Tuesday, September 4, 2018

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

THIS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TH IS GRANDPARENTS DAY! 

Have you been searching for an idea for a gift for your parents, your grandparents or yourself for Grandparents’ Day? Just kidding. Most of you probably were totally unaware of such a “holiday.”  But it’s happening on September 9th. Who knew that it’s always the Sunday after Labor Day?  

Just a little heads up for those who would like to honor/celebrate Grandparents Day, (at the risk of self-promoting and with apologies if you have already have these books): Our grandparenting books are on sale at Amazon right now. They can be delivered to your door in two days to help you celebrate this special day. 

 

IMG 5996

To see the Grandmotheirng book click HERE.   And the Grandfathering Book is HERE.  

We did our best to honor my mother by making chokecherry jam with a couple of our grown kids and a gaggle of our grandchildren. The bushes on our property in Park City are loaded with Chokecherries so hey, free fruit! We had so much fun remembering the great old tradition of making jam in the fall with my mom.   

IMG 5975

Sadly, Grandparents Day is a rather obscure holiday!  It is always the Sunday following Labor Day, but who knew?  I remember the schoolchildren (with the help of their teachers) honored their grandparents with a little handmade gift for their grandparents, but as a mother, that special day often slipped by without much hoopla or sometimes with a little regret that we missed it! 

Grandparents can change the world!  What’s up with that???  

There are about 80 million grandparents in America…the biggest group on the history of the U.S. So they deserve a shout out once a year too, right?  

An organization called Generations United has been trying to do something about it! Since 2011, Generations United has spearheaded an annual campaign to encourage all generations to Do Something Grand and engage with another generation on Grandparents Day. Here is their plea: 

Grandparents and Older Adults:  We’re asking you to commit to do something grand and share your wisdom, perspectives and key civic values with young people and advocate on their behalf.

Children, Youth, and Younger Adults:  We’re asking you to commit to do something grand and connect and serve with your grandparents or older adults in your community.

We have also found a wonderful online magazine called GRAND. For a limited time you can subscribe free online! Check out the great ideas for grandparents HERE. The September Issue is out and includes thoughts from Paul Newman as told by a dear friend about his marvelous legacy of giving back. The magazine has graciously  reviewed  both of our books and has published our column called Deciding: What Kind of Grandparent Will You Be?  Check it out!  It has so many great ideas for Grandparents! 

HAPPY CELEBRATING!   

Friday, August 3, 2018

Three Delightful Grandmothering Months at Eyrealm

 Note:  For those who are interested in seeing the Summer Fun at Eyrealm click HERE

 
Hello again! If anyone happens to find this after my long vacation from blogging, give me a shout out in the comment section. Most of my loyal followers may have gone on to other things, but I’m back…committed to writing for the sake of Family History, even if my faithful followers are lost!  So here we go! 

Life is awesome with a gaggle of grandchildren!  Since May, when I last posted our grandson Jacobson (my maiden name), whose nickname is Cubby was baptized by his dad surrounded by myriads of cousins and people who love him!  It was a day to remember as this cute young man was baptized in the same clothes that Rick’s mother Ruth made for him when he was baptized about 65 years ago! Most of our grandchildren have been baptized in this outfit and it’s getting fragile but is so well-loved! We love this awesome family! 

IMG 5278

 

IMG 5279

 

Shortly after I went to Arizona for the end of year activities there. I got to see cute Claire who is an excellent soccer, volleyball and tennis player,  get an award for track at the Jr. High and then quicklyI ran across the street to see Lucy play a piano solo on the school Talent Show, which she performed perfectly! 

IMG 5299

 

Lucy has her own quite stunning way of absorbing music and has a remarkable piano teacher. Look at the size of those notes so she can see them!  She is surrounded by fabulous helpers, most especially her mom and family! 

IMG 5303

What a flurry of fun activities come along with the end of the school year, especially when it includes graduations!  While I was in Arizona I had the chance to be not only with our grandchildren, but also our son Josh as he celebrated the graduation of his third grade class. 

Josh just happens to be “The World’s Best Teacher” at least in my eyes and the eyes of every child he’s ever had in his class along with their parents!  

