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Posts Tagged ‘Granddaughter’

Dear Readers,

You may be wondering who Betty and Sally are.  Well, they are playmates of my two granddaughters.  But they are not human!  Let me explain further.

Betty, whose full name is “Betty Boomerang” is a roly-poly penguin-type stuffed bird.  Her fur is purple with bands of fluorescent lime green fur and turquoise fabric that covers her chest and belly.  A set of two black eyes are narrowly placed above her bright orange beak.  Her webbed feet are also brint orange.  A shock of baby blue hair springs from her head.  A shelf in the toy department of Wal-Mart was her first home.

Betty Boomerang became a part of a game that we played with our first granddaughter every time she visited.  Emily had to guess where Betty was hiding.  We would search under beds, in closets, on shelves, behind doors and even in the shower for her.  It became such a ritual that as soon as Emily walked through the front door, her first words were “Where’s Betty Boomerang hiding today?”

When her younger sister, Maggie, arrived, I knew she would enjoy a stuffed playmate of her own.  So “Silly Sally” became a member of the family.  She’s a yellow furry chick with golden velvet beak and legs to match.  She has the same black eyes as Betty and sports a shimmery yellow ribbon bow under her chin.  A tuft of white hair emerges from the top of her head.  Maggie loves investigating the various hiding places of Sally and is thrilled when she discovers her.

We are returning to California in a few weeks.  So the stuffed playmates will be placed on a closet shelf for their winter hibernation,  and the  girls will bid them farewell pretty soon.  I just hope that when we return next spring, they haven’t outgrown their furry playmates:  Betty Boomerang and Silly Sally!  I know Mimi won’t!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

My granddaughter is having a birthday party for some school and playmates on a Saturday when Mimi and Papa will be away.  So a small family celebration was planned for the week before.

“Little Love” requested a birthday cake from the Square Rabbit Bakery in downtown Raleigh, NC.  Her friend had a cake from there at his party and she declared it was delicious.  A trip was scheduled to visit the bakery to select a cake.  The birthday girl was so excited about the selection, that she skipped the entire way to the bakery, which is about two blocks away from our condo.

This five year old had definite ideas about her cake.  A big green 5 was to be placed in the center along with “Happy Birthday” and her name written around the edge.  A multi-color train of red, blue and purple was requested.  The flavor of the four layer cake was yellow with lemon mousse filling and white buttercream frosting.  Sounded yummy to me.  We sampled a cupcake flavored like the cake and agreed it was very tasty.  The birthday cake was going to be wonderful!

Party hats, paper plates, napkins and matching cups were procured from the local dollar store along with five helium balloons:  a pink heart, red, green and purple stars and a round “Happy Birthday” balloon.  The balloons were anchored by tying the attached ribbons to plastic jars of playdoh.

At 3 PM everything was ready.  Balloons were arranged in a corner where they bobbed up and down; gaily wrapped presents in gift bags were lined up on the dining room buffet; and Betty Boomerang along with Silly Sally had their birthday hats on and were ready to party.  (Betty Boomerang and Silly Sally are two stuffed animals that are beloved by my granddaughters.  I’ll have to tell you about them on another day.)

Birthday girl was very excited especially when she saw her cake.  Five sparkling candles were thoughtfully placed by her in a row across the colorful train.  Lights were turned off; “Happy Birthday” was sung and candles were gleefully blown out.  Everyone enjoyed the cake and then the presents were opened.  (In the mind of this five year old, cake eating came before presents!)  Wrapping paper littered the floor and balloons floated toward the ceiling.  The party was over.  But I don’t really know who had the best time – my granddaughter or me!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

The idea for this trip started as an off-hand remark from my daughter-in-law about six months ago.  She commented that she missed coming to California and that Maggie would be almost two years old, old enough to endure a long cross-country plane ride.  Maybe, just maybe, they could journey to Palm Springs in late January or early February.

That’s all it took for me to start promoting this excursion.  Ideas were spinning right and left in my head.  Our large master bedroom with adjoining bathroom was an excellent spot for the whole family to camp out.  A corner of the room would house the twin aero-bed for Emily and there was ample space for Maggie’s pack-n-play near the bed.  My husband and I could sleep in the guest bedroom and use the guest bath.  We would make closet space and drawers available so that they wouldn’t have to live out of suitcases.  My son determined a convenient time for his vacation and plane reservations were secured.

