Prep now for a Stress-Free Christmas

I know, I know, it isn’t even fall yet and here I am talking about Christmas! Each year I keep telling myself I’m going to get an early start on the holidays, and then end up at the last minute rushing around. This year is going to be different! All of us may have a little down time, due to the state of the world right now. Hopefully by Christmas we can start getting back to small gatherings and family get-togethers.

This Christmas I want to spend more time in the moment. Instead of running around trying to get everything done and missing the most important part…time together with those you love.

Here are a few things I’ve thought of that I can do now to prepare for Christmas!

Make your Christmas lists.

This is a great way to start planning for gifts, and preparing Christmas cards to be sent out. Right now is a good time to catch end-of-summer and Labor Day sales. Some states are having tax-free days for back to school. A lot of the items on sale would make great Christmas gifts.

Get your Christmas cards ready.

After you’ve made you list, why not go ahead and make out those Christmas cards! A lot of stores already have their Christmas section on display. Usually greeting cards are some of the first things to hit the shelves. If you’re like my daughter, she likes to do personalized photo cards each year. Now is a great time to schedule the photo shoot and get those Christmas cards ordered.

Make Homemade Gifts

Now is a great time to get started on that Christmas sweater or scarf you’ve been wanting to knit or crochet. I’m new to knitting, so I’ll just stick to a simple blanket. You don’t have to be ultra crafty or talented to make beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts. There are several things you can make from every day items around your house. Homemade gifts are from the heart and also help with your Christmas budget! Below is a link to one of my favorite websites for some great Homemade Christmas gift ideas!

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/homemade-gift-ideas-1251561

Make ahead meals, and cookie dough to freeze.

This is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love cooking and baking, but with family and friends coming over I want to spend more time with them and less time in the kitchen. Making and freezing that pot of chili or beef stew is still homemade with love, but convenient for you! Mixing up several batches of cookie dough is a great idea year-round, especially at Christmas! Cookie exchange parties, bake sales, last minute gifts, and of course, cookies for Santa! Below are a few of my favorite cookie recipes that freeze well. Just roll them into a log or into little balls, then wrap them in wax paper and place them in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to label and date them! Slice and bake a batch of homemade cookies in just minutes!

https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/g2177/easy-christmas-cookies/

Start preparing for overnight guests.

You can make up these welcome gifts ahead of time, shrink wrap or just warp them in a plastic bag to keep clean, then store them on a closet shelf. You can make up themes or individualize them for the guests you know will be coming to stay with you.

Another great idea to prepare for overnight guests is to have new bottles of soap, shampoo, conditioner and packaged razors on hand. If you need to buy a few more towels and washcloths, this is good time to find them on sale and stock up. I like to buy all white bath towels. They can be bleached and kept stain free. It’s just a comforting feeling for your guests to know their towels and washcloths are sanitary.
Keep them in a cabinet, then the day before they arrive, refresh the bathroom with new toiletries and linens. This is something I know I love and appreciate.

As far as the bedroom itself, I like to wash the linens just before they arrive to ensure they have clean, fresh sheets to sleep on. In addition, I put a bedtime linen spray on the nightstand. It can be difficult sleeping away from home, but with the help of some organic lavender linen spray, your guests will be able to nod off and dream of sugarplum fairies!

So let’s get busy now, so we can relax and enjoy the holidays later!

Slow down and find your peace

Ahhhh!……Every morning, as I’m walking around my garden, I can feel those subtle changes in the air…Fall is right around the corner! Crisp leaves, cooler evenings, bon fires, flannel and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! I’m so ready!

I’ve already been busy planting my fall garden, and decorating for the season. I know I’m a bit early as far as the calendar is concerned, but I go with my gut feeling, I go with what brings me Joy!

This has been a bit of a crazy year for everyone! I’m sure many of you have found your garden to be a bit of an oasis from the media, fear and politics. I know I have! When visits with family have been limited or not at all, my garden has been a reminder to be grateful. Slow down. Enjoy the little things. Be patient.

