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Ten Things of Thankful: "Empty" Nest Edition

This was week 3 of 5 of our empty nest summer--except, it wasn't so empty.  Friday morning at about 5, our doorbell rang.  I was confused.  John was out for his run; he couldn't have locked himself out unless he had a key.  If he had his key, he wouldn't be locked out.  Who else could be ringing our doorbell?

I peeked out the window to find oldest daughter smiling at me.  What a great surprise!  

This week, I'm thankful for:

1.  Nice 5 a.m. surprises.  Oldest daughter actually arrived in town just after 4, but decided to wander through Walmart for a while instead of ringing our doorbell at that early of an hour.  

2.  Flexible schedules.  John was able to take 1/2 day off and I rescheduled an appointment, so we could spend time together with oldest daughter, as well as middle daughter and our granddaughters. 

3.  Watching our granddaughters exploring their world.  We decided to go to the zoo.  We picked a hot, humid (for Los Angeles) day, but nothing could stop the wonder!  Oldest granddaughter's favorite animals were probably the sea otters, or as she called them, "Splash!"


4.  Simple things that bring joy.  The zoo was handing out masks in some sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle promotion.  I was surprised at how long oldest granddaughter kept her mask on.  

5.  Homegrown fruit.  I love being able to go out in my own backyard and find yummy things to eat. 

6.  College graduates and new opportunities.  Oldest son and his wife both graduate from college this summer, and oldest son just found out he was accepted into a post-baccalaureate program that starts next month.  We're so proud of them both!  

7.  Extended family.  It's been a rough week.  My grandma's only remaining sibling died, and two days later, grandma was admitted to the hospital.  I'm thankful for phone calls and messages which allow us to keep in touch and share worries and love.  

8.  Fun mail.  It was so sweet of Lizzi to think of me (and others) while she was on her vacation! 

(Now, here's a question for you, Lizzi:  If I were to say something was "quite interesting," does that mean that it is somewhat interesting, or very interesting?  Someone told me recently that in England, it would mean somewhat interesting.  Americans would think it would mean very interesting.  I'm wondering if I've left comments that inadvertently meant something different than what I intended.)

9.  Support and well-wishes from our church congregation.   I'm certainly busy in my new church calling, but several people have mentioned to me that I am in their prayers.  I appreciate that; prayer makes a difference!

10.  John.  Empty-nest, or somewhat empty-nest, we enjoy each other's companyHe is my best friend!
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What are you thankful for this week?  Come join us by linking up your post below, or sharing in the comments.
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Thanks for family and friends. 

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  1. adorable granddaughters! Walmart at 4 am!!??

    1. Thanks. It was the only place that my daughter knew was open at that hour. :-)

  2. Those are lovely surprises. Oldest gd looks like a little bandit in the mask! Maybe a very sweet racoon! Prayers for your grandmother. ...have a great week.

    1. I was surprised at how long she kept that mask on, even when it started slipping down her face.
      Thanks for the prayers.

  3. I'm so glad the 5 am surprise was worth the early hour. Your granddaughters are adorable. You have grapes in your yard. A vineyard? I'd love to see photos. My husband is my best friend, too.

    1. We have 6 grape plants that become jungle-like every year, no matter how severely I prune them in the winter. Here's a before and after of the pruning process; I'll have to take a photo of the jungle of leaves sometime:

  4. You have ten really green fingers on you, Kristi!

    1. Oh, I just keep trying things until I find what grows well in my area. After living in this desert for 12 years, I might be starting to figure it out. :-)

  5. HOLY GRAPES BATMAN! WOW! :) What a boon.

    And ohhhhhhh the CURLS on your oldest granddaughter....aDORable :) Thank goodness your daughter decided to wait until 5 before waking you up, though! Ow! Still a pretty early start in my book, but what a fun day you all had :)

    Now then, 'quite' tends to be a fairly cool term in England - when written, especially, without the qualifying of a tone of voice, but as a rule it's a noncommittal kind of thing - a bit like 'fairly' or 'somewhat' interesting. I have this issue with Husby, because in Ireland (as in the US, I assume), 'quite' is an expression of enthusiasm and we tend to get our wires crossed at times.

    1. Thanks for clarifying. I can see that having different meanings attached to "quite" would create quite (in the American or Irish way) a problem!

  6. What fun to have unexpected yet welcome company! Your granddaughters are adorable.

    My goodness your grape vines must be massive to produce that bowl of grapes!

