Firsts: Declan and snow... snow... snow!

Firsts: Declan and snow... snow... snow!

Megan made the trek from the desert to Colorado last month, to meet newborn nephew Benjamin. Brayden and Camden stayed home with Dad so they wouldn’t miss school, but as Declan is obligated only to two mornings a week at preschool, he had the privilege of joining Mommy for the visit.

The first morning of their stay at my house, Declan woke me early, bounding into my bedroom exclaiming, “Gramma! It’s SNOWing!”

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Hosting wee holiday guests? 7 safety steps for grandparents

Hosting wee holiday guests? 7 safety steps for grandparents

Family gatherings at Grandma’s house are the stuff seasonal songs are made of. Grandparents delight in hosting extended family for festive events, no doubt. But for grandmothers and others who typically see far less toddler traffic the rest of the year, the increase in visitors can be a bit unsettling… and potentially unsafe.

If you’re one of the fortunate ones hosting a houseful of young’uns for festive fun, consider making the following alterations while putting out seasonal decorations to ensure holiday gatherings at Grandma’s are as merry and bright—and safe—as can be.

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Grandma challenge: How full can she fill forty-four hours?

Grandma challenge: How full can she fill forty-four hours?

My desert-dwelling grandsons and their parents visited my house last week—for forty-four hours. The family had taken a road trip to Vail for a wedding, and Jim and I were fortunate they fit in a stop at our place on their way back home.

I was thrilled to host them and was determined to squish as much into the visit as possible, unsure of when I'd see Brayden, Camden, and Declan (as well as Megan and Preston, too) again.

As all three boys have birthdays in June…

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The well-stocked grandma: What grandmas need

The other day I stood before my postage scale, weighing a package I'd put together to mail off to Bubby and Baby Mac—Batman jammies for Bubby, a cute short set for Baby Mac, and a special toy for each—when I thought, "Here is yet another thing I've purchased, yet another thing I needed as a grandma."

It's not the Batman jammies I considered a grandma necessity—though considering Bubby's Batman infatuation, purchasing the set when I saw it in Target did indeed feel urgent and necessary. No, it's the postage scale that was a true and necessary addition to my house since becoming a grandma. I mail a lot of packages, and it's so much easier to do it all without leaving home (or standing in long post office lines) thanks to a scale, a USPS.com account, and a friendly neighborhood mailman willing to pick up from my doorstep.

Maybe only long-distance grandmas need a postage scale, but there's no doubt every grandma has had to stock up on myriad goods and gadgets to make the grandparenting gig run a lot more smoothly when the grandkids visit.

well stocked grandma.jpg

Below is a list of things I found to be must-haves and life-savers when I happily host my grandsons. Most I've accumulated little by little—which is really a lot considering I've only been at this less than four years—and a few remain on my wishlist. New grandmas and grandmas-to-be may want to print and post the list in a prominent place, then plead with family and friends to help stock the house with the grandma necessities.

Grandma necessities:

• portable crib or play pen

• sheets and receiving blankets

• baby monitor

• baby bottles and baby utensils—for babies, of course

• toddler feeding sets—bowls, plates, and utensils for those who feed themselves

• sippy cups

• baby gates

• child-proofing gadgets for outlets, doorknobs, cabinets, toilet seats

• bulb syringe—just in case Mom forgets to pack it

• baby bathtub and bathing supplies (mini towels and washcloths plus shampoos, lotions, etc.)

• bathtub ring (the ones with suctions cups) to keep safe those too big for the baby tub but not yet stable in the real bath tub

• non-skid appliques for the bathtub bottom

• nightlight for guest room

• booster seat for feeding at the table (or heck, spring for a real highchair)

• potty chair

• step stool to access the real potty

• age-appropriate toys (for indoor and out), art & activity supplies, books, movies, and music

• car seat for transporting (especially handy for grandmas who help out regularly with daycare, or when traveling to and from the airport with long-distance lovies)

• the aforementioned postage scale for long-distance grandmas

• a web camera—not just for long-distance grandmas

• Bubby's favorite: Gloworms for bedtime (this grandma's saved from when Bubby's mom was little)

• And, of course, a rocking chair

I must say that with all that's necessary when stocking Grandma's house, I'm baffled as to why baby showers for grandmas-to-be have not become a trend among today's extra-involved and uber-attentive generation of grandparents.

baby in bucket photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

What other necessities should be found in a well-stocked grandma's house?