“Mr. Eyre” has a spectacular end-of-the-year party every year for his third grade class. Countless hours have been spent teaching and nurturing and experiencing life together with those kids! The party is at the Pothier’s home which couldn’t be a more perfect place to enjoy the kids with their parents for a last hoorah!  The kids loved being there with the beautiful facilities for fun and showing off their gaggle of baby ducklings, newly hatched in their classroom. At the end of the year parties, Josh creates a marvelous video of the classes’ activities during the year that includes (among other things) a Thanksgiving feast, gingerbread house-making, rockets, astronomy nights and a beautiful song that the kids all joined in singing together when the video showed them singing it!  The love for teacher to students and students (and parents) to teacher was palpable. It was astonishing! 

IMG 5307

Back to Utah, our grandson Ashton graduated from Ogden High School with honors!  After a few years gap of graduations of our own children, two of our grandchildren have already graduated and from here on in we will be inundated with graduations for many years to come!  Ashton has had a stellar year along with his incredible girlfriend Lexy, whom we all adore! 

IMG 5390

His parents are pretty proud too! What a great guy…off to the University of Utah as an honor student! 

IMG 5392

There they are smack in the middle of the Ogden High School Graduations Class! What a historic and grand old building!

IMG 5421

How can my high school friends all be grandmothers?  But we are..big time! This group of wonderful friends were part of our “gang” in high school with whom we enjoyed such great times!  We still get together once or twice a year so this year we decided to go on a sentimental journey on Memorial Day to the graves of our parents who have passed on. We were lucky enough to have parents buried in four different towns in Bear Lake Valley, all within a few minutes of driving time. Two have also lost their husbands and Eve (second from the left) lost 4 siblings to cancer in the past five years and survived cancer herself this year!  These are strong, brave souls who have accomplished remarkable things, especially with their grandchildren. They were a great help in writing the Grandmothering book this year!  I love them!  

Why do I look pregnant? Darn!  :)

IMG 5482

Then it was on to NYC to meet our new little granddaughter Etta!  I was in London when she was born so we were thrilled to meet this little cherub!  We must admit, being fearful for her life with her older siblings plotting here to make her life miserable with love via squeezes!  Notice the protective hand of her mom, red to jump to the rescue… 

IMG 5233

…almost 

IMG 5241

There we go (however there is still mischief in Dean’s eyes) ! 

IMG 5247

We had so much fun with the kids, especially walking Zara to Public School #9 in Manhattan. 

IMG 5519

By June grandkids and some of their cousins started arriving at Bear Lake. They helped to get things ready for the reunion

and we spent a little reward time in Montpelier, my home town.

IMG 5570

 A life-size statue of Old Ephraim, the biggest bear in history (his head is stored at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.) stands on Main Street.  That big guy has provided a fabulous bedtime story for our kids for many years. We’re glad he no longer wanders in our neck of the woods. Note that Cubby is standing far enough away to make a run for it, just in case he comes back to life! 

IMG 5571

IMG 5575

The kids got the couches warmed up for the adults who spend literally hours on these couches and chairs… talking deep and wide! 

IMG 5580

We enjoyed the spectacular sunset to get us prepared for the coming Eyrealm Reunion….

IMG 5625

Coming next!  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Two New Grandbabies on Two Different Continents in One Week!

Before I announce my GRAND news for the week I thought I should mention (for those of you who are who live in Utah) that Richard and I will be doing signings for our “companion” Grandparenting Books Grandmothering, Secrets to Making a Difference While Having the Time of your Life (released just in time for Mother’s Day) and Being a Proactive Grandfather _at the Midvale Deseret Book (1110 E Fort Union Blvd) store on Saturday May 5th from 12:30-2:30 p.m. and on Saturday May 12 at the downtown City Creek Deseret Book store (45 W. South Temple) from 12:30-2:30. We would love to visit with you if you are in the area! 

This week I have been up to my neck in Grandmothering! Richard and I just arrived home last night after a three week historic (at least for our family) journey that included the arrival of two new grand babies in one week on two different continents. That is about as good as it gets when it comes to Grandmothering, especially when I got to be at the birth of one and see the other one within the first two weeks of her life! 

Richard and I had a speech in New Jersey on April 9th, just before the imminent birth of our new little granddaughter in New York. So while we were there, we enjoyed a fun three days with our son Eli and daughter in law Julie, 5 year old Zara and 2 year old Dean just days before the exciting arrival!  

