Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy Parents Make Happy Kids and Very Proud Grandparents!

Over the holidays Steve and I were fortunate enough to have three of our four children here with us. Two of the three are married and each of these couples have two girls. That now makes four more humans in the house; all granddaughters ranging in age of 5 years, twins at about 20 months and the baby who is almost 15 months. A total of 11 people in one home could be challenging.

It could have been total out right chaos! Instead, due to the fact that we have remarkable children (including the one who is still single without a child) who always knew exactly what to do instinctively. These young girls had so much love for one another and they are not physically with each other often due to where they live. 

Thanks to technology and parents who share pictures, FaceTime and videochat, not only with us, but with their children, all felt an immediate ease of being around each other from the get go. There were smiles and hugging and sharing of melted out hearts.

This can't be "taught" at this age except through receiving love and tenderness at home. Children feel how they are treated and emulate this with others. When they feel calmness and peace around them, it gives them a feeling of security and calmness.

Now, will I say that there was never any crying? Heavens, no! Go back up and read the ages that I am talking about. When tears came, there was a reason, such as tired and ready for a nap or perhaps food was in the process of being prepared and they needed a munchie to hold them over. Sometimes just attention. Needless to say when one started crying one or two others felt the need to chime in. 

Not once did a voice have to be raised, nor should it ever. This normally quiet household with two grandparents and a goldendoodle watched in amazement and helped when we could. Luckily, all four girls loved the big puppy and he loved them as well. The fact that he is a 65 pound puppy meant that he had to be kept under control, as to not accidentally knock over a child in his love and excitement. (Except for the five year old... She could tell him what to do and believe me, she did.) If we had her around him everyday, he would not have had to be held around any of the girls. He will get there as he matures.

The other amazing thing about our children is how they pitched in and not only helped each other but helped out the two of us. With both of us getting our strength back from health issues, there was no way that we could cook for everyone. They all came together to cook and to clean. We had the joy of being with the children nearby while they did the preparation, cooking and cleaning.

One more thing that I have not shared yet...two days before Christmas Eve, our refrigerator died. ALL of the food in the freezer and fridge had to be thrown out. Let me add that we had shopped already for everything that we would be needing. 

It was painful to toss out so much food, yet there was no way that I was going to take any chance of food poisoning. We had another refrigerator for drinks out in the garage. Luckily, this is where we stored the ham and turkey. There just was no room to make certain family recipes in advance and then refrigerate them. We managed with a chest freezer and a bit of creativity with a whole lot of teamwork.

I shared with everyone that I had a list of restaurants that were open on Christmas Day if we wanted to get out and go. These precious children said that they would be happy with grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thankfully, we did not have to go to those extremes, but just knowing this was the thought process of these precious children of ours.

Two very proud parents were most definitely given a very memorable Christmas that had nothing to do with materialistic presents. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Best Gift

The closer it gets to Christmas, I reflect about what exactly makes a grand Christmas. I have seen open ended sentences on Facebook that say, "My wish this Christmas is _______."  As I thought about these two concepts, there is not a one word answer in my mind.

Why? Let me start with the open ended, "My wish this Christmas is ______." Are you ready?

  • Peace on Earth (yes, a typical Miss America answer, but truth)
  • Respect 
  • Love for one another or at the very least a polite tolerance
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Loyalty
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Fairness
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Politeness
  • Self-discipline
The top wish could be accomplished if we all had the next thirteen qualities within us all. 

So now to move on to what makes a Grand Christmas. It is true for this family, in that it is a Happy Family all wrapped up in each other. It is the best gift of all and what makes Christmas such a happy time? Steve and I have had Christmases where it is just the two of us in body, however, this does not stop the spirit of being happy and all wrapped up with the rest of our family. Then, we have also had Christmases with almost the whole crew in one place at one time. It is loud, boisterous and fun. It is most definitely a happy time for all of us to be together. We also understand that with four children on two continents and in three states, plus their significant others and our own extended families adding more continents and states, that it will be great when even just some of us can physically get together.

