Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Do Grandchildren Show They Love You?

Introducing another Article from Grandparents.com

"Your grandchildren know you love them. After all, you tell them over and over again and you shower them with gifts, goodies, and affection.

But how do they show you? Is it hugs and kisses? The way they run down the driveway when you arrive for a visit? Or the cute nicknames they give you?

"It doesn't take too much to make a grandparent feel special; grandchildren make their grandparents feel special from the minute they're born," says Robin Hewitt, 51, of Mayodan, N.C., grandmother of five and coauthor of The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting: 101 Practical Ideas & Meaningful Activities to Share Your Love (Hatherleigh, 2008). "You don't need to give us flowers or candy on Valentine's Day; just a hug and a kiss will work, and maybe a handmade card. It's the little things that make us smile."

If you want to read the rest of this article and see some of the ways kids show their love for you @ grandparents.com go here.


I personally found this article delightful, especially the story about the grandmother who had chemo. How do your grandchildren show they love you?

I have had some really precious moments with ours. One told me, "Gramma, you are so so so so so so pretty in every possible way." Do you think in a million years I will forget that? Nope, not likely! One drew me 27 pictures in a church meeting and runs so fast for the first hugs whenever he sees us. Several love nothing more than snuggling on a big bed or chair and reading stories with me. One barely lets me in the door before I am laying on a bed getting one of her super duper foot rubs because she knows I love that. One gives me a billion and one kisses all over my face while holding my cheeks in his little hands. The last one is always on the tip of my nose...? One who is kind of reserved in his affections threw his arms around my neck and with tears in his eyes said he loved me and missed me and wanted us to come to Utah soon. One put her arms around my neck and comforted me when I was crying over a tough day in the hospital for Hazel...bolstering my faith. One crawled up on the bed with me when I was taking a rest at her house and asked me why Hazie could not ever walk with tears in her eyes; her compassion for her cousin was amazing for her age. And the babies...they light up like little Christmas trees when we walk in the room. And they all give us pictures and rocks and little toys and sometimes it is a sacrifice for them because it is something they love. Does it get any better than this...I don't think so! Not in my book anyway.

Rebecca "Piper" the first one for us..

"When a child is born a grandmother is made!" Anon

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Delights & the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Sue, Michelle M, Michelle S, Lanette and Faye

Sue, Bon, Michelle M, Michelle S, Lanette, Con
Connie we are glad you could stop by!
Barb we missed you!

( All grandmothers but one...
Changing the image of grandmothers...forever!)
No white hair and rockers for this bunch!

This morning we had an impromptu welcome home breakfast for our dear friend, Michelle S. Michelle and her family moved to Canada about 18 months ago and we have all missed her so much! We have kept in touch via the blogs but it is so much nicer to have her here for fun times and real hugs. So Lanette and I decided to host a little get together with her and a few of her many friends this morning. Everyone brought a little something and this is what we came up with:

Our Menu:
I prepared~ Steel Cut Oatmeal
with Blueberries,
Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chips and
Honey Sesame Seed Almonds as toppings.

No one had ever tried the chocolate chips and oatmeal...
but hey..worth a try, right? It's Chocolate!

(I don't know if anyone actually tried the chocolate chips on the oatmeal but I did eat a few
sans oatmeal, when I was doing the dishes!)

Bran Muffins and Sparkling Cider
A Scrumptious Egg Dish was created by Faye

A Delicious Vegetable Frittata by Michelle M.

A Beautiful Fruit Tray by Lanette

And some Fresh Picked Bing Cherries from Sue.

Not really the best photos of these lovely ladies but
this is where we ate. The trumpet vine was
casting lots of shadows

but it truly was a gorgeous morning to hang out
and relax
and eat outside.

Jim was so sweet to get up early and start the waterfall above the
pond for us and I love that sound of the rushing water~so peaceful.

It was wonderful to be together with these life long friends...
Friendships like these cannot be underestimated!
I love you all, dear friends!
We have a dream to all meet up in NYC for a girls' weekend
and some plays, great restaurants and sight-seeing.
We better make it least a 3-dayer!
Time to start saving our pennies!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook~June 29, 2009

While Peggy is taking a summer vacation from her daybook, Grandmother Wren will be hosting so you can post your daybook there until Peggy’s return.

