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Category Archives: Grandparenting

It’s Only Twelve Weeks Long…

Here in Minnesota we celebrate summer after the long winter.  The problem is how to pack as much as you can into the summer.  It was a few years ago when our kids were graduating from high school that we came to the realization that the summer is only 12 weeks long and everyone tries to pack everything into those 12 weekends.

It starts with Memorial Day weekend with the parades and local remembrance services and directly into the graduation parties for the recent graduates.  Now in a small town of 400 no one wants to miss each others parties so the last of the parties may well be into July.  Spring and summer are traditionally wedding seasons here as the brides hope for the perfect spring or summer day.

July brings the Fourth of July activities with parades and local town celebrations.  We are surrounded by several other small towns each having their own celebration and then our town celebration of Heritage Days is the second weekend of August each summer.  This year is the biggie, 100 years since our town was incorporated.

Summer is the traditional time for vacations and camping when the kids are out of school so those of us who don’t have kids in school or our kids are grown work while others take their vacation with their kids.  Its okay with me because I prefer to duck out of town in the middle of winter for a little warm weather elsewhere.

Before we know it the back to school shopping season is upon us and Labor Day.  The boats are off the lakes and put away and everyone wonders what happened to summer.

My response lately is that summer is only 12 weeks long.

That being said we have already packed so much into the spring/summer season already it feels like it should be done but I am delighted to realize that we are not half way through yet.

We’ve been up north to Two Harbors to work on my brother’s new land he purchased to develop into a rustic retreat.  We’ve been to San Francisco to celebrate our nephew’s wedding.  We’ve attended several graduation parties and helped host a family reunion for my mom’s family from all over the United States.

Our most exciting news is welcoming our first granddaughter to the family.  We’ve welcomed two more grandsons to the mix since I last blogged and will be adding a daughter-in-law to the family in January.  Life is good…but short…celebrate accordingly.

 

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Shoveling Buddy

Shoveling Buddy

Life is good.

I admit that I am more than ready for spring but this past week has afforded me a few opportunities to spend some time with my grandson outdoors doing some of his favorite activities.

We have trudged up and down our hill several times after trips down on the sled.  I have to admit that I am out of shape and am constantly bargaining with a 3 1/2 year old about the number of times we will go down the hill again.

Yesterday we spent time shoveling.  He is delighted to help and has his own shovel.  Today we are getting hit with another snow storm mixed with rain.  It is still beautiful to look outside and see the snow falling but I’d like to see a little more green and blue than wihite.

After warming up from being outdoors we spent time doing puzzles on my kitchen floor and playing football with a green balloon in my living room.   We have a regular football but he has a foot on him that will break windows if he is allowed to kick with shoes on.

This is the view out my living room window this afternoon.

Snowy Day

Time to head out on another tow call.  Seems nobody wants to stay home on a snowy day.  Stay warm and dry 🙂

 

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A New Vocabulary

One of the main projects besides replacing the roof is moving the stairways to a better location. It is currently in the center of the house and has very steep, narrow steps.

For the past week or two as we refine our plans for the house a new vocabulary has crept into my life. It revolves around the building of stairs.

Who would have thought that there could be so many words that had to do with stairs. There are the usual words like treads or steps.  That I understood, but add stringers, risers, winders, walk line, rise and run, landings, and that is just the beginning. Add to the list newel post, rails, balusters, bullnose, etc.

Tonight we spent our usual evening with our grandson while our daughter attends a college night class. Tonight’s entertainment was the home improvement center where we picked out the supplies we will need to start building the new stairs in the house this week.

Our grandson learned the fine art of picking out the best wood for the project and eagerly helped load it onto the cart. It was a late evening but well worth getting what we needed so we can get right to work on Thursday.

 

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Lessons From Grandma

Today would have been my grandma’s 110th birthday if she were still living and even though she is gone she is still teaching me about life through how she lived her life.

1. Family is important. She was a mother of nine children and was the least stressed person that I know. She loved being surrounded by the ones she loved.

2. Nothing beats a home cooked meal especially when it includes home-made bread. She baked homemade bread almost daily when her family was young and then weekly. The meal was always eaten at the table not in front of the television. It was always the kids job to set the table properly and it was where we learned good table manners

3. Go with the flow. Whatever life sends your way make the most of it. She was widowed at the age of 59 and lived into her 90’s. I never heard a pity party come from her mouth.

4. Focus on what is truly important and don’t let the other stuff bother you. Once while talking to one of her daughters on the phone she kept talking while a bat circled her head. She just continued talking and took a swat at the bat every so often as it circled. She wasn’t going to let a small thing like a bat interrupt her time with her daughter who lived out-of-state.

5. Make time for play. Grandma loved to play cards. It was a big deal when you were old enough as a grandchild to join in with the adults playing cards. Oh the stories that were told around the table were some of the best first person history lessons.

6. Make time to laugh. Grandma loved a good story. I can still picture her with tears running down her face from laughter.