Each day I try to spend a little time puttering about my garden. Talking to my plants, playing soothing music, and basking in the sunshine. It’s good for the soul.

I feel like planting a garden is its own kind of optimism. You are sowing seeds, in hopes of a better future. You are watering, weeding, feeding and caring for something that you will enjoy many weeks from now. In the world of instant gratification, this is a practice of patience in itself.

I’m sure many of you have found your own way to cope with this year. Finding your peace is essential right now. Whether it’s gardening, writing, yoga, painting, exercise, or just breathing….you’re doing great!
It is so important to care for our mental and physical health during this time.

As Grandparents it can be difficult maybe not seeing our grandchildren as often as we would like this year. We have all had to resort to some social distancing, virtual visits and phone calls. With hope for a better future, we are sowing the seeds and nurturing relationships today.

As the changing seasons often show us, change is good and necessary.
Spring is a time of new beginnings, Summer is a time to thrive, Fall shows us how beautiful it can be to let go of things that no longer serve us, and Winter is a time for rest and thoughtful planning.

Embrace each season.

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

Summer Fun!

I love hosting cook-outs for friends and family as much as I can during the summer. As most of you know, it can be tricky trying to have a stress-free, bug-free (especially here in the South), happy gathering for all! Throughout the years, I’ve found a few tried and true tips to make any summer party a great success!

First, prepare the space to be used. Usually it’s a backyard, patio or possibly a portion of your street blocked off for a neighborhood party. It’s a good idea to make sure the space is cleared, and there are designated areas are assigned for different activities. We don’t want anyone sliding down a slip-n-slide, headed towards a bar-b-que grill! Safety first, people!

By setting designated areas, it allows for children to play, adults to sit and socialize, and for food prep, cooking, and eating to be in certain zones without safety hazards.

Usually when there’s food outside in the summer, the bugs will come rushing in! There’s nothing more annoying than constantly shooing flies away as you’re trying to enjoy your burger! Tiki torches with citronella fuel is great for repelling mosquitoes and give a festive vibe to any summer celebration. Be aware of fire danger if you use these. There are also a few fire-free ways to repel mosquitoes, flies and biting insects. Some planted herbs, like rosemary, mint, and lemongrass are great natural ways to repel these pests. Potted marigolds placed around your patio and on tables also adds a decorative touch, while keeping the pesky bugs at bay. In addition to this, you can use essential oils like like lavender and eucalyptus sprayed around the party area. It provides a natural repellent and a smells amazing! Another inexpensive tip for repelling bugs is to use mint mouthwash in a spray bottle! Spray the tables, chairs, patio and side walks! The refreshing smell will keep the flies away!

Now for setting up the kids play area. It’s a good idea to include water play features, yard games and a cooler of kid-friendly drinks. Place this area near the sitting area of the adults, so even though the adults are busy socializing, they can keep a watchful eye on the kids at all times. The idea of having a kids-only cooler of drinks is a good idea, especially if alcoholic beverages are being served. You don’t want a child mistakenly grabbing an adult drink. Fill the cooler with lots of small water bottles, juices and Popsicles. Setting up a water play area, some games like horseshoes, badminton, bocce ball and water balloons is a great way to keep the little ones from being bored. Here are a few of my favorite items that have been a hit though the years, along with a few new things! I’m especially in love with the Bunch O Balloons! Fills many water balloons at once and are self-sealing! Win-Win! Fantastic for a fun water balloon fight! At the end of the party, I like to give small gifts to all of the children that help pick up the piece of balloons left on the yard. It’s a great incentive to have help in cleaning up.

Setting up the Fourth of July festivities table! Of course, after the sun goes down, we’re all looking forward to a fireworks show! If you’re a “big show” kind of person, that’s great! Some states are very restrictive on the use of fireworks, so I like to go for a little more low-key, less-risk, kind of celebration (better for animals and small children). It’s fun to set out a small table with cute mason jars filled with glow sticks, sparklers, snap ‘n pops, and party poppers. It’s a festive way to celebrate in a safe manner.