About a month before the visit, my daughter-in-law and I e-mailed quite a lot.  A list of food for the girls was formulated, discussions of the weather and appropriate clothing was reviewed and even what books could be checked out of the library were decided.

Suddenly I was shopping for pink and rose towels for the girls, sheets for the new aero-bed and groceries such as graham crackers, whole wheat Eggo waffles, fresh blueberries, lots of bananas and even YoBaby peach yogurt.  (Not easy to find!)

The girls arrived late on a Saturday evening with both of them calling for Mimi, when I greeted them at the garage door.  It felt so good knowing we would have them here for a full ten days!  The first three nights were rough because Maggie was on east coast time and thought everyone should be awake at 3 AM!  Eventually we settled in a routine of unhurried family breakfasts, trips to a nearby glayground and daily swims in the condo pool after Maggie’s nap.

Our condo bustled with non-stop activity.  Maggie loved to open and shut doors and explored for pots and pans in the kitchen cabinets.  Emily was content to color and draw pictures on a small table and chairs.  She enjoyed hiking with her parents and walked almost three miles on a local trail.  The days passed quickly and all too soon it was time for everyone to depart.  The extra equipment and suitcases were packed up for the plane ride back to Raleigh.  We kissed and hugged goodbye before the departure for the airport.  Then the clean up began; sheets and towels were laundered and floors were swept and washed.

I thought to myself:  I’m doing okay with missing those two little sweethearts; that is until I opened the fridge and the sight of three little cartons of YoBaby yogurt immediately caught my eye.  Then the tears started to flow!

Keep smilin’!

 

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Dear Readers,

Early Saturday morning was story telling time in my family.  My younger sister and I aged 4 and 6 years old, were allowed to climb into bed with our Dad, while Mom prepared a weekend breakfast.  Dad would entertain us with the same stories every week.  He told of a man making soup in a most unusual manner.  He would open cans of corn and peas, throw away the vegetables and toss the empty cans in the soup pot.  Potatoes and onions were peeled but only the peels were added to the mixture.  The cook even threw in a dirty old shoe just for good measure to season the weird soup.  My sister and I would laugh and squeal in protest as my Dad described each new ingredient.

Both of my sisters recall the legend of Dobbin the horse and how he wandered away and got lost during a frightening rainstorm but was finally rescued and returned to his very worried mother.  We both laughed and cried during this narrative.  It was story telling at its finest!

My husband remembers his paternal grandfather’s exaggerated tales of super-human athletic skills.  Papa Stewart once told him and his cousins about the time he pitched a double-header where he pitched right-handed during the first game and left-handed the second game.  Can you imagine the look of astonishment on the faces of his grandchildren?

We see our grandchildren at least two or three times weekly and my husband has fallen into the most enjoyable habit of telling stories to our four year-old granddaughter.  I love to observe the changing expressions on her face as her grandfather relates the story about a little boy with a long leg and a short leg and how he came to be accepted by his schoolmates.  Or the elaborate saga of an estranged monster family who was finally accepted by the entire neighborhood after a courageous boy on a bike stopped to say hello to a monster boy his age.

I think every family needs a story teller; someone who can stir our imaginations and make us laugh or cry.  Our family now has one and it began with a toddler who loves hearing a story, both read and told.  What my dear husband doesn’t realize now is that his wonderful tales will live on long after his is gone!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Mimi spent last week relaxing at the beach with family.  I love those lazy days at the seashore.  Early morning is the time for watching beautiful sunrises and then it’s off to the beach.  There are chairs, an umbrella, toys and games to haul to our usual spot; and then trying to determine if the tide is coming in or going out.  I guess we could consult a tide table but then there would be no challenge involved.

Papa dug a long hole in the sand so that our three-year-old granddaughter could sit in her “bathtub’ while he gently buried her legs.  She giggled as she wriggled her toes and kicked the sand off her legs.  One time while she and I walked at the water’s edge trying to dodge incoming waves, she exclaimed “This is so much fun!”  In fact she repeated this remark three times in a row!

