January Blues No More

Post holidays! Don’t we all welcome the days AFTER the holiday just as much as the celebrations themselves? I certainly do. The rush, the hustle and bustle, the cleaning, cooking, buying, wrapping, planning, ack! Endless. At least it seems so and then..BAM. It’s here and over. The decorations are packed away for another year, the household back in it’s usual order and we in our routine once more. I use to not be as welcoming of this post-holiday time. January felt like a let down when the children were younger. All I could see was a long winter ahead with anxious thoughts of how to keep them all busy when it was too cold for outdoor play or we were snowed in or not enough extra cash for a family night out. The prospect of two plus months managing three children with a healthy sibling rivalry, little money and a New England winter was not conducive to a happy Mom. However, I’m older and wiser now. I relish this time. Time for me to relax on Sunday afternoons, to play board games with the GP, to take long naps on those snowed in days or just cook up a storm as another rages outside my window. To appreciate the sight of the tiny white lights that still adorn the fence and front door of the house as I drive up after a long day at work, knowing my family is safe inside, something yummy waiting to fill our bellies and warm fleece blankets to cuddle with together until the Sand Man arrives.
These are a few of my favorite things.
Happy Tuesday!

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Is That Your Mom?

Meet My Grandma!

Is she your Mother? How many times have you over heard that question from your grandchild’s playmate or classmate and held your breath, awaiting their reply? Seems grandparents are younger and younger these days so having to ask the question to clarify if you’re Mom or Grand Mom may be totally within the realm of possibilities. Besides, age is irrelevant to most kids and only as they get older do they see that you look, act or speak “older” than their own parents. I believe I don’t hold my breath quite as often as I first did in those early days. And I did so more in anticipation of the GP being uncomfortable answering or feeling the need to explain his living circumstances. Then I realized I was projecting my own feelings from “way back when”.
You see, I too was raised by my grandparents in a time when it was far less common. And I distinctly remember those classmates who seemed to take pleasure in reminding me that my grandparents were not my “real parents”.
The Grand Prince always seems to handle this question in stride, answering without hesitation “that’s my Nana”. He’s lucky in that he knows and sees his Mom on a regular basis so the lines are clearly defined. We’ve always been honest and upfront about the circumstances that brought him to live with us and though we’re not so naive as to think he’ll sail through adolescence without questions of identity, we strongly feel he’s got a good foundation. I think that’s the best gift we can give our grandchildren; honesty tempered with love and sincerity. If you struggle with the ‘hows, whys and whens” of sharing your grandchild’s life circumstance, please seek professional counseling. There are many many wonderful people available to help you work through the words and ways of imparting information to your grandkids. Remember, your grandchildren’s friends want to hang out with them because they’re simply great kids. Not because you’re 33 and can wear “skinny jeans”. Not to say you couldn’t wear them, but some things are better left to the young. 🙂
Happy Sunday!

After School Crazed

Do It All Diva!


We’ve finally settled into the routine of a school schedule, reluctantly leaving behind the lazier ways of summer and looking forward to a productive and fun school year. New teacher, new friends, new adventures.
It’s the first week of November so we’ve got it down pat by now. What I hadn’t recalled, when raising our other kiddos, was the after school commitments and sports activities and how the “run around cycle” wreaks havoc on the aforementioned schedule. After school activities deplete your energy and drain your gas tank; tosses any idea of cozy family dinners out the window and drives up stock in Chef-Boy-Ardee and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. You can pretty much bank on being in bed 10 minutes after the boy goes down for the night and then asleep with the remote in your hand or the book not even opened on your lap.
At 9:30PM.
Yikes!
Let’s see, there’s band and clarinet lessons on Monday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday bring youth football practice and squeezing in the school newspaper project on Wednesday afternoons and before practice on Thursdays. Game day is on Sunday. Oh! The dog trainer comes on Saturday mornings. Yes, we got a dog. A puppy who is now 8 months old. And a Lab. A rambunctious Lab, to say the least. We’ll save that for another blog post. The Spouse and I have learned the fine art of division. Not mathematically speaking, more along the lines of “you take football, I’ll do band and newspaper days and we’ll both watch the Sunday games.” Anyhow, the football program ends this weekend (we’re in the championship game by the way! Undefeated to boot! WOOHOO!) so after that we get to breathe a tad easier a couple of days a week.
Until basketball season starts in January. Hmmm.

Happy Friday all!

Good Friday Morning!

Can anyone tell me why it’s snowing outside my window? I sooooo thought we were done with the wintry white stuff and freezing temps.

Silly me! This is New England after all. Just wait a minute or two, the weather will change.

Something to be said for unpredictability! Makes for interesting living.

Make it a great day!
Love and Light.

Spring is here!

First let me say I’m stunned that it’s been over six months since my last post. Time has a way of rushing past when you’re busy with family, work, life and a little bit of play. And those of you raising a grandchild know just how little ‘play time’ we grandparents get some times! Writing seems to be a luxury these days but one I feel I need to get back to.
So, here I am again.

Spring is here!