7. Make gifts personal. I still have a small cookbook that my grandma hand wrote her favorite recipes. Over the years she made several homemade gifts for each grandchild. I have a large granny square afghan that she crocheted for me, hand embroidered kitchen towel, one for each day of the week, and hand embroidered pillow cases for my bed.

8. Love those around you. When her children were young and her neighbor was quarantined because of some childhood disease in their neighborhood. Grandma would sneak over to her friend’s home to spend time helping her care for her children who were sick. Grandma was always willing to share. If she knew someone needed something, she was always ready to share.

9. Faith is important. Grandma always went to church and encouraged others to go as well. Her bible was always handy.

 
 

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To Clean or Not to Clean

This morning as I sit in my recliner marks the beginning of a new state in my life. Yesterday my daughter and grandson moved full-time into their apartment along with my other daughter. Today is the first day of classes in the fall semester at college for them.

As I was reading my emails this morning and looking around my all too quiet house I noticed the french doors for my sun room. They stand open from the livingroom inviting you to enter the sun room. At the angle they are open and where I am sitting I can see through the panes of glass. They are completely covered with tiny fingerprints and nose prints.

My grandson loves to play in the sun room. Most of his toys are in there. After he learned how to open and close the doors he would close one side and stand inside the porch and make faces at us through the glass as we sat in the livingroom. His version of Peek A Boo.

We had a great last couple of days with my daughter and grandson. We left Thursday evening for the race track where my husband was racing in a two-day event. My daughter and grandson came with us. It was a long two days for my daughter to entertain her son and figure out nap times and bed times away from home but she was good sport about it.

Thursday evening my husband won the “The King of Dirt” title in his division so he was pretty excited and my grandson was so excited about the trophy that he gave it a hug.

The second night of racing didn’t go as well with my husband being hit late in the race and spun into the wall. It will be the end of racing until some major repairs are made.

Yesterday morning I watched as my daughter loaded up her car to leave. Most of their things are already at the apartment but all the favorite last minute items were loaded last. We got our hugs and kisses goodbye and watched them leave to start a new chapter in their lives.

I think I will leave the window pane just as they are for a little while…..

 

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Sticks and Stones

Tonight after work I was outside taking clothes in off the line when my daughter and grandson got home. He stayed outside with me while she unloaded her car. While we were outside he found a stick and walked around in the yard poking the ground and everything with his stick until he broke it in two.

No tears were shed when he broke it. He just picked up the other half and walked around to the side of the yard where the steps come down off the porch. He started using his sticks like drumsticks on the bottom step.

After drumming for a while he put his sticks down and headed to my garden. When he got there he was distracted by something up above.

When I looked up to see what he was pointing at I saw a flock of birds flying overhead. I’m not sure what kind they are but this was just a small portion of what flew overhead.

After the birds passed by Jack picked up some small stones from my garden and promptly trotted down to the lake. When he got to the shore he threw one stone in and then the other. He turned around and headed straight back to my garden for a second and later a third set of stones to throw in the lake until the mosquitoes drove us inside for the rest of the evening.

Who needs fancy store-bought toys when you’ve got sticks and stones?

 

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Can I Speak Without Pictures? Maybe…

This past week I have been at a loss for words. Not because I didn’t have any to share but because I had no new pictures to go with them.

On a recent trip to Montana I lost the battery charger for my camera. I tried ordering another battery online but haven’t found anyone who stocks them. I thought it would be great to have a second charged up battery . I finally ordered a new charger for my camera but it was over a week ago and it’s not here yet so no new pictures with a dead battery in my camera.

Today has been a difficult day. I started loading up furniture and belongings of my two daughters and grandson into a pickup truck and trailer at 7am this morning. My daughters are starting the process of moving into their own apartment. We hit the road for the 45 minute drive to their apartment at 7:40am. By noon we had my truck, trailer and each of their cars unloaded into the second story apartment.

Our oldest has been in her own apartment for the past four years while she has attended college but home every summer to work. Our youngest who is 20 has never left home before and has a son that will be two next month.  They will be moving into the apartment full-time in about three weeks.

Tonight when I got home from work the house is a mess with things half packed, half sorted just the way we left it this morning but with a silence that is deafening remaining. I started picking things up and putting them away trying to keep a positive attitude. Thinking thoughts like the house will stay cleaner longer, there will be less dishes to do and less laundry for sure. Since I’ve done such a bad job in cooking meals lately I won’t mention less cooking to do.

The girls and my grandson will come home on the weekends they assure me to do laundry. My sons now both in their own homes have busy lives between their homes, work and other interests.  I struggle between feeling of wanting to put everything personal in the house away so I’m not reminded that they are not here or to start dragging out more pictures and stuff to fill the void.

On my livingroom walls I stencilled the words “There’s no place like home” many years ago, delighted that we were able to buy a home on a lake for our family to enjoy while our kids were growing up. Now it’s the last place I feel like being. If my husband said let’s go here or there…it wouldn’t matter where, I would go with him anywhere just to escape.