IMG 2108

We got to see Zara’s “Miracle Christmas Bike” and admire Julie in her very pregnant, always upbeat, nurturing state, waiting for the arrival of her mother for the birth of that baby on April 15th.  

IMG 4781

IMG 4762

On April 11th, the Braxton Hicks contractions were going strong and signs of a 2nd birth for our youngest daughter Charity in London were prominent, so rather than take the risks of missing the home birth she had planned so carefully with my presence requested, I boarded a plane for London and send Richard on alone to give a speech in Canada while I flew across the pond. I must have meant to go then as an airline fare from NYC to London popped up just as I decided to go for $127.40!  Serendipity! 

Charity (along with two year old Moses) and I enjoyed some halcyon days together awaiting the arrival of that baby who stubbornly stayed in until his very due date (April 21st). During those luxurious nine days of waiting we saw many of the magnificently manicured parks of London...

Including Hyde Park (on our way to church) 

IMG 0894

The gorgeous gardens at Regent Park    IMG 4910

Stunning Holland Park 
IMG 4930

The Princess Diana Memorial Playground 
IMG 4882

Not to mention spending many hours with Moses at the incredible private garden for residents across the street from their flat. 

IMG 4940

We even went to an early birthday Afternoon Tea at a wonderful little Hotel suggested to us by Charity’s friend. My birthday was on April 22nd but we thought we would be busy with a new baby by then. 

IMG 4954

On Friday afternoon, the 20th, Ian met us after work at Kensington Gardens. Charity and I had so much fun chatting and watching Ian and Moses play at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, which is a huge “lazy river” circling around the garden where hundreds of kids played in shallow water. Great idea in the memory of Diana, who loved kids! 

IMG 4964IMG 4972

 Although we’d had several false alarms on steady contractions five minutes apart, they started in earnest first thing in the morning on April 21st. By afternoon we “Called the Midwife,” She is a 25 year old, very competent young woman with a stellar education in everything having to do with childbirth. I have to admit some worry/skepticism about whether their firm plan about having a home birth was wise, but by the time I was thoroughly “educated” about the safety of a home birth, I was placated and decided to go with the flow! 

As soon as the contractions had been steady for a couple of hours, Ian sprang into action…filling up the birthing tub in the living room of their flat, It had been purchased and was sitting in a box after being been set up on a trial run a couple of weeks earlier! They were so excited! 

IMG 4981

After a very unhappy experience with her last birth, she was more than delighted to get into the tub and do it “her way” this time!  The contractions were pretty steady but not changing much so the midwife went home and waited for the call saying that things were getting serious.  By 7 p.m. they called the midwife again and she called her back-up midwife who arrived shortly after she did and the real labor began. This face was a different kind of happy during the next four hours. :)

IMG 4986

Ian was an incredible supporter and during the pretty intense details that followed, he was remarkable. But for the next four hours of hard labor, Charity was astonishing!  She was thrilled to be experiencing the delivery of her dreams, although she had to admit that the last hour she was “ready to be done!”   :)

IMG 4991

By 9 p.m. when she had “enjoyed” two hours of hard labor, I asked her (tongue in cheek) if she would like to wait for just three more hours for my birthday which would begin at midnight. She smiled and declined. Sparing you the amazing details of those sacred next couple of hours, that little cherub finally emerged in the water and Gabriel James Wright took his first breath at 11:05 p.m.  Heaven filled that room to the brim! That space was soaking with joy!  (Pictures are shared by permission). 

IMG 5041
 Here are the two midwives who attended and did such a beautiful job of guiding Charity through this miraculous process!  These pictures makes it look easy, but as those of you know who have given birth…it isn’t!  Hard labor in an exquisite way (in every sense of the word) to bring a child into the world! 

I know they look young, but they were just amazing! The British health care system for helping with the birth of babies as well as attentive care for 4-6 weeks afterward is a marvel! 

IMG 4992
The baby may have missed my birthday, but he hit the Queen’s birthday which counts for something :). And the new Royal Baby was born on the 23rd. There must have been some royal blood in the air because this baby is truly a little prince! 

