All I want for Christmas, I won back from CPS

Do not give up! If you are facing this holiday season without your children, know that our hearts are with you and that the view on the other side is not only beautiful but also reachable!

We thought we were in a never-ending nightmare. We felt the depth of the gorge and saw the height of the mountains that we were determined to climb. We questioned the view from the top and wondered about what would come on the other side if we were to ever make it out of the valley.

I know many of you feel this now. The holidays are overwhelming for your children or grandchildren, for any number of reasons either real or false reports, are dreaming of sugar plums in a bed that is not their own. For those of you who have not experienced this, imagine the emptiness of a stocking on Christmas morning because there is no child to shriek with excitement. Imagine seeing other parents urge their children to sit on Santa’s lap and wondering if your own is scared or excited. The magnitude of this cannot easily be portrayed but I am here to tell you that the view from atop that mountain, what lies beyond the valley, is beautiful!

I mean, look at this smile!

smiles
We just saw Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol!

They tried to tell me, in the valley, that this smile would not be over that ridge! But on a Friday night at a local Christmas tree lighting, Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol told them that they were wrong. She smiles and I smile!

But wait, they also said that my daughter would never smile again and that she would no longer get “mommy moments” but they were wrong.

mommy smiles
Banana Pudding: Just Because!

Of course, they did not count on me snapping a quick photo while the children made banana pudding with their mommy! They did not know that, on the other side of that seemingly insurmountable mountain, my daughter would smile again!

In fact, they did not count on library craft mornings or ice cream afternoons!

But the smiles are real and so is the view! Do not give up! If you are facing this holiday season without your children, know that our hearts are with you and that the view on the other side is not only beautiful but also reachable!

Many blessings and prayers to all of you!

“Gigi”

Understanding Sharing: Toddler Talk

So, mom and I were heading out town to do a little light shopping. Clarabelle opted to journey out with us rather than to take a nap (who can blame her?)!!! When we asked her where she wanted to go, her answer was “to get a sucker snack.” Simple enough, while we were out, we would grab some suckers and be considered the greatest Gigi and Nanny ever!

After a few stops, we ended up at the Dollar Tree where Clarabelle will typically pick up a four pack of ring pops to share with her brother and cousins. I mean, four ring pops for a dollar equals four happy toddlers for under a buck!!!

Today, however, Clarabelle saw a bag that had around 25 regular stick suckers in it. She took her time looking through the little plastic window of the packaging and said, “I could share with everybody!!!”

I told her to pick whichever one she wanted and she galloped proudly through the store to show Nanny her “find.” Nanny teased and said, “but I wanted ring pops!”

“Nanny,” Clarabelle said so matter of factly, “don’t you get it. These are still suckers! There’s some for everybody. Even you and my cousins!”

Nanny looked at the package and smiled saying, “wow, you are right!”

Clarabelle proudly placed her bag of suckers on the counter and has since been giving one to everyone that she sees! Granted, with each one she gives, she enjoys one with the person for herself!!!!

As adults, we preach to the children that we should share. We tell them that it is wrong to keep all the toys or crayons to themselves if other children do not have anything to play with. Of course, we typically only say this through words rather than actions. When is the last time that you put back something and opted for a similar, less expensive item so that the difference could be placed in a donation jar or given to a total stranger holding up their sign on the street? When is the last time you have paid for someone else’s gas rather than buying that overpriced bag of chips and soda at the gas station? How can we expect our children and grandchildren to truly learn to share when we are oblivious to the needs of others and blindly concern ourselves with our wants?

The holidays are coming and so many people are more anxious about what they won’t have rather than excited about hanging the star on the tree. Perhaps we could all opt for the bigger bag of suckers and spread the sweetness around a bit. After all, it is only a dollar!

When children become the example, adults should pay close attention!

“Gigi”

Crafting with Toddlers: Holiday Fun Resumes

Okay, so sometimes life just happens and you have to be all grown up and handle some adult family stuff (pause the fun)….But….then you get to jump right back into it and resume the life full of giggles, construction paper, and glue! Tonight, we made pumpkins (the kind that won’t melt in the Florida heat!!!) and they turned out pretty alright if I do say so myself!pumpkins'

So now, we are really beginning to feel the Halloween spirit around here with our witches, ghosts, spiders, and now pumpkins! See our little ensemble of Halloween fun 🙂

so far

Maybe it is not glamorous, but oh the laughter behind each of these decorations!

It is so easy to forget to make these little memories when everything seems to be coming at you from every direction, but in truth, it is these little memories that will help you through those times. Put down the phone, those calls and emails can wait. Stop the chores for a moment, I promise they will still be there. Take five fewer minutes on your makeup, your children will not care if your eyeliner is even. Just take a few moments and make a memory.

We will never regret making a memory. It is not doing so that we will regret.

Live without regrets!

“Gigi”

Spider Infestation! Toddler Crafts

Today’s Halloween fun was inspired by Mother Goose Stories on Netflix. The itsy bitsy spider was represented on the show as some twisted up pipe cleaners! Hey, I have tons of those! We talked about how many legs a spider has and then how to show that on our fingers. (Always trying to sneak in a little bit of learning into the fun!)

Anyway, plenty of pipe cleaners was not the issue. The problem was, we were down to two large pompoms. Oh, but I believe that I am a genius so, here I go, cutting these pompoms in half. So you know, when you cut them in have, you get a bunch of loose fuzz all over the place.

Next step, I took some good old Elmer’s glue and rolled the fuzz up into balls. This kinda worked. I mean it worked enough to work I guess you could say. I twisted the first pipe cleaner around to hold the fuzz in place and then the children helped to place the other three on each.

Now, we had spiders! Of course, the structure of these (due to my little experiment with the pompoms) is not great enough for the kids to carry them around but, hey, these are decorations after all! Not to mention, who wants to walk around with a spider (see #s 4 and 5)?

So, we decided that our spiders would climb the built-in and hang out with our witches!

The fun of this story is in the mishaps. (Me, running around rolling fuzz into a palm full of glue.) But that’s the point of these moments. If we sit down with the kids with perfectly stenciled crafts that come with exact directions, then, yes, we would probably have some pretty awesome looking crafts. But we would not have one of a kind (well, four of a kind) depictions of our family time!

I hope you are all made some memories today!

“Gigi”

 

Halloween Moments! Things that we no longer have to miss!

Oh, how I dreaded the holidays last year. It was absolutely painful to view all of the decorations in the stores and lining the houses on the streets. I did not want to feel that way, (I had always loved every silly tradition) but I could not help it. Nothing was the same. The grandchildren were not home. My oldest son had moved to Florida. My daughter was unable to form a smile without her children. My youngest son could not find a way to make it better. It was a miserable time!

Generally, every holiday gets a whole month. I know. That’s extreme but we have a lot of traditions and I do not intend to miss a single one this year! Today is the kickoff for Halloween and we certainly enjoyed ourselves!

My advice to everyone, do not take a single moment for granted! During the last year, we managed to do holiday crafts and implement a few traditions into our visits. But, I tell ya, there is nothing better than having them “home for the holidays.”

To the return of our family and our traditions!

“Gigi”