As for the Adult sitting area, having misting fans (personal or standing) is ideal. Usually the adults aren’t doing water-play with the children, and need a way to stay cool also. In addition, the fans will also help with keeping insects away, it disrupts their flight, making it harder to get to you! Also, pop up a few umbrellas, place the sitting area under a shade tree, or under a cabana. Have bottles of sunscreen, extra sunglasses, and and jaw hair clips available on the tables in the adult sitting area. These may be things your guests didn’t bring, and are handy on a hot summers day!
Have the adult drinks cooler nearby with plenty of water and also some favorite adult libations! Another great item to have in the cooler is a gallon size baggie filled with moist washcloths or disposable, wet towelettes. Its quite refreshing to be able to cool your face, neck and hands on a hot day!

The cooking area should be kept the furthest from the children for safety reasons, of course. We don’t need kids running by grills, food prep areas or toppling over your great-aunts famous trifle! Setting small picnic table for the “kids-table” is a good idea. The children will know that when it’s time to eat or need a snack, they can safely sit at the “kids-table” and not be under-foot in the cooking area. Make sure you have plenty of coolers and chafing dish buffet sets to help keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot! (Refer to safe temperatures recommended for each dish). It’s also great to have disinfectant counter, and hand wipes for those clean-ups when you may not be near a sink. Below are a few of my favorite picks that work great for any outdoor party!

Now is the perfect time for having family and friends over to enjoy those lazy days of summer! Enjoy with the greatest of ease, making wonderful memories together! Happy Summer Everyone!

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

You Reap, What You Sow

These words ring true in every aspect of life. Where your attention goes, energy flows….and love grows. Sometimes our day to day life tends to guide us, instead of us making an intentional effort towards our true purpose. I understand there are the necessary measures to keep our lives in motion. Jobs, bills, errands, housework, and all of those things to maintain life at a comfortable level. These things seem to consume most of our time. It often feels like we don’t have any “extra” time to do the things we want to do, verses the things we have to do.

If you really evaluate your time, you have more than you realize. I sometimes spend way too much time on social media, or sitting in traffic on my way to the store for something I could have ordered on Amazon. We all have our little “time-wasters”.

When my grandchildren are visiting, I really try to make sure my time is budgeted, and I spend quality time with them. I believe it’s important to share your love and interests with these wonderful little people, and to also be open to explore their interests, as well.

I absolutely love sharing my love of gardening, yoga and reading, whereas they love to teach me about video games, catching fireflies, crafting, and we go on hikes together! It’s important to share these things together. It teaches you so much about that person and creates a lasting bond.

Taking time for yourself and the ones you love, is important. If you really account for your time, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. If you love writing, sports, painting, playing music, making kites, sewing, whittling, maths or building things…whatever your interests are, you and your grandchildren will benefit from spending this time together.

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

Summer at Nana and Grandpa’s

I remember spending several weeks every summer with my grandmother. My grandfather passed away when I was 3 months old, so I never had a chance to get to know him.

I would always look forward to school letting out for summer vacation. We didn’t travel much, or take vacations when I was a child, but going to my grandmother’s was the perfect way to spend my summers.

I lived on a farm and my grandmother lived in Dallas, Texas. It was quite different from my day to day life. It was a refreshing and welcome change. I was always excited to spend as much time as I could with my grandmother.

I believe grandparents play an important role in a grandchild’s life. We can feel like “home”, and also give them a sense of “vacation”. We may keep some rules that mom and dad request, but we also like to bend the rules a bit….and there’s nothing wrong with that!

With our grandchildren coming to spend summer with us, we have a few things planned that hopefully will create a wonderful summer, with long-lasting memories for our grandchildren.

Our goal is to make sure we have plenty of activities planned, so they don’t just automatically turn to their iPads or video games for their entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, we love to play video games with my grandkids, but we need to create some balance.

