Dan and Hannah Hike the Cascadilla Falls in Ithaca, New York

Lee is to the east of Albany

Hannah and I have come to central New York to spend Halloween weekend with our grandkids and their parents.  Our goal whenever we visit is to babysit Brooks, Reesie, and Charli while Will and Laurel can get away for a few hours. Giving Hannah and me such time away was the best gift my parents ever gave us.

Stopping in Lee, Massachusetts for a break in the 390-mile drive from York to Ithaca, we treat ourselves to a mid-day walk, cups of McDonald’s coffee and bran muffins we brought from home. Our Strava app to the left records it all.

Poppa goes one on two with Charli (standing) and Reesie
Brooks with his Omi

Arriving just before dinner time, we are quickly welcomed by our identical twin granddaughters, Charli and Reesie, and their big brother Brooks.  While Hannah reads to three and a half year old Brooks, the 17-month-old girls use me as a climbing wall.  I couldn’t be happier.

Good fortune further smiles on us as our daughter Robyn comes down from Syracuse for the day.  She easily mixes with the grandkids and teaches her parents a thing or two about playing cards.

Later in the afternoon, Hannah and I with Robyn drive ten minutes into town to the Cascadilla Falls.  Heavy rains the previous Tuesday have made the falls the place to be.  See the pictures below.

14 seconds of roaring H2O
Climbing the exquisite stone stairways of the Cascadilla Gorge
Robyn in red leads the way
Thundering Falls
Our Strava app documents our falls hike

And by the way, the next day is Halloween and all three kids take part in the holiday street celebration.

YMCA!
Charli (left) and Reesie ready for All Hallow’s Eve

Finally Brooks with his Omi …

…and Reesie (top) and Charli enjoying dinner

Reesie
Charli

Dan and Hannah at the Wedding of Kara and Charles (October 3, 2021)

Kara is my brother Richard’s youngest, his only daughter. Charles is her guy. She and the C Man (I have no idea if Charles’ college buddies call him that, but it was fun to write.) had invited some 150 guests to the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York for their nuptials on the first Sunday in October (2021). 

Otesaga Hotel

Alas, one hundred made the scene in these Times of the Delta Variant of Covid; the ceremony and cocktail hour are to be outside while the dinner/reception will be indoors.

Otsego Lake, home to Otesaga Hotel Resort

Hannah and I wondered about coming to the wedding at all, but in the end felt satisfactory precautions were taken and we are Pfizer vaccinated. Click here for the link to the blog why we chose to come to the wedding.

About five hours of driving

Carpooling with our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, Hannah and I arrive around noon at Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the wedding is a 345 PM affair, we have time for lunch together with our three kids (and Tip), then walk the property at the Otesaga Resort and into town to get our 10+K steps.

Lunch of Wegman’s subs with Robyn, Molly, Will, Hannah, Dan, and Tip

Having not worn a suit in forever, I rocked the same gray suit that I wore to Molly and Tip’s wedding in 2011. With rain in the forecast, the ceremony is moved to a 120-seat ballroom. At the outset, I do wear my mask, then take it off. On, off, on off. Eventually I figure, what the hell, everyone is vaccinated and put it in my pocket.

The uncle and aunt of the bride with the groom Charles over Hannah’s shoulder
Molly and Tip who clean up well.

In Maine, the few times I go indoors, I always wear a mask. At our gym, I wear the mask in the facility but remove it when I exercise. I rarely go inside anywhere else. This afternoon, maybe half the folks are masking up for the fifteen-minute ceremony.  A 15-minute ceremony! That’s almost heaven, West Virginia.

Dan and Hannah with our daughter Robyn

Once in the side ballroom for dinner and dancing, we all sit at round tables for seven or eight. There is no social distancing. On the dancing floor, Hannah and I are shoulder to shoulder sans masks. By this time, just a few were wearing masks.  Alcohol and masks do not seem to mix. We are all vaccinated!

Eating and dancing at close range, I pretty much forget about wearing a mask myself.  By 9 PM Hannah and I wrap up while the younger generation rocks on into the night.

Six days after the wedding, no one at the wedding has tested positive for Covid. Coincidentally, two days later the pharmacist at the local Hannaford grocery store administers my Pfizer booster shot. (Glad you asked, no side effects just a sore left arm for 36 hours.)

And as Billy Shake says, All’s well that ends well.

Additional pictures from Kara and Charles’ Big Day

Will, Hannah, Dan, and Molly walking the downtown of Cooperstown
Dan and Hannah in front of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Main Street in Cooperstown, New York
Otsego Lake is the background for a joyful Molly with Tip
The women and one lucky guy! Anna, Robyn, Molly, Kara, Charles, and Tara. (Anna and Tara are my sister Patty’s kids.)

