Saturday, June 24, 2017

Back in the Saddle

Hi there, readers--if anyone is still out there.  (Testing: 1, this thing on?)

You know, I'm not sure I remember how to do this.  I feel like I've been thrown off the horse.  But you know what they say about making yourself get right back up on that beast again, don't you?  So here I am, back in the saddle, finally.   ("Equestrian metaphors?  Really?  How lame!  Does she think that's the way to make people glad she's back to blogging?")

When I started this blog way, way back in March of 2011, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and filled with thoughts I just HAD to share on a daily basis, I would never have believed that I could go more than a whole month without posting something on String of Pearls. But I just double-checked and yes indeed, my last blog post was dated May 22.  (Has it really been that long since I was here?!)  In my early days as a blogger, and for quite a few years afterward, I was opening up my laptop bright and early every morning while I was still on my first cup of coffee, with fingers itching to get at those keys.  Things have certainly changed. 

Life was very different for me in March of 2011.  My youngest son was still living at home, just about to graduate from high school.  My oldest son was married, but so far wedding bells didn't appear to be on the horizon for any of his younger brothers anytime soon.  (Ha!  That changed quickly--and sons # 2, 3, and 4 got married in an 11-month span, between December 2013 and November 2014!)  In March of 2011, I was still working on Finding Grace, which was about a year away from being published, and I was quite sure it was the only book I was ever going to write.  (Wrong again!)  I was just a few months away from becoming a grandmother for the first time, from meeting identical twin granddaughters who would burrow their way into my heart and open up a whole new world for me.

I had so much I wanted to write about here at the blog: not just about what was going on in my family at that time; but also all that had gone on before, during the years that my husband and I were raising our five boys.  My blog, I hoped, was going to be a sort of chronicle of life in the Pearl family, something I could leave behind for my kids and grandkids to read in the future, to remind them of their history when their memories would inevitably start to fade.  I rarely had a day when I felt like I'd run out of things to say.  Blogging was my wheelhouse.  I loved being a blogger.

It's not that I don't have things to say anymore; actually, just the opposite is true.  I have so much to say--the days are so very, very full--that when I imagine writing about it all, I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start!  My life has changed enormously since I first pushed the "publish" button here in 2011.  My youngest son, 24,  has been a college graduate for two years and is currently stationed overseas (and actually, he has a couple of weeks of leave and is flying home to the States TODAY--huzzah!).  All four of our oldest married sons, who range in age from 33 down to 29, are having families of their own. Those twin granddaughters are--incredibly!--six years old (and reading!); and now with the recent birth of a new grandson less than two weeks ago, six more grandchildren have been added to the Pearl family.  When my two daughters-in-law who are currently pregnant (one with triplets, the other with baby #3) give birth in the coming months, we will have an even dozen grandchildren.

Then there was the big move south a few months ago, from our home of 26 years in NH.  That was tough, leaving the warm and comforting place where we'd raised our sons.  But we are now situated about halfway between two of our boys and their families in one VA city and one of them in another, less than an hour in either direction.  And of course that means four of our grandchildren--soon to be eight!--are less than an hour away from us, too.

Now that we're neighbors, my husband and I are able to do so much with and for our kids.  I have to pinch myself sometimes, I really do.  There have been so many wonderful opportunities to be together, just in the three months we've lived here.  But where to start...

I'll tell you what, I'm going to let some pictures do the talking for me--before I get overwhelmed again and decide to scrap this post altogether.
A restaurant meet-up to celebrate son #3's birthday--something that didn't
happen very easily when we were living up in NH!
My VA boys surprised me with a "Fake Mother's Day" (a week late, because
I was in NY on real Mother's Day); they came without spouses or kids, to
give me a throw-back to what it was like when I was always surrounded by men.
Actually, my little buddy G-Man came with his dad for "Fake Mother's Day"--
and we jokingly said that he was filling in for my youngest son,
who is in Germany.  (I often call him by that son's name, coincidentally!)
I am so thrilled to be able to spend so much time with this little
princess, my Princesa.  (Don't let the innocent, angelic face
fool you--she's a real corker, that one, a little spitfire who is a
good match for her big brother!)