When we can't, which happens, let it be and enjoy the beauty of the spirit of Christmas. With the technology of today, even more can be shared through video chats. 

One Christmas before any of our children were married, we flew two children with us to England, one was already over on business nearby and flew in to meet us and one was already there. We all met up at Steve's mum's small, quaint house. It was a Christmas that none of us will ever forget. The turkey that Angela had purchased from a local butcher barely fit in the tiny oven in the tiny kitchen. We also discovered that she had done away with most all of her dishes, pots and pans, utensils, etc. So out we go to get what we needed to make a very memorable Christmas in England. Definitely, a happy family all wrapped up in one another. This is a part of what happy memories are made of, just not the only way. 

My wish to you is that you have a very special Christmas, whoever you spend it with, just knowing that those who could not make it to be with you, still have you wrapped up in their thoughts, as you do them.

Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho

Friday, December 15, 2017

Do Pets Know That It Is the Holiday Season?

Let me begin with the fact that just like all of us, I also believe that I have a very intelligent pet. First of all, he is a goldendoodle, who are known for their intelligence. My question is to the point: do pets know that it is the holiday season and if so, how?

The picture above is actually our very own Davis, posing by his stocking that has his name engraved on it. He goes over to this stocking ever so often every day and nudges it as if to say, "So when will there be stuff in my stocking?" How does he know something will be in there? He just turned 1 year old, so it is not something that he has ever experienced before.

After doing just a short amount of researching, I found that our pets do get excited at Christmas (and other special days) basically because they are feeling our own excitement of special holidays. We are chatting about the light displays, presents, Christmas carols and shows, tacky, ugly Christmas sweaters, shopping, wrapping presents, Santa Claus, elves and reindeer with our friends and family.

Snow comes into the picture in many parts of the country and certain breeds of dogs get very excited when the flakes start falling. With certain dogs, it brings on a whole new problem as they are having fun in the snow; figuring out how to melt the snowballs from their fur before coming in the house? 

Dogs, it seems may have up to 160 words in their vocabulary to understand. Now, whether they listen all the time, is another whole story. Davis, our dog, has selective hearing when he deems it necessary. It is still delightful to think that he gets excited about the holidays, whatever it is that he understands. He takes the cues that we give out, both verbal and in our body language.

He loves the tree and the baubles, which we keep safely in a room where he is never, ever allowed alone for safety reasons. Davis also adores boxes, and for sure he will be loving whatever will be arriving just for him whether they be special treats or new toys! He is just like a little child, in that he is just as happy with the empty box to play with for a while. 

With all of the people around, he is getting extra quality attention. Lots of loving and petting happening, which is what most dogs thrive on - to be the center of attention. No matter how smart your dog may be, keeping him safe, showing him attention and possibly a new toy or treat will keep him happy always. Let's not just save that for Christmas. 

So to answer my question about whether pets know that it is the holiday season, my response is, "I BELIEVE!"

Monday, December 11, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to ME! Here it is, not quite 11:30 A.M., and I have already had a marvelous, wonderful day! Our home is being cleaned and tidied up by our super cleaning team, Steve took me out for a quiet and delicious breakfast before I started writing my Monday blog and so many friends have sent me well wishes for a Happy Day! How can one not be so very grateful for these special blessings?

Having a birthday in the month of December seems to just get better and better. Either I have mellowed out or those around me seem to try to make it a special day so that it does not get caught up in the celebration of Christmas. Maybe it is actually a bit of both.

Our family has our share of December birthdays, plus one birthday that is eleven days into the New Year. Lots of celebrating going on around here. Each person gets their special day, with NO Christmas paper - Happy Birthday paper only. It can be overwhelming trying to keep the two separate, however, it is not impossible. 

There is a special benefit when used properly and not too often. When a loved one has a special gift that they may want or need, yet the cost if just too much for either Christmas, much less a birthday makes it easier to combine the two. Mind you, it has to be very, very special. 

