family

Dads and Grandpas – NOT Optional

Happy Father’s Day!  We try hard to give Father’s Day equal billing to Mother’s Day but we’re not that great at it.  I wonder why?

We could value our dads and grandpas a bit more.  Although, now that I think of it,  grandpas do pretty good.  They really can’t go wrong.  They are fun and cause trouble with the moms and grandmas for spoiling the littles.  But it’s okay – it’s grandpa.  We give him a little extra room to be dangerous  – and silly.

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Grandpa with the Littles – spoiling them with more treats and toys

Maybe its just me.  Maybe I could do better.  Maybe everyone else is really good at taking care of dads and grandpas on their day like we take care of moms and grandmas on their day.

My children’s father (who is actually my husband – still – after almost 32 years), is a good dad.  He’s a hard dad sometimes, in the ways dads need to be. Dads need to be the enforcer, the law.  Children should fear their dad just a little.  It’s a healthy fear – because he loves his kids.  No doubt about that.

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They all got capes – because they’re all super heroes – even dad.

Ok – call me old fashioned.  It’s okay.  Yes, I’m speaking generally.  Yes, this doesn’t apply to all dads.  I get it.  But it’s Father’s Day so here it is.  Dads are important.  Dads are necessary.  Dads are not expendable or optional.

So so so many times I have disagreed with how the dad (my husband) has parented.  So. Many.  Times.  Still, we turned out some pretty great kids and it was not all me.  They would cry to me that dad was mean or they don’t want to drive with dad or dad did this or said that. But now as adults, they go to their dad with their problems.  Not the emotional kind – I still get all of those.  But he gets the rest.  I wonder if he ever disagreed about the way I parented … hmmm.

I need him to solve the problems when I’m just done with it.  I need him to edit the resumes and maintain the cars.  I need him to stay up late and wait for that darn kid to get home because I’m too tired.  He’s the fixer.  Just like my dad was the fixer – and still is.  Just when you think there’s NO WAY it can be fixed – he makes it happen again.

So honor the dads today.  They’re not perfect.  But then again, neither are the moms.

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Proud Grandpa (my dad) greeting his grandson.
family, grandchildren, Travel

Teary Goodbyes Part II

Do you remember Teary Goodbyes from just over a year ago?  When I blogged about the littles moving away to their new home?  That was such a hard day for me.  I sobbed.  I knew they would be coming back in a year but a year seemed like a lifetime.

Well, it wasn’t a lifetime and they did come back.

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Deja vu – here we are at the airport one year later

All is well in the world once again.

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#blessed

 

Adventure, family

Come Visit us in Minnesota

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had some exciting plans in the works.  Exciting is sometimes a synonym for stressful.  It’s been a CRAZY few months.  Seriously.

I may have mentioned that we listed our house for sale.  The house we have lived in for 13 years.  Our first home in the United States (except for our 6 month rental while we built our house).

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Following that the search for a new home began in earnest.  We love being on the water on our boat.  We decided that since we have the good fortune (ha ha!) of living in Minnesota for at least another 10+ years, we want to live on the water.  First step was selling the house.IMG_1692

Thankfully it sold quickly and closed even quicker. We did some mad packing.  IMG_1752

Then moved out in May.IMG_1866

All the while, we had been searching for a new home. I knew Zillow like the back of my hand.  We saw so many houses.  I knew everything that was on the market before our realtor even did.

Then we accidentally visited a model home.  We’ve built 3 houses and both swore we would not fall prey to the new home trappings once again.  We were both committed to to finding a 1950’s lake front home.  Nothing.  Nothing. Nothing.

Two acres on the St. Croix river with a private marina, serendipitously appeared about the same time we visited the model home.  We loved the model, we loved the location, we DID NOT love the price or the work involved.

But here we are.  We now own dirt.

How could our children ever resist coming back to Minnesota now?  That’s our hope and our dream.  A place our littles will want to visit and stay for a while.  Our place our children will decide is worth the trek.  And for me, another reason to love Minnesota.

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COMING SOON – DECEMBER 2018

Here we go again … sigh.  It’ll be beautiful and perfect.

In the meantime, we are enjoying our two-bedroom, one bathroom, single car garage condo.  We can vacuum the entire place from one plug.  The simple life, it’s not so bad.

Oh, and if you’re ever in the neighborhood, we’d love your help clearing 2 acres of trees and brush.  It’ll be fun!!

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Our buddy the beaver at the new lot – helping with the build. I’m sure he could clear a few trees.

Grandmas – what crazy lengths have you gone to in order to make sure your children come home?

family

Bows and Ribbons and Pretty Things

Did I mention that I have a granddaughter?  No?  While here she is!