Normally to join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you would click here.

So, For Today...Monday, June 29, 2009

Outside my window... it is cool and pleasant as the sun is rising. The past few days have been excessively hot but the nice thing about here is that it usually cools way down at night. This gives us a little grace period each day to get things done early before it gets too bad. We also have fog that rolls in off the coast about every three to four days bringing the temperature way down. Ah, gotta love that!

I am thinking...I should actually be getting things done for a breakfast I am having here this morning but I want to do this first.

From the learning room... I am learning that water rationing, and a flu pandemic are not fun at all. Trying to keep our family healthy (especially Hazel) and our yard alive are challenging things.

I am thankful for...a chance to see our friends from Canada this weekend and this morning.

From the kitchen...I can smell muffins baking.

I am wondering...When was the last time I actually baked something? Not my forte. I don't mind doing it I just don't want to eat the results!

I am wearing...blue nightgown.

I am reading...Ensign Conference Talks and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie
Society because who on earth can resist a title like that one? I'm also still waiting for my Amazon order, John Adams.

I am creating...Nothing at the moment although in the back of my mind is a design plan brewing for a home being staged in July.

I am praying for...health, strength, and losing more weight.

I am hearing...the dryer and believe it or not, Michael Jackson singing "She's Outta My Life."

I am going...out to dinner tonight with the family to celebrate my brother, Steve's 60th birthday. Hard to imagine him that old. If you don't know my brother just think...Steve Martin.

My spiritual thoughts include...the beautiful lesson I heard yesterday about the hope of Christ~it was amazing.

Around the house...all is well~just need to do a little dusting and the usual morning routine today.

Today I miss...our grandson,
Ross, who called to remind us that he is turning 7 on Friday. Since he is in Italy and my birthday is Thursday, we actually do have the same birthday if I call him at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday. It will be the 2nd in the US and the 3rd in Italy at the same time. We have always called each other our birthday twins and he is definitely the best present I have ever received on my birthday! He and my brother Steve who came home from the hospital on my 2nd birthday.

I am hoping...for a week of peace after all the stuff in the news last week. Still weirded out by that Governor that went missing for five days supposedly on a hike. I told Jim he was no doubt off someplace with a girlfriend. Prophetic utterances by me! Not hard to do, how sadly typical and ordinary. We can only hope for more in our leaders.

I have been procrastinating....sorting and scanning huge boxes of photos.

One of my favorite things...writing this daybook each week. It is fun, centers my thinking for the beginning of a new week, and helps me keep a journal of everyday occurrences that will one day trigger great memories of living my life day by day.

A few plans for the rest of the week. Mailing something to people out of state, getting my hair cut, grocery shopping the cupboards are bare, preparing for Jen and Lowell's visit, getting a few fun things for our grandkids for their visit. We got a fun 8 foot by 30 inch deep pool already and some beach balls. Hoping it will keep them from falling in our pond~ a favorite grandchild activity.

Here is a picture and a thought I am sharing with you...

Chloe Jane meets summer head on!
We cannot wait for her and her sisters to get here on the July 6th.
We are having a "staycation" at home with them that week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Friend Is Gone

This is my friend, Marianne Arnerich. We have known Marianne for over 35 years. She is a friend that no matter how much time has passed, or the distance between us, we can pick up right where we left off whenever we do communicate. This week I wanted to get in touch with her and I didn't have her current contact info as she had moved. I looked on Facebook, no luck. I looked on Twitter...same. I thought I might find her on Google as she is a very wonderful and accomplished designer and I thought surely she'd be listed. This link is what I found instead; her obituary. To say I was stunned, would be grossly understating my reaction.

