The Flowers in My Garden

When I asked my friend, Prissy, to be a “Grand Ideas” feature, she said, “Of course, I will. I’m all over this one!” Not one of the ladies that I’ve asked have said no. Every grandmother wants to talk about their grand babies. But, what I loved about this e-terview (interview by email), was the answer to my very last question. If you were writing a story about your grandkids, what would the title be? Although the answer came in the form of the written word, I could hear my sweet friend softly answering, “The Flowers in My Garden”.

Sunflowers

This made perfect sense to me. You see, my friend Prissy, or Nana, as she is known by her “flowers”, just built a house on some property where she could have just that …. space for a garden. I can imagine her digging in the dirt, sowing seeds, watering, and harvesting the fruit of her labors. And I also know that she works just as diligently on her relationships.

Anderson

Just as you pick a rose from the vine and smell its’ sweetness, I can see her kissing and breathing in the fragrance of a newborn. Or preparing a bed for planting like the fluffing of pillows for bedtime stories. I can also imagine her, hoe in hand cultivating the soil, pulling weeds and adding fertilizer to be sure the buds have the perfect environment for healthy growth.

Anderson Newborn

Her Nana-kisses would be like dew on their foreheads and her discipline like staking a plant for growing season. Being careful that the plant has plenty of room for growth, while loosely attached to the stake. The grafting of one family into another would result in one strong, disease-resistant plant. There would never be frost in her gaze nor would parasites be tolerated. She would tend to her garden by caring for each individual plant. And she’d welcome butterflies, ladybugs and earthworms because they add beauty and enrichment to the nursery, and what child doesn’t enjoy the soft tickle of a ladybug?

Anderson

So, what can we learn from Nana and her flowers? She has six growing in her garden.

1. Hunter (16)

2. Ian (14)

3. Drew (11)

4. Maura (10)

5. Thomas (2)

6. Anderson (7 months)

How often do you get to see your grandkids?

Not as often as I would like.  We get to see Anderson every weekend, but the other grands live in Millbrook and Chattanooga.  We see Thomas 3 or 4 times a year; Ian and Maura probably 8 or 9 times a year.  Hunter and Drew are Kelly’s step-children so we only see them once or twice a year.

What is your most recent memory with them?

Cooking with them while they were here this summer.

What is your method of discipline?

 I will get on them when they goof up, but Nana will NEVER spank.  🙂

How would you describe your goals for them?

The goals I have for me and my grands is for them to know they can always believe and trust in me.  I want them to love the Lord and be kind.

Share a time when you were worried about one of your grands.

I worried tremendously when Ian was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011.  It shook our family to the core.  But we are all stronger because of it now.

What games do you like to play?

 We love to play Yahtzee together!

What does it feel like to be a grandmother?

Ian was our first.  I’ve always told him he has the most special place in my heart because he’s the one who made me Nana.  The first time I held each one of them in my arms is a feeling I cannot describe.  Your heart feels like it is going to burst wide open.  

Tell me something about each of your grands.

Hunter loves the outdoors; he’s very thoughtful and is the typical big brother.  Ian is a deep thinker, and makes me see things differently.  He doesn’t let you in as easily as my others.  He loves old music from my high school days. He has a sweet heart.  Maura is my artist!  She loves to dance and sing.  She has a huge heart! She is like a little mother to the little ones.  Drew — Drew is just Drew.  He hasn’t warmed up to me yet.  🙂  Thomas is our little wild man!  He is wide open and full of life.  His smile is the best!  Anderson is my heart throb!  He is very laid back like his daddy.  He can look at you sideways with his little smile, and you’ll just melt!

Anderson

How would your grands describe you?

I hope my grandchildren would describe me as young at heart and fun.  We have a great time when we are together.

What is a quote you’ll hear them repeat from you someday?

A quote they will probably always remember from me is, “Just do it, you are building character!”

What meal will they remember as a favorite at your house?

They love my tacos!  We always have them when they are here.

What is your hope for their future?

There is nothing like being a grandparent.  There is a protectiveness you feel over them like nothing else.  I worry about their future with the state of affairs as they are in this world.  I hope they will be the ones to change things.

Yes, her title is perfect and I’m sure that her flowers are perfectly happy growing in her garden. I know they stretch tall toward the Son, soak up every minute she is in their presence and bloom brilliantly with each softly spoken word. If indeed, you reap what you sow, then her fields have yielded bushels of giggles and a basket full of love and devotion.