I’ve created a calendar with daily activities, but also allowed some free-time to just relax and let the day happen. I used to own a daycare and this is how I planned for our summer activities that were great for all ages. Kids like to have a little structure, something to look forward to. That’s why I believe “scheduling” activities is a great way to get the most out of summer vacation!
Sometimes you may have to switch things around a bit to accommodate for weather, or just change of mood.

Here are some of my favorite activities I have planned for the grandbabies this summer!

Bowling! Most towns have a local bowling alley, and some have times for cosmic bowling (lights turned down and glow in the dark fun). You can also get a bowling set online and play at home if you like!

Cosmic Bowling

Movies! (at the theater or at home) Make popcorn and special treats. Check out special summer, and matinee pricing at your local theater!

Sidewalk chalk! ( make a “quilt”, everyone can contribute their artwork to one area) I also like to add a little learning in with sidewalk chalk! I create a “blueprint” of a house on a sheet of paper. Write measurements for the walls, and give my grandkids a tape measure. They have to measure and draw out the blueprint to scale on the driveway. Then, if they are old enough, I have them figure out the square footage of each room and the entire “house”. You can make this as easy, or complex according to their age and ability.

Sidewalk Chalk

Plant a tree or garden! It’s always fun to plant some seeds, plants or a tree and watch them grow! This helps teach children about being good stewards of the Earth. It gives them a reality of where there food comes from and how to sustain the planet.

Water play day! This is always fun, whether it be a pool, slip ’n slide, water balloons, water guns or a sprinkler! Also add in blowing bubbles! Plastic pools filled with dish soap and water, then use a small hula hoop, bubble wands. kitchen strainers, etc. to make bubbles!

Visit your local museum, or place of history in your area! It’s a great way to learn while having fun!

“Camp Nana’s”! Make s’mores, go hiking, build a tent in the backyard (or living room), learn the names of your local trees and plants and how to recognize them. Have archery games ( Nerf has a great archery set I’ll link below), horseshoe toss, corn hole, sack races (pillow cases are great for these).

S’mores!

Paint rocks! (especially fun with glow-in-the dark paint) You can use these to decorate your garden, or hide in places where someone else can find and enjoy them!

Glow in the Dark, Painted Rocks

Go on a picnic! Either in your backyard or a local park. This is always fun! Lay a blanket out, find the “perfect” spot, enjoy your favorite picnic foods and great conversation with your favorite little ones! Another great idea is to bring a book, this is a great time to relax in the shade and read a story aloud to your grandkids!

Visit a Factory! This is so much fun! It could be a local factory that makes something interesting, a chocolate factory, a bakery, or one of my favorites, Krispy Kreme donuts! You may have to call ahead for a tour, but they are usually pretty happy to accommodate and give free samples along the way!

Krispy Kreme

Crafting! The only limit is your imagination! I love to have a lot of crafting supplies on hand, but if you’re limited on space, you can get crafting kits online or at your local craft store. I also like to do “recycling” crafts. You can find tons of “how-to’s” online or Youtube. I like making paper bowls from old magazines or newspapers. Click the link below for instructions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPVC3tS-tzQ&t=16s

Time Machine Day! Take a journey back in time! This can be a day of doing the things you loved as a child. Show them how you would spend your summers when you were young. Make homemade ice-cream, play games like Jacks, send a slinky down a flight of stairs, ride bikes, play hide-and-go seek, or whatever your favorite memory of childhood was, share this with your grandkids!

Another variation of Time Machine Day! Dress, Act, Create and eat from another time in History! This can be a fun way to learn and also entertain the grandkids! The internet is quite helpful in researching everything from recipes, clothing and daily routines from any time in History.


Needless to say, there are endless possibilities of things to do with the grandchildren this summer! Remember even just sitting with them quietly, snuggling or chatting is important too. All of these things will create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime!