She died in December, but for me she died this week. I have been shocked before by the death of friends and loved ones, but this was particularly disturbing because I don't know what happened to her. And because she was so young..in her 50's. There is something so unsettling about that..I realized it is part of putting closure on it, to know what happened. This has never happened to me before. When you hear of someone's death the first thing you ask is...what happened, right? We didn't know any of her family, she was single with no children....so we will probably never know. Our family will miss her. We haven't even told our kids about this yet, but I know they all remember her and liked her very much. We spent a lot of time with her when they were growing up.

I couldn't help but notice the contrast between learning of her mysterious death and also hearing about all the celebrities that have passed away lately. Ed Mc Mahon will be remembered for being Johnny Carson's sidekick and his Publisher's Clearing House commercials; Jacko for his music, eccentricity, his reconstructive surgeries and his bejeweled glove and moon walk; Farrah Fawcett for her beautiful, blond, swept back, layered hair~ copied by everyone at the time, her boyfriend Ryan O'Neal, and Charlie's Angels; and Kenny Rankin for his beautiful voice and song writing abilities. These famous people all left their mark on the world in a big way.

Our sweet friend, Marianne, was just a normal, everyday person who brought much happiness to the lucky few that knew and loved her. She will be remembered for her happy, gregarious personality, her amazing creativity, and a generous and loving heart. She loved life, she embraced it, and she gave herself freely to it. We may never know what happened to her but whatever it was...I pray it was a gentle departure. Long after I have forgotten the others....I will remember my dear friend, Marianne. Again my thoughts return to ....we just never know!

For Marianne
She loved bright colors but somehow
these white flowers seem right today!
May She Rest In Peace...
She was much too young to leave us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Deleted Post~Friday Night Plight

I did a post this afternoon asking for opinion for movies again. I was thinking about Frost/Nixon but then discovered after publishing it that it is R-rated. We don't do R-rated so no need to respond on that if you read it on Google Reader. Actually you can't respond anyway, as you have to go to the actual post and I deleted it. It is hard to find decent movies anymore...bummer! We'll watch a moldy oldie from our own collection that we haven't seen for a long time. Maybe Crouching Tigers Dancing Dragons or whatever it is...Happy Friday Night to you all!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God's Plan~It's All Good

Here are the facts: Our little granddaughter, Hazie has spina bifada. She will never be able to walk with the medical technology we have today. Her legs are paralyzed. Nothing can be done to fix the nerve damage she sustained before she was born as of right now. Until further notice she will live her life in a wheelchair.

Thank heavens for wheelchairs! My mom lived in one for 12 years after brain surgery and without it her life would have been very dismal just lying in bed. But with her chair she could go and do most anything. What a blessing for her and for us. We didn't have to carry her everywhere like has been the case for so many in the history of the world. There are places today that still do not have wheelchairs. I learned to be so grateful for that chair. I am grateful Hazie can have her own someday too.

Here is the Hope for her Future: Of course there is always hope for Hazel's future. Medicine is advancing all the time and we cannot predict what will be discovered in the repairing of damaged nerves in the future. More importantly, her future is bright because of who she is and the circumstances of her birth. She's so beautiful inside and out. She is bright and lovely and funny and I know full of talents.

The best thing she has going for her are her amazing parents and sisters who will see to it that her life is full and rich and normal. What I love about Jen and Lowell the most, in the child-rearing department, is their desire to give all of their girls every opportunity for a great and full and promising life. They expose them to everything that is enriching and the girls thrive and prosper because of it. We received this photo yesterday and it brought a tear to my eye as I see evidence of this all the time. And this is why I love them so much!

Hazie swings!Hazie learns about wheels on her bike!

Hazie learns about gardening and growing and life!

Hazie has three kitties, a momma and
two kittens that are just her size!

Hazie's busy, rich life requires napping on the go!

Hazel Jo has a wonderful future ahead of her! There are many guarantees of this!
Here are the guarantees: Hazie has a wonderful loving family that surrounds and protects her as they do all the children in the family.

Her big sisters and best friends for life, Julia, Piper and Chloe
She has lot of fun times with them!

Julia making sure Hazie has
some fun at the playground too!

Chloe and Her Baby Halo

Hazie's Second Mommy~Piper!

3 generations celebrating Christmas with her!

