Tag Archives: Parenting

Give Thanks in All Things, Part I

Ganz "In All Things, Give Thanks" Hanging Wood Sign ~~NEW~~ | eBay

November 2021 proved to be an extraordinary month for me. My heart swells with gratefulness and joy.

Back in early October, I invited my daughter Mercy and her family to come from Portland, Oregon, to spend Thanksgiving with us in California. Her husband Will had talked to his cousin in Seattle about visiting her for Thanksgiving. They couldn’t decide because his cousin was waiting for her dad to see if he would visit her family for Thanksgiving. Each one’s decision was depending upon another person’s decision.

I wanted to book the air tickets early. The airfare was reasonable, and many seats were available in October. Thanksgiving is one of the two most travel holidays of the year. The closer it gets, the more expensive the airfare is, and the seating availability would be limited as well.

The last time my daughter came to visit was Thanksgiving 2018. Autumn was fourteen months old then. Autumn is an excellent traveler. She flew with her parents about ten times before turning two. She slept most of the way or enjoyed doing things even when we went to Hong Kong and Japan in January 2019. My younger granddaughter is twenty months old. I would like her to have the advantage of flying for free before she turns two.

At the end of October, I asked my daughter about their plan. She said they hadn’t heard from Will’s cousin. I didn’t want to rush, even though I was anxious. Then on November 1, she texted me, attaching many photos of Halloween trick-or-tricking with a message that they were coming for Thanksgiving.

I got on Alaska Air right away to look for the flight schedules. The airfares for the flights fitting their schedule had gone up to about $695 to $1095 each. The main cabin on several flights was fully booked. I could find a few flights with seats close to each other in the Premium section. I gathered the flight schedules and seating and emailed them to Mercy. After she passed on the info to Will, we video called to do the booking.

The anxiousness fell off my shoulder after I clicked “purchase” for the air tickets. On the flight coming, I got the only three seats together in one row. On the returning flight, I got two seats on one side and one seat on the other side of the aisle, but at least they were in the same row.

Mercy said they would check in two car seats and a Pak-n-Play. The car seats would be free, but they would have to pay for the Pak-n-Play. I remember the much luggage they took when we went to Hong Kong. It was when they had a sixteen-month-old Autumn. This time around, they have a toddler and a twenty-month-old. I can’t imagine traveling on the plane, taking care of the kids, carrying the luggage plus two car seats and a Pak-n-Play.

I got busy right away, calling my friend Rhonda and asking if I could borrow something from her. Rhonda has nine grandchildren from toddler to eleven-year-old. She said she had a toddler car seat, Pak-n-Play, and a stroller for me to use. I took photos of the items borrowed and texted them to Mercy. She was delighted to find out she only needed to bring one car seat.

The amazing thing was that I got a free infant car seat the next day. There are Facebook groups called Buy Nothing. It is a group where members post items they want to give away. Other members show interest in those items. The givers and receives make arrangements for pickups. I’m a member of one local group. I had posted many give-away items. When I scrolled through the posting, there was a person giving away two infant car seats. She said she was a foster mom but didn’t want to take any more infants. I showed interest in one and picked it up the next day. After I told Mercy, she was really excited that they could travel light.

Now I could get the house ready for their visit. Mercy’s bedroom is always kept in the same way as it was when she lived in the house. I just needed to fix up the other bedroom for Autumn. There is a full-size bed in the room. I was debating whether to put it away to replace it with a twin bed or not. I picked out a stackable twin bed and a mattress online and saved the online links. When Mercy lived in the house, I had a bunk bed for her, and it’s stored in the attic. Setting up the bunk bed was another option. It would be a lot of work. Nora won’t be ready to sleep in a bunk bed for many years. I may not want to have it open yet. After all the considerations, I used the existing full-size bed. It would be a little big compared to the toddler bed Autumn has in her house. I picked up a couple of large stuffed animals to make the bed comfy and cozy.

There are student activities in the attic from my teaching days. I found a set of six new puzzles, coloring books, simple board games, dominos, and large Legos. I also saved some of Mercy’s medium and small size stuffed animals. To complete the activities, I bought sets of 20 crayons, 10 washable markers, and four-color play dough. These would be enough to keep them busy.

There are boxes of books for Autumn also, but I took the age-appropriate books to her on my previous trips. I’ve been reading to her every six weeks except during the pandemic. I know the books she’s interested in. The local library is only two miles away. I checked out twenty-two books for Autumn and six books for Nora.

After getting all the things needed, I converted the family room into an activity room for the girls.