Maggie, our six-month-old granddaughter, napped while her father took long walks up and down the beach with her securely harnessed in a baby carrier strapped to his chest.  I’m sure she found the sound of the surf very comforting.

One morning Emily and I were strolling near the water when the wind suddenly whipped her sun bonnet off her head and blew it into the water.  Every time I tried to reach for the hat, the waves and undertow would push it out farther into the ocean.  Mimi wasn’t fast enough to snag it, so it was carried out to sea.  Emily raced out of the water and cried because her sun bonnet was lost.  I knew we would never see it again, so her mother and I told her we would shop for a new one.

The very next morning my son was out for a walk and spotted the deep rose colored hat clinging to a beach fence, completely wet and covered with sand.  Evidently it had washed ashore overnight.  He handed it to Emily and proclaimed that the sea had the hat but gave it back and said “No Thanks!”  Emily smiled and we all agreed that this adventure would make a good story to tell for a lifetime.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Tuesday morning is Mimi’s weekly date with her granddaughter.  There are a number of activities she enjoys.  A trip to the lakeside park where we observe the small waves roll in, and then navigate the playground with its twisting slides and swings is a real thrill for her.  Some Tuesdays we travel to the library to browse the bookshelves for favorite books and then rest on tiny chairs to pore over them and laugh together.  A book about “stinky laundry” is a favorite of ours.  We’ve also ventured through the various play sectors at Marbles Children’s Museum in downtown Raleigh.  Emily’s favorite activity is driving the bus and then spending time shopping in the supermarket zone.  She loves to check out the grocery items at the cashier stand.

This Tuesday it was raining, so my granddaughter came to my house, where we did some real baking together not the pretend type. We washed our hands and then she climbed up the step stool where she was level with the kitchen counter.  I had two Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts for us to use.  We were going to prepare strawberry popovers.  Emily used a round cookie cutter to fashion small circles from the pie dough.  Then she sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the circle and placed a small strawberry slice in the center.  She pinched the dough together to form turnovers.  At times the pinching was hard for her little fingers, so some of the turnovers looked like little packages or purses of dough.  We didn’t mind; it’s about having fun together, not producing perfect pastries.  Each strawberry nugget was lined up on the foil-lined baking sheet.  Of course, Mimi placed them in the oven which was set at 350 degrees.  We baked them until they were browned, about 15 or 20 minutes.  My granddaughter and I had a wonderful time watching them bake as we peered through the lit oven door window.

Emily played with the leftover dough scraps during the baking process.  It felt just like play-doh to her.  When the turnovers were done and after they had cooled, we celebrated with a pretend tea party that featured real pastries.  Emily learned a lot about baking and I’m sure any three year old toddler would enjoy this same activity.  Just purchase some Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts and let your toddler’s creativity blossom with your help!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

One warm Saturday morning as I concluded my walk, I encountered a father and his young son.  They were both on bikes and the dad was warning the child about how to safely cross the street at the traffic light.  The boy listened intently to his father.  On another morning walk, I hear sounds of chatter coming from behind a tall hedge at the side of a home.  It was a one-sided conversation, so I assumed that the lady was talking on the phone.  Happily, I discovered this was not the case.  A mother was reading to her son from a book.  From the tone of her voice, it was an adventure story.  The boy, about 8 or 9 years old, was still in his pj’s and contentedly cradled next to his mom, as they sat on the porch swing.

I thought about both of these parents and what a terrific gift they were giving to their children – their time and undivided attention.  This time was bestowed freely and was not marred by sneaking glances at their blackberry or I-phone.  Kids don’t crave expensive toys or fancy trips to amusement parks.  Spending time together with loved ones is what they really want!

I learned this fact was true when raising my children, but even more so with my granddaughters.  And now I have plenty of time to give – time to rock them to sleep, time to swing them while singing songs and most of all, time to read to them.

And come to think of it – isn’t that what we all crave?  We all desire time and attention from those who are dear to us.  It gives validation to our very existence!

If there is any advice Mimi would give to parents, it is this.  Give all the time you can to your youngsters – it is more precious than money and oh so fleeting.  Enjoy your children before they grow up.  Housework and chores, cellphones and blackberries will always be there but time with your children is limited.  I realize now just how fast time flies and I’m going to treasure every moment I spend with my granddaughters.

Keep smilin’!

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