Hazel is loved and prayed for all the time
in Italy
by her Aunt Laura and Uncle Robert
and her cousins Spencer and Ross.

She lives very near to Aunt Missy and Uncle Chris
Conner, Aynslee, Zach and Owen.
They are so sweet and kind to her,
Even little Owen watches out for her
and gives her cookies.

All her grandparents, aunts, uncles and
cousins on both sides of the family adore her!

Hazel is surrounded by lots of love!

In this picture you can see about half of the friends and family that watched her blow our her candle on her first birthday cake. There are many good friends behind her and many who could not be there but would have wanted to celebrate with all of us the first year of Baby Halo's life. At this point she had spent a good portion of her life in the hospital and we were all glad she was home for her birthday party!
Hazie has amazing medical staff and doctors
to care for her and they live
very close to one of the most prominent
children's hospitals in the world.

The very best thing that Hazel has is a family that loves the Lord and will teach her all about Him. Actually it may be just the opposite, she will teach us all about Him. He knows our little Hazel, He loves her and is her ultimate physician in all things. He has placed her in the exact family whom He has chosen to give her the best possible earth life and love she can get. What a sacred stewardship we have been given.

Joy unspeakable.
Undeniable Love!

Artist~Gregg Olson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

OK a few words...
Owen, our youngest grandson eating his Birthday Cupcake
~Age 2!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bucket List

Last weekend Jim and I were talking about our bucket list. If you saw the movie, Bucket List, you know it is about two guys that met in a hospital as they both suffered from terminal illnesses. They had a list of things they wanted to check off their 'to do list' before they died. They had enough time to do quite a few of them with their time left and they did most of them together.

Several years ago Jim and took a class at Education Week at BYU about marriage in the "mature years." One of the things the professor said was that you should run out of life before you run out of plans. That really resonated with us as we had just watched his grandparents, sell their home and possessions and move from our town into a fancy retirement home in San Francisco. They were just weary of the work of keeping up their large home and wanted to enjoy San Francisco as they had as a young married couple. They gave up some of their most reinforcing life activities; gardening and cooking and entertaining. They were excellent at all of these. We all worried about their decision.

Is yours empty?

Both of them were in relatively good health and off they went. So at the retirement home they did not have to cook or clean or garden or do laundry or worry about anything but paying their monthly fees. Well, apparently God wasn't finished with them yet, and they soon realized they hated the place and they needed their life back.

They came back to our town, rented an apartment, bought all new furniture, and lived at least another 15 years or so. We have to have purpose and meaning in our lives or what is the point of getting up in the morning? We admired their ability to learn from their mistake, to come home and begin again. And we were so happy to have them back again!

The point is we all need to have plans, dreams and aspirations all of our lives and hopefully there should be some things left over still undone when we die. Not the other way around. It was suggested in our class that you should have a list of at least 100 things you want to do someday and keep adding to it.

So do you have a Bucket List? What is on it?
Here a few of the things on mine.

Fill your big bucket to the top!

1. Go to the New England states in the fall
of the year to enjoy autumn there with Jim.

2. Go to the southern seaboard states, especially the Carolinas to
visit some of the places I have read about like Savannah, Charleston, etc.
(All with Jim of course)

3. Take a car trip with Jim to Canada and return to Victoria one day.

4. Go to Austria~the birth place of many of the major composers. We
would also like to have at least one opportunity to fly Business Class
to Europe and not be so cramped in flight.

5. See the Palace of Versailles.

6. Live nearer to kids and grandkids.
We want to participate in their lives,

watch them grow up and make good choices and
be a help to them in anyway we can.
We want to see their children born too!

7. Read my mile long list of books,
keep improving my computer skills
and become a good photographer,
maybe even publish a book!

8. Continually learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and serve a full-time mission with Jim, maybe more than one.

9. See a Michael Ball Concert in England.
(Jim doesn't have to go if he doesn't want to!!
He will though, as he is a closet fan himself)

10. Work on being balanced, healthy, and
spiritually and mentally alert by keeping active.

I like the old saying that goes like this~
Fail to Plan~Plan to Fail.