Dan’s Dream – KGUA radio free write #33

For the January 25, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to write on this powerful statement – “I Have a Dream.”  Dreaming sets an intention.  With an intention, purposeful action can/must follow. 

Of late, our York Public Library has a sign out front, “Good riddance 2020.  Welcome 2021.”  That just rubs me the wrong way. 

I will never say anything bad about 2020 because it was the year our identical twin granddaughters, Reese and Charlotte, were born.  They are healthy, flap and smile in their bouncy seats, and have two loving parents. 

Reese, big brother Brooks, and Charlotte

I have a dream that by the time the girls can vote there will be a woman president of these United States – for the second time!

I have dream at 90 that I will go to their high school graduation where they are not at the top of the class nor the best athlete but are known for standing up for what is right.  Instead of independence, they seek interdependence with their community and their world.

That said, I wouldn’t mind if one of them went to the Harvard of the West, Arizona State University, and became part of the solution for climate change.

I have a dream that they will come to their grandparent’s place in Maine, play cribbage with us, whack the pickleball around, and sit on our front deck having a conversation about their dreams.

Words – 198

Our son Will on the Sugarbench Podcast

Got ten minutes? Twenty? Five?

Our youngest child Will (clearly our favorite son) was interviewed on the September 9, 2020 Sugarbench Podcast about his journey in life.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll learn about Will’s early years in York, Maine, the value of his college years in Vermont, later grad school in the South, life as a husband and father to three kids in central New York, and his 400 miles of bicycle riding to raise money for the the Children’s Cancer Research Center to honor his sister, Robyn, a leukemia survivor.

Click on Will’s picture below to listen to Andy’s interview with Will.

Dan and Hannah and The Great Cycle Challenge

Our son Will is hitting the road.  Maybe you’d like to support him.  Here’s his note.

This September, I’m riding 300 miles in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids’ cancer. I am riding in honor of my sister Robyn, a survivor of childhood leukemia. Appropriately, this challenge falls during her birthday month!
Cancer is the largest killer of children from disease in the United States – 38 kids die every week. 
My challenge will be tough, but it’s nothing compared to what these brave kids face every day of their lives as they battle this terrible disease.  
And so I am taking on this challenge to end childhood cancer and save little lives.
Please consider making a donation to this cause at my fundraising page:
All funds raised will support Children’s Cancer Research Fund to continue their work to develop innovative treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Thank you for your support!
Love, Will

Granddaughters, Bunions, and Courage – KGUA prompt #9

KGUA icon 2

This week’s KGUA radio writing prompt comes from the repeated words in last week’s submissions.  The words that kept coming up again and again were: trust, passion, peace, end, love, give, life, free, youth, kindness, nature, faith, walk, time, courage, ammunition, people, conviction, black, drown, and potential.

Mark Gross, the KGUA writing leader, asked us to time our free write for ten minutes, limiting us to 200 words.  We were to edit just for spelling and grammar, and send in the draft.

His directions were similar to what I did with seventh and eighth graders in Kittery, Maine and while leading the Teaching of Writing courses at Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of New England.  I would have a discussion, read a passage, or come up with a group activity.  From those activities, I would have my students write for ten minutes to see if they found a topic to take through to a final draft in our writing workshop.  Head down and trusting they’d write, I wrote along with my students.

Mark has given me a taste of my own medicine this week, and for that I thank him.  I chose three words below to run with.  The Walk draft aired on the KGUA Monday Morning Writer’s Hour on June 28, 2020 .

Walk

For the first time in six weeks, Hannah walked with me at the beach in Ogunquit, Maine.  You see, six weeks ago to the day, Hannah had bunion surgery.  First she was on crutches, then two weeks in a walking boot, and then wrapping her foot with surgical gauze twice a day in a hiking shoe.wa

words - ogunquit beach

Ogunquit beach on the southern coast of Maine

Oh, she could move around the house, then our yard, but walking for more than twenty minutes…well she just didn’t want to risk screwing up the operation.  It turns out she was walking on the side of her foot to protect her big toe.  A no no.

But this morning, we woke at five, stretched, then a little after six drove to the wide sandy beach here on the Atlantic.  Being low tide, we walked where the waves were rolling softly to the shore.  She thought she’d go halfway, but then…distracted by the fog, stepping in and around the pools of salt water, we were thirty minutes down the beach before she knew it, nearly to Wells.

Pumped, she headed back into the wind full speed ahead.  I’ve been listening to podcasts as I walk alone during Hannah’s rehab, but this was much better.  Both the conversation and the silence.

