Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Granddaddy

On Friday, March 12th, my Granddaddy celebrated his 94th birthday.  On Sunday, March 14th, he was called home to heaven.  My Granddaddy was a very formal man, a man of few words .   I talk incessantly, much to the frustration of my husband, and I wish I had inherited a little bit of Granddaddy's ability to stay quiet, listen more, and choose only the best time to speak and the best words to share.  Because of this, he had the unique ability to draw a deep desire out of me to please him, to make him proud.  He was a very accomplished man, although he would never say so.  At his funeral, based on the people that came to pay their respects, I learned what a tremendous influence he had on so many, always choosing to remain anonymous in the gifts of time and resources he shared.  He truly had a servant leader's heart and I am eternally grateful to have been in his arms as a young child, while my parents completed graduate school in Mobile.

Granddaddy would take me to my swimming lessons, always being more patient with me than my swim teacher, despite the fact that I never put my head under water until I was seven.  He took me to Whataburger or Krispy Kreme after swim lessons, and I remember watching him empty sugar packets into a teaspoon, wink and me and flash a big smile as he devoured his sweet treat.  I was not quite four years old then.  He never wanted us to go into the attic, despite the fact that inside that attic were treasures I still long to find now as an adult.  The second floor of my grandparents home has four sets of doors that lead to an attic that wrapped around the front of the house.  He told me he kept a live bear in the attic and for a while I believe him.  Granddaddy would secretly watch for my curiosity to be too much for me, hiding until I just barely turned that door knob and then growl the loudest bear growl you can imagine.  That is why my children (his only two great grandchildren), and the youngest of his twelve grand children who are still in college, call him Papa Bear. 

A funeral Mass was said for Granddaddy.  My cousin, Fred, and I read the two readings as the two oldest grandchildren.  Each of the remaining grandchildren read the Responsorial Psalms and the Prayers of the Faithful.  One of the prayers of the faithful in the Mass was this.  The true measure of greatness is not in worldly things but in the love and devotion of one's family.  We thank God for the example of this in our Papa Bear. 

Alfred Boyce Wettermark- longtime resident of Mobile, died at his home. He was 94 years old. He leaves behind his wife of 61 years, Helen McCown Wettermark; seven children, Alfred Boyce Wettermark (Urszula) of Fort Worth Texas, Irene Porter (Paul) of Mobile, Lawrence McCown Wettermark (Nancy) of Mobile, James Hart Wettermark (Joan) of Birmingham, Michael Daly Wettermark (Tina) of Fairhope, Mary Helen Espinosa (Carlos) of Managua, Nicaragua, and John Francis Wettermark of New Orleans; twelve grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Born in 1916 in Alexandria, Louisiana, he was the son of Alfred Wettermark of Nacodoches, Texas and Alexandria, Louisiana and Irene Boyce Wettermark of Boyce, Louisiana. He was a graduate of Spring Hill College and Harvard Business School. He served in the Navy during WW II aboard the USS Altair. Following the War his Navy service included coordinating supplies for the construction of Thula Air Base , the northern-most U.S. Military base in the world. He was the Supply Officer aboard the USS Wasp Aircraft Carrier and for Naval Air Station Pensacola. He retired from the Navy in 1962 at the rank of Commander. Following his Navy service he worked independently in real estate acquisitions, sales and land management as well as in financial investing. In Alexandria, he was a founding member of the Alexandria Aquatic Club and was active in civic and church affairs. He was partnered in numerous businesses including Hemenway Furniture Company and Guaranty Bank and Trust Company. In Mobile he was active in Kiwanis, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, Catholic Charities and his Parish of St. Ignatius, as well as his alma mater of Spring Hill College. He will be remembered for his intellect, wit, gentle nature, and humility. Most of all he will be remembered for his love and devotion to his wife and family.  He was a true Southern gentleman.

