Sunday, October 14, 2018

Now, for a Little Birthday Video

We've got another birthday! They seem to happen quite a lot in our family but it's ok because we LOVE birthdays!

Even when it's Lovely #3 and she joins her two older sisters in turning a milestone birthday making her mother seem really old. Good thing I don't age. Ha!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Word of the Day

I joined a wellness group on Facebook started by a friend of mine in the hopes of finding more women, regardless of age, who struggle with various obstacles to wellness would motivate me. My motivation has been MIA for a super long time and I'm beyond ready to get it back. Sadly, I cannot simply command my motivation.

What I've found is a group of supportive, encouraging women who only share positive comments. They are all ages and face all sorts of challenges from the daily grind to some pretty serious physical and mental obstacles and never once has anyone made another woman feel less or unimportant or ridiculous, etc.

The group is filled with women from all over the US who have come together to share stories, encouragement, and support. Can y'all even imagine a group where none of the members judge you or send negative comments?

It's like having your very own cheering squad who actually care and want you to win.

It is so difficult to keep myself in a light/good/positive mood these days. Everything seems so dark and I don't like thinking we're slowly drifting back into an era that was worse for women than the current one.

And the fact autumn has arrived but summer won't loosen her death grip on the low-country and yes, this is a big deal for me because while most people get seasonally depressed during the winter months, I suffer during the summer months. I know. I know.

The women in this group help. And I've come up with a little game that also helps keep me grounded and that will, eventually/hopefully take me back to filling my days with positivity more easily.

All of this just to share where my big idea of how to change my thinking about well, everything originated.

Have you ever had one of those ridiculous ideas that were so over-the-top you just had to give a shot? Because I have those all the time. Not that they always work out. Sometimes I forget probably because the idea wasn't as captivating as I thought or they just don't work or some obstacle thrown in the mix from the universe. Anyway...

I thought if I chose an exaggerated word that is a synonym (of sorts) for the word, good and used it in my day every day I would change my thought process or have fun or both. It is not a secret that I do indeed stretch it with my word choices some days but this has been so much fun and just when I start to think or say something in a negative way I turn it around by rephrasing and inserting my word of the day and BAM! I get a smile on my face or flat-out laughter. So far, it's been fun!

I shared this idea with TeacherDaughter and she's doing it, too. Our texts back and forth have been even more fun. You know it's a pretty darn good idea when it turns your thoughts about an after-school meeting around.

Some of my word choices have been: spectacular, glorious, transcendent, rapturous, sensational. I turned sentences describing my day or activities. Here are some examples from each day--
  • Monday's interval training was spectacular!
  • Washing dishes on Tuesday was ambrosial because clean dishes are ambrosial and so are the meals that are prepared in those dishes. (A stretch? Maybe but ambrosial doesn't just refer to smell or taste, it also refers to divine, worthy of the gods so...)
  • Gathering Mother's recipes was transcendentally nostalgic. And so was the car ride to her house an hour away which is usually not thought of in a positive way. 
  • Shopping for groceries on Thursday was glorious because who doesn't love it when that chore is done. 
  • Friday's negative thoughts about what needs to be done to this house turned into having a roof over my head is sensational! Along with about a dozen other things. 
  • When I woke up Saturday a little stiff from Tai Chi I decided to try an easy 10-minute yoga stretching session that was rapturous
  • Football over Saturday and Sunday was splendiferous! Ok, that was too easy... Figuring out how to create a seashell Christmas tree for the Etsy shop was splendiferous
It's quite easy to have a positive thought and use only positive words when my day includes something like time with the grandloves but when you consider my normal thoughts while undertaking everyday tasks are more like, "Ugh, I hate washing dishes." "How long is this workout going to take?" "I'd love to visit the grandboy but I hate driving up there," "Shopping for groceries is no fun," etc... then you see where this little game is coming in rather handy.
Yes, it's silly. Yes, it's simple. But also yes, it's working. There are still times of frustration but I'm trying to focus on things I can change easily within my own realm of thinking. 

It won't change my mind on the big issues but it will help me not let those issues ruin an entire day and it will also help me figure out how to handle these times and the best ways to make a difference on a larger stage. Let's face it if we don't stand up and fight they will continue to have control over us. Keeping my thoughts more positive helps me stand up, take control and keep it. Being negative helps them. Being positive helps me. No brainer.

Hoping your day is truly magnifique

Please visit CoasterDoodles! 

