Good-bye, 2014 and hello, 2015

And, now, here we are, January 1, 2015.  Not only is it a new day but also a new year.  2015.  I remember that as a kid in the 1960’s  if I heard someone say something about the year 2000, it sounded so futuristic to me.  So “Jetsons.”  I pictured us riding around in flying cars, robots doing our housework (and homework) and all that.  And then came the “Back to the Future” movies where they shoot ahead 30 years and they are in the year 2015.  As I left the theater after seeing that movie I remember thinking and wondering what life will be like in the year 2015.

And, suddenly, here we are, the year 2015.  As I look around, I don’t see any of the futuristic things from either the Jetsons or Back to the Future and that’s okay.  What I do see are a lot of messages for peace, prosperity, new opportunities, and changes for the good.  I wish for all those things, too.  I see more people pulling together to help and support others.  I see more love and understanding and general concern for fellow human beings.  And, that to me is fantastic!

For my husband and I, I hope for a new beginning.   It’s interesting how one or two life changing events can turn things around for you.  Not just life changing events, but enormous life changing events and events that normally would seem to be negative.

The last couple of months of 2014 were filled with high stress, tension, sadness, loss, disbelief and shock.  The last couple of months also were filled with forgiveness, understanding, acceptance and compassion.  What seemed like the end at first, actually turned into the beginning.  What seemed like a complete loss actually became hope for new opportunities.

We started off with reduced income and then finally our income was lost completely.  Of course the loss of income set in motion a domino effect, which includes downsizing and moving to a new home.

But, in spite of such loss, we have also gained renewed hope.  Hope for a fresh start in the New Year.  We remember to keep our situation in perspective and maintain an attitude of gratitude.  We are blessed and still have so much, and we simply can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

We remember that in October of 2013, our little grandson nearly died shortly after he was born and now he is a healthy, energetic and adorable toddler.

We remember all the parents who have lost their little ones.

We remember all who suffer due to  illness, poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

We know how blessed we are; we won’t be homeless, we have a home to move into.

We still have our health insurance due to my husband’s retirement from the military.

And, our list of blessings goes on and on.

Instead of focusing on what we have lost, we will focus on the good that will come with this life changing event, which includes some opportunities for starting businesses and working toward some life goals and dreams.   Together, we will begin a new chapter with renewed vigor.

And, so, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year.  May it be a year of prosperity, good health, laughter, joy and happiness for all of you!

Happy New Year!




Grandma’s Journal

Going outside with the kids is one of my favorite activities. Not long ago I posted on how Eric figured out by himself how to get up the hill that is our front yard. (the downward dog walk) So, today, he was working on going down the hill. He’s figured out that if he just does a reverse “commando crawl” that works a lot better for going down the hill than the stand up, lose your balance and roll down method. He tires easily of any kind of hill climbing and ends up just studying leaves, acorns and rocks within reach of where he is sitting. When he got tired of sitting he just used the regular crawl to get to either me or Bob, grabbed our pants legs and waited for us to pick him up! Being carried when you are tired is the best way of all!

Grandma’s Journal

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I can’t imagine many things being better than to discover the world through the eyes of very small children. Bob and I took Norah and Eric for a ride in their wagon this morning. I absolutely love it when Norah says, “Do you hear that? The birds are chirping.” Or that the dogs are barking or asks if we see the cars and the big truck. She will point things out in the yards of neighbors. After we got back from our walk/ride we took our usual walk to the front yard where Norah loves to explore. Soon it was lunch time and as we began our journey toward the door, Norah and I stopped to look up at the trees and searched for the birds and squirrels that were hiding. It was so cool to watch her as she heard all the different bird sounds and she whispers, “Shh..what’s that? Did you hear that, Grandma?” I love watching her explore and discover.

Grandma’s Journal

Our front yard is a hill. It’s great in winter for sledding when we have snow. But, when you are brand new to walking and are just a few days short of your first birthday, that hill must seem like a mountain. Eric’s “I do it” spirit clearly was shining as he shook his hands free from mine, as I tried to offer assistance getting up the hill. He’d take a step or two, lose his balance, plop down and got back up again just to repeat the process. After a slight struggle, he finally figured out that a sort of walking “downward dog” worked pretty well to get up the hill by himself! (but grandma stayed close behind to prevent any sort of Jack/Jill effect of tumbling down the hill)

Grandma’s Journal

I like to switch our routine around once in a while.  We’ve been going outside to have a snack at the kids’ outdoor picnic table and then they play with the outdoor toys, we walk around the yard and garden and then it is time for lunch and a nap.  Today we changed it up a bit and they got to have their picnic snack on the floor of the living room while we did flannel board songs and stories.  Then it was lunch and nap time.  After naps we can go outside.  It will be a little warmer by then–was just a little chilly this morning.

