Tuesday, October 27, 2015

He Was the First

Last week, my firstborn son celebrated his birthday, and I neglected to note it here on the blog.

In 1983, this boy made me a mother.
Then in 2011, he made me a grandmother, when his identical twin girls were born.

I went on to have four more beloved sons. And now I have three more precious grandkids (not to mention the two currently in utero!).

Let me be clear: I do not have favorites; with my boys it's a five-way tie.

But he was the first, the one who started it all.

So thank you, my son--a million times, thank you.  And Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Check out My 'Grams!

Well, a few posts back I said that it seemed as if the blog was dead (or dying), having been replaced by other newer, hipper forms of social media--like Instagram.  But some of my loyal friends here at String of Pearls (fellow bloggers Nancy, Madeline, and Erin, among others) reminded me that it really ain't so.  Blogs still have their place, they insisted; so I've decided that as long as they do, I'm going to try to keep this one up and running.

Because a blogger's gotta blog.

But you know, I did get on board the Instagram train not too long ago.  And I have to admit that I sorta-kinda like it.

I've always been a bit of a shutterbug--but not a good one.  I've never learned how to use any of the fancy settings on my camera properly.  I usually just set it on "auto," tell whomever it is I'm trying to capture for posterity to say "cheese!", and click away.  I historically have been the least "artsy" of photographers.

But Instagram has awakened in me an interest in photography--that is, an interest in the photograph as a true art form--that I never knew I possessed.  I have suddenly become obsessed with taking still life-style photos (What?!  No people?!  No grandchildren?!), and then playing around with the different effects Instagram offers us amateur photographers to achieve results that make our pictures look as if they belong in the pages of a glossy home decorating magazine.  (Well, maybe not quite, but...)

Here are a few of my recent Instagram offerings.  (Indulge me, won't you?  Tell me they look uber-profesh.)
Some items I bought to decorate the lake house we bought
 in the Adirondack region of NY .  (VRBO, here we come!)

These are a few of, my favorite things: coffee, and an
engraved "Grammy's Coffee" spoon with which to stir it.

Transferware dishes are another favorite.  So are fake flowers
(even a brown thumb like mine can't kill these silk mums!).

On my nightstand--a very dear friend.
That last photo is special to me--not just because it involves one of my all-time favorite saints, a Doctor of the Church known as "The Little Flower"; but also because this particular book about this saint--which I just ordered for myself, and it's not even my birthday--is so very lovely to look at.  It's a thing of beauty, with the compelling artwork on its hard cover, and it is a pleasure to hold it in my hands. 

I love real books.  I'm about to head to the airport to board a flight with my husband (leg one of a two-leg trip out to OK to be there for our youngest son's graduation from his Army school), and I've decided to bring my Kindle Fire in my carry-on bag, instead of my trusty laptop.  (The key to stress-reduced airline travel, I've learned, is packing light--a skill I'm trying desperately to master.)  There are some eBooks loaded on my Kindle, and I might just break down and read one of them on the flight--even though you KNOW how much I prefer an ink-and-paper book to an eBook.   (Actually, my publisher did a blog post about this very subject recently, if you'd like to read it here.)

Okay, it's nighttime now.  We arrived safely in Atlanta, and I'm lounging on the bed in our hotel room.  I'm using my Kindle Fire to finish up this post.  It really is a handy-dandy little device, I must admit--perfect for taking on trips.  You don't even have to remove it from your luggage at security!  There's a lot to love about a Kindle, even for someone with old-school tastes like mine.

Before I sign off, here's another quick reminder about the giveaway.  Leave me a comment by Oct. 31, and you'll be entered to win a copy of Erin's Ring.  And maybe you'll put it on your nightstand...and take a picture of it...and post that picture on Instagram...or maybe not.  But I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I'm Giving Away a Not-Kindle Copy of Erin's Ring!

There's nothing like holding a real, honest-to-goodness, ink-and-paper book in your hands, is there?
It's funny that I even have to ask such a question, but the world has undergone some amazing changes in my lifetime.  And you see, I'm a fifty-something Grammy who can still vividly remember the pre-digital age, where there was no such thing as an eBook.  In my day, a book was a book was a book, and that was all there was to it.