Poor Second Child

Poor Helen.  I neglected to mention on her actual birthday, which is March 18th, that she is two now!  See what a terrible mommy I am?  I chatted with my mother-in-law over spring break about how terrible I am at keeping up the same level of attention to keeping photographic and written memories of sweet Helen.  She gave me Big Philip's baby book that has a few notes in it, and then shared that her first son, George, had a complete baby book.  Her third child, Emily, has a baby book with only her name written in it.  We took Big Philip's baby book back home with us, determined to fill it out.  The book includes pages for enscribing the names of your wedding party and even your grandchildren  All is not lost!  There is still time to get that book finished!

Meanwhile, Little Philip's book ends at age five and that is fast approaching.  I need to complete the last two years to catch up.

Helen's book has, well, the first week of her life in it.  Maybe I should make her first priority. 

After celebrating the life of my 94 year old grandfather, Alfred Boyce Wettermark (Boyce is mine and Helen's middle name), we went to Tennessee to celebrate Helen's birthday with all of her Moss cousins and family.  On the Monday after spring break we returned to school and Helen finally got to wear her birthday cupcake dress she has been begging to wear for weeks.  Seriously, she is two and begs to wear dresses.  This is definitely proof of nature vs. nurture if you knew me as a child.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Super Why

Overheard this morning while Mommy was finishing lunches before school:

From the living room where the kiddos were watching Super Why.  Wyatt said "and you, what's your name?" to which Little Philip loudly replied:

Philip, with the power to READ!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Break Plans

We are so looking forward to spring break next week!  Granted, we'll miss that extra week of preschool teaching pay but the reward of being at home for a few days as a family means so much more.  That being said, I anticipate running out of fun things to do with the little ones on Monday at 9:00 a.m.  I found a great new blog called No Time for Flashcards that is all about encouraging children's learning through creativity. There is a bar on the right that has different crafts and activities sorted down to any keyword you can imagine.  She even sorts activities by age group which will be wonderful as I continue to look for more fun activities to add to my 4K classroom!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

I have no idea what this crazy movie is supposed to be about but tonight, I had the luxury of having a 5 minute steaming hot bath.  That might as well be a time machine moment for me.  Big Philip kept the kids at bay, literally, while I soaked my tired body, staring at some kind of funky toenails that are never going to see sandals unless I do something about them.  I slid down into the hot water not only to attempt to submerge my fat belly that is sooooo, not baby weight anymore, but also to try and block all sound, in a Calgon moment. heard instead:

Moooooooomy?  Mooooommmmmy?  I hear Mommy in there, Daddy! 
 (Daddy says something to lure him away from the bathroom door)
WHAM...WHAM.....WHAM...kicking the door some more...WHAM
Daddy tells him to leave Mommy alone while she takes a hot bath.

But she's not in the tub anymore because I heard her tee tee just now!

Nope, that's just our leaky faucet, son.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bedtime Update and Nostalgia

We are happy to share that Helen has finally adjusted to her big girl bed.  She, like her brother, must have a bedtime ritual, and while she does not demand three books, she does demand to be read to before bed.  To us, this is a pure joy and a positive thing to reinforce.  Philip reads voraciously and we like to think it was because we began reading to him at his nap and bedtime at an early age.

There are few, if any, toys left from my childhood in my parents house.  This is in stark contrast to Philip's childhood home that contains even the tiniest plastic G.I. Joe gun that mounts on the arm of some small action figure.  In fact, even the arms of G.I. Joe men themselves are still in his playroom, despite the actual bodies of the action figures having been severed from said arms decades ago.  We were recently at my parents home and Helen found a very old book I had as a little girl.  It is called What's In My Pockets?  I very much remember this book, and my parents hiding little trinkets inside the pockets sometimes when they read it to me.  The trinkets are long gone, and the book itself, being made of fabric and applique, has been washed many, many times, leaving it faded and well worn.  Simply put, it shows it was loved.

Helen asks me to read her the pocket book every time she lies down for a nap or her bedtime.  I leave the room with her babbling happily as she flips each page, sticking her sweet little fingers into each kind of pocket.  Her favorite is the secret pocket, sewn into the top corner of the last page of the book.

I can't tell you the joy it brings me to have one of my toys beloved by one of my children.  I'm off to find some little trinkets of our own to hide in each pocket, to start a new generation of memories with my own child now.