Are you adding to your bucket list, staying interested in a variety of things that you want to do in your life time? I hope so! Chances are you will live longer and for sure you will be happier!

Never run out of plans before you run out of life!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Enjoy A Fun Break In a Train Station in Belgium

Two hundred participants. Apparently only 2 rehearsals in a secret place before unleashing all this in the train station.

A Simple Woman's Daybook

While Peggy is taking a summer vacation from her daybook, Grandmother Wren will be hosting so you can post your daybook there until Peggy’s return.

Normally to join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you would click here.

So, For Today...Monday, June 22, 2009

Outside my window...the world is waking up, rushing off to work, and the beginning of a new week is upon us. I usually have friends over every Monday morning but, we are switching to Wednesdays for awhile, so it is a lazy morning for me. I love mornings where things are not so rushed, they are rare and then I think about what I need to get accomplished. It never ends does it? There's always something to do ~which is a good thing, albeit is tiring.

I am thinking...that I have been in a holding pattern on my weight loss so it is time to pick up the pace again, raise the bar, be more diligent.

From the learning room...What gets measured, gets done. We need to be accountable to someone~particularly ourselves.

I am thankful for...the opportunities we have to make good choices every new day.

From the kitchen...Taco salad sounds good for dinner.

I am wondering...about some news I received that a good friend may have had a stroke. I sure hope not but am awaiting information as I type this and sending up silent prayers for some good news..

I am wearing...jeans and a red shirt.

I am reading...John Adams as soon as it arrives in the mail from Amazon.

I am creating...absolutely nothing right now, but will soon be starting to work on travel plans for Christmas in Italy with our children and grandchildren that live there.

I am praying for...health, strength, perseverance, and well-being for all of our family and friends.

I am hearing...I Wish I Could by Collin Ray

I am going...to sign Jim up on Facebook tonight so he can keep up with everyone. His time has come! He like I, will do anything to keep in touch with our kids. We keep searching for the best way to overcome the distance barrier. There are no options that work best all of the time so we are trying everything.

My spiritual thoughts include...pondering the Relief Society lesson we had yesterday in church about seeking Gifts of the Spirit. Very enlightening and good! The Lord provides so many ways and means for us to commune with Him.

Around the house...I see some dust and bathrooms that need my attention. It is all about maintenance and getting to everything before it becomes a big chore. Trying to stay ahead of it all.

Today I miss...All the kids and grandkids and my parents and siblings. I am just a family girl, what can I say? Also missing my friend, Barb, who is on a Caribbean cruise this week. I cannot believe they went during hurricane season...I hope things stay ni
ce and calm for them.

I am hoping...we all stay safe during the swine flu season. Especially the babies and children. A little 9 year old girl died from it. She went to our neighborhood elementary school and was in the class of my friend's child.

I have been procrastinating....
on food tracking but I am back 100% today.

One of my favorite things...iTunes. I just love having my favorite music available anywhere I go. I love that you can store things like music on your iPod and computer. Such a space saver, love it. And my next favorite thing is the docking stations you can buy so you don't have to listen with earphones at home. We have come a long way from the good ole LP and transistor radio and tape deck days.

A few plans for the rest of the week. I have a free pass to a lecture by a guy named Mike Robbins who wrote the book, "Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken" for tomorrow, some work to do on an upcoming house to stage, I may make a Blurb book with some favorite blog pieces and photos, budgetary work on home improvement funds (ugh) I do dislike accounting so much. Thinking about our next project makes it more palatable!

Here is a picture and a thought I am sharing with you...

This is our little granddaughter, Hazie. How can someone this young be such an inspiration to us all? If you haven't read Hazie's story and want to~go to the sidebar on the right and scroll down to the Label 'Hazel' to find out why she is so amazing. This little girl is light and love and joy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

When I Married Him....

When I married Jim I......

Knew he was kind.....
But I didn't know he was such a humanitarian.

I knew he was handsome.............
But I didn't know he would become such a beautiful person.

I knew he was smart...............
But I didn't know he would gain so much wisdom.