I’ve linked below a few of my favorite items mentioned. I hope you all have a beautiful and glorious Summer!

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Homemade Ice Cream

One of my favorite memories of summer, was making Homemade Ice Cream. We had an old wooden Ice Cream maker with a crank handle. When I was about 5 years old, my job was to sit on the top bar of the ice cream maker so it would stay in place as my dad cranked the handle….what seemed like hours later, we had the most delicious, creamy ice cream on the planet! I know there are some spectacular Ice Cream brands out there, but in my opinion, nothing beats homemade.

I found an electric Ice Cream maker that reminds me of my childhood, (thankfully fully electric and makes ice cream in under 30 minutes) Also there are some sleek, beautiful, new models that make ice cream and sorbets!

Here are two ice cream recipes I will be making with my grandchildren all summer! There’s the original vanilla (with egg yolks), this is the one I grew up with. Then there’s a quick and easy, with no egg. Both are equally delicious!

Original Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (with eggs)

4 eggs

2 cups white sugar

2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (you can use vanilla bean paste, or vanilla bean)

Whole milk

With an electric mixer, cream eggs and sugar. Add evaporated milk, condensed milk, and vanilla. Beat well. Pour into an electric ice cream churn. Add whole milk to fill line. Insert dasher. Pack cooler 1/3 full with ice. Add a layer of rock salt. Repeat layering with ice and salt until full. Note: be careful not to overfill, spilling salt into the churn. When machine starts to labor or shut off, remove the dasher and drain water. Fill with more ice and salt. Cover with a towel and let harden.

You can add fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc.) Cover sliced fruit with 1 Cup of sugar and add before the Whole milk.

*** CONSUMING RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEATS, POULTRY, SEAFOOD, SHELLFISH, OR EGGS MAY INCREASE YOUR RISK OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS

Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (without eggs)

4 cups half-and-half or light cream

1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 tablespoons vanilla extract (you can you vanilla bean paste, or vanilla bean)

In large bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Pour into ice cream freezer container. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze leftovers.

I found two Ice Cream makers on Amazon I really like. I want to bring back the the Nostalgia of my childhood with this churn. It looks very similar to the one we had when I was young, but it electric instead of hand crank. Love that! Homemade Ice Cream in under 30 minutes! You can click the photo below to order this Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker.

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The second Ice Cream maker is sleek and modern, with many extra features! This one makes yogurt, sorbet and ice cream. Definitely a plus!

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I hope you all enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful Summer!

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

Best Rated, Travel-with-Children, Must Haves!

School is out and summer is upon us! Many of us will be heading out on family vacations. Usually planes, trains and automobiles will be part of the plan. Here are a few of my recommendations for the “Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored.” moments that might (always do) occur along the way.

Having three grown children of my own, and two wonderful grandchildren, I’ve learn a thing or two about family travel made as easy and happy as possible!

First are the incredible CozyPhones. Comfortable, one-size-fits all, headband, headphones. Children can listen to their favorite movie, games or music without disturbing others.

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Next, I fell in love with this adorable Llama, rolling tote. Perfect size for little travelers. Fits easily a small blanket, pillow, change of clothes, book, Ipad and snacks. It’s a scooter too! How cool is that?

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Making sure everyone stays hydrated on the go, I found this great kid size water bottle. BPA free. It comes in a variety of adorable colors and is leak-free! That’s a must!

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What better way to remember all of the wonderful travels this summer than with a children’s travel journal! I love this one! My grandchildren use this one. It’s very kid-friendly. It has space for free-writing and also writing prompts. This will be a treasure for years to come! They will enjoy sharing their memories with their children someday, from their own experiences as a child!

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In addition to this great journal, Fuji makes a kid-friendly version of the old “insta-matic” camera! I remember having one in the 1970’s! These are great, easy to use and durable! The photos develop instantly and your child can add photos to their travel journal without having to save them digitally and print later!

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I hope these ideas will make this summer’s vacation the absolute BEST!

