Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Boys just being boys

Every single time I cooked in the past week, the smoke detector wailed. Despite the fact I had the exhaust fan going, that device blared and screeched. So, Bill ordered a new one. The small product came in a large box with yards and yards of brown packing paper. 

I placed the paper on the driveway and made a road for Alex and Charlie. They had so much fun. Then Paw-paw came outside and had a better idea how to use the paper. He turned the boys into mummies.

Bill's oldest grandson, Kyle, came to visit. The boys call him Uncle Kyle. You should have heard them cheering. "Yay, Uncle Kyle's here!"

Last fall they went to his farm. He took them to see the animals and rode them in a gator vehicle all over. He gave them the grand tour of his property. They were looking at their journals/photo albums earlier before Kyle came. They were pointing to the pictures talking about all the fun they had on the farm.

Charlie wouldn't look at Kyle when he came through the door. Kyle asked what was wrong. Charlie said, I'm shy about you."
That lasted five minutes, then the three boys were all over Uncle Kyle wrestling and playing. As he left they asked if they could come live with him on his farm.

What a wonderful role model Kyle is! Seems only yesterday he was our little boy, and we were doing fun things with him. Time sure flies when you're having fun.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Hands down, a week from ... well

Well, last week was a week from well... let me tell you about it. Liam cut the palm of his hand a week before, and had to get stitches, so on the hottest days of summer, none of us could go swimming or to a splash pad.

Instead, we went to Powder Valley Nature Center and had a great time looking at the exhibits. Liam was amazed at the size of the turtle shell. This room was strictly hands-on, so the boys explored every drawer, cubby, nook, and cranny.

Alex had wandered over to the viewing window to observe a wild turkey feeding outside on the ground below. 

Charlie put his hands on the tank. The turtle moved all over placing its feet in the same positions, mirroring him. I think the turtle had as much fun as Charlie, and eventually Alex who came over to participate and giggle.

Another day, I did a science experiment with the little guys, while Liam got to play his video game indoors where it was cool. I also slipped him a bomb pop, so he was happy.
Alex and Charlie had to figure out how to remove the small toys and objects from their blocks of ice. I gave them four tubs, one each of hot water, cold water, salty, and colored water. They had to discover which would melt the ice faster. They had so much fun with this activity. Each had a small chunk left. Charlie said, "Nana, I am going to use my big feet and make little stomps." What a thinker this boy is.

Alex hurled his chunk on the pavement and obliterated it, them beamed proudly as he picked up his little treasures. More ways than one to do things, right? 

This day they put the dinosaurs into the pool and began arguing right away. Charlie shouted, "NO! Alex, you cannot wash MY dinosaur with your orange star fish."

Alex said, "Wait-wait-wait, let me tell you. Your dinosaur needs a bath. He's stinky!"

Charlie said, "Oh, okay." 

Sometimes it's best to let kids resolve their own differences.

Tomorrow, I hope we can go to a splash pad, where the boys love hiding under the waterfall and dodging the pop up sprinklers. This summer has surely been a hot one.


Monday, July 11, 2022

This moment will never come again

I babysit my three great-grandsons three times a week. It has become a battle to get the middle one, almost five-years-old to nap. Charlie, the little guy, wears himself out and yells if his sleep is interrupted.

 "ALEX, leave me alone!" 

Alex retracts his arm from the pillow that separates them and stops poking him for a while. It is a battle royal some days. But on this day I felt so blessed. Big brother Liam, had stitches in his hand and was bored with nothing to do. 

When he came into the bedroom where I was refereeing, I motioned for him to lie down. Then I went from one to the other, tickling arms, rubbing foreheads, soothing my sweeties to sleep. Note that each has his own favorite blankie and stuffy. Liam has had this pig since he was a baby. Sometimes, an eight year old with a boo-boo needs a lovey too.  CLICK ON PHOTO

This image, captured on film, is ingrained in my mind. What a blessed moment. One I doubt will ever happen again. I stood at the end of the bed and prayed for each of them and thanked God for these three independent, smart and healthy little wise guys. 


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

On the go again...STILL

I have tried to live up to my reputation of being the most fun great-grandma on earth, or at least in town. I am babysitting (as seated) eight-year-old Liam, three-year-old Charlie, and four-year-old Alex, three days per week this summer. I like summer, the great outdoors, and I don't mind the heat. We start out early and end up back home at noon for lunch and naps. 
I took them to Bee Tree Park in far South St. Louis County. They played at the playground for an hour, and then I told them we were taking a hike so I could show them something special. Charlie was all for it. Alex whined, and Liam refused to get out of the car until I told him our hike was fifty yards ahead in the tree line.

One by one they stood in awe on the bluffs, with mouths agape at the sight of the mighty Mississippi River. I explained it was a barge and boat route from Minnesota to New Orleans and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, which we call the ocean.
They climbed up on the fence at the overlook and observed that they were above tree tops.

Liam said, "I see a farm across the river."

Alex said, "I see a boat coming."

Charlie said, "WOW! I SEE CALIFORNIA!

Friday, I discovered a free indoor pool for me and the boys, and we spent three hours splishing and splashing.

I am blessed to be young at heart, still have energy, stamina, and the desire to "teach" my little  guys.

Liam said he thought this would be the worst summer of his life spending his school break with the littles and me, but each day he says, "This has been my most best day ever!"


Regardless of the weather, make this your most best day ever, too. Read a book, write something, spend time in nature, engage in an activity that makes you feel great. 

Tell me about it, won't you?

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Are YOU racing to the finish line?

Riding high! 

Liam and Alex spent time with their paternal great grandparents' on their farm. I took Charlie to my former school's parish picnic. He squealed when he saw the kiddie rides. "Nana, look! I want to ride that yellow and orange Jeep!" 

And ride he did (several times)! That smile stayed on his face the entire time. When the ride started and the car began moving, he spun that steering wheel back and forth. The ride functions kept getting better. The car elevated, and when it started jerking up and down, left and right he thought he was jumping hills. If you could hear his squeals. 

If you're a published writer, you probably have experienced this sort of joy, too. What a thrill to receive an acceptance on an essay, article, or poem you've submitted. 

I felt like Charlie when I received another acceptance from Chicken Soup for the Soul books for the upcoming book, Miracles and the Unexplainable, on sale September 13th. (Book 33 for me.)

In the writing world, along with elation comes deflation. A rejection can bring you down and make you feel like you're limping to a stop on a flat tire. It's natural to feel disappointment. 

Don't let all four tires go flat and bring you to a complete halt. It's easy to say, "That's it. I'm not writing anymore!"

Rest if you must. Take a break from writing, but never give up. Sometimes you race along at high speed submitting and receiving acceptances. Other times you drive through the desert of dry spells.

Keep writing and submitting your work. When you do receive an acceptance you'll feel like Charlie leaping hurdles. 

I wish you well in your writing endeavors. If you are not a writer, try jotting down a memory and build upon that over the course of a week. You will have a slice-of-life vignette, a memory that someone in your family may cherish someday. 

Write on!