I knew he was generous.............
But I didn't know he would give his whole life to others.

I knew that he loved God.................
But I never imagined the love and leadership his faith would bring.

I knew that I felt safe with him......
but I had no idea how he would protect our family
from so many things
or offer us such security.

I knew he would provide for us.......
But I never dreamed what that truly meant
or how well he would do it.

I knew he could do anything he set him mind to..........
but I didn't know he would be so good at everything.

I knew I wanted to have a family with him.........
but I had no idea he would be such a magnificent father.

I knew we would grow old together.........................
but I had absolutely no idea how wonderful it could be.

I knew he would be a fun Grampa but ...................
I had no idea how much those little ones would adore him
and vice versa.

I knew he was the guy for me....................
but I never knew how blessed that one decision would make my life.

I knew God had a plan for us......
I just never saw it as clearly as I do now.

I knew that I loved him.......
But I had no idea what that would grow to become 41 years later.

Then I knew where we each began and ended........
Today I do not recall that much anymore.

Happy Father's Day, Honey...you are the best.............
Hindsight is 20/20.
I never knew how happy and lucky I would feel today
Or how blessed our kids would be to have you as their Dad!

Friday, June 19, 2009

His, Mine and Ours

No, this is not about children, it is about movies.

Do you find that you and your spouse have very different tastes in movies? Jim and I like some of the same movies but finding ones we both love its not an easy task. Lately however, we have been on a good roll and have seen several in row we like a lot. We are trying to keep that roll going so I was hoping you might be able to give us some suggestions. Here are the ones we have seen lately and enjoyed equally...some old, some new, some from Netflix, some from our own collection.

Australia, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Benjamin Button, Angels and Demons, A Good Woman, Rain Man, Bella, The Visitor, Star Trek, Up, Keeping Mum. So his parting words to me this morning were, "Find us a Good Movie for tonight!"

Help! He is not a big chick flicker and I am not a big noisy, violent, sci-fi lover, silly, or animation lover. We both like fun movies and dramas with a message. For him, love stories are OK if they are not too lame or terribly predictable. We do like English movies, period pieces, and historical movies. I just finished and LOVED John Adams (and ordered the book) but Jim does not like movies with a lot of discs. It takes too long to get through them for him watching only once a week.

I wish you could still go to an old fashioned drive-in movie without fearing for your life. It seems they are plagued with undesirables if they exist at all. Not good, but a sign of the times!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

7 Laws of Grandparenting

4 of our 10 Best Little Buddies

I know some of you are grandparents and most of you hope to be someday, so I thought I'd share a website that I think has a lot of practical advise and value as a grandparent. It called amazingly, grandparents.com.

This article is written by Barbara Graham, a Grandparents.com columnist, and the editor of the anthology, Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother (Harper, 2009), which tells "the whole crazy, complicated truth about being a grandmother in today's world."

"On the one hand, it was so simple. There was a new baby, Isabelle Eva, and there was nothing to do except love her. That was the one hand. The other hand, belonging to her parents, held all the cards. I soon learned that I could love my granddaughter fiercely, but I had no say — in anything. She was mine, but not mine. Although this is perfectly natural and should not have shocked me, it did. (Okay, I admit that on occasion the word bossy has been used to describe my behavior. Still.) For many parents used to being in charge, deferring to the rules and wishes of our adult children and their partners is humbling. I ended up editing a book on the subject to help me get a handle on my new role. Here are a few guidelines that — so far — have kept me out of hot water.

1. Seal your lips. Even if you’re an expert who has written 13 bestsellers on parenthood, your adult sons and daughters will assume you know nothing about childrearing. Your advice and opinions will not be welcome, unless directly solicited. (Even then, it’s iffy as to whether the new parents really want to hear your answer.) Tread lightly. As Anne Roiphe laments in Eye of My Heart, "Ah, my poor tongue is sore from being bitten."