To me, there's nothing as relaxing as settling back against the cushion of my favorite overstuffed chair (or better yet, propping myself up with pillows in my bed--that's the epitome of luxury!) with a brand-new, much-anticipated novel in my lap (preferably a weighty one, they're the best!), waiting to be cracked open, and a cup of sweet and creamy hot coffee resting on a table nearby.  If this scenario sounds like Heaven to you, we would get along swimmingly.

No offense, Kindle, but you just can't measure up to the perfection of a real live book.  Not in this woman's opinion, anyway.  For instance, I can't imagine a young mother reading to her small children while gathered around your glowing screen, when those eager readers would so much rather flip the glossy pages of a beautifully illustrated picture book. 
My grandson G-Man definitely likes to handle the pages of his favorite picture books.  He's a page-flipper of the highest order.
You're very convenient, Kindle, don't get me wrong: you can hold oodles of titles in your slim little body, and that makes you a great travel buddy for someone who often gobbles up her airplane reading on the way to her destination, and then has nothing left over for the return flight; and you have that handy built-in light, so a late-night reader doesn't have to panic if she finds herself in a guest room or hotel room without a reading lamp readily accessible.  But in spite of your state-of-the art bells and whistles and your heroic attempts to have your "pages" resemble the pages of an actual book, I just can't love you as much as I love a good old-fashioned, old-school tome.  (Even the musty smell of a really, really old one just adds to its charm!)
If you love to turn the pages of a book the way I do (and you can't resist a good page-turner of a novel with a surprise ending!), leave me a comment by Oct. 31 and you could win a signed copy of Erin's Ring.  I'll throw your name in a hat, and at midnight on Halloween I'll draw the winner.

This historical novel can be enjoyed by readers
from middle school to middle age!
One day, this book will most likely be available as a Kindle download.  But for now, it's being offered in paperback format only.  If you win the giveaway, I guarantee you'll be delighted when you receive your prize and see the lovely cover design, as well as the vintage look of the chapter headings with their Claddagh ring artwork embellishments.  My publisher at Bezalel Books, Cheryl Dickow, did a bang-up job of giving Erin's Ring a unique and compelling look, and I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  I think it's a pleasure to hold this paperback in your hands and flip through its pages.

There are only ten days left to enter the contest, so leave me a comment if you'd like to win a copy of this not-Kindle book--for yourself, or for the young reader on your Christmas shopping list.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Bathroom with Style (and a View!)

Now that blogging superstar Grace Patton has exited the blogosphere (oh nooooooooo!), leaving many readers stunned and saddened (and I count myself among them), I'm beginning to believe that all those grapevine rumors I've heard might be true: they say the blog is dead.  It's history, a has-been.  People have moved on. 

But in spite of that, I'm still here, and still kicking.  And I thought you would probably just love a look at the upstairs bathroom in our soon-to-be VRBO house ("Oyster Haven") in Upstate NY.  Wouldn't you?

Sure you would!

The Colonial home we bought is very old, at least the main part of it is.  It was built in 1830 and used to serve as the homestead on a large farm that has since been divided up into residential and commercial lots and sold to the surrounding neighbors. 
Directly across the street, however, there is still a small parcel of farmland with some barns on it, owned now by a family down the street--and there are two horses that reside there.  We have been told that we are welcome to visit these horses whenever we want, so yesterday my husband and I took a work break and went over to say hello to one of our across-the-street neighbors.
Yes, this is going to be a post about home décor, not farm animals.  So I better get back on track.  No more horsing around (ha ha!).

As I said, the main part of our house is very old, but there is a 1940's addition that includes an enormous kitchen, a half-bath, and a two-car garage.  The kitchen has since been updated and has all the modern bells and whistles you can imagine, including a huge island with some unique design elements, two ovens, and stainless steel appliances.  (One of these days soon, I'll devote a whole post to this awesome space--for it is truly the kitchen of my dreams.)  The rest of the house is in really good shape, too, and it has updated, custom-designed bathrooms. 

We really like the upstairs bathroom, with its retro look.  I did nothing to change it, except for exchanging the zebra-print shower curtain for something more our style, and using the old window valance (which was very sun-faded) as a pattern to make another one just like it.  Beyond those two simple changes, all this bathroom needed to be ready for use was some cleaning products and a healthy amount of elbow grease.
The double vanity is enormous, and appears to be custom-made to fit the space.