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

Unicorn Rainbow Dip

School is coming to an end, and summer vacation is here! What better way to celebrate than with a Unicorn Rainbow Dip! I always like to celebrate the beginning of summer with my children and grandchildren! A pool party, beach party or set up the sprinkler in the yard! it’s time to celebrate warm weather, and sunny, funny days!!
Let’s get started!

You will need:

*1 block of cream cheese

*1 jar of marshmallow fluff

*1/4 tsp. salt

*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*food coloring

*Bugels, graham crackers or fruit

*small mixing bowls

TO MAKE THE RAINBOW DIP

Place room temperature cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl along with a jar of marshmallow fluff, and salt.

Mix well.

Add vanilla extract.

Equally distribute fluff into small mixing bowls (cereal bowls are perfect size)

Next add a couple drops of food color at a time until you are satisfied with the results.

Place each color in a serving bowl, and swirl colors together.

You can add rainbow sprinkles, stars or small candies as garnish.

Serve with fruit, graham crackers or Bugles! Enjoy!

Happy Summer, Everyone!

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

Respect Your Child’s Choice

I have three grown children. All wonderful, and different in every way. They all have very different goals, personalities and lifestyles. Since they were very young, they had some idea of what they wanted their lives to be like when they grew up. We all did, but sometimes, very often so, those ideas change.

My oldest daughter dreamt of being a fashion designer, living in New York. No plans of marrying or having children.
….She’s very happily married now, with two children that she homeschools and they are starting their homestead in the mountains soon.

My middle child, and only son, always wanted to be a “Bug Scientist”, married with five children.
….He’s a Medical Laboratory Scientist that travels with his job. He has a steady girlfriend, they work in the same field, would like to eventually marry, and are not sure if they will decide to have children.

My youngest daughter, always wanted to be an artist and rescue animals. Wasn’t really sure of wanting to marry and definitely didn’t want children.
….She is currently in school for graphic art, has a wonderful boyfriend she wants to marry eventually, and still has absolutely no desire to have children.

My “Three Little Birds”

I know a lot of times, as we grow older and our children grow up, we have that yearning desire to become grandparents. We want to carry on the family name, create a legacy and pass on our genes. It’s biological. It’s a survival instinct. It’s a right of passage! We earned the right to be an elder, a grandparent and to enjoy fruits of our labor. Right? …Wrong.

When we were younger, it was our choice to have children. Either by birth or adoption, it was your choice. ( I’m not going even get into the most recent political debates on this choice, I shall try to keep this post peaceful, and insightful. )
So we should not automatically assume that our children will make the same choice. Deep down, you may be yearning to become a grandparent, but if your child has decided that parenthood is not for them, please respect that choice.

We live in a crazy, wonderful world! We have so many different political, religious, gender, lifestyle, career, and “life-meaning” opinions. Just because you gave birth, or raised a child, does not mean that they are a carbon copy of you. They have their own ideas of what they want, and who they are. Respect that! If they want children, love them! Be that wonderful grandparent and support their choice. If they want to be fur baby parents, love them! Treat those wonderful fur-grandbabies with love and respect. If your child chooses to be solitary, traveling, home-body, married, not married, polyamorous, or whatever they choose! Please respect that choice. Love your child for who they are, not what you expect them to be. Love with an open heart. No judgments, expectations or pressure to please you. Their choices are theirs alone.

Like many of us, my family is my life. I am absolutely grateful for each and every person in my family. It’s not always a blood bond, it’s a love bond. You choose your tribe, your family. That family can be varied and eclectic. Mine definitely is! I have human children, fur children, human grandchildren, fur grandchildren, blood relatives, marriage relatives and friends as close as family. I encourage you to love them all and love their choices! After all, that is what makes each of us who we are.

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

That First Grandbaby

There’s something about that moment you hold your first grandchild. Just when you thought you knew everything about being a parent and bringing a new baby into this world, you are then handed that first grandchild,…and everything changes. It’s different. Everything feels very different. It’s almost surreal. A love you didn’t know before.

