcorn & ice cream while we watched Megamind. It was awesome. But my favorite thing was watching Jonah Bear’s face light up when he mastered the pedals on My Baby’s old bike with all of us out there cheering him on. It was one of those priceless family moments. Speaking of priceless family moments… Sorry, honey. Mommy loves you.

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Knock-Off “Chicken Bucket” Coleslaw: It’s Digit Smackin’ Good


Last night was fried chicken night, and that means we had crispy, crunchy chicken strips with all the fixin’s. And that means sour cream mashed potatoes with cream gravy, buttermilk biscuits, and coleslaw. The recipe is from one of those covert knock-off websites that like to duplicate restaurant recipes. It tastes just like the coleslaw you might find at a certain fast food chicken establishment famous for more than 10 but less than 12 herbs and spices. I have to say, this one’s a dead ringer. My 4 year-old grandson, Jonah Bear, calls the place “Chicken Bucket.” That’s not what he asks you to buy, that’s what he actually calls the restaurant. As in, “can we eat at Chicken Bucket?” My recipe for chicken strips is already posted. Now it’s time for the coleslaw.

Here’s how it’s done:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s or Hellman’s)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bag (16 ozs.) coleslaw mix (cabbage & carrots)
1 tablespoon of pulped onion (see instructions below)

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, white vinegar, salt and pepper. Using a microplane or the fine side of a box grater, grate a chunk of onion until you have one tablespoon of onion pulp. Add the onion pulp to the mayonnaise mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the bag of coleslaw mix and toss to combine. Transfer to an airtight container to chill.

NOTE: You can serve this immediately, but it’s better if it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. The flavors have more time to work their magic. I like to open the fridge and shake the container vigorously every half hour or so, just to make sure it’s “marinated” evenly. The final product will be a little soupy, so use a slotted spoon or drain off some of the milk mixture before serving (but not too much, because it’s really good stuff). Now all you need is chicken and biscuits!

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“I Heart Faces” Photo Contest Entry: “Best Face of 2010” & My Jonah Bear

Have you seen the “I Heart Faces” website yet? It’s a great resource for photography tutorials and tips, and they have great contests for readers to post their own photos, as well. I entered a photo of my dog furry son, Ziggy, a few weeks back, and now I’m entering this photo of my grandson, Jonah, for their newest contest called “Best Face Photo of 2010.” Is it the best face of 2010? Maybe not, but it makes me laugh every time I see it. I love that little boy more than I love chocolate. And that’s saying a lot. Good luck, Jonah Bear!

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My sweet Jonah Bear just turned 4, and I’m torn between celebrating and crying

Jonah Bear is my sweet grandson; my first grandchild. He is joy personified. I smile just thinking about him. And I laugh when I’m with him because he is exceptionally funny for a little kid. He’s also a singer, a superhero, and a genius…but I’m clearly biased. This week, my Jonah Bear turned four. I can hardly believe it. Part of me is excited that he’s growing up and changing, and part of me is depressed that he’s growing up and changing. He’s a little man now, but he was just a baby yesterday. That’s how it seems, anyway. Sometimes he’ll say, “Nana, do you want me to grow up?” And I say, “Yes, Jonah Bear. I want you to grow up and become a man some day. I just want you to do it very slowly.” Then he says “okay!” with a big grin and it just kills me. Here’s a glimpse at my sweet boy and how he’s changed over the years. Look fast, because he’ll be graduating from college in a few weeks. And I’ll be sobbing and cheering. Mostly sobbing.

Jonah as a newborn - holding TCP's hand

Jonah turns one - my little Santa Baby

Jonah Bear turns 2 & learns to shave

Jonah Bear at 3 - he's not a baby, he's a boy

Jonah at 4 - I couldn't love him any more. Happy birthday, punkin.

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