    1. The vines really are ridiculously jungle-like, no matter how much I prune them back each winter. I need to do some research, and see if I should trim them back during the growing season, too. Right now they have completely covered some of my rose bushes!

  7. What a strange time to have company arriving, but what a wonderful suprise!! Spending unexpected time together is always fun. Nice you both could take some time off to spend with all the girls.
    Hope your grandma recovers soon and can be with you and your family for a little longer. A loss of a sibling seems very hard to me, especially at that age. I know my mom-in-law felt very alone when she was the only remaining of her siblings and partners.
    I think it's great how you can see the positifs in a difficult situation.
    Have a great week.

    1. My daughter lives about 9 hours away. She didn't intend to arrive at that time, but she got caught in traffic, then pulled over and slept for a few hours. I'd rather she show up safe and sound than get in an accident due to being sleepy, so I was fine with her arrival time.

      Thank you for your kind wishes. I'm hoping to learn more today.

  8. So much activity for 5:00am! Glad your daughter made it safely, no matter what the time.
    Your granddaughters are just precious. Amazing that the older one wore that mask on such a hot day. It couldn't have been comfortable!
    Congrats to the college kids, both graduating and beginning.
    I had forgotten how many grapes you get! It is so nice to go out and find food to eat right out the back door.
    I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. I assume this is the grandma that lives with your mom and dad. I will be praying for her.

    1. The mask didn't last long, but it did last longer than I expected it would. Such a patient girl!
      Thanks for the prayers. Yes, it is the grandma who lives with my parents. (The other grandma passed away a few years ago.) When I talked to my mom this morning, it sounded like Grandma would be discharged from the hospital today! :-)

  9. lovely tens - the curls , the smile, grapes all wonderful - hope your Grandma recovers soon and back home.

    1. Thank you. When I talked to my mom today, she thought that Grandma would be discharged from the hospital soon. :-)

  10. (I suspect that, like me, you enjoy the early early morning hours), it really is quite the quiet time of day, perfect for guests, imo.
    congrats (relayed) to the graduates!
    empty nest, indeed!

    1. I am a morning person, so didn't mind at all the fact that she arrived so early. I think I like this version of empty nest!

  11. Your granddaughters are beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful list.

  12. Just love the photos of your grands! Amara and I had planned to do the Santa Ana Zoo last Friday but car problems got in the way. So next we are doing the beach and the Zoo! I am thankful that I have a wonderful 10 year old granddaughter who loves spending time with me/us.

  13. What a nice surprise for you at 5 am! Your grandbabies are too adorable! You must have been in heaven. It sounds like you had a nice visit. I had to read Lizzi's explanation for 'quite' because I'm always fascinated by the difference in the meaning of certain words across the pond. I have collected a pretty interesting collection of words and phrases from Lizzi!
    I'll certainly keep your grandmother and your family in my prayers.
    I'm getting a taste of the empty nest this weekend and it's different. I feel a little guilty saying I've enjoyed the time with just my husband. I'm one of the lucky ones who got to marry her best friend too!

  14. Oh my! Such a wonderful surprise. Your grandchildren are so precious. I love your homegrown grapes! I have all of this encouragement to start growing things from the blogosphere. I need to get on that soon! :)

  15. Your grandaughters are so cute! And I'm envious of all those grapes in your yard.
    Looks like you've had QUITE a week! :)

  16. How great that your daughter surprised you!!! So glad you had that time together.

  17. Your list this week is wonderful:) With the exception of your Grandma's ill health and that she has lost her only remaining sibling. I can't even imagine what that must be like.
    Wow. Visitors so early and you were ready! Guess you can always be ready for family:)
    Your granddaughters are beautiful and look like very happy babies!
    OK. Jealous. So jealous of all those grapes! And the fact they come from your very own back yard. Very cool that.

  18. Oh wow - beautiful pics of the children and those grapes!!! Wow.
    Wonderful news (except Grandma and her sibling - prayers go out for all of you) on so many fronts!
    I can't say I'd love a pre-5AM doorbell - hooray for 24-hour WalMarts, I guess!

  19. Your grapes look EPIC! After much work, our vine finally started producing in prolific amounts-- I'm guessing yours are Sultana/Thompson Seedless like ours? Reminds me, we'll need to start picking soon... probably much of them will be made into golden raisins.


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