Having a birthday during the Christmas sales times is not a bad thing either. One outing that my daughter and I have shared was going out on her birthday, which is just after Christmas for clothes. Most items are 50% off, so you get two for the price of one; double the amount of clothes. 

This year she will be surprised for sure. The only clue given here will be that there are no clothes involved. Why? Because she helps to proof-read my blogs. So 21 days of not knowing what her gift(s) may be will probably do her in. Sorry, Charlie! Hoping that her work and two children will keep her occupied. One can only dream!

As the day moves on, I walk by my Birthday presents and cards waiting for the moment that comes when I can open and give a "Cheers" to my fellow Sagittarian husband. 

Just a heads up to my readers; some Mondays and Fridays in the month of December, as well as New Year's Day may only have a picture with very few words. The CEO of made this wise decision. Kisses and hugs to all and a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 8, 2017


Just wanted you all to know that I knew the title of "Kidnapped" would grab your attention. No I was not actually kidnapped, per say. However, Santa did call me in on a temporary basis to help out. What was I to do? We all know how easy it can be to become overwhelmed this time of year. I still sing to myself and outloud, "Let It Snow, Let It Snow"............. No, no no......"Let it Go... the blog will hopefully return on Monday. Thanks for your understanding.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Life Is Not a Problem To Be Solved

As the quote goes: "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." This was stated by Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher from the 1800's.  I actually borrowed this quote off my husband's Facebook page. It made such perfect sense to me. In my opinion, too many people (me included at times) feel as if life is a problem, or at least presents problems that must be solved when actually life is reality that we all must experience. How we experience it (respond to it) will always be the path that we choose to take in each adventure set before us in life. s
None of us have a crystal ball that will let us know what will be popping up in our lives. The expression that, Life Happens, Stuff Happens or even the more vulgar expression which people put on their cars as decals: Shit Happens is the reality. The question is how will we each respond. A knee-jerk reaction is usually not the way to respond, nor is a long drawn out detailed plan.

We just go happily along our way with our lives and then up pops a roadblock. How I deal with that roadblock is what I am writing about. The optimist in me will not let me stay down about a roadblock for long. Yes, I have my moments of venting and by dang, I am allowed that. We all are. The question is how long are we going to stay on that part of the road and will it start to spiral downwards taking us with it? 

I am much too stubborn for that. I have learned that happiness is a by-product of what I allow in my life. When I focus on this, happiness just occurs. We all must accept the uncertainty of life and instead of fighting it, go with the flow and find where you can gather your peace to be with each new adventure, good or bad. Accept what can't be changed, appreciate what you do have.

Being around supportive people will always help, as well as not being afraid to ask for assistance when needed. Sometimes this is just for them to be a sounding board without being judgmental. Those are the kinds of people that we need to surround ourselves with. 

One of the worst things that I have ever done is to try to compare myself to others and how their lives have turned out. We all have to realize that each person has their own trials and tribulations; some of which we may never know of because we do not walk in their shoes. Appearances are not everything. 

Being ready to celebrate my own successes is so very important, no matter how small, they are MY successes. At the same time, celebrating the success of others is just as important. Always look for the wonder in the little things. Those little things will eventually add up to a BIG thing. It is just a matter of being patient (which is not always that easy for me). I must remind myself to just marinate in the moment instead of overthinking each situation.

For my final words, I would like to say that another hard piece of this reality puzzle is to know when to slow down. Listen to my body. Stop being concerned about what others may think. We all have our own personal life journeys. Where the road goes for some may not lead others down the same path. That is okay. It is my reality and it is for me to experience...all of it...the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

No Time

Every once in a while, the "creeping crud" slips up on us. It did tip toe in from behind me and grabbed hold. I made an executive decision to take the day off and just rest, sleep, drink plenty of fluids and have the chicken noodle soup that my loving husband got for me. Will be back on Monday. I just don't have the time for this, especially during the holiday season. Everyone take good care!