The only decorative addition I made is the painted wooden letter on the wall, which I've actually had since we lived in FL in the early days of our marriage.  And no, I didn't hang that P in the bathroom because I am a fan of eight-year-old-boy humor (although as the mother of five sons, I did hear a lot of that over the years, I can tell you); it's a P for PEARL, of course. 
The lake view from the bathroom window is glorious.
Never in a million years would my husband and I have chosen the bold look of a black-and-white checkerboard tile floor with a bright red tile countertop; but we've decided that it works, and we have no plans to change it any time soon.

What say you, readers?  I'd love to hear what you think of it.

(Before I go, don't forget that if you leave me a comment by Halloween, you could win a free signed copy of Erin's Ring.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Visiting with the DAR, at the Dover Public Library

On Saturday morning, I had the rare privilege of being a guest speaker at a meeting of two local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (the Margery Sullivan Chapter, and their guests from the Mary Torr Chapter).  The event was held at the Dover Public Library--which I told these wonderful ladies was absolutely the perfect venue to talk about Erin's Ring, as it is essentially a supporting character in the story.  The library is where Molly and Theresa become friends, and where they meet up every weekend to delve into the historical archives in search of some clues that will help them solve the mystery of Erin's ring (that is, the old Irish Claddagh ring that Molly finds in the garden outside her parish church, with "To Erin--Love, Michael" engraved inside the band).

I also told them that the book opens on a Saturday morning in October...and here it was, a Saturday morning in October!  The stars appeared to have aligned, in other ways, too; but I'll tell you more about that in a minute.

My husband (who is and always will be my favorite human, my best friend, and my most loyal supporter) came with me and helped me set up my things in a large conference room upstairs, just across the hall from the library's Historical Room (another important side character in Erin's Ring!).  When we got there, some of the ladies were already bustling about, getting everything ready.
While they put out doughnuts, pastries, and coffee and set up their head table and podium in preparation for their meeting, I worked on my area--a display table and a book signing table.
When I was finished, I sat at my table, smiling on the outside while dying a little bit on the inside.  My husband, who was in the back of the room silently cheering me on, took this photo.
I call this photo "Smiling Bravely on the Outside, but Freaking Out on the Inside!"  Well, I guess freaking out is a tad dramatic; I was nervous, though, because I wasn't sure how this was going to go.  The only times I've spoken about my books to an audience (at my niece's Catholic grade school last May, and several times on Catholic radio), it has been done through Q and A.  But what if these sweet ladies thought I was just going to get up and give an actual speech?  I hadn't prepared anything from which to read.

The meeting got underway, following a pattern that any DAR member would recognize, I'm sure.  It included an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, and something called "The American's Creed," which I'd never heard before.  I just have to share this with you, in case it's something you've never heard either.

The American's Creed

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
(Written  by William Tyler Page in 1917,
accepted by the United States House of Representatives on April 3, 1918)

In an age when so many Americans act ashamed of their great nation and its history, I found the DAR's love of country so very touching.  (Also, as the wife of a veteran, with sons who have served and are still serving, I was moved by the way the DAR respects and honors the US military.)

After all the opening ceremonies, I was on.  I stood up and started talking, and after a somewhat shaky start began to feel surprisingly at ease.  This was an exceedingly receptive and kind-hearted crowd, and after just going off-the-cuff for a bit, I asked if there were any questions--and that helped me to keep from going off on too many tangents.  (As shy as I am, I seem to be able to talk at length about my books--my babies!-- and the whole writing process...it has caused my husband to wonder, more than once, "Who is she, and what has she done with my wife?")
When I was finished talking, The Margery Sullivan Chapter of the DAR surprised me with a Women in the Arts Recognition award.  That was the last thing I was expecting when they contacted me many months ago about this speaking engagement.
One of the ladies told my husband that my name will go on
to the state level now; and if I win there, on to the national.
They also surprised me with a sweet gift, a pewter Christmas ornament.
A Teddy bear dad reading to his kids--adorable!
There was one woman in attendance who'd come from MA to be there, and I was tickled to learn that she was a descendent of Irish immigrants.  She had two elderly uncles who'd regaled her with stories of what it had been like to be a young Irishman in Dover, back in the days when the Irish were one of the most discriminated against groups in America.  I felt so fortunate to meet this woman, and she thought that it was interesting that Erin's Ring told what the immigrant experience was like from the women's point of view, when she'd only heard about the ways the men had struggled to overcome prejudice and hardship.  We were both so glad she'd made the trip to NH to be there that day.