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She is sweet.  There are bows and flowers and pretty clothes.  There is lovely dark hair and lots of it.  She’s beautiful and she’s perfect.  I know she will grow up to be smart and successful, and she has two big brothers to watch out for her.

I’m over the moon in love with her and I haven’t even met her yet.  I’m a boy mom – and a boy grandma.  Now I’m a girl grandma too. This is going to be so fun!

Tell me everything I need to know about being a grandma to a little girl.  Boys I understand.  Girls?  This is unchartered territory for me.  Help!

empty nest, family, parenting, retirement

Seriously. Who Sped Up Time?

Since we’ve been married, we’ve lived about a decade in three cities.  My husband’s job has not taken us to exotic locations but across one country and into another.

The first decade – the baby decade – was spent in Edmonton, Canada.  Four of our boys were born there all at the same hospital.  I learned to be a mom there – from some amazing women.  It was home to West Edmonton Mall.  What’s not to like?  new-google-image-edmonton

The second decade – the young children decade was spent in London, Canada.  Yes indeed. There is a city in Canada called London.  I took my mothering job seriously and was so good at it.  I was the ultimate soccer mom.  Our youngest was born there – at home with a midwife.  Global_Twitter_Template_LondonOntario

The third decade – the teenage children decade – was spent in a small suburb of St. Paul Minnesota.  That is as exotic as we got.  I took everything I’d learned from Edmonton and London and tried to apply it to “St. Paul mom of teenagers” life.  It was hard.  It was busy. Still, I didn’t hate it.  My teenagers were busy and energetic and crazy.  I was crazy.  minnesota

I used that decade to not only take care of them but take care of me.  I went back to school.  Finished up my degree I’d put off for years.  Went from stay-at-home mom to working mom.  It was hard.

Slowly the kids started to graduate and move on to college.  Then weddings,  Then graduate school.  Some are still in college in some form.  I’m a navy mom now too. You already know I’m a grandma.

Our youngest graduated from high school a few weeks ago.  No fanfare.  No celebration. He graduated a semester early.  I’m going to be honest, he’s the least scholarly of our children (sorry honey – it’s no secret).  Still his brothers are baffled as to how he (of all of them) graduated early.   Apparently, it can be done.  When you really don’t like school – you can make it happen. You find ways.

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Yet another picture of the “young prince”.  #sorrynotsorry I paid a lot of money for this photo shoot and he’s not even having a graduation party or anything where I can show them off. 

That baby is leaving in a few weeks to go away to work in Wyoming.  He’s going to college out of state in the fall.  He’s hoping he’ll be able to stand school again by then.

So here we are.  All of sudden the nest is empty.  What in the world?  10 seconds ago it was chaos with five children.

I’m kind of excited about it.  I know, I should be crying in a puddle of tears.  I’m not.  I’ve worked hard for this empty nest.  Am I a bad mom because I’m not sad they’re all grown and gone?  I miss them.  Oh, how I miss them.  But I’ve done a good job.  We’ve done a good job.  What’s there to be sad about?

I’m looking forward to the next decade.  We’ve got some exciting plans in the works.  I’ll blog about that.

Tell me about your empty nest.  How’s it going?  What do I need to know?

family

I Worry and I Grieve, So I Blog

I worry.  I’m a worrier.  I used to worry about my children.  I still do but not as much.

They’re all almost grown and I don’t see them much. Their careers have taken them far and wide. My youngest is 18 and ready to fly the coop in a couple of weeks – off to Wyoming.  I still worry about him but it’s becoming less and less.

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Isn’t he handsome? He’s as good as he is handsome.  This week I cherish every picture and every moment with him.  Even when he’s being a bit teenager-ish

Now I worry about my littles.

Over this past, horrible week, I’ve felt some relief knowing that my youngest child will soon be exiting the walls of high school, forever.  He’s done.  That chapter is finished.   No more worries about sending him off to high school and then seeing a news flash that there’s a shooter there.  I won’t have to worry about that anymore.

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First day of school – I make him pose for this picture every year – he hates it. I can think of some parents that wish they had taken more pictures like this – even when their children were hating it.  I’m so sorry for them.  My heart breaks for them.

Wait a minute.  My oldest little is turning 3 in a few weeks.  That means that within a two years, he’ll enter public school. I’m sure his parents are already worrying about that.  

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Just practicing being at school – thank goodness.

But grandmas REALLY worry.  Maybe it’s because we have less control over situations with our grandchildren.  We can’t rescue them like we could our own children.  We can’t make important decisions for them.

Grandmas just watch from the sidelines – and hope and pray that they will be safe.  That’s all we’ve got.

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Just watching – from 800 miles away. Sometimes he sets me down on the floor so he can play – with me beside him.  I stare at the ceiling.  I don’t mind.  I can still hear him.

My littles are going to grow up in a world much crazier than the world this momma is about to leave behind.  That makes me worry.