The next thing to do was to get the food. Mercy’s family is vegetarian, and Mercy is allergic to dairy products. I couldn’t buy some things too early because of the expiration dates. A few days before they arrived, I bought individual yogurt, cheese sticks, fruit, non-dairy milk, and creamer for them. The day before their arrival, I cooked two dishes of veggie quiche and two packs of tofu. I wanted to reduce the cooking time and spend the maximum time with them.

All the preparation paid off. The kids felt very much at home. With no surprise, Autumn went to the books and picked out a bunch for me to read to her. Nora had fun playing with the play dough and building towers with the Legos. My husband played with Autumn one day before I got up. She finished four puzzles. After I got up, I watched her finish the other two puzzles.

When I’m around, Autumn prefers me to read bedtime books to her. Since it’s a special treat for her, she could ask me to read three to five books plus her devotional book. Even though sometimes my throat gets dry and sore from reading, I don’t want to stop. She likes me to read to her. On their returning trip, I went with them to the airport. Will drove. She wanted me to sit in the back seat with her and read to her all the way to the airport.

Reading to Nora
Reading with Autumn in the morning when I still had the bathrobe on
We went to a local park
Autumn was making a cake. Nora always wants to help.

One of my daughter’s best friends since third grade lives close by. When her friend went to college in New York, Mercy visited her. When Mercy got married, she came from New York to attend the wedding. Whenever Mercy is in town, they always get together. Mercy’s friend’s mom was an OB/GYN and their Girl Scout leader. She presented sex education in a mother-daughter meeting. I laughed so hard when she drew a big circle on an easel and a large almond shape in the middle. Having a childhood friend is precious. They are like your siblings.

On Thanksgiving Day, I cooked a yam dish and a corn dish. Will cooked a pumpkin pie and a mixed-berry pie. We got together at my husband Lynton’s brother’s home. With the six of us, we took two cars. Will drove my Acura. Lynton and I took the Hummer. The drive was surprisingly pleasant, with no trucks on the freeway. I found out later that most of the major stores, such as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, and JC Penny, were closed all day, partly because they were open super early on Black Friday.

There were twenty-five people at the Thanksgiving dinner. My sister, Queenie, and her daughter were there. I hadn’t seen my sister for three years. She gave me the exciting news about her engagement a month prior. I was so happy for her. It has been eight years since her husband passed away from cancer. I jokingly offered Autumn and Nora to be her flower girls.

They love each other
Autumn didn’t want to look at the phone camera. She had enough photos of the day

Several days zipped by in a flash. We all had a wonderful time together. Now, I’m looking forward to Christmas.

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SoCS – My Books Are Yours

Linda G. Hill at Life in progress posted the SoCS prompt on Friday, “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘my.’ Start your post with the word ‘My.’ Bonus points if you end your post with ‘yours.’ Enjoy!

Here are two of the seven rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

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My granddaughter Autumn will turn four on September 28, 2021. It’s amazing to watch how she learned during this young age.

As a teacher, I paid more attention to her reading development. My daughter Mercy and her husband, Will, started reading bedtime stories to her as soon as baby Autumn came home from the hospital. They wanted to establish the habit of reading to her. Books made with cloth or plastic are part of her toys. It turned out that Autumn developed the love of reading at a very young age. Before she turned two, she seemed to prefer books rather than the manipulative toys. Mercy had age-appropriate toys around for her, but she picked up books to flip the pages more often than to press the buttons for the musical toys. Her favorite books when she was around one year old were a set of ten nursery rhyme 2”x2” books. They were the right size for her small hands. She picked out the books one at a time, brought it to us, turned around and set on our laps. We sang the nursery rhymes to her as we flipped the pages. When we read her the picture books, she had her favorite pictures such as ball, apple, ducks, or dog. After we turned the pages further into the book, she flipped the pages back and pointed to the pictures to say the names. She seemed to focus on the details of the pictures and looked at them with intensity.

Autumn has kept up her interest in books. By three years old, she had a long attention span to listen to books with over 1,000 words. Even though she didn’t understand the concept or meaning of all the sentences, she picked up some simple meaning and words she could relate to. When we repeated reading the same book, she would interact by saying the names of the characters or actions corresponding to the illustrations. As we repeated reading the same book, she remembered more details.

The thematic books she enjoyed and found them funny were the Magic School Bus books. During one visit several months ago (when she was three and a half), she flipped through the Magic School Bus book on dinosaurs. She could name all the dinosaurs. The book made learning fun by inventing funny names with illustrations. One picture has a sock as the head and a body of a dinosaur and named it Sockasaurus. Another picture has a banana head and names Bananasaurus. We made it fun by inventing our own, such as named the fingers, Fingerasaurus.