My First Grandbaby, Jack

I know from being a mother, that has given birth to three children, for obvious reasons it feels different.
You haven’t just spent nine months growing a baby inside of you, ( and ALL the things that go with that) and you haven’t spent hours and hours in labor, with the greatest reward having finally given birth.

I know when I was pregnant with my second child, I had a very real fear. After giving birth to my daughter, my first child, I felt no greater love. So, as I became pregnant with my second child, my son, I feared I couldn’t love another child as much as I loved my first. I was terrified. I knew I loved him already, but it wasn’t yet quite like my daughter who was toddling around under my feet and crawling up into my lap. Not until he was born, and placed in my arms, did I truly understand the capacity our hearts have for love. It’s immeasurable. By the time I became pregnant with my youngest daughter, my third child, I was fully aware of how a mother’s love does not have favorites, limits, or can love one child more than another. It is absolutely the most powerful and incredible love in the universe.

My babies and I at Stonehenge

Then there are the grandchildren. Specifically, that FIRST grandchild. By no means at all, will I ever love one grandchild more than another, but that first one changed me. I thought it would be like having a fourth child. I knew what it was like to have a new baby in the family. It wasn’t the same. I was a new person now. I had officially become a grandmother, or Nana as I prefer to be called. My heart was overwhelmed. I felt compelled to protect like a mother and grandmother. Protect not only my daughter who had just given birth,but my grandson as well. It’s almost like when you’re playing a video game and you “level up”. I “leveled up” that day. My role became even bigger than I ever imagined! I had spent years trying to be the best mom possible, learning so much along the way. Trial and error. I felt at times, I totally had no clue what I was doing…so I was just “winging it!”. I’m proud to announce, all three children turned out INCREDIBLE! I’m not sure how, but I did it!

Now I was in a whole new category, this new role of Nana. I wasn’t sure what to do. All I knew was, I was a much older, wiser, calmer, patient and “seasoned” person than I was as a parent. Instead of just feeling like I was in “survival mode”, I was in “prepare for the future” mode. I had an overwhelming sense of wanting to teach my grandchild everything I knew. I felt wiser than I was when raising my own children. I wanted to slow down and soak up every moment, instead of just trying to make sure the children were fed, bathed, homework done, and bath time. For once, these issues were not my worries. My daughter and son-in-law were the parents, these were their responsibility.

Jack, Molly and Nana

Nana. What is my role? I get to do a lot of fun stuff, that’s what my role is! Of course, I can, and will discipline if necessary. I incorporate learning in almost everything I do with my grandchildren. My first grandchild, Jack taught me to be that person. Due to divorce, there were periods of time I lived with my daughter and son-in-law for months at a time. Although by society standard today, that’s frowned upon. Everyone is used to living in separate houses. That’s actually a very unnatural way of living. For centuries, and still in many countries, many generations live under one roof. I think this is a beautiful concept! We all lived, worked, loved, nurtured, supported and helped each other. An unbreakable bond, that grew stronger each day. After my second grandchild was born, my daughter and son-in-law made me feel even more valuable. I was there to help cook, clean, bathe the grandbabies and, give much-needed breaks, for date nights, or just sleeping in. I was able to bond with my new granddaughter, Molly, but also still have that special bond with my grandson Jack. Jack and I would play, snuggle, read or watch cartoons, while mom and dad bonded with the new baby. I loved living in the same house as my daughter and son-in-law.

Of course with the birth of Molly, I knew my heart, again had an unlimited space for love. Especially for grandchildren. I only have my two grandchildren, as of now. Maybe I’ll have more in the future, maybe not. Regardless of what my future holds, my sweet little Jack, Jack will always hold that special title as my “first grandchild”. The one that taught me a whole new level of love, and a deeper sense of being. The one that “leveled me up” to this prestigious title of Nana.

“Keeping Grandparenting Glorious!”