I don’t have answers to the world’s problems.  I don’t hate guns.  Some of my children are very responsible gun owners.  They are good people who have learned about guns, know how to use them and keep their guns safely secured with a number of systems I don’t understand.  If they want guns, they should have guns.

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These two cuties LOVE their guns. They took me with them once.  I didn’t like it.  The guns made me nervous.  I won’t carry a gun.  But they have worked hard to have those guns and they are nerdy careful with them.  So careful.

My diet of donuts and chocolate and french fries is more likely to kill me than a gun will.

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My DREAM birthday cake – a cake of donuts. Dreams really do come true but sometimes not until you turn 50.

Still, I worry.  I worry about crazy people who go into schools, or malls, or stadiums, or hotel rooms –  that want to hurt my littles.  Maybe I worry because I was involved in a terrorist event a while back – The Boston Marathon Bombing.  I’ve seen what evil can do.  I was there.  I was running. Oh – and there were NO guns.

I’m tired of hearing the fighting and bickering – with no solution.  “It’s Trumps fault”.  “It’s the NRA’s fault”. “It’s the FBI’s fault”.

Whatever, people.  I don’t care whose “fault” it is.  Unless you have a real solution – keep your DAMN mouth shut and quit pointing fingers.

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The Blame Game.  It doesn’t help.  It fixes nothing.

I don’t know the answer.  I don’t have a solution.  This is not an easy problem to solve.  Parents and siblings and friends are grieving.  Grandparents are grieving.  The blaming and pointing fingers aren’t helping them in their grief.

Can’t we all just get along and quit being so nasty?  No wonder people are crazy enough to shoot children.  We have such great role models of decency and respect –  in our faces – everyday (that was sarcasm).  Try a little kindness.  Be a little more thoughtful.

This country needs a momma-grandma-bear to put everyone in time-out. Then maybe she can stop worrying.

 

education, family

Children’s Books

Last week, we talked about all of the grandma stuff we’ve collected over the past few years since we became grandmas.   After Round 1 of parenting, we purged everything – only to find out we would need it all back when we became grandmas. The books, however, they made the cut for Round 2.  I saved ALL of them.  I’ve always loved children’s books and have had a pretty healthy children’s book library since the time my own littles were little.

Reading to children is important.  It’s made a difference in my children’s lives.  Here’s a list I found that confirms what I’ve always thought:

  • Reading to young children sets them up to succeed
  • Reading develops language skills
  • Exposure to reading exercises your child’s brain
  • Reading enhances a child’s concentration
  • Reading together encourages a thirst for knowledge
  • A range of books teaches children about different topics
  • Reading develops a child’s imagination and creativity
  • Reading books with children helps to develop empathy
  • Books are a form of entertainment
  • Reading together helps to create a bond

We didn’t have much money to do a lot of “fun things” with our littles, so we spent a lot of time at free places like the local library or the museum on Mondays.  We’d check out stacks of books from the library and then sit and read book after book after book.

As our children grew a bit older and our finances changed, we began to grow our own library of books.

I miss the local children’s book stores.  Sadly, they’re becoming a thing of the past.  A few good ones are still around but not many.  I loved to visit them with my littles.   Not only did they have great books, they were usually quite entertaining as well.  We rarely left without a few good books – usually those recommended by a very knowledgeable shop owner.

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Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. Tell me your favorite Book Stores in the comments below.

I try really hard to read books to my littles over FaceTime.  Trust me, it’s not easy.  It’s hard to book “bond” with them when a screen and hundreds of miles are separating us.  I just want to get cozy on the couch with them.  Unfortunately, that’s not possible so we do what we can and I’m thankful to at least have FaceTime.

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I asked Go Grandma followers about their book collections.  They shared some of their favorites:

Kristy B:

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a also a favorite of MacKenzie H.  The bear at the end … so sad … he just wanted to play.

Pauline V: 

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Ahhhh …. Jan Brett!

Kate T: 

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Andrea G.

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Allison R.
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Brooke S.

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“Anything by Sandra Boynton” — Barnyard Dance – LOVE IT

Martha L.

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Classic Sesame Street.  I remember reading this to my little brothers.

Christie S.

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Zhenya D.

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This is/was my grandson’s favorite too.  Such a cute story.

Stephanie H.

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Those sheep – so much mischief.  I think The Sheep in a Jeep are going to be Sheep Out to Eat next!

Jenny O.

Here are a few of my favorite books and authors.  It was really had to pick just a few.  Last time I visited the littles I was reading them “Love you Forever” by Robert Munsch (their very own copy that I bought them).  I dare you to read that to your littles without crying.  I dare you.

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Thank you to everyone that sent me their favorite titles!  Now I have a few more I can add to my grandma library.  What are your favorite children’s books?