Anderson Family

MeMe’s Proudest Moment

Allow me to introduce you to a new Grand Ideas feature. Harriet Sue and I went to grammar school together and then she moved away. Years later we were re-introduced when she purchased my mother’s childhood home. It is so sweet to know that someone is loving and caring for my Nanny’s home perhaps even better than she was able to. But, I digress. Sue, AKA MeMe, has three precious grandchildren and I am thrilled to share her grand ideas with you today.

MeMe and Family

MeMe’s baby angels are Caylin, 6; Carson 4; and Charlie Kate, will be one this week!

 

This family knows how to have fun; even when taking birthday pictures. MeMe joined her daughter and babies on a recent Saturday for a birthday photo shoot. As mentioned earlier, Charlie Kate is turning one this week, so the family hiked through the woods to have a grand time in a local creek. The day included lots of pictures as well as carting a smash cake and high chair through the woods. This reminds me of Tom Sawyer and his adventures. I can only imagine the excitement in their voices as they romped through the trees.

“In the common walks of life, with what delightful emotions does the youthful mind look forward to some anticipated scene of festivity!” 

Sue’s description of the day to me…

“We had a blast. There were giggles everywhere.”

Grand Ideas

I ask Sue how she handled discipline when the giggles turn into mischief. She answered,

“HA . . usually THAT tone of voice works.”

What dreams do you have for your grandchildren?

“I just want them to be happy and filled with the joy that only comes from knowing Christ.”

Describe an incident where you were worried about one of your grandchildren.

“Caylin has had developmental delays since she was an infant . . . there was a time they thought she might never walk. But praise the Lord, she walks, runs, talks and is learning to read! She is still in speech and occupational therapy, but she’s come so far! We have just learned that whatever caused the delays was also inherited by Charlie Kate although it is not as severe. But God will take care of them both!”

Caylin

What is your favorite “out of mouths of babes” quote from your grandchildren?

Carson is the comedian in the bunch; I have lots of “Carsonisms.” Recently, he crawled up in my lap and said “So, MeMe, you know you said that you’re my Mommy’s Mommy?” Yes, I did, buddy. “”Well so you’re HER Mommy?” That’s right, buddy! “Sooooo . . . . she can’t just do anything she wants to, can she?!” (already lookin’ for a higher court to appeal to!)

Carson

What games do you play together?

We have a matching game and Hi Ho Cherry O . . . but mostly we love to pile up and read books.

Describe, as best you can, your first reaction to seeing your grand-baby the first time.

I was in the labor room when each of them were born and I had always heard grandchildren were better because you could spoil them and send them home. But what I find is they are double the joy . . I am so happy to be a grandmother.  And an added bonus is watching your child’s happiness as they become a parent.

Describe your grandchildren.

Caylin is sweet and affectionate and a natural caregiver (she loves to mother the other 2!). Carson is an imp . . he’s bright and funny and naturally curious about everything! And little Charlie Kate is just a happy little baby . . always watching the bigger kids and trying to figure out how to do whatever they are doing!

Charlie Kate

How do you think they would describe you?

I think they would say that MeMe loves them.

What has been your proudest moment as a grandparent?

It was the day Caylin took her first steps; we waited so long and she worked so hard! With Carson, it was Easter . . he had a bag of little things from Sunday School and as he pulled each item out, he told me the Easter story and he remembered every bit of it!

What has been your greatest surprise as a grandmother?

When Caylin was born, I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what was so special about my Grandmother. I finally realized it was because she always had time for me. She taught me all the things I still love to do . . cook, sew, embroider. I knew immediately that was the MeMe I wanted to be. I was surprised I had never stopped to think about my own grandmother and what made her special . . . I just knew she was SO special!

What is your cure for boredom?

Crafts! With my own children and my grandchildren I always keep a supply of craft supplies and if they get bored …. it’s time to make something!

Would you describe your grandchildren as more athletic or artistic? What extracurricular activities are they involved in?

Caylin will be artistic and she takes dance. Carson will be athletic; he played soccer this year and will play baseball in the fall. Little Charlie Kate is a story yet to be written . . right now she’s just pretty serious about eating. (I think she gets that from her MeMe)

 

What is a phrase that you will hear your grandchild quote from you as they grow up?

“Be nice.”  And, “I love you much & much!”

While he may not have known it, Mark Twain, through Tom Sawyer, describes the tangibility of a MeMe’s love:

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young, the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust-trees were in bloom, and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air…. 

Especially if you get to stomp through the woods and play in the creek.

Grand Ideas: DIY College Gifts

Looking for gifts to send off to college with your “not-so-baby” angel this year? Here are a few ideas that would be quick, easy, handmade by Grandmom, and appreciated.

