I love having the grandkids spend the night! Ever since the oldest was little and started sleeping over......she would sleep with me in the big bed while Gramps slept in the guest room.  Same when her little sis came along, and then my grandson as soon as he was old enough! As the twins grew older, they took turns doing the sleep-with-Grandma-in-the-big-bed thing!
One night my little cuddle bug guy said he was going to "stick to me like glue" as he leaned against my back. Both he and his big brother like me to hold their foot while they fall asleep!  Another time, his sister said "you're the refrigerator, and I'm the magnet" as she snuggled up tight against me! Cracked me up!  But the older kids did the same thing. That feeling of warmth, security, love and devotion...... that special "Grandma and me time" feeling......greatest feeling in the world for both of us.
Sunshine always stroked my earlobe as she drifted off, Flower wanted to hold hands...and so does my little Pumpkin Jr.  She also loves patting my cheeks repeatedly. Those are pictures only the heart can capture!
As they all grow older, they like playing word games, telling silly jokes and hearing me tell tales of their parents when they were little! It takes a long time to get to sleep sometimes.......but it feels so good to fall asleep after giggling your head off!

Everytime the five cousins got together for Christmas or during summer vacation……..we'd have a camp out on the living room floor! (Gramcracker got the couch!)  We had every blanket and pillow and flashlight in the house. Made lots of hand shadows of course and told silly/spooky/nonsense stories!  I loved that even the oldest got into it and became a “kid” again in the midst of laughter and craziness! She and her sister snuck off to their bed once the Littles were asleep...but I'd stick it out on our comfy old sofa till morning peeked in.


                                                 Another Gramps and Gramcracker Book

Welcome to our yard, gardens and deck! We have built and planted all these years with the best helpers of all.....our little gardenyardigans! We have watched our GRANDKIDS blossom and grow along with the beautiful outdoors! Each child has been an important part of making this house a home. The yard work......building the deck and the wall, planting, watering and weeding. The yard art.....from the frog collection and rock garden from my Mom and Dad, the nautical touches from living on lakes and oceans to my collection of decorative birdhouses.

But it wouldn't be HOME without the squeals, laughter and delight that has filled our yard with love and joy! They have planted flowers and a veggie patch, built and painted birdhouses, "watered" the lawn by running through the sprinkler!

They have used binoculars to hunt for bunnies and squirrels, magnifying glasses to look for crawling, creeping creatures and used their creativity and imaginations playing in the huge sandbox.
Thank you my Sunshine and Flower for showing us the way. And thank you to my Shining Star and the Dynamic Duo for keeping us going!

Michigan Lake House Vacation

Sometimes it's a trip back in time that means the most! In this repost I share the importance of our adult children in our lives as well as the fun of multi-generation adventures. We came home from this vacation with the assurance and pride that we had done a good job as parents. We watched as our kids' happy childhood was recreated for their own children in this slice of life that touches us to this day. 

We rented a lake house through on Upper Crooked Lake in Delton, Michigan to honor of our 45th anniversary. Since Treg and Tracy spent their early childhood on another Crooked Lake, they wanted to show their own kids what lake living and swimming were  all about.
It turned out to be better than our expectations. Two families drove from Georgia (in separate cars) and the other family flew in from California to meet by mid-afternoon. The home and property were perfect for eleven of us! We enjoyed outstanding weather, everyone got along and all five grandkids  had the time of their lives.

A sandy bottom meant the three-year-old twins could walk out pretty far and really helped them gain confidence in the water. Grandpa and the daddies played water football and 'Shamu' with all the kids.
Son-in-law John kept us organized and fed and was in charge of the grill and fire pit. We had a kayak and pontoon boat available and rented the jet ski for a day so everyone could have a ride. Our daughter Tracy really rocked the jet one would ride with her! Our son Treg helped every child catch their first fish!

The front yard leading down to the lake was huge. There was a great swing set and playground area, a hammock and lots of trees for hide and seek.  Plenty of room for tossing the football, playing tag and a place to roast marshmallows. I shared all of this with an artist friend who did the beautiful painting above. My husband had no problem getting around with his cane. Strong fencing along each side of the huge yard helped ease him down to the lake and dock. He piloted the pontoon boat and loved swimming several times a day.

With my daughter in the early 70's

Watching the five grandkids' faces as they discovered some delight about the lake and yard was awesome. They built sand and rock castles, captured frogs, minnows and snails and did flips off the dock. The adult kids would serve us gin & tonic's each evening...pretty cool having them taking care of us! Our daughter-in-law made sure every moment was captured with photos and video.
My husband swimming with our son, then and now.

The younger ones went to bed early, but we stayed up late with the older girls for the "night life." Catching fireflies, swirling sparklers and sitting around the bonfire. Still sunny at 9:00 PM, we made s'mores early one evening so the Littles could participate and still get to bed.

Favorite places in the area made for awesome day trips. The Gilmore Car Museum, the Air Zoo Museum and the stables where relatives kept harness race horses were great fun for all three generations. The three older kids helped out with grooming and feeding the horses and Treg got to ride a race cart during their morning workouts! He also had a chance to water ski again on a friend's boat. It warmed our hearts watching him and his sister be kids again!

