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What to take on a trip with children, so that the suitcase is not overloaded?

To have a good rest during your family holidays, you are to get rid of extra load. It is about material or non-material issues, like business calls and overloaded baggage. It is possible! Since you’ve made up your…

What to take on a trip with children, so that the suitcase is not overloaded?

To have a good rest during your family holidays, you are to get rid of extra load. It is about material or non-material issues, like business calls and overloaded baggage. It is possible! Since you’ve made up your…

10 Ways to Spend More Time in Nature

You might dislike nature. It’s the home of mud, bugs, and sunburns. It’s also the home of beautiful views, fresh air, and wonderful fragrances. You might dislike nature, but on the other hand, you might love it. Whatever your feelings about nature, you know you should be…

We are all familiar with the saying "to the moon and back" which generally refers to a love that cannot be measured.  One day as I told my granddaughter that I loved her to the moon and back she said, "I love you more because I love you to Florida and back!"  I was now puzzled and asked, "why Florida?"  She looked at me with amazement that I could be so dense.  "You can see the moon but you can't see Florida, SO I LOVE YOU MORE!"  Well, she had me on that one, simple kid logic that had nothing to do with the reality of miles or space travel, just honest in your face kid logic...and it worked.  I found myself once again looking at life through the eyes of a child.  As an adult we deal in FACTS, REALITY and often over look the simple truth, not everything has to make sense to make sense.  Kaleigh's simple analogy about Florida was not rooted in scientific facts but it was rooted in sentiment that was much more endearing than my "to the moon and back" statement.  Maybe love doesn't have to be so fact based. Maybe, just maybe we can put all of the facts aside and embrace the possibility  that there is no logic as to why we love or how much we love but rather something that defies logic all together.  Maybe love is that one thing that isn't logical, doesn't always add up, defies all of the standard rules of common sense and yet makes the most sense of all.  For now, to be loved to Florida and back is so much love that it makes being loved to the moon and back pale in comparison.  Here's wishing all of you a life filled with Florida love too!