DIY Note Pads and Pen Holder<a

Sondra Lyn at Home

Pencil Dispenser

Pencil Dispenser
DIY College Letters

Open When Letters

 

Open When Letters

Button Bookmarks

Button Bookmarks

Of course, if you need more ideas, follow my Pinterest page. Best of luck to all college freshmen this year! And to all of you brand new empty-nesters… it does get better, I promise. Hugs to all the moms!

 

I am joining Linda at Coastal Charm‘s Show and Share Party, and Southern Hospitality.

Grand Playtime

My newest blogging brain child is featuring Grand Ideas for my fellow empty-nesters who are also grandparents. Funny, as I researched this idea on FB, Twitter and Google+, one of my daughter’s friends immediately messaged me asking if I was going to be a grandmother. NOOO, not anytime in the near future, but, since many of my friends are, I thought it would be grand fun to feature their babies. So, voila! Here is the very first post, with lots more fun to come!

I’ve turned a post about my babies’ playtime into one that might give a few ideas for play with the grand babies. Here are a few things that my babies loved to do that did not include television, video games or computers.

INDOOR PLAY

  1. We took cereal and other size boxes, wrapped them in brown craft paper and then drew windows and doors on them.  They would then take their matchbox cars, army men or Fisher Price Little People and create towns to drive around in.  My son would do this for hours.
  2. Empty 2 liter coke bottles were filled with dried beans or rice and set up as bowling pins.  They would use small rubber balls inside to avoid breaking things. This was when they were NOT toddlers and could swallow the beans or rice.
  3. Designate one drawer and cabinet (if you have the space) as theirs in your kitchen.  They have their own toys to play with while you are cooking.
  4. Lay on the floor, have one child lay their head on your tummy and then start laughing.  We’d get tickled at how each other’s head would bob up and down and this would sometimes turn into crazy laughter.
  5. Do the opposite.  Lay on the floor with one of your children’s head on your tummy and tell them they cannot laugh.  Trying not to laugh is just as much fun.
  6. Bounce a balloon around the room without letting it hit the floor.
  7. Storytelling chains.  One person starts the beginning of a story and each family member had to add to the story until we had an ending.  Time limits may need to be enforced if it’s near bedtime.
Bedtime Story Chains
Bedtime Story Chains

OLD FASHIONED GAMES

  1. An old-fashioned coloring book and crayons.
  2. Easel with finger paints.
  3. Age Appropriate Board Games.
  4. Go Fish and Old Maid Card Games.
  5. As my daughter was tucked in at night, she loved to make shapes out of the shadows on her walls created by her night light.  It was amazing how many different shapes we could come up with, night after night.
  6. Line up stuffed animals and “teach” them something new.
  7. My daughter loved to play with her hands.  Two fingers of one hand would be one person, and two fingers of the other hand another.  These two “people” would dance, talk, look out the window in the car and tell each other secrets.  She was so sweet about entertaining herself.
  8. Playing Dress-Up
A little southern belle in the making.
A little southern belle in the making.

CREATIVE PLAY

  1. Indoor Camping.  We’d set up two chairs in the living room and drape them with a quilt.  They’d put pillows, stuffed animals and blankets in there and play for hours.
  2. “Painting” the house.  I would fill a cup with water and hand them a paint brush on the deck or porch.  They loved doing such a “big boy/girl” job.
  3. Scavenger hunts on rainy days.  We would hide the toys and just give hints to find them. This proved to be a huge hit on one Easter when we were living away from family. Hunting Easter eggs in the house was just not as much fun with your parents, so we turned it into a scavenger hunt, with the basket being the grand prize.
  4. Flashlight Tag once they were older.
  5. Hide and Seek
  6. Mother May I?
  7. Redlight/Greenlight
  8. Simon Says
  9. Sidewalk Chalk

 

An artist at work.
An artist at work.

WAITING IN LINES

  1. One family member starts by saying any word.  The next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the word the previous person said.  This can go on forever.
  2. I Spy.
  3. Gossip.  Whisper a sentence in one’s ear only once and see how the sentence changes as it’s whispered around the room.

WAITING IN RESTAURANTS

  1. Tic-tac-toe
  2. Dot to dot
  3. Hangman

TRAVEL IN THE CAR

  1. License Plate – where we’d guess how many states we’d see as we traveled and write down each persons guess.  The person who got the closest to their number once we reached our destination, won the game.
  2. Billboard Alphabet.  Try to work our way through the alphabet before reaching our destination on billboards we pass.
  3. Dog and Horse Game.  First person to see a dog gets one point, 3 points for a horse.  First person to 21 wins.

What games do you play with your grandchildren?

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