Turtle's Progress

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Surprise in Grandad's Closet

When  any of our children and their families come to visit there are two things that our grandchildren can count on happening each and every time and both of them happen in Grandad's closet!

Since 2006 when we first moved to this house my husband has been documenting the growth of the grandkids.  He chose a wall in his closet and has a spot for each of our four grandchildren where he marks the date, their height and their weight.  The first time he did it they weren't quite sure what the point was, but now four years later, they are all anxious to see how they've grown, who has grown the most, and who weighs the most!  The have become pros at standing up straight while he uses his ruler and pencil, and then carefully stepping on to the scale to see the numbers!

The other very special thing that happens in Grandad's closet is the official visit to the money jar!  My husband stashes all of his change in a large pickle jar in the closet and each time the kiddos are here for a visit, before they leave, and only if they have been very very good (I don't know what they would have to do for Grandad to consider them not very very good!) they are allowed three hands full of change from the money jar.  He has them place this money in a ziplock bag and then he dramatically adds a gold or silver Doubloon (silver dollar coin) which he tells them he received from The Pirate Steve (who,the story goes, floats around in a lake near our house!).  The older ones have about given up on believing in The Pirate Steve, but they know if they do that the Doubloons will quit coming.

I'm linking up to "Grandparents Say It Saturday" at
"The Grand Social" at

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Blissful Couple

The Blissful Couple
by Judith Viorst
(from her collection of poetry Suddenly Sixty)

They laugh together.
Read together.
Paint together.
Listen to music together.
Walk, holding hands, together.

They love exchanging

He rushes to greet her,
His arms outstretched,
Joyfully calling her name,
When he sees her arrive.

Who, you are wondering,
Is this blissful couple?
She is his grandma.
He is almost five.

Here I am with the other half of my Blissful Couple on our
Christmas Morning date!

I'm linking this to Lisa's linky party over at Grandma's Briefs.
Check out the fun!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Red Thread

My daughter gave me the Lucy Kaplansky  CD "The Red Thread" after hearing an interview with the singer on NPR in 2004.  It was around mother's day and after the interview the sales skyrocketed.  You can hear the interview and a version of the title song here . 

I found a live version on youtube also.  You can hear it here .

A great song for generations of women learning to love from watching each other!  Get out your tissues!

"I'm the girl who learned to love from watching you." 

I've joined the linky party over at Lisa's Grandma's Briefs.  Check out the fun!!

Grama Vegan

Over the past few months I have slowly toyed with with idea of becoming a plant-based or vegan eater.  I watched the documentary "Forks over Knives", read many articles and blogs on the subject and have slowly become a believer in the health benefits of eating this way.  My main goal in doing this is to stay healthy as I age.  I want to be around for my grandchildren's weddings and maybe even the births of my great-grandchildren!  I want to live on my own for as long as possible and avoid being a burden on my daughters.  My health now is good and I'm on no medications for blood pressure or cholesterol but I want to keep it that way! 

It's been months since I've eaten meat but giving up eggs and dairy is more recent.  That was much harder.  I was an egg everyday for breakfast girl, and loved plain non-fat yogurt that I could mix with my own fruit and flavors.  But since the first part of the year I have given these up as well.  I still walk longingly past the yogurt display when I grocery shop but I know I can live without it!  I keep right on going around the corner to the frozen fruit that now keeps my oatmeal delicious and vaired! 

A couple of nights ago I made a veggie loaf that tasted very similar to meatloaf.  My husband, the carnivore, even had seconds!  My daughter gave me a vegan cookbook for Christmas and I've discovered that what they say about tofu is true -- it will taste like anything you mix it with from fruits and vegetables to spices and barbeque sauce!  Soups and chilis are my bestfriends in the winter.  Squash, roasted veggies, onions, peppers, pastas, and grains can all  be combined in different ways to make tasty and varied hot one pot dishes!

Best of all, I'm not hungry!  I think I could live like this!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Surprise in Grama's Closet

Is there a special place in your home that your grandchildren can't wait to see the minute they arrive at your house? (after hugs, of course!)