Another interesting thing happened at the meeting.  (I told you the stars seemed to have aligned, right?)  To be accepted as a member of the DAR, a woman must apply and have official documents that prove her direct lineage to someone who fought in the Revolution or had some sort of supporting role in the conflict.  And one of the women there had been accepted because of a relative named John PEARL.  Isn't that a crazy coincidence?  But even if my husband could prove he was also a descendent of this man, I couldn't become a DAR member; you can't do it via marriage, you have to have a direct blood line.

I found this organization so fascinating and its members so admirable, and I will always be extremely grateful that they allowed me to come and spend some time with them.  And as a bonus, there were three young people there, a boy and two girls, grandchildren of the chapter's regent.  They were junior high students, just the right age to read Erin's Ring.  And they were so delightful!  One of the girls said something along the lines of, "I've never met an author before.  This is exciting for me."  And I told her, "Getting to meet someone who's reading my book is exciting for ME.  It's an honor." 
I'm feeling very blessed right now, on so many levels--especially, though, because I have the best "wing man" a shy public speaker could ever ask for.  Maybe my favorite part of the whole experience was watching my sweet husband interacting with the DAR women.
I've got only a smidgeon of Irish blood; my mom is part-Irish, with the maiden name Kelly, but I'm very much a mutt.  My husband's people, on the other hand, all come from the Emerald Isle.  But I certainly had the luck of the Irish when I married him, I'll tell you.

Thank you so much to the Margery Sullivan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for your warm welcome, your kindness and support, and your love of history--including the Dover history I wrote about in Erin's Ring.  (And I'm especially glad now that the book had some brief mentions of two Revolutionary War heroes in it: Gen. John Stark and Gen. Lafayette!)  I was truly honored to be your guest, and I won't soon forget my time with you.

(Now before I go, just a reminder: leave me a comment by Oct. 31, and you could win a free signed copy of Erin's Ring.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Event Tomorrow at Dover Public Library

Tomorrow morning, I have a speaking engagement.  I'm going to be talking about Erin's Ring with two local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  [Pause to furrow brow and chew on a fingernail, while the two-note "Jaws" soundtrack music plays in my head.]

Where was I?  Oh yes, the speaking engagement tomorrow.

The venue for this event is the Dover Public Library, which is totally apropos, since this building is practically a supporting character in the book.  The library is where Molly and Theresa's friendship is cemented, as they spend Saturday mornings there together, combing through documents in the Historical Room upstairs in hopes of uncovering the origins of an old engraved Claddagh ring that Molly found in the garden outside of St. Mary's Church.

I just realized something: this gathering is not only taking place at the library, but on a Saturday morning, too.  The DAR and I (who will become fast friends, I hope) will be practically reenacting a scene from Erin's Ring!

I am bringing along some signed copies of the novel, for anyone who's interested in purchasing them.  I'm also planning to give away a "door prize" to one lucky winner.
I was going to include a Claddagh ring in the gift box; but since a ring is size-dependent, I decided upon a Claddagh pin instead.  The great thing about a brooch is that it's a one-size-fits-all piece of jewelry.

I may add a few more Irish-themed goodies to this box.  I really hope to make the event enjoyable for the attendees, some of whom may be young readers.  The gal who arranged the whole thing said they specifically wanted to have it on Saturday morning, rather than on a school night, so that young people would be able to attend as well.

When I was interviewed on the radio recently (on Ken Huck's "Meet the Author" show on Radio Maria), my daughter-in-law Preciosa marveled that it didn't make me nervous talking to someone without having any visual clues to let me know how it was going.  She is a social person, an extrovert to my introvert, and she said that for her, it would be so much easier to speak in front of a crowd.  Not for me, I told her; having no visual clues was actually the PERFECT scenario for me.  If I'd been talking face-to-face with Ken, I might have read too much into his expressions and imagined that my long-winded answers were boring him.  I'm a fast-talker anyway, but sitting across from him probably would have made me speed it up even more.  Chatting into the phone, to a disembodied voice, was actually the ideal set-up for me.  (Who would have guessed that I'd be comfortable talking on the radio?)

