family, General, grandchildren, parenting

When Grandma Hijacks Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en is just around the corner.  As a kid, I was not a fan of Hallowe’en – probably because I never seemed to have a great costume.  As an adult, I’m still not fan – at least when it comes to costumes. I just feel so silly in them!

Costumes for my children – I LOVED coming up with them.  They just had to say the word and I could come up with something;  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – X 4, Mario Brothers, all sorts of Harry Potter costumes.  I excelled in making costumes – from scratch.  If the boys could think it – I could and would craft it.   A little scrap fabric, some glitter paint, and a glue gun.  It’s all I needed!

My boys still have a bit of a zest for Hallowe’en.  I’m glad I didn’t spoil it for them.  And I still like to make costumes if an occasion lends itself to costume making … for other people (not me).

We share an Amazon account with our children so I know my boys (and girls) are prepping for Hallowe’en.  I’ve seen all sorts of costuming accessories going through that account.  (I’m not sure if my adult children realize that if they share an Amazon account with me, I get all of the emails.  I guess that’s the price they pay (or don’t pay) for sharing Amazon Prime with me. )

The littles are getting to an age where they “get” Hallowe’en.  Last year was okay – the oldest kind of got it.  But this year.  This is it!  He get’s it and he’s excited.

A few weeks we were on FaceTime together and the oldest little and I got talking about Hallowe’en:

ME:  “What are you going to be for Hallowe’en?”

Little #1:  “A knight!”

ME:  “A knight!  That’s so cool!!  Whats’ your brother going to be?”

Little #1:  “A yiyon”

ME: “A dragon??  That’s awesome – a knight and a dragon.  Your sister can be a princess!”

Littles’ Mom: “No – he’s going to be a lion.  We have a lion costume.”

ME:  “Oh.  I see.”  Thinking to myself … “A lion?  That lion costume is cute but a dragon would be so much cuter.  I shall find a dragon costume and send it.”

So the next day, off I go to buy the dragon costume that was not asked for or needed.  A cute little dragon costume for Little #2.  “It can be for dress-up”, I tell myself.  I mean, maybe its tradition to wear the lion costume, that’s been passed down through all of the maternal cousins.  I can’t mess with that. Yep, the dragon costume will be for dress-up. I won’t make a big deal – just send it with some Hallowe’en goodies in a Priority Post box.

Look at that cute, little, baby dragon.  Adorable.

We’re on FaceTime a few days later and Hallowe’en comes up again – probably because I can’t leave it alone:

ME (to Little #1):  “I can’t wait to see your knight costume.  Do you have a sword?”

Little #1:  “No.  I’m going to be a dragon.”

ME:  “A dragon?” – making sure I heard clearly this time.

Little #1:  “Yes.  I want to be a dragon – RAWR!  With wings like this” (frantically waving arms around the room).

Little’s Mom:  “He says he’s being a dragon but we don’t have a dragon costume for him so he’s going to be a knight.”

Little #1:  “No, a dragon.  With wings.”

And so it went.  With tears and a big fit.

Well now there’s a dilemma. The little’s brother (Little #2) is getting a dragon costume but Little #1 is the one that wants to be a dragon.  So what’s a grandma to do?

Off to the store I go.  What do you know? I find the best dragon costume ever!  With wings.  I can’t resist it.

That is a DRAGON!  He’s so happy.

And I just happen to find a little onesie with some glitter and a tutu for Little #3 – “the princess.”

A spell on Daddy?  Ha!  She put a spell on Grandma.

Grandma has officially hijacked Hallowe’en.

I’m just so dang lucky that I have the best daughter-in-law in the world.  She puts up with my hijinks like none other.   But I’ll tell you what – there were lots and lots of smiles when they got their dragon costumes. That dragon costume will be worn out by the time Hallowe’en arrives.  Except- it’s just for dress-up so I guess it doesn’t matter (tee hee!).IMG_3620

Tell me I’m not the only grandma to hijack Hallowe’en.

diet, family, Fitness, General, Uncategorized

Weight Loss and Age

At the end of August, we’re going hiking in Estes Park in Colorado.  Our athletic friends who are joining us said we’ll be going on a 7 mile (one way) hike.  Being concerned as one might be for the health and well-being of one’s spouse, I proposed a weight loss competition leading up to our hike.

YES!  We’re staying at the Stanley Hotel – but hopefully not in room 217!

My husband is always always always game for a competition (see image below) so he readily accepted the 6 week challenge.  The greater distance between the number on the scale at the beginning of the 6 weeks and the end of the 6 weeks will determine the winner.  The winner gets $150 shopping spree (which for me is ONE store – maybe TWO things). CAVEAT:  The loser has to accompany you on the shopping trip.