I got to watch this snuggly little guy, Junior, for son #2 and his wife 
when his baby brother was being born not quite two weeks ago.

And I got to watch him meet that little brother for the first time.

This was #8 for us, but it never gets old.  We love being

Four more grandchildren are present in utero in this photo from
the recent baby shower D-I-L Preciosa hosted for D-I-L
Braveheart (the one in the middle,who's pregnant with triplets).

I got to babysit for this dynamic duo (G-Man and Princesa),
yesterday, when their mommy went to meet her new nephew.
I loved how they reacted to our new garden statue of Mary.

Being nearby has made it possible for my husband to share his talents to help
son #4 convert his attached garage into a playroom for the triplets.

As you can see from the pictures, I have a lot to write about!  New babies, baby showers, renovation projects...and let's not forget the tour of our new house, which I started and intend to continue...

Before I go, I have to share a recently discovered blog post that really spoke to me.  Oh my gosh, guys, I found this post on a blog called Writing on My Heart (because the woman who writes there happened to stop by here and leave me some lovely comments, and then I visited her site and found a kindred spirit!).  And I just LOVED it.  These lines from the post remind me so much of what family dinners were always like for my husband and me and our five boys throughout the years:

"In our family, the past lives with us like another family member.  Almost every day, the past is resurrected...I believe my children have grown 'watching movies' of their childhood because of the constant airing that childhood narratives get in our home.  Not a day goes by without someone purposefully steering the dinner conversation towards tender reminiscences of growing-up tickles and mischief...Is it any wonder that our dinners can go on to close to two hours?"

This passage so perfectly describes what it's always been like when our boys are gathered around the table with us. This writer says it better than I ever could, but what her family does is exactly what we do.  And because of this, I can't think of any greater joy than sitting at the table for hours, ignoring the dirty dishes, talking and laughing...because when people get up to start clearing the plates and glasses away, the party always seems to break up.  Now that we're so close to so many members of our gang, I hope that there will be many more happy nights gathered in the dining room, sitting together at the table and waiting until later to worry about cleaning up.  And I hope my daughters-in-law will grow to love those long, lingering dinners, reminiscing over old times, as much as we do.

This blog, I hope, will be like "watching movies" of our lives, too.  That's why feel like I need to keep at it.  So okay, folks: I think I'm ready to ride this horse again.  Stay tuned for more posts in the coming days.


  1. Yeah! So happy you're back!!!

    1. Always! You know me, I check every day!!! I love your blog! ��

  2. What a lovely recap of everything that's been going on! So happy for you and your ever-evolving family.

  3. Beyind superb!! I am glad you found some time to blog! Always a great read!! Thank you- peace in all things!

  4. All wonderful! I love the photo of your grandchildren with the Mary statue. Such a precious moment!

    1. I was so happy to catch that moment! They were just so sweet. In our old neighborhood in NH, there was a small boy whose family was not at all religious, but every time he passed our house he had to stop and kiss our statue of Mary--"I have to kiss the lady" he would say. I do believe that in their innocence, children are drawn to Her. :)

  5. TRIPLETS???!!!! How exciting! I'm so glad the move has been good for you guys! You are truly blessed!

    1. Can you believe it? Someone joked that after our oldest son had twins, one of his younger brothers had to outdo him. (There was always an atmosphere of good-natured competitiveness around our house!)

  6. Congrats on the new baby grandson!!! Dare say I missed that on insta, (so far behind there) but explains your quiet here. Funnily enough I was about to send you an email asking if all was okay, missing you and began to worry xx
    Certainly haven't forgotten the triplet announcement but just realised this is Braveheart's (so aptly named now ;-) and no#4's first baby/ies!!
    Can't believe how much your two little grandbabies have grown already!!
    So thrilled your move is all working out :-)