 

Youth

Hannah and I are just back from Ithaca, New York where we met our granddaughters for the first time.  Yes, granddaughters!  Reese and Charlotte are our identical twins.  In this crazy Time of Corona, we didn’t know if we’d even see them for six months or even a year!  But when our son and his wife, a nurse no less, invited us to visit the girls three weeks after their births, we were all in to drive 400 miles to be with them.

CR girls nose to nose

Charlotte and Reese

When we arrived, mom and dad hugged us!  Do you know how long it’s been since we hugged anyone else!  Yeah, you do, it’s three months going on a year!

The girls mold together as they lie in their bassinet, just like they were in the womb.  As I sat on the couch knees folded together, I held Reese as she lay sleeping.  Yeah, they sleep a lot.  Then they cry, then mom feeds them, sometimes at the same time, and then the girls sleep some more.

But after three days, they were looking around more and more, checking out their new world.  I look forward to being a part of their lives for a long time.

 

Courage

I have to admit I never really got the white privilege stuff.  As a kid, I was just a kid.  What did I know?  We did live in Radburn, a privileged part of Fair Lawn I learned later as a young adult, a pretty much all white community in north Jersey.  We did take two family car trips to the West Coast.  I just figured lots of kids did that.

words - map of maine

In tiny print, York is on this map

My goodness, I played tennis!  Is that ever a white man’s sport, even though the Williams Sisters took charge of the women’s game for the last twenty years.

I was just going through life.  Living frugally on a teacher’s salary while Hannah stayed home with the kids.  But then we moved from multi-cultural Arizona to white bread Maine.  As such, there were not many families of color here that I knew.  Without a second thought, our kids went to college, had careers.

Of late, I am aware that my white comfort is compromising the lives of so many fellow Americans of color.  Now is the time to have the courage to admit my privileged status and do my part to even the playing field.

I’m listening.

 

Dan and Hannah Meet Reese and Charlotte for the First Time

Hannah and I have just returned from four days with our new identical twin granddaughters, Reese (the older by six minutes) and Charlotte (the younger).

We had come to Ithaca, New York where our son Will and his wife Laurel live to support them all as they became the parents of three kids under the age of two.

Surprisingly, we could tell them apart.  Reese has more hair and Charlotte has a rounder face.  Without delay, here are Charlotte and Reese!

CR girls together 3

Charlotte and Reese Rothermel

CR girls Charlotte

Charlotte

CR girls Charlotte face

Reesie

CR girls with Omi 2

Reese with her Omi

CR girls nose to nose

CR girls with poppa

Poppa with the girls!

CR girls outside in bassinet

Reese and Charlotte outdoors

CR girls together again again

CR girls three guys

Three generations of Rothermel Men

CR girls together 2

Reese and Charlotte

CR girls with Brooks

Big brother Brooks with his sisters

CR girls with omi

Omi with her beautiful granddaughters

 

CR girls together

These girls are close

CR girls Omi and Poppa with Brooks and girls

Brooks with his Poppa and Omi as Charlotte (right) and Reese chill

CR girls with family of five

And babies make FIVE!

Dan and Hannah Welcome Reese and Charlotte to the Family

Having experienced the joy of youthful male testosterone with our three energetic grandsons,

RC O and M

Owen and Max

RC brooks with mom and pop

Brooks with mom and pop

 

Hannah and I welcome our two identical twin granddaughters to the fold – Reese Kathryn Rothermel and Charlotte Mae Rothermel.

RC girls on pillow

Reese and Charlotte

Our son Will and his wife Laurel are ready for the ride of their life with three kids under the age of two.  As grandparents, Hannah and I have won the lottery, again.

Reese arrived first at 615P on June 1, 2020 weighing in at six pounds eight ounces, stretching out to just over eighteen inches.  Six minutes later Charlotte came barreling along at six pounds four ounces, a little lankier at nearly nineteen inches.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

RC girls together 2

RC girls together Reese yawning

RC sleeping together

RC will holding girls

RC brooks with one

RC girls in heart pillow

RC W with girls lying on him

RC girls awake

RC girls on pillow 2

RC girls looking at each other day 9

Dan and Hannah Personally Welcome Brooks to the Family

Brooks Ithaca - more sleeping

It’s Brooks Archer Rothermel Time!  Last weekend, Hannah and I drove nearly 400 miles to Ithaca, New York to meet and greet our new grandson for the first time.  FaceTime has been a valuable introduction to the little guy while we were home in Maine, but we are looking forward to some personal face time with our grandson.  (You see what I did!)