I love to see Norah participate in singing/reciting the songs/stories/poems.  She puts the figures on the flannel board herself and tells me which ones she would like to hear–which is just fine.  I love it.  But, I also love to see Eric participate a bit more than when we first sat down with the flannel board.  Now he likes to grab all the figures off the board, but he’s a lot more interested in sitting with us and I love that, too.

He claps his hands now too!  I’ve been showing him how when we do “Pat a cake.”  But just the other day he started to clap his hands on his own!  He’s also walking now, too, did I tell you that?  He started walking about 2 weeks ago and now he’s tried to run a couple of time but that doesn’t go so well and he either crawls or just walks.

And, speaking of nap time–love it when both kids are napping at the same time!

Grandma’s Journal

September 25, 2014

Well, I should have started this a few weeks ago, but I will start here.  A few weeks ago I started as the full-time day care for both of our grandchildren.  I had been full-time day care for our grandson since he was three months old, but in the middle of the summer, I started with both kids.  It has been a challenge since our granddaughter is 2 and our grandson is 11 months.  They are in two different stages of development, so, thinking of things to keep them busy and interested isn’t always easy.  I’m using my past experience as teaching in a day care setting to help me.  Back in those days I taught toddlers ages 18 months to 2-years-old.   Assisting me are some very handy lesson plan books geared for teachers of very young children.  So, with all that, I hope they are getting a nice variety of learning experiences as well as having some fun, too.  We transformed our living room so that it functions as the main day care  area, while also still functioning as a living room.  (my apologies here, I have never been sure if day care is one word or two)  We also use the kitchen and dining areas for meals and for art and science projects.  The kids have our kids’ old rooms for sleeping and it all seems to function pretty well.

We live in a (kind of) rural setting, with about an acre of land and I make sure we get outside every day, unless it is raining like it is today.  I think I might get some rain jackets and rubber boots to keep here, then we can still go outside, unless it is a torrential downpour.  This country setting is nice because we get an opportunity to see some wildlife in the yard, including deer.  We have a patio swing in the “wildlife dining area” and very often, the kids and I sit on that, just swinging and watching he animals.  For being so young, they actually are able to sit for quite a while.  They are very interested in the animals.

During the hot summer months, we went out a few times a week to play in the inflatable pool.  That was  a good activity for both kids.  We also put a sandbox near the pool.   Kind of gave us that “at the beach” feeling.  Sometimes we play in the yard with the variety of outdoor toys.  But, our favorite outdoor activity is a ride in the wagon.  Well, they ride, I pull.  I love the wagon.  It certainly is an upgrade from the old red wagons I remember as a kid.  This wagon has two seats with seat belts, cup holders and a canopy to keep the sun off them.  I enjoy it because between them, they are 50 pounds and our route takes us up and down hills.  I switch back and forth from arm to arm and so, with the walking, pulling 50 pounds and the hill work, I get a pretty good workout!  The kids love it because they get to take a snack along, and they get to see so many things.  They see cars and big trucks, neighbors, animals, flowers and trees. Once we get back home, they enjoy a walk through “Grandma’s garden.”  In the garden they discovered tomatoes, green beans, peas and carrots.  They discovered pretty marigolds, fragrant herbs, butterflies, bees and other bugs.  We also planted seeds in a small container to make our own mini garden.  Digging in the dirt was fun!

Inside, I offer a mix of free play and then more structured activities.  We do plenty of stories, songs, finger plays and felt board stories and songs.  We do some easy cooking projects, painting, coloring, etc.  I gear everything for Norah, the 2-year-old.  She needs some help to get started but once she knows what to do, she likes to do the work herself.  You know, the familiar, “I do it.”  Eric needs a little more help with his projects and his attention span doesn’t last as long, so, he is usually done first.  Which is fine.  He enjoys time to be able to play on his own.  Normally, Norah is in charge and tells him how to play, what to play with, etc.  🙂

Our house also has some wonderful windows which are perfect to sit by and look outside.  They love to see the birds and squirrels, the flowers, the garden, people walking down the street with dogs, pushing strollers, or jogging.  They get to see cars, school buses and big trucks drive by.  It is very entertaining.

Both children love to climb, which is not good most of the time because they are climbing and jumping on things I don’t want them to jump on, such as the living room furniture.  Norah needs to take gymnastics, because she uses the couches as if she is in gymnastics already.  She is always dangling off the back of the couch and shouting, “Look, Grandma!” Of course I have to make her get down and sit on the couch, but on the inside I’m thinking she really is pretty good.  My Mom would have loved it. (my mom was a professional dancer before she got married, then she taught ballet, tap and acrobatics for years) But, hopefully the Little Tikes trampoline we bought will offer a better place to jump and hopefully burn off some energy!  I also put some duct tape on the carpet and showed Norah how to walk on it, like a balance beam.  She loves it.  I also do some Yoga stretches with her, and she loves that, too.

So far, my system seems to be working and we get through each day without too much stress and they go home happy–which is my goal!