Thinking about tomorrow is giving me a case of the jitters, however, so I would appreciate your prayers!  Pray that I don't get all tongue-tied or go off on crazy tangents.  Pray that I can stay calm and collected, and that I can speak at a reasonably slow pace so that I'm not tripping over my words.  But most of all, pray that if it's God's will, this talk tomorrow will help to get Erin's Ring into the hands of even one young reader who might be inspired or edified by it.

Thanks, dear readers.  I'll be back Monday to let you know how it went.   [Pause to chew on a fingernail again..."Jaws" theme playing...AAAGGGHHH!]  No really, it'll be just fine.  It will!

(P.S.: Just a quick reminder about the giveaway.  Leave me a comment by Halloween, and you could win a signed copy of Erin's Ring.  No trick here, I promise; all treat!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Birthday Post, Part II: Beautiful Brunettes

Yesterday, I told you all about our grandson G-Man's first birthday party, a Brown Bear-themed extravaganza that was both very fun and very Pinterest-worthy.  He was the most adorable birthday boy!  Now today, it's all about the girls--three of them who share a Sept. 30 birthday.

They are all dark-haired, dark-eyed, lovely ladies.

When my mom was young, she could have been a movie star.
She met my dad on a blind date when she was 19 and he was 20.  The next year, they were married.  At 21 she gave birth to her first child, and by 27 she was the mother of five.  She dedicated our early years to being a stay-at-home mom, and later on was a successful career woman--first doing PR work for malls, and then as the tourism director for her hometown's chamber of commerce. 

Mom has been a spitfire her whole life; she was nicknamed the "Energizer Bunny" years ago, because nothing could slow her down.  She hit a little snag last spring when she fell and broke her hip and was forced to take it easy for a while.  But I'll tell you, she's the most youthful 80-year-old you can imagine.  She's still beautiful, six decades after that first meeting with my father.
Thanks for the lifetime of love and sacrifices you've made for your husband and your kids.  We love you, Mom.

When my mother was 26, she got the best birthday present ever: my younger sister, B. 

She, too, could have been a movie star.
She was the maid of honor at my wedding, and has been one of my best friends throughout my life.  I love you, Sister!
Now for the third birthday girl.  I'm saving the best for last, because although we share no blood I love this sweet young lady the way I love my very own children. 

In 2009, our oldest son married a hazel-eyed brunette named Regina.  He got a partner for life and a mother for his children; and my husband and I got our first daughter.

I could not have asked for a better introduction to the world of being a mother-in-law.  Regina made it an easy transition for me; she is undemanding, even-tempered, sweet-natured, patient, soft-spoken, and kind.  She also has a wonderful sense of humor.  (We found this out early on, when she came to meet the family and my husband and I worried that all the brothers with their dry, sarcastic way of joking would be too much for her.  Instead, she showed that she was good enough for them, and spent a lot of time with her head thrown back in laughter.)

Regina and I are pretty simpatico.  She is a reader and a writer (a true lover of the written word, who worked as a librarian before marrying our son and giving birth to four little girls in less than four years).  She was, in fact, the one who suggested that I start this blog.
I knew that I felt extremely comfortable with Regina right off the bat, because the first time we met (in AL in 2008, at our son's graduation from Army flight school), I spilled the beans about the novel I'd been working on for almost a year (Finding Grace).  At that point, I had told no one about it except my husband and my boys; not even my parents knew my secret yet.  But from the get-go, Regina seemed like one of my own--even though she and my son were still months away from getting engaged.

It has been a joy to spend time with this lovely girl over the past six years, and to watch the way she supports our son and nurtures their daughters.  Since she came into our family, three other new daughters-in-law have joined the fold.  But she was the first, the trailblazer; and I'll always be so appreciative that she proved that old cliché to be true: we didn't lose a son; we gained a daughter. 
Regina, we love you so much!  And you better watch it, or Papa and I might take you up on that offer to come and live in your basement.  No kidding.  We just might do it!