The next nine days before I left were halcyon days that only a new baby can bring!  I kept the fridge stocked and prepared meals while the new parents reveled in introducing the new baby to 21 month old Moses, who had been staying with a kind friend during and after the birth until they were ready to “show him off.” The normal worries and wondering and rejoicing and excitement of having a new baby in the house all added to the wonder of those first few days in the life of an infant. 

IMG 5142

As you can see, Moses LOVED his new baby brother!  

IMG 5195

IMG 5198

 

And you can see why!  (Even though his world is about to be rocked!)

162ed04d569943c005f3

 

On May 30th we returned to our darling family in New York City who had a pretty exciting birth story themselves after we left. On April 15rh Julie was having serious contractions every 3 minutes and amniotic fluid leaking when they called us from an Uber to say they were on their way to the hospital downtown. Her labor on the last baby from start to finish was 3 hours so they were In a bit of a panic to get to the hospital!  

Of course, as life goes, as soon as they got there, the pains slowed down and they hospital told the to come back when contractions began in earnest. They were warned that Julie would have to deliver the baby within 24 hours because of possible complications with the amniotic fluid. Unfortunately they live a long way away from the hospital in that big city, especially considering New York traffic and flooding in the subway stations at that moment. 

Our daughter Saydi who adores the childbirth experience and was taking a class to be a volunteer doula in Salt Lake, “happened" to be in town from SLC with her 9 year old daughter and she gleefully rushed to the hospital, only to find they had been turned away. To make a long story short, they got a hotel room a short walk from the hospital ad they all three ended up getting about 2-3 hours of sleep in a king size bed! Eli slept in the middle. That will be a night to remember for all! 

The labor finally kicked in the next morning, but still wasn’t progressing when the 24 hours expired so they gave Julie a tiny tiny dose of pitocyn, which kicked everything into gear. Saydi and Eli helped Julie through the garganuous contractions and Little Etta Joy (Saydi’s middle name) Eyre shot into the world with her little amniotic sac intact in less than an hour. Again jubilation filled the air!

 

IMG 0003

There is nothing like holding a newborn baby, especially by a father who adored her with love at first sight! 

IMG 0002

Here is little Etta with the lights of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background! Living in New York has its perks! 

Actually the hospitals downtown is not one of them. Julie had to walk a long way for a shower and share a room with a roommate and her baby who were about four feet  away, separated only by a curtain. 

IMG 1113

That baby girl has to stay under the lights in the hospital for three days because of Jaundice so we were so glad when she was home safe. Did I say safe?  If you only know what these two are capable of, you would wonder! We arrived in NYC just in time to take these pictures of these three little buddies who live in about 700 square feet in a five story walk-up in the Upper West side of Manhattan. They’re as "snug as 5 bugs in a rug!”  Truly amazing! 

IMG 5226

 

IMG 5247

What a dazzling week three weeks I've had helping with these two little grandbabies (along with Richard) and being amazed at their parents who are well-prepared for the exciting, exhilarating, exhausting, joyful road ahead! 

It was one of the greatest times of my life! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A New Blog and a New Book Especially for Grandmothers

Hello!  And welcome to a new blog especially for Grandmothers! It is an outgrowth of a new book called Grandmothering, The Secrets to Making a Different While Having the Time of Your Life which is coming out on April 1st, 2018. After six months of not only mind-blowing experiences in organizing and expressing my thoughts, but also in gathering the deep and delightful wisdom of many friends who are fabulous grandmothers, the book has just been posted on Amazon.

As a mother of young children I wrote two books that brought to life the stage of life that I was experiencing at that moment. The first was  I Didn’t Plan to Be a Witch, which described the real life of a mother in the trenches. :) Several years later I wrote A Joyful Mother of Children, written in the stage when one begins to realize the children won’t be with you forever. Twenty years later, I have spent the last six months writing about the things that I have learned and loved about being a grandmother. Our little cluster of Grandchildren now number twenty nine with two more arriving in mid April. 

NewImage
Ideas include possibilities for one-on-one and groups adventures with grandkids, creating “Grammie Camps”, including in-laws, the joy of welcoming new babies, how to keep your mouth closed when necessary :), taking care of yourself, the problem of kids’ entitlement, a new way to give grandchildren grit and ideas for memorable reunions.