On our first afternoon, Brooks basically slept, peeped a little to be fed, opened his eyes to look at Hannah and me with a WTF sweet look of contentment, and slept some more.

Brooks Ithaca with Omi

I have ten thoughts after time with Brooks and his world-is-going-to-be-rocked (in a good way) parents Will and Laurel.

From now on, their lives are no longer on East Coast time, but on Brooks Time.  Things will take longer, the unexpected will become expected, and if they are late, they have one really beautiful reason why.

Brooks Ithaca - kicking back

Brooks lies on a pillow turned pink under the red patio umbrella in his back patio.

Though Brooks has slept reasonably well for his first three weeks, it’s often in two to four hour periods.  He’s a baby.  That’s what they do.  That said, there still lie a lot of up-in-the-night nights for Will and Laurel.  If our experience is any indication, Will and Laurel will be more tired than they have ever been in 2018.

Ever since June 24, 2018, Will and Laurel smile a lot, really beam.

Brooks Ithaca mouth agape

They’ll be reading very little John Grisham.  These are some of the titles on their coffee table – , The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary (a personal favorite of mine), Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!: How to Get Both of You Through the Next 9 Months by John Pfeiffer, and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp.

I don’t think it odd that Hannah and my youngest child, Will, is a parent.  It’s time.  Will is ready, willing, and able for the joy and for the challenge.  His gentle, loving, caring nature is made for this opportunity.  Brooks will be learning from a master how to mow the lawn and hit a 280 yard drive.  On the other hand, Hannah and I will teach him how to dink and hit the third shot in pickleball.

Brooks Ithaca black and white

Parenting for the first time is tough enough; and then they will be asked to  learn on the fly and do it while they are as tired as they have ever been.

During the first two weeks of Brooks life, Will and Laurel were so pleased to get three hours of sleep at a time.  Sleepless nights will come, this is when the strength of their marriage will be evident.  From Maine, the marriage looks good and strong!

Brooks Ithaca family rothermel

This is a note for all grandfathers – change diapers.  Pop, you are a big boy.  You can do it!  It would be easy for me to let Hannah jump up to change Brooks’s poopy diapers.  But if I do, I miss out on this opportunity to really help out and connect with Brooks.  Let me report, I got down and dirty at changing time on multiple occasions.

Brooks Ithaca - checking the scene

I felt over-the-moon happy when Laurel handed me a fussy Brooks after she fed him.  Seated at a stool at their kitchen island, I successfully helped the little guy mellow out as I rocked him and let him suck on his binky (i.e., pacifier).  He fell asleep for an hour.  Is this how rockstars feel?

Will and Laurel are getting a crash course in the value of a well-timed nap (which is anytime Brooks is asleep!).

Brooks Ithaca smiling

Hannah and I know how fortunate we are to have healthy grandson with these two parents in our lives.  They don’t live in Arizona or California or even Virginia.  They are just six hours away.  As retired folks, Hannah and I can be an active part in Brooks’ life.

They’ll do fine, some bumps, some jolts, lots of joy.  Hannah and I are so pleased to be along for the ride.

Brooks Ithaca parents, grandparents and brooks

Brooks at 15 days old

Brooks day 17 A

Dreams of capturing the big one!

Brooks day 17 B

Brooks day 17 C

Brooks with his binky

Brooks at 19

Brooks at 19

 

Brooks on Will's chest

Our son Will with their son Brooks

Dan and Hannah Welcome Brooks to the World

Seven days before the due date of June 28, Laurel posted these pictures.

baby laurel at 39

 

baby a watermelon

With five days til Will and Laurel’s due date (this past Saturday), we like that they have gone on “old school” and don’t know the gender of their new child.

Our three “old school” kids were all over the board when they decided it was showtime.  Born August 5, Molly was three days early.  Robyn was thirteen days late on September 7 and actually born on Labor Day.  Will was three days late on October 12.  Using higher mathematics by squaring the hypotenuse and dividing by the tangent, I came up with the calculation that their baby will come on our 46th anniversary – July 1.

Somehow my math didn’t quite an add up!  My bad.

For later that Saturday afternoon, we get a text that Laurel’s water has broken.  Below, the new parents are ready and waiting at the hospital.

baby w and l at hopital

Throughout  the night the baby wasn’t quite ready to make an appearance.  After a long night that rolled into Sunday morning, Brooks Archer Rothermel came into this world on June 24, 2018 at 8# 2 oz, 20.5″.  (Archer is my mother’s maiden name and my middle name.)

baby laurel with brooks on chest

 

baby brooks on will's chest

 

baby brooks alone info

 

 

 

baby will and brooks

baby brooks day 2

 

baby day 3

We are top of the world!