Y'all can find us on Facebook and 
Instagram (@coasterdoodlessc) and

Use THIS LINK or the code: EMPTYNEST 
for 15% off your purchase!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What Kids Say About Grandparents

I think about my grandparents nearly every day. They've been gone quite some time but I still miss them terribly and this led me to wonder what today's kids love about their grandparents. And what do we do when we want to know something? We ask. So, I asked a kid or 2 and thoroughly enjoyed their responses.

No, of course, this wasn't a scientific study. I only polled 93 kids but I still feel I got a good idea of what it is they love about their grandparents.

I got some super cute responses such as--
  • their hugs (3-year-old)
  • coloring with them and rocking with them (3-year-old)
  • they have chicken nuggets (5-year-old)
  • they make me laugh (9-year-old)
  • playing with their toys (4-year-old)
There were some funny ones--
  • they spoil me (5th grader)
  • they have a humungous tv with lots of channels (5th grader)
  • they let us play in the creek mud at low tide (twins age 11)
The activity driven ones--
  • he takes me fishing (5-year-old)
  • they let us have sleepovers (6-year-old)
  • they have a farm and I have fun with them (8-year-old)
Even some big kids (ages 15-23) mentioned they knew they could always go to their grandparents' house no matter what. 

I did notice there were a few reasons that almost every single kiddo mentioned. Enough for me to quickly see a pattern. Nearly every single kiddo mentioned that their grandparents--
  1. listen
  2. spend uninterrupted time with them
  3. show genuine interest in things the kids like and want to do
  4. make the kids feel loved/safe
I don't think they were saying their parents don't do these things but a grandparent can dote. A grandparent can put things off while the grandkids are around. I remember wearing the parent shoes when the lovelies were growing up. Parents love their children but they have responsibilities that take their attention and time such as providing food, shelter, and clothing for their family, paying bills, getting the kids from here to there, home maintenance... all things that are necessary and still have quality time with their kids. Family life is busy and it isn't always easy to find that balance. 

I didn't find any of these responses selfish at all. Who doesn't want to spend time with people who are genuinely interested in them? Who want to do things with them...who listen to us...who pay more attention to us than to our phones.

I mean, did y'all notice how none of those involved buying them things? I did have a couple who added going out to eat and to the candy store to their list but the gist was the same. It was the time. The time gladly and enthusiastically taken to interact with one another. Maybe we have more time when we become grandparents or maybe we simply realize the importance of how we spend our time.

When I think back on my own grandparents, this is the very reason I loved spending so much time with them. It wasn't about what we did but the time spent with them was genuine. They weren't trying to keep me quiet or get me out of their hair. It never mattered where we went or if we went as long as I was with my grandparents, I had a good time and I knew without a doubt I was loved. Unconditionally.

Oh, and when my own two were asked?

Bug (2 years old): "AMMA'S HOUSE!" (Oh, my official grandma name is, Amma thanks to Bug.)
Puppy (1 year old): "BAH!" (That's his word for ball and I had given him a box filled with 48 beach balls for his birthday...LOL)

Both of the kids LOVED the big box of balls so I have one at my house, too.

No wonder grandparenting is such fun. Grandkids are the BEST!

What did you love most about your grandparents?

Please visit CoasterDoodles! 

Y'all can find us on Facebook and 
Instagram (@coasterdoodlessc) and

Use THIS LINK or the code: EMPTYNEST 
for 15% off your purchase!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Especially when the timing is embarrassing. Also especially when you're the one who accidentally taught them 'that word.' Oops.

I'm not going to pretend we don't let an expletive or two slip out of our mouths every so often. We're not that family who uses 'those words' as daily adjectives of choice or anything but we aren't unfamiliar with 'those words'.

My grandmother had one word she used in certain situations. Her word of choice was the 's' word- sh*t. My brothers and I would occasionally utter, "Oh, Grandmother's word!" when an expletive was warranted which drove my mother NUTS! She would yell at us that was the same thing as saying the word itself! to no avail because hey, grandmothers know best.)

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the grandmother tree in this family.

When Bug was just saying a word or ten here and there, I was trying to turn off the ceiling fan one day while holding her which made the task interesting and I pulled the wrong chain. "Well, sh*t!" fell out of my mouth before I even realized what had happened and for a brief fraction of a second thought it would pass by without notice. WRONG. "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t" were the next words I heard and they didn't come from my mouth and there was only one other human in the room. Uh-oh.

Why is it when babies are able to utter only a handful of intelligible words they have no trouble
repeating the one expletive the one time it slips out of our mouths? We know it's going to happen because most of us have either done it ourselves or know someone who has.

About one week later, Bug and her mom were here visiting Mother because OF COURSE this whole thing would happen while Mother was living here and when Bug accidentally knocked something over on a table she said, clear as day, "Oh, sh*t!"