Happy Birthday to three beautiful brunettes who've made my life so much better just by being in it.  And sorry this tribute came so late!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Birthday Post, Part I: The Brown Bear Boy

In an effort to play catch-up on the blog, I wanted to honor all the people in my family who've celebrated birthdays recently.  What's kind of amazing is that there are three very important women in my life--my mother, one of my younger sisters, and my daughter-in-law Regina (the wife of son #1)--who were all born on Sept. 30.  They are three extraordinary dark-haired beauties--beautiful both inside and out.  Then there's our precious grandson G-Man, who turned one on Oct. 5. 

I was going to write one long Birthday Post today, but instead I thought I'd make it a two-parter.  (You people have lives, I know!)  So here's Part I, dedicated to the "Brown Bear Boy"; and tomorrow comes Part II: "Beautiful Brunettes"!

I'm going to give you mostly pictures, because G-Man's mommy, Preciosa, said it best in this beautifully written, ineffably touching tribute she posted on her Facebook page on Monday night, in honor of her son's first birthday:
October 5, 2014: The day this sweet face entered this world and turned a couple of newlyweds (married just 10 short months) into parents. There are so many words I could use to describe this year, but the one that stands out the most is gratitude. Gratitude for this life, that I did nothing to deserve, but was gifted to me by a God, whom I could never repay. Gratitude for stretching me to love until it hurts; stretching me to love someone more purely than I have ever been cap...able of loving anyone before. Gratitude for the tough lessons learned and the late sleepless nights that so many would-be parents wish they could have with a child of their own but for one reason or another, are not able to have. Gratitude for the ways my life has been put into perspective, because nothing else matters when you are worried about the health and well being of your sweet baby. Gratitude for the father I have been able to watch my husband develop into; who works tirelessly as a hands on dad, who is so quick to lighten my load when my days seems endless or overwhelming. Lastly, gratitude for the village it takes to raise a child, and the amazing parents we have been blessed with who have done everything in their power to be active and self sacrificing grandparents to love on this new soul. Our cups runneth over.

While you grab a hanky, dab at your eyes, and remind yourself of how precious your own children are to you, I'll continue on here with a photo montage from the little guy's birthday extravaganza, a Brown Bear-themed party (because Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is his all-time favorite read-aloud book).  The celebration came a few days before his actual birthday, so that both sets of grandparents could travel to VA to attend it.
G-Man's other grandmother, known as NuNu, thought of every possible bell and whistle that was needed to make this affair the birthday party to beat all birthday parties.  It was because of her efforts that the community center where it was held looked like this, once it was all set up and we were waiting for G-Man's guests to arrive.  (If she decides to start a party planning business, she'll be a smashing success.)
NuNu made the sugar cookie party favors, decorated with fondant
animal toppers from Etsy--and they looked just like the animals in the book!
Grammy was asked to make a personal-sized round "smash cake" for G-Man to attack and a large sheet cake for the rest of the guests; to top them off, NuNu had ordered custom-made fondant Brown Bears and lettering from Etsy, so that the sheet cake looked just like a page from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
See that Brown Bear material used as a tablecloth here?  NuNu managed
to find that online, too--and G-Man was utterly taken with it.  He kept
crawling over to it and trying to touch it.

There were chocolate Teddy Grahams and goldfish crackers
 (because, you know, in the book, Brown Bear sees a goldfish looking at him--
among other things). There were also fuzzy teddy bear ears for the
little ones to wear, handmade by NuNu.
G-Man's mommy decorated his high chair.
She also custom-made the two t-shirts he wore at his party, one before the cake eating, and one after.
The birthday boy liked his "smash cake," but was a little hesitant to really dig into it.  At first, he kept looking at his mom as if to say, "I don't know about this.  Is it okay if I eat this?"
But with a little encouragement, he got over it and proved that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, when it comes to yellow cake with buttercream frosting.
My favorite part of the whole event was watching our middle son read from his little boy's favorite Brown Bear books, with G-Man on his lap and the other little partygoers gathered around him in a circle.
The wee man of the hour had both sets of doting grandparents on hand to celebrate this milestone birthday.
Papi and NuNu.

Papa and Grammy.
How fortunate my husband and I are that we could be there to celebrate the first birthday of our "favorite grandson" (who shall remain the favorite until Papa and Grammy have more than one grandson!).  It was certainly a day to remember.

Stay tuned for Part II.