ME:   I run or bike most days – far – like 6+miles running/20+miles biking.  I don’t eat much junk food. Very little soda. Not a big fan of ice cream.  I’m not out of breath going up 2-3 flights of stairs.  I have a sit/stand desk at work and use it.  My breaks at work usually involve walking and reading while on the treadmill.

Thats me! I mean I’ve got room to lose – but not too bad for a grandma.

HIM:  Not a runner.  Does no physical activity other than being pulled behind our boat occasionally.  Loves junk food – especially potato chips.  Never passes on the ice cream.  Enjoys soda – lots of it.  Huffs and puffs after 1 flight.

That’s him.  He looks great! 

Two weeks into our or weight loss challenge, he’s working out pretty regularly via elliptical trainer and being more careful with the junk food.  I’m running more, sometimes twice a day.  Counting calories.  Salads for practically ever meal.

He complains to me “I’ve only lost 10 pounds and I’m working out ALL the time” (insert EYE ROLL here).  I check the scale.  1 pound.  ONE.  I’ve lost 1 pound.  S E R I O U S L Y??

So I decided to poll my Go Grandma Facebook followers.  They had a thing or two to say on the subject:

First, my solidarity comments:

Lori S.:  Story. Of. My. Life. “We’ll lose weight together; I’m with you on this!

  • What was I thinking, getting into a weight-loss competition – with a man?

Martha L.: The men diet by eating one dessert instead of two and lose 7 pounds.

  • Truth, sister!

Nancy J.: You don’t need to worry, you look great!

  • Ahhhh… thank you Nancy.  The scale says otherwise.

Kimberley F.: I can be so regimented and eat amazingly…workout kickboxing 3 times a week and I see no change. My spouse goes to the gym for 2 weeks harder than normal and he drops it like crazy. If I go any harder at the gym the only thing I will drop is dead. Weight loss after 50 sucks.

  • TRUTH!!  Living that right now.

Then the “what you need to do” comments:

Sherry K:  Is it time to hit the weights & find your measuring tape instead of the scale?

  • Yes – it might be.  Weights are my winter go-to.  Minnesota summer – I want to enjoy it outside – on a run.

Val O: I’ve released 49 lbs. Three words,..Daily Mindset Work. The other thing is, if we are burning more calories than were bringing in, our bodies go into starvation mode and wont release the fat. Drinking enough water is also a factor. It’s made all the difference.

  • “Released”, you say?  Release me from this 50+ year-old body. Water though – I do not drink enough water.

Pauling V.: Drink more water. Flush out that liver and release the fat!

  • More with the water!  I don’t have the time to pee all day.


Christopher P.:  You can NOT outrun a BAD DIET. Its NOT about the exercise, its ALL about what you eat

  • I love it when a man chimes in on my posts. And solid use of the UPPER CASE.  He has some great suggestions though.

Then came the weight loss program suggestions:

Allison B.:  The Whole 30 Program

  • It’s apparently awesome.  It will “change my life” – according to the website.

Christopher P.: My 100 Pound Weight Loss Journey

  • Well, thankfully I’m just hoping for 20 pounds, not 100.  So I better not do that one!

Then there’s all of the people who have a supplement that guarantees weight loss or will kick start your metabolism or give you more energy.

I’m over ALL OF IT.  Here’s the fact I’m going with.  I am a 50-year-old woman.  Losing weight like I’m 25 is not going to happen.  And AARP agrees:

5 KEY WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT AFTER 50… As with crow’s-feet and varicose veins, you’re simply more susceptible to gaining weight once you hit the big 5-0. And it’s not your imagination: It also becomes increasingly more challenging to shed those pounds once they’ve settled around your hips.


There you have it.  AND Here are the 5 ways:

  • Pile on the protein
  • Join the resistance (strength training)
  • Get enough shut-eye
  • Try occasional fasting
  • Practice mindful eating

What I LOVE about all of these suggestions is that they are ALL sustainable.  They’re not fads, you can follow these suggestions forever.  No gimmick.  It’s about a lifestyle adjustment.

I will continue … we’ve got 2 weeks to go.  I’ve lost 3 pounds now.  I actually don’t really care too much.  I know I have a healthy heart and I have lost inches for sure.  He’s lost 15 pounds.  He needed to lose a lot more weight than I did and it is important for his heart – and for our clothing budget.  He needs his suits to fit.

Our WEIGH-IN is the same day we have tickets for the Minnesota State Fair.  That should be a very tasty celebration.



“Call Me, Grandma” or “Call Me Grandma”

Commas are important – but I like that title with and without the comma.