2. You may love thy grandchild as thine own — but never forget that he or she is not thine own. I was confused about this in the beginning. I was at the hospital when Isabelle was born and I thought we were all one big happy family. Not. I had to win over her parents. They loved me — I knew that — but did they trust me? In the early days I felt as if I were auditioning for the part of grandparent. Did I hold Isabelle properly? Didn’t I know that you never put a newborn down on her stomach? It took me a few blunders to secure their trust — which must be renewed every so often, like a driver’s license.

3. Abide by the rules of the new parents. The dos and don'ts of childrearing change with every generation. If I had listened to my mother, I would have held my son only while feeding him (every four hours) — and not one second longer, lest he turn into a “mama’s boy." These days, with the crush of childrearing information online, most new parents are up to speed — and beyond — but we grandparents most definitely are not. Baby slings? The Mutsy Slider Stroller? Who knows what these things are, or how to operate them?

4. Accept your role. If you’re the mother of the new father, you may not have the same access to your grandchild as the maternal grandmother, at least in the beginning. In most families, new mothers are the primary caretakers of babies and they tend to lean on their mothers for support. This is not a problem — unless you think it is. Your grandchild will love you too. Anyhow, all grandparents — whether on the maternal or paternal side — are at risk of being shut out if they fail to observe any of these commandments. Try to think of yourself as a relief pitcher in a baseball game: You're on the bench until your adult children call you up — and then you must do as they say if you want to stay in the game. (We've already covered this, but I think it's key.)

5. Don’t be surprised if old issues get triggered when your child has a child. For many people, feelings of competition with their grandchild's other grandparents provoke traumatic flashbacks to junior high school. This is especially true now, given the proliferation of divorce and step-families. Not only that, some grandparents are able to lavish the kids with expensive gifts, while others live much closer to the children than their counterparts. Still, a little goodwill goes a long way. The heart is a generous muscle capable of loving many people at once, and most of us are able to get past the initial rush of jealousy to find our special place in the new order. (Yes, of course we still secretly hope that our grandchildren will love us more than those other people. We are, after all, human.)

6. Get a life. Sometimes I’ve become overly embroiled in my concern for my son and his family; at other times my desire to be an integral part of their lives has taken precedence over things I needed to do to maintain my own sense of well-being — and I’ve paid the price. Hence, my mantra: “I have my life, they have theirs.” We are close and connected, yet separate. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

7. Let go of all expectations. When Isabelle Eva was born she was living around the corner from us, but when she was two months old her parents moved her overseas. Not only was I heartbroken, my expectations about my involvement in her life were turned upside down. Yet, once I was able to let go of my agenda — which took some doing — I found that I still felt deeply connected to Isabelle and vice-versa. Now my husband and I visit her as often as we can and, in between visits, we Skype and talk on the phone. There are bound to be unpredictable plot twists in every family narrative, but, unless you are raising your grandchildren, your adult children are writing their own story. (See No. 4: Relief pitcher, on the bench.) Who knew that grandparenthood would offer so many new opportunities for personal growth?

Ultimately, the good news about becoming a grandparent, and not being in charge anymore, is that nothing is your fault, either. As Roxana Robinson writes in Eye of My Heart, "It's like being told you no longer have to eat vegetables, only dessert — and really only the icing."

Community Win~Win

This is the last of four posts on the weekend Jim and I spent away. Do I hear a collective sigh of relief? We do this about twice a year and it seems we pack six months worth of dates and activities into it. As I mentioned in the comment section of the last post...this is just my way of journaling and resurrecting fond memories when I can no longer remember the events of the current day.

We attended the San Rafael Youth Art Festival which we thought was a wonderful event benefiting everyone. The community holds this festival annually and the proceeds go to the city's youth art enrichment program which supplements the dwindling school budgets for the creative arts.

Each year they resurface some of the main streets in the little town with new asphalt. Then they sell large squares to various families and sponsors to raise money. They also sell smaller squares to the families of the children of the town, which to me was the most fun part of it. Each square is then designed and done in colored chalk by the participants. We could just see the grandkids enjoying this event. The concept is brilliant and the result spectacular. They do not charge admission for this fun exhibit.

It was a great weekend all in all. Thanks for coming along!