At least the calendar says so but the torrential downpours of the past days are a bit over the top to quantify the “Spring showers bring flowers” adage. Many people in our state have been dealing with flooded basements, yards, cars, roads and trying to cope with the mess left behind by the “Ark” waters.
I’m quite grateful we weren’t subjected to any of the above and keep those that were in my prayers; hoping they have good flood insurance!
We’ve been teased, when the rains did subside, with wonderful temps that lure thoughts of warmer weather, tulips, yard work, cardinals calling, blue jays squawking and all the things that remind one of the change of seasons.
The biggest of which is daylight savings time! Those longer daylight hours at the end of each day are the best and most significant sign for me that the Mother Nature is tucking away her winter blankets of snow and dressing up in more colorful garb of sunshine and flowers.
Time to start planning a bigger veggie garden this year and think about getting the pool up and ready again.

I think I’ll leave the second one to the Spouse. 🙂

Happy Wednesday all! it’s good to be back.

I’m Bored

sad-bored-daydreaming-child-thumb6691613
One of the most dreaded two word sentences a parent will hear.
I’m bored!
Summertime is usually when these syllables slide out in a long groan from the mouth of a child slumped over the arm of an overstuffed chair, feet up, head hanging down.
You offer suggestions. None of them satisfy this pretzel twisted child.
Then you ask the question you’ve been holding back in hopes your other ideas would spark interest.
“What would you like to do?”

The litany begins:
Bonkers? (sunny and 80 degrees, who wants to be inside?)

Chuckie Cheese? (the name causes a cold sweat)
Laser Quest? (wear ear plugs if you’re a newbie)
Red Sox Game? (ticket prices WAY out of reach here!)
Pool Party? (maybe I can deal with this on a limited kid basis)

We live on the coast. A coast known for beautiful, pristine beaches, many kid friendly parks and scenic views that tourists flock to see every year.
But, my grandson has ‘seen all that stuff’, after all we live here!
What happend to the days when a kid just got out of bed in the mornign and couldn’t wait to greet the day, a mom usually insisting he or she at least guzzle a glass of juice before heading out. Bikes to ride, trees to climb, forts to build…all that creative, imaginative stuff that make for sweet dreams when his head hits the pillow, weary but happy.
I think parents have spent far too much time schlepping kids to every new attraction, theme park and event that they’ve forgotten the art of play.
Perhaps we need to reintroduce our children to simple, creative, imaginative play. Dust off the bike and go for a ride. Take a short hike in some nearby woods and collect pine cones, leaves. Lift rocks to see something squirmy slither out. Bring a picnic lunch and sit under a tree and just……listen.
Think I’ll go dig out the wicker picnic basket and upright that boy before the blood pools in his head.

Happy Monday!

He’s Being Eight..

eightI’m very fortunate to have extensive experience facilitating parenting education groups as well as many years working in a social service agency. Both of these situations have afforded me wonderful resources in terms of access to people who work with children and have a wealth of knowledge around child development issues. It’s a resource I’ve tapped multiple times over the years.
With all this knowledge and resources at my fingertips, one would think I’d have a handle on just about any situation that arises when one is parenting a child.
Wrong. I don’t.
Case in point. The GrandPrince (grandson approaching eight years old in a few weeks) recently was behaving in a manner that was, well, not himself. He was flippant, a bit combative, sulky and challenged almost every statement or decision I made insisting on knowing the ‘why’ of each one and loudly voicing his reasons as to why it should or should not happen.
Now I have a pretty democratic parenting style. I know not to get pulled into power struggles, the importance of giving choices, when to set boundaries and limits and respecting a child’s feelings. But this kid was pushing my buttons big time!
I talked to the Spouse about the GP’s behavior and he was as stumped as I was. It was simply out of character for him. The light bulb went off for both of us at the same time.
He must have some dormant feelings he’s not dealing with about his adoption/living situation/mother/sister/not having a traditional family, etc, etc. You name it, we came up with it. We immediately put our head’s together to determine a strategy that would help to narrow down what could be bothering our grandson and how best to support him and encourage him to share his feelings with us.
Given my access to the above mentioned resources, I spoke to a dear friend who happens to be a fabulous social worker with a number of years in the field working with children and families. I listed all the behaviors and the possibilities for this acting out that had changed our usual compliant, good natured grandson into an irritating, restless, sullen stranger. She listened quite attentively, nodding appropriately and then sat back a minute before replying.
“I can see how upsetting this is for you, and how perplexing too. Have you thought that perhaps he’s just being an eight year old?”
I blinked. And blinked again. I was complicating things by overlooking the simplicity of them. I dug out some child development books and lo and behold I could have inserted his name right under “Your Eight Year Old’s Social/Emotional Development”.
My point in all this is, as grandparents raising our grandchildren we are at times hell bent, I believe, to make life as ‘normal’ as possible for them to make up for what they don’t have; that traditional Mom and Dad who are age appropriate and are just like the parents of all their friends.
Truth is, we’re not a traditional family, but we *are* a family. A loving, caring, nurturing, supportive family. And yes, our circumstances are different from the traditional families on the block and with that comes, at times, issues that must be addressed, questions answered, feelings expressed and dealt with. But most of the time, we’re just like everyone else who’s raising a child and trying to do the best they can to help that child grow to be a happy, confident, loving, caring human being.
It’s not always about the differences, sometimes it’s just about being eight. Happy Birthday, kiddo.

Happy Friday
.