Look Nana



Since my granddaughter Kaleigh will be out of state and with her father over Christmas I broke a cardinal rule and found myself getting out the decorations before Thanksgiving.  As we hauled out the plastic tubs and opened them I found that I had not packed them as organized as I had done in previous years.  Nativity sets were in separate bins, Angels and toy soldiers were nestled among the glittered pine cones and the Christmas bear family had just spent the last 10 months separated.  As I looked at the chaos and the fact that I was 3 weeks ahead of any HoHoHo feelings I heard, "Oh Look Nana!"  On the bottom of the bin was the tiniest of my nativity scenes and it was covered in the glitter and sparkles of the ornaments that had been in that container.  As I lifted it out and looked at it I was amazed at how perfectly it sparkled as if it came off the assembly line and was packaged that way.  It was not gaudy or cheap looking but rather surreal and majestic.  Kaleigh was in awe and immediately scurried looking for the perfect place to set this masterpiece.  Then it hit me,  Christmas is not a season to follow Thanksgiving and to be gone by the ringing in of the New year but rather a perpetual ongoing state of love and good will.  The cardinal rule that I had broken was not the one about putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.  The rule that I had broken was the simple fact that I had packed up the "Season of good will" and put it in a bin to be stored in the first place.  A simple "Look Nana" was all it took for me to see what I should have already known. Christmas is ongoing, the spirit of the season should shine 365 days out of the year!  Here is wishing you Merry Christmas BEFORE and AFTER Thanksgiving....may you all have a "Look Nana" moment 
I have a confession to make...I love my sock monkey.  My Great great Aunt Mary made my sock monkey for me and I was 50 years old at the time.  There is something about his simplicity that makes me smile.  I have him positioned where I can see him as I type. Looking at him this very minute, I try and figure out what his appeal is and it puzzles me.  He doesn't do much, no batteries or flashing lights.  You can't comb his hair (he has none) and he is no match for GI-Joe.  I guess that is what makes him the perfect companion for a 56 year old nana....his purpose is to have no purpose at all... and that is what appeals to me.  He can be silly just because, no further explanation needed and that is just fine with me. So for now I will enjoy my coffee and perhaps offer a cup to my sock monkey friend...just because I can and he promises not to tell!
As I gazed in the mirror this morning I could only cringe.  New lines and wrinkles, new gray, new age spots....all this newness simply meant I was getting old.  I am not obsessed with my age of 56 but I do acknowledge that I have more days behind me than what I will ever see in front of me.  I wish I could see myself through the eyes of my grandchildren.  They don't see the wrinkles or age spots but rather someone whose eyes twinkle when they are around, someone who feels silly and ageless.  My grandchildren do for me what Oil of Olay and botox will never do, they make me young on the inside, they block that image in the mirror and allow me to be me, wrinkles and all.  The best anti aging secret is daily exposure to a child's laughter and nonsense.   The face in my mirror still has wrinkles but now they are curled upward in a smile!
As I work on a new character for my granddaughter's book, I try and remember what it was like to use my imagination as I did when I was a child.  When did I lose touch with that part of my being?  I am amazed at how quickly children can  slip into character without any theatrical  training or coaching.  They just let themselves go, no dress rehearsals, no scripts...they just wing it and let  their imaginations take them to the places and characters they have created in their minds.  How often do we as adults over think an issue, worry about how we may be perceived and then sadly conform to whatever it is "we are supposed to be?"  I want to step out of myself and imagine the possibilities and then  slip into that character but I know  that I won't.  I am too old, to settled and afraid of the what for now I will channel my imagination into a character I can put on paper...but someday...just maybe when I truly connect with my inner child, I will let my imagination take over and just wing it!
I remember trying to teach my grandson to count and add.  He loved the way 1+1+1+....sounded and even though he could add 2+2, it was much more fun to drag it out with 1+1+1+1=4.  I look back now and see how often I take the shortcut, bunch things together all in the name of saving time and getting a task done.  Some things in life need the 1+1+1 approach, they need to be broken down, spread out, looked at and experienced in real time.  Holidays, a good meal and conversation, a telephone chat and a good book are just a few of the things that we need to take minute by minute, and let the moment add up for itself.  Life flies by fast enough without us taking shortcuts that cheat us out of experiencing all the "1+1's" life has to offer.
We all know the children's chant...It's raining, it's pouring, everything is boring...what?  You are thinking that is not the way it goes and yet we all have had children pull the "I'm bored" card on us.  I am sure you have responded with "I can give you a chore" or perhaps you did the "With a room full of toys, how can you tell me you have nothing to do?"  One rainy day when my granddaughter said she was bored, I sat on the couch and said "let's be bored together."  At first she didn't know how to respond but was up for the game.  We got on the couch and looked at each other and said "now what?"  The "what" that came out of our being bored together was a 45 minute talk about everything and nothing at all.  Her "I'm bored"  was really just a request of "Nana to spend some time with me."  The next time your child/grandchild says "I'm bored" take a minute before you hand out a pat answer and talk to your little person.  "It's raining, we're sharing, thank you for caring" can be a new version for an old sing song...think about it!
We all are familiar with the saying "a penny for your thoughts."  With my grandchildren aged 8 and 15, I don't need to ask what they are thinking because they share every piece of information they absorb whether of not I ask for it.  It is the infant and toddler that I want to spend my pennies on.  To have access to their little minds and what they are thinking fascinates me.  Have you ever looked at the face of a 9 month old as they discover a new object or rediscover something that was out of their reach?  Are they meditating, plotting or perhaps pondering the questions of life, or their small version of it?  I would love to know what that infant is thinking as we hug and adore them. Are they as "gaga" over us as we are over them? Oh, little ones I would give you my entire piggy bank just to know how you view your world, not just a penny for your thoughts!  But for now I will just share these ramblings, no need for pennies, my thoughts are known!

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