My daughter takes her to the library to check out books. They checked out as many books as the library tote bag could hold. It’s about twenty-five books. We read at least half of them as soon as we came home. When we go somewhere in the car, she wants to have an entire bag of books available to read. I remember when she was around three years old, before we used book bags, she insisted to bring many books to the car. We tried to tell her to bring just a few, but she picked out a stack of about ten large size books and carried them, walking from the house to the car on her little feet. Well, how can we discourage her from the love of books?

The books are her lullaby. She would read until she falls asleep.

For a short while, I worried that she would only read books but not keeping a balance between books and other activities and social skills. But my worries puffed away when I watched her playing well with friends, enjoys hiking, rock climbing, biking, camping, swimming and other adventurous activities.

I saved boxes of books from my teaching days. I go through the books and bring the interest and vocabulary appropriate books to her on my visits to her. She knows I have something for her every time. She would ask, “What is in your bag, Grandma?” I would take out the books and say, “These books are yours.”

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

Thank you for reading. Click this link if you would like to participate.

Have a wonderful week!

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Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

This week, at the Lens-Artists Challenge community, Tina shared with us her thinking behind the theme: “There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling ‘quite a treat.'” 

Visiting my family is always an enjoyment, but our last trip was surely a treat to me and my husband.

When Autumn was born, I flew to Portland, Oregon once a month to spend time with her and my daughter Mercy. After her first birthday, I went every six weeks. Being an educator, watching her growth and learning unique skills was an amazement. In March this year, because of the Covid, I cancelled my trip when Mercy gave birth to Nora. Eventually, I took a trip to meet Nora five months after she was born. As to my husband, Lynton, his last time being with Autumn was January 2019 when we took a family trip to Hong Kong and Japan.

Early this month, it was a real treat to me and Lynton to visit Mercy’s family and spend time with Autumn and Nora.

Autumn was attached to Lynton right away. She came into my room to wake me up gently every morning and said, “Where is grandpa?” “I think he went to the store to get a newspaper,” I said. She wanted Lynton to read to her, doing puzzles and other projects with her.

Nora grew so fast. She loved to smile and make distinct sounds. Lynton enjoyed interacting with her.

I took tons of photos, of course!

We did many activities, even though it was limited by the Covid. We went to a pumpkin farm. Autumn visited the cows, goats, and pigs. She and Daddy went on a hayride, train ride, and jumped on a giant bouncing bed.

We went to the school playground across the street from my daughter’s house. We went on a walk in the neighborhood. Three nights in a row, we played board games after the kids went to bed.

What a Treat!

Taking family photo is a challenge to get the kids look at the camera.

The rain stopped when we arrived at the pumpkin farm and the rainbow appeared.

Reading and cuddling

Interacting

“I want grandma to get in.”

We played Yahtzee, Scrabble, and a detective game. I’m as competitive as Mercy and Will.

Autumn’s new favorite is the geometric block patterns. She knows the names such as hectogon and trapezoid.

Autumn is a loving big sister. When Nora fusses, she would pat her, hug her, and bring her a toy. She can hardly wait to run around with Nora.

Reading and learning through playing are important for the kid’s growth and development. Mercy and Will read to the kids from the beginning of their lives.

Our next visit to them is Thanksgiving. We look very much forward to it.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

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Flash Fiction Challenge 2020.05.07 – Sprinkles of Tenderness

May 7, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish. The characters can nourish or be nourished. Go where the prompt leads!

 

 

Happy Parents Small Daughter Enjoy Sea Stock Photo (Edit Now) 62296897

 

Sprinkles of Tenderness

“I’m amazed Rosie has changed so much since we adopted her six months ago,” said Sam.

“For a while, she went to the corner and face the wall every time I talked to her.” Elaine still puzzled.

“The social worker suspected something happened in her previous foster home.”

“She was afraid of us.”

“I admired your patience. You showed your affection by physical touch, warm smile, and inviting gesture instead of talking.”

“I’m pleased she trusts us.”

“It took us six months to break the ice.”

“She talked and called me Mom two days ago. It melted my heart.”

 

Charli Mills – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge 2020.05.07 – Sprinkles of Tenderness

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Family Story

Our granddaughter Autumn is five and a half months old already. Even though we are 1,000 miles apart, we try to make frequent visits to watch her growth. Mercy and Will are grateful that they have a healthy and happy baby. It puts a big smile on my face every time I look at her smiling face. I’ll see her next Friday. I can hardly wait!

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Autumn.5 months

Weekly Photo Challenge – Story

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