Luckily I had already confessed the earlier incident to my daughter so she chuckled knowing what was coming next.

Mother: What in the world has your mother been teaching you?!
My Daughter: It wasn't me (while pointing toward the kitchen)
Mother: Oh, what has grandma been teaching you, then?!

I'd be lying if I said we didn't get a big laugh and share some fun memories of grandmother. I'd also be lying if I said I would feel much better had anyone else in the family been the one have expletive slippage in front of Bug but they didn't. I'd also again be lying if I said the main reason I wish someone else had faux pas-ed is because living this down will take forever. What are you gonna do? We're not perfect people and I really wouldn't want to be anyway.

Because sh*t happens.

Please visit CoasterDoodles! 

Y'all can find us on Facebook and 
Instagram (@coasterdoodlessc) and

Use THIS LINK or the code: EMPTYNEST 
for 15% off your purchase!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Long Distance Grandparenting

I'm sure the fact 'grandparenting is grand' has been well documented by any and all who are grandparents but gosh do we ever get tired of saying it? No. The answer is no we never get tired of talking about how great it is to be a grandparent.

I'm one of the lucky grandparents who get to live close to my grandloves. I'm not sure I could stand it if I didn't see these precious faces at least once a week or so.

What about those grandparents who do live far away from their grandkiddos? Thanks to technology, they are able to stay in touch easily and even though it's not the same as living in the same town it is much better than it used to be. Our family keeps up with my favorite nephew and his sweet family this way but now that his oldest has started kindergarten, I started thinking of ways to 'sort of' be a little involved in their lives from 5 hours away.

Here's what I came up with:
  • Send cards via snail mail. Who doesn't like getting a sweet little card in the mail? 
  • Send little surprises by snail mail. 
  • If you video chat with your grands, try something other than simply talking. Find out what their favorite book is and read it to them or send them a new book in the mail and read it with them or sing some of their favorite songs while video chatting. 
  • Consider setting up a travel account to be able to be with them for their milestone events. Not everyone is blessed with unlimited funds but a little planning goes a long way. 
  • Make a digital scrapbook of you (and your spouse) from childhood to becoming a grandparent. This is a great way for the parents to read your story to the kids and it will probably spark wonderful conversations about what their parents' childhood was like. Make one of the grandkids, too for yourself. I do this regularly for my older relatives and they LOVE it!
  • Make videos of your town, even include your friends and send it to the kiddos. Include special attractions or just a sample of a regular day or just playing with your pet. 
  • Send them baked goods in the mail. I feel most of my childhood would not have been nearly so fantastic without my grandmother's baked goods. You could even video yourself making the goodies and include it in the package or send it to the parents with instructions to not open it until the package arrives. 
  • Send a card with $$ to be spent at their favorite ice cream shop or wherever they enjoy getting a treat. 
  • Plant a tree in your yard and take pictures of it as it grows 'with the child' and have the child stand by it for pictures everytime he/she/they visit. 
  • If you can't be there for a special event--recital, performance, game, etc... have flowers, a basket of goodies or whatever delivered to them the day of or even directly to the event venue.
  • Start a game by taking turns sending a picture of something in your house or a room (and theirs) for you to guess what it is. You could also take turns sending pictures of your favorite book/treasure/whatever. You could make a collage or scrapbook of their favorite things and they could do the same with your photos. 
  • Make a family history scrapbook for them. My girls LOVE theirs.
  • Share family stories. My girls love hearing family stories over and over again even though they're adults with kids of their own. Even if you've told the story before, tell it. I thought I'd told a few that I hadn't and the girls loved getting a new story but they also never mind hearing the repeated ones. 
  • Keep up with the latest kid trends. You can read, volunteer at a local school, get in a mom group on FB--I've found the ones here welcome grandmothers. :)
That's all I've got for now but I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Research actually shows the benefits of being involved in the lives of our grandchildren reach further than within our families. Children with grandparents who are actively involved have a great compassion for aging, they seem to be happier and live longer. The sharing of new ideas and life wisdom benefits both generations. Children have shown fewer social and emotional problems and less trouble with peers when they have close relationships with their grandparents. Grandparents can benefit from increased brain and physical activity. Staying close with your grandkiddos benefits everyone. 

Of course, all I think about is the benefit of loving these little sweethearts! 

Read more:

Please visit CoasterDoodles! 

Y'all can find us on Facebook and 
Instagram (@coasterdoodlessc) and

Use THIS LINK or the code: EMPTYNEST 
for 15% off your purchase!

Design by Imagination Designs
Illustration by MerryLittleDoodle
Background by CinnamonDove