Keeping in touch with the littles can be a challenge for Grandmas.  FaceTime is a lifesaver for this grandma.  We FaceTime with our grandson almost every day. However, now that he’s getting a bit older, he wants to hold the phone.  So from our end it looks like this:



Bless his little heart … but it’s kind of hard to see his cute face.  If his parents hold the phone for him, then there’s a lot of crying.  The other day he almost dropped the phone in the bathtub as he was trying to show us his little brother having a bath. Oh boy!  But we’ll take what we can get.   It’s still the best to hear him scream “GAMMA” when he sees me on FaceTime or “PAPA” when he sees grandpa across the room. Totally worth the next 20 minutes of blurry FaceTime and pitter patter of little feet running across the floor as he gives us yet one more tour of his new bedroom.

Tell me your tips, tricks and adventures for keeping in touch with your littles.

Ruthanne (Minnesota):  We use Marco Polo to keep in touch with our grandchildren.  It’s an app that you download to your phone.  We can record a short video and send it to them.  Then they reply to that video with their own.  It’s a fun way to keep in touch with busy little families that can’t always stop what they’re doing to FaceTime.

LOVE.IT.  What a great idea.  Ruthanne actually showed me one of her video clips with her granddaughter .  It was awesome.  I’m downloading that app right now.

Also – there’s a great comment from a blog follower below. She uses Google Hangouts.  I need to check that one out too.  I thought I was pretty tech-savvy.  I guess I’ve got some work to do!!


On Vacation with Grandma

Have you vacationed much with your grandchildren?  We’ve done it and it’s pretty awesome.  However – I could use your tips and advice on these adventures!   Here are a few of my insights into the topic:

First of all, the only way the grandchildren will be able to go on vacation is if grandma (and grandpa) pay, right?  Grandma is pretty much paying for the majority of the vacation – travel, accommodation, food, and entertainment.  Still, it’s worth every penny.

Secondly, I’ve made the mistake of having a grand plan of how much fun we’ll have only to realize that I’ve forgotten that little children like the simple things in life. For instance, this winter we took the littles and their mom on a quick weekend vacation to Florida. We spent a day at Universal Studios – which I thought would be the HIGHLIGHT of the weekend!  WRONG. The littles were like … “meh – this is okay – but I’m sleeping through it all“.  HOWEVER – the loosely planned afternoon at the beach on the way to the airport – was THE. BEST. AFTERNOON. of the entire weekend!!  IMG_7450.jpg

Thirdly, I just really got the sense that although the littles’ mom was enjoying herself, it was a ton of work to be on vacation with someone else and still try to manage her littles.    They didn’t sleep well, they didn’t eat well. It was really not much of a vacation for her.  As much as I enjoyed every minute of it, it’s good to take a step back and remember how much work a vacation is for the mom of your littles. We’ve all be there – it’s exhausting! Thank you to all the moms out there for letting grandmas make memories with your children.

What are your tips, advice and adventures On Vacationing with Grandma?

Martha L. (Minnesota)  Just took our 5 kids, spouses, and 11 grandchildren ranging ages of 8-1 (and 2 pregnant daughters) to Wisconsin Dells Holiday Shores Resort. We chose the place because:

  1. Variety of things to do
  2. Families could have their own cabin/space.
  3. Kitchens in cabins so families can feed kids what and when they like.
  4. Price was right as we were funding this gathering

I had crafts planned for down time/waiting for dinner to be prepared. They were a hit.   We had dinner together with each family cooking food they planned (I bought the food!). The families ended up taking turns with lunches as well. Grandpa and I opted out on the Mac and Cheese and corn dog cuisine (check the links for some Canadian info on that food!).   We had a wonderful time. We may be back.

Sounds like a well thought-out plan made all the difference.   I want to hear about those crafts sometime!

Lorri S. (Alberta, Canada) We are in the middle of a long weekend away with our son and his family. The smartest thing when vacationing with the littles is to give them their own space (our gift, of course). Granny and Papa sleep well and the other little family has so much fun jumping on the beds in the swanky hotel.

Here they are after a good night’s sleep.

You and Martha have both learned some valuable lessons in giving your grown-up children space so they can mange their children.  Everyone wins in the end!  Thanks Lorri – great advice – now go enjoy that swanky hotel!

Andrea G (Minnesota) I have 6 grandkids ages 10,8,6,4 and 1. So far all my grandkids live locally and I see them often. It’s a big blessing for all of us to be so involved with the grandkids. So far I haven’t experienced any teary goodbyes.

YAY!  I’m glad to hear that Andrea!  It is so nice to have them close by for sure.