Reflections of Grandma

First off, man I feel old when I think of myself in terms of being a ‘grandma’. Then I just smile. Secondly I’m not that old. And third and most important, I can bribe somebody with fun and games and feel totally guilt free. And I only realized it today.

Our grandson is coming to visit and by the time you read this, he will have arrived. I’ve been shopping, cleaning, and well, every time I’m in the store I run across just one more little thing I’ve just got to buy him. Why? Because I want to. And it’s fun. I’m totally off the hook of parental responsibility.

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As he grows when he thinks about Ya-Ya, that’s me, I want him to get excited and think about fun things. How being with Grandma relates to all things good in the world. So in that vein since we don’t get to spend actual Christmas with him, I’ve wrapped the presents so he gets to open one every day. They aren’t big things; they’re games we can play, activity books, and stuffed animals. Just so he’ll have something to look forward to every day. We’ll bake cookies, and play fetch with Lucy.

Some of my friends and family have the greatest stories about how wonderful their grandmothers were. And when he grows into adulthood and looks back on his life, I want him to think about me that way. So I guess my reflections have turned into aspirations. But that’s okay. If I’ve got to be grandma, I want to be at the top of Santa’s and my grandson’s nice list.

Do you have a favorite grandparent memory to share?

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Winter Wonders

IMG_1359You heard the newsman. There’s going to be snow! What’s the first thing you think of? Oh great, it’s time to bring out the shovel! Tell me that thought didn’t run through your head?

I always look forward to the winters in the North East, but once the first snowfall hits, I realize that it’s not as fun as when I was a kid. I used to love pressing my nose against the window, watching the fat snowflakes float down, or stand out and look up at the sky and pretend I’m flying through space, or even just jumping onto the fresh layer of snow and making snow angels. Seriously, where has time gone?

It’s been so long since I’ve sat down next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket and read a holiday story. Or even just stay in for the day to watch Christmas movies before Christmas arrives.

Now I catch myself glaring out the window at the fluffy white stuff covering the grounds and the salt trucks driving pass my house and chugging salt at my car. I’m not going to tell you that I have a bake-a-thon like most normal people around the holidays, because truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend inviting me into a kitchen around this time of year…as I’d be the one eating all the cookies before you can let them cool and package them up nice….DSC00881

Winter is wonderful! It brings the blues at time, but do you remember the wonderful things that occur around this time of year? Remember the first snowball fight you’ve ever had? The first time you’ve put on your fancy new snowboots? Or watch your dog traipse through your snow-covered lawn?

So I’ve decided that I’m going to take a day off. Shoot! Maybe I’ll take two days off and just curl up next to the fireplace with my mug of hot chocolate and a Christmas story to warm my heart.

What makes you happy around this time of  year?

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Trimming the Tree, My Way

Last month, I talked about creating family traditions.

I think family traditions are like inside jokes. They bring us closer together and they make a shared experience more special. If I were to give any advice to people “starting out” on their life, as a parent or in a committed relationship, it would be this: start some traditions all your own.ornament 264x296

The tradition I started.

Every year (everyone does the first), I buy my girls an ornament. Sometimes it has their name or the year on it, or it’s something personal to them, or something special from the year. Sometimes, especially in the last few, I buy more than one. They’re nothing super fancy (I leave that to their great aunts, who love Hallmark ornaments).

The idea is that when they have a place, and tree, of their own, they’ll have a whole slew of their own very personal and special ornaments to decorate it with.

Of course, there’s a sad story.

I remember putting the tree up with my parents, and my mom handing us the ones we’d made in Sunday School or our favorites to hang ourselves. We never had a themed tree or special colors. It was The Family Tree, always.

We lost those ornaments in a devasting flood (I most miss a frozen juice can I’d painted bright red and hung some sort of coated wire in to make a pretty impressive bell–for a five-year-old). It became even more important to me, then, to have ornaments to pass on.

We have a lot of ornaments. 3 girls, that’s (19×1)+(16×1)+(9×1… or 2?)= A lot.

With three girls and 18 years of acquiring ornaments, you can imagine there are quite a few now. I would personally love to do one of those themed trees–all in red one year, or pinks and purples and aqua. But I can’t NOT decorate The Sizemore Family Tree. Except, last year, I didn’t.

This is the part where I went all bah-humbug.

I bought the ugliest tree in the history of the world. (It was so ugly that I can’t even find pictures of it. Christmas pictures of the kids opening gifts, sure. But no tree.) It was 4-feet tall and made entirely of a spiral wire coated in silver tinsel. I bought aqua beads and ornaments to go around it. It was hideous, but it kind of matched the Christmas spirit I seemed to have lost. On the 26th, I boxed it up, ornaments and all, and labeled it First Christmas at College for girls. Maybe they’ll pass it around for a few years. And it’ll be fun and shabby-chic for a dorm room.

But then I bounced back. And I didn’t need any dead guys with chains. Take that, Scrooge.

This year, everything’s different. I’m different. I’m a lucky chick. I have aMAZing kids. Like, so much more amazing than anyone deserves. And I’ve been married seventeen years. Even better–I still love the guy. Like, crazy-in-love, I’d-marry-him-again-tomorrow love.

I won’t say I learned to appreciate them more, because they’ve always been my lifeline. But, after a difficult year, I’ve made peace with what matters. And what doesn’t. That part isn’t even the point. The point, truly, is that my tradition made getting their ornaments this year feel like home. It didn’t matter that I’d been away… I would always be welcome.

This year, I’m putting up my brand new pre-lit, six-and-a-half foot tree (traditional green). I’m going to blare Christmas music, the ones that make me feel all mushy,  smile, and sing off-key. The Sizemore Family Tree is going to be spectacular. And there will be pictures.

So, obviously, I’m a giant sucker for family traditions and Christmas is my favorite holiday. Tell me yours!

Don’t forget.

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About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

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