I’m excited for my kids to head out on their own. That’s the way it should be and I’m proud of them but does it have to hurt so much?

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Family, Grandparenting, Parenting, Reflections

 

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Repetition: Disdain or Delight

Two weeks ago I made a trip to our local library to pick up some books to read to my grandson. We exhausted the books at home I was looking forward to some new reading material. I brought home ten books that were all new to me.

In the mix of books was Cock-A-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most. It has become my grandson’s favorite. When I come home from work he greets me at the door with the book and walks over to the recliner and starts patting it for me to sit. He backs himself up to the chair for me to pick him up to read the book to him.

In the morning he searches for my library book bag for the book. When I ask him if I should read him the book he squeals with delight and follows the same routine as the evening. When I finish reading it to him he says “More”. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the book to him but there are parts in the book when I tell him to help read the book he says “Moo” where he should for the story.

As an adult I am often bored by predictable behavior. When did that change? As a teenager I would listen to songs on my record player over and over again until I knew all the words. In high school I worked hard at memorizing my parts for Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Arsenic and Old Lace. It required lots of repetition but it was okay because it was for a reason.

Everyday my mind craves new information. I want to learn and am easily frustrated with hearing the same old thing. Oh that I could find delight in hearing and seeing the same old thing as my grandson does when I read him the same book day after day even when there are many other choices.

 

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When They Fall Out of the Nest

Just two short years ago my husband and I were talking about being empty nesters. Our oldest son had his own apartment, second son bought a home, oldest daughter living in an apartment with other college friends and our youngest daughter was graduating from high school and would be heading off to college in a few months.

Some dear friends teased about me needing a new pair of running shoes for at home as my husband chases me around a house with no children. Others talked about how lonely our home would be when our youngest moved out and left for college. We knew we would miss our kids but we loved to watch our oldest three succeed and would be excited for our youngest to head out on her own.

Life took a bit of a twist and turn back then. Just two short months after graduation our youngest gave birth to our first grandchild. She and her son have lived with us while she has attended college. Driving 35 miles one way three days a week.

A year ago our oldest son moved in to save money for a down payment for his own home. He just couldn’t save while paying rent at the same time. Now at the end of this month he will move into his own home. We are excited for him and excited to help him get settled.

Last weekend our oldest daughter moved back home until July 15, 2011. She will work at our family business until her summer classes begin and she moves into her new apartment with her sister and nephew.

Today our daughters signed a one year lease for their own apartment in St. Cloud. They will live together for our oldest daughter’s last year of college and our youngest’s third year along with her son. They move in July 15, 2011. What will happen after this next year who knows?

I knew the day would come eventually but now my quiver is full and will soon be empty. These days the washing machine is going almost constantly and the refrigerator door is always open with someone checking out its contents. I will have to pare down my grocery shopping for six to two and somehow adjust to doing laundry for only two. The fact that my dishwasher isn’t working properly won’t seem like such a big deal when it is just the two of us.

The silence will be deafening at times I’m sure but I doubt I will be lacking for things to fill my time. My greatest fear is that we will not rush home from work like these past two years to see what our grandson has been up to each day and instead become workaholics.

I know that this summer we will be taking advantage of what time we have with our grandson, daughters, and son while they are at home. We even bought our fishing license and fixed the boat lift so we can get the boat on the lake sooner than later. The Fourth of July used to be soon enough in the most recent years.

I will be biting my tongue more in the days to come, wanting the days to be remembered for the good times and not the petty arguments that develop over small things that really won’t matter five years from now or even next week. I want it to be an encouraging send off for each of them. For them to know we are proud of each one of them and eager to for them to feel the success for all their hard work.

I think I am ready to let them fly……

 

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Are We Done Yet?

Yesterday after church my husband and I took our son, daughter and grandson out for dinner.

When we were all finished eating and the waitress had cleared our table of everything except our coffee cups my grandson struck this pose. I couldn’t resist taking out my camera and taking a picture.

Afterall, the reason I carry my camera with me everywhere is in hope of getting the perfect picture someday. This one comes about as close to perfection in my book as I can get. Just a proud grandma speaking.

On our drive home I remembered times, not often, when my parents took us out to eat for our birthday breakfast at a pancake house. We would eat our breakfast and then sit not so patiently waiting for permission to get up from the table.

It always seemed like it took forever as Mom and Dad drank their coffee. Just how much coffee did they need anyway?

We wanted to go the wishing well that they had at the pancake house. It was a little wooden well that was filled with toys. Each child got to choose one toy from the well before they left.

My grandson wasn’t worried about any toy but he did want to see the large stuffed bear that resides just inside the restaurant doors. There were also deer and moose mounts that caught his eye.

When we let him out of his high chair he headed straight for the door and stood next to the bear and began jabbering as only 20 month old can do.

I could almost read his mind as he talked to the bear saying “Finally they are done with their coffee! I thought they would never finish!”

 
 

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