Mine head straight for the large closet in our TV/Family Room.  They know that its bottom three shelves are reserved for the toys and books.  It is always a work in progress.  As they've grown older the baby toys, noise makers, and Duplos have been replaced with Legos, boardgames and art supplies.  It is always fun to have them open the closet and exclaim over whatever they find that is new while often still reaching for the old standbye race car track or drawer full of "little toys" that my own girls used to play with.
The boys tend to go for the cars or Legos while the girls gravitate toward the art supplies and Grama's discarded jewelry.

Another storage space reserved just for them is the vintage suitcase under the bench.  The girls almost always immediately pull it out and check for new additions or get busy creating.  This suitcase has been dubbed "the office".  In here is stored markers, crayons, kid scissors, junk mail envelopes, stapler, tape dispenser, paper, play money, etc, etc.
Their creative side gets to work as soon as they start pulling things out.  Our Family Room has been converted to a jewelry store, a museum, and a baby nursery, a Star Wars set, an office and any other fun thing they can think of to use the things available in different ways. 
I keep these spaces supplied with  age-appropriate treasures by shopping thrift stores and always being on the lookout for games, toys and art supplies.  In addition to the closet and suitcase, the garage houses bikes, trikes, and wagons, all of which were found at my local Goodwill.

My own memories of playing at my grandparents' homes was much more limited than this.  One grandmother had one Richard Scarry book that my siblings, cousins and I had worn out and memorized.  The big draw at their house was that it was usually full of cousins to play with.The other had a few toys but the biggest thing at her house was her attention.  She was a widow and gave to any grandchild who came to visit her undivided attention.  She taught us to play jacks, checkers, rummy and "slap jack".  But no matter what or who I had to play with at my grandparents' houses, I always knew I was loved.  That is what I hope my grandchildren remember too.  I know they will think of "the office" and "the closet", but I hope they know that those spaces were filled with those playthings because their grama loved them and loved having them in her home to play!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Remembering Cabbage Patch Kids

Back in the 80's my daughters could not wait to get their hands on a Cabbage Patch Kid.  It was a time when CPK's were the impossible-to-find toy of the season.  (Tickle-Me-Elmo and his demand had nothing on CPK's!)  They were about six and seven when Santa came through and delivered their beloved "preemies" Retina and Rex (remember they came already named and with birth certificates).  Here they are on either side of their cousin, snuggling those babies!

Fast forward twenty five years to Christmas 2012.  Both of my daughters now have children of their own and this Grama still had their CPKs (and their Preemies with all the clothes) from long ago.  This year I passed them on to my grandchildren and they could not have been more well-received!  Even my "all boy" grandson was thrilled when he opened his suitcase full of clothes and baby!

I wrote them each a letter and tucked it in the suitcases to let them know their babies' names, exactly how long these babies have been loved and by whom!

Seeing these happy faces loving on these babies makes me extremely happy (and so glad that I am a bit of a packrat and have these memories to pass on to my grandchildren).

Monday, January 07, 2013

Recycled Love

About six years ago I was getting ready to move to a new home and trying to decide what to keep and what to discard.  I came upon a box of cards that I had saved from my daughters' childhoods.  They were birthday and holiday cards from my parents and grandmothers and I thought of passing them on to my daughters but knew they would not want to worry about keeping up with them.  They were both young mothers dealing with babies and jobs and homes.  This would be one more thing for them to "save" and I felt it would probably be a burden rather than a gift....  I read each one as I tossed them into the trash and continued on my sorting duties.  About a half hour later I had an epiphany!  My daughters each had a daughter and these cards were all for granddaughters!  I would save them, add a note of my own and send them to my own granddaughters for their birthdays, Christmases and Easters, graduations, and Halloweens until they were all resent!  I knew if they were received by my granddaughters with a note from me and a previous note from my mom, my daughters would not be able to part with them!  I was right!

You can read about what this idea has meant to my youngest daughter here here .
I love adding my own note to cards my own mother and sometimes my grandmother has written in!  

So glad they didn't all end up in the landfill!!