At the end of the week, Treg and Cara stayed on to visit their Michigan friends, the young ones road-tripped again to visit their Ohio grandparents and Grandpa and I brought the older girls back to Georgia with us for another week.

This photo book is a favorite for all of us....allowing us to savor this trip...and also to recall our  early days living on the lake! We  had the best vacation/family reunion/walk-down-memory-lane time ever! 

Gramps and Gramcracker Books

I love taking pictures! My camera is my constant companion whenever I'm with my grandkids. After years of scrapbooking, I decided to try this Photo Book method where I could add narrative and creative designs just like I spent hours doing with my stacks of memory books!

  The first attempt was "Our Alaska Adventures"  book; written and photographed with my granddaughter after our dogsledding and snow trekking vacation. Living in Southern California, she wanted to experience snow and learn more about this unique sport. She quickly learned the lingo and moves. It really was the 'lightness of being" as we flew over the snowy meadows like a magic carpet!
We put Travels With Gramps and Gramcracker on the back cover.

 But every time I created a new book, we called it Another Gramps and Gramcracker Book!


Gary and His Grandkids....A Grand Life  is a tribute to our old cat, Gary Gare. Always an indoor cat, he passed away in December, 2010. Our grandson, who was 3 at the time, peered out the window at his backyard grave and announced; "now Gary's an outdoor cat!"  The twins love reading this to Burney...our new kitty....and I've shared it with the staff at our vet's office.   

I wrote about  Gardenyardigans....what we call the kids playing in the yard; helping with gardening and 'watering' the grass as they run through the sprinklers! You know I had their help with this title....straight from the  Backyardigans kids' program!

Having our fab five kiddos together every summer is a highlight for us all; so I've created  memory books of photos and funny tales for the cousins each year. Although these have all been made with Shutterfly, I also work on projects through Heritage and Snapfish! Check out their sites for great promotions and discounts.

Each child has had the 'honor' of being on the back cover as well! Who knew it would be such a big deal! Lane learning to swim one summer was a real highlight! In 2013 I made our 10th book. Little did I know it would mean so much to have our turn on the back cover. Gramps passed away later that year.

By the time another year and adventure rolled around, I wasn't sure what to call these books. It had been his idea to make them a series for the kids. It was his idea to take each grandchild on a vacation too.I was ready to carry on.

Our second granddaughter chose to visit New York City when she turned twelve. She also helped with photos and book ideas even as we walked the streets of Manhattan. All the kids look forward to these books now; knowing their lives will forever be documented in grandma's photo books.

The following year I focused on selling the house and moving back up north. Even as I cleaned and staged for open houses, I snapped pictures of every room and piece of furniture, gathered old photos of the kids as babies and of celebrations and activities we'd shared in this 18-year-old home. All the images forever captured in my heart would be shared in the words of my goodbye essay.

 I had to call this one Another Gramps and Gramcracker Book. The girls told me it didn't matter if all the books had the same back page theme, "they'll always be our childhood memories." We included grandpa in all the ways we remembered him around the house. My kids enjoy all the books too, but this is absolutely my their favorite.

Finally....two pounds!

February 21, 2011
The scale finally moved to the left a couple notches today! After three weeks of cardio and weights.......only two, but I'll take it!!
Spent 3 months working with nutritionist from Berkley Heart Lab and got myself on healthy diet......high fiber and protein.... and keeping calories @ 1800. Started walking in neighborhood 2 or 3 miles a day. Joined LA Fitness/ Atlanta Track Club and have been working out at gym in mornings; walking in afternoons. Running/walking 5K's once a month (have done four so far). So.........I'm on the right track, right????? Frustrating that the weight around my middle is so hard to lose.......but I'm determined! Two pounds on the scale, but clothes fitting better. Getting stronger core from Yoga once a week; lifting 7 1/2 or 8 lb weights and doing upper body twice a week/lower body twice a week. Walking streets 5-6 days of the week. High intensity/interval pacing on treadmill or eliptical 4 times a week. Hopefully it's all going to come together soon.
Eight pounds of middle rolls and bulges.......going to do it!!!!!!

Another 5K

January 21, 2011
Another 5K in the morning.....Polar Bear Run.......25 degrees! What to wear for cold weather running?!?! Layering up and wearing a hat and mittens, that's for sure.
Hope my sister doesn't bail. We did rain last time/woodsy terrain before that.....we can do this. Update coming! :)
Yes! I did it! 48:08 minutes this time! New Year's Day it was I shaved a minute and a half off! That's all I want......trying to do better and trying to stay in good shape! It is so much fun doing with my sister and having these monthly commitments! We push ourselves to register, then whine and need support to set that alarm and get up............but once we're on our way, we're excited and ready! And afterward, oh my's such a great high....a great accomplishment.....a great thing we have done for ourselves :)
I love doing it with her......she is my best friend as well as my little sister! We have had ups and downs /on and off over the years.....but she is my source of support and humor and understanding about so many things. I love that we don't always agree, and it doesn't matter!