There are two unique aspects of this book that are only possible because of the Internet. First, several of the ideas suggested in the book can actually be seen by going to the link of an easy-to-access website where you see what has been described with further explanations and beautiful photography from our daughters’ blogs. Plus you can see our pretty wild reunions in living color

The main reason for starting this blog was that there is an appendix at the end of the book that includes something that we hope will be very valuable for grandmothers who have ever worried about what to feed their children and grandchildren when they come home to enjoy being together. The title of the Appendix is Recipes to Feed a Crowd. This mini-cook-book has favorite recipes from reunions/family and friends At the suggestion of our daughters, you willl see a click to all the recipes on the bar below the picture with the grandkids, where you will find the recipes from the book. Click through and see what might work for you. If you like a recipe but don’t have the book handy, you can easily access the recipes from any computer or device by going to grandmotheringbook.com. If you know the name of the recipe from the book, just enter it in the search bar and it will pop up. Kudos to our darling Granddaughter who accomplished the time consuming task of entering the recipes. 

All recipes will feed about 12-16 people, depending on the ages and appetites of your crowd and the amounts are already measured for you without the fuss of doubling or tripling a recipe for 6 or 8.

In addition the final section is called Feeding a Really Big Crowd which was created by our beloved co-grandparent Tess Wade who is not only a splendid cook, but spent 18 months feeding from 60-80 people regularly as she and her husband cared for (and fed) a large group of young adults in London on a church assignment. Some of you seasoned grandmothers with lots of progeny might be ready to use those for your reunions. If your crowd isn’t that big yet, feel free to half or quarter the recipes to fit the size of your crowd. 

We would love your comments and/or adjustments that you find as you use these recipes!  

This post will be active with this initial information until after Mother’s Day (May 13th) as the book will hopefully be a nice gift for you GRANDmothers.  If “some people” have forgotten that you are still a Mother…only grander…you may want to get it for yourself. As mentioned earlier, It is available at Amazon.


After Mother’s Day I’ll begin posting new ideas that have been flooding in since the book was published from creative grandmothers. Please share your own ideas in the comment section of this and subsequent posts.

This blog will also be repository for the adventures that we have had with our grandchildren. Here is a glimpse of our latest adventure with five of our grandsons (2 twelve year olds, 2 thirteen year olds and 1 fourteen years old) on a “Crazy Cousins’ Cruise.” See those cute faces in anticipation as we began our adventure below!  Happy Days…

Thanks for joining the Grandmothering journey with me on this blog! 

IMG 4270
IMG 4571

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Easy Corn on the Cob for a Big Crowd

Here's a game changer for serving corn on the cob for a big family reunion or Labor Day barbecue. This is a great idea from  @R2sense.

Ingredients:
Ears of corn
Water for boiling


Directions:

1. Shuck as many ears of corn as you need for your party and put them in a large, clean picnic cooler.

2. An hour or two hours before the party, boil enough water to cover the corn, pour it over the corn, and close the lid.

3. Drain the cooler when your guests arrive, and close the lid until ready to serve! Voila! You have perfectly cooked corn!

Easy Cornbread

Serves 50-60. Goes well with the Lentil Vegetable Soup or Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili.


Ingredients:
2 cups butter 
2/ 3 cups sugar 
16 eggs, well beaten 
8 cups buttermilk 
4 teaspoons baking soda 
8 cups flour
8 cups cornmeal
4 teaspoons salt


Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.

2. Add sugar and mix well.

3. Add all other ingredients; mix well.

4. Bake in greased pans for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F  (190 degrees C).

Everyday Meatloaf

Serves 50-60.


Meatloaf Ingredients: 
4 cups dry breadcrumbs
6 cups milk
9 pounds (4 kilograms) ground beef
12 beaten eggs
1 1/ 2 cups grated onion
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sage


Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons dry mustard


Optional Sides:

Steamed salad potatoes Prepared frozen peas


Directions: 
1. Soak breadcrumbs in milk.

2. Add meat, eggs, onion, and seasonings; mix well.

3. Form into four greased aluminum pans (you can find these at Costco).

4. Combine all sauce ingredients well.

5. Cover meat with sauce and bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for 1 hour.

6. Serve with steamed salad potatoes and prepared frozen peas, as desired.