Yesterday at Gramma's: Beating the heat

Our plan for the day was a picnic at America the Beautiful Park, with time for splashing in the pools. Unfortunately, high temps and smoke from the wildfire spurred us to devise a Plan B—an afternoon at iT'Z Family Food & Fun.

Maybe not so unfortunate after all.

Note: While my grandsons are in town, posts will be short on text and long on photos, with the exception of Monday's GRAND Social linky and Wednesday's Grilled Grandma, which will be featured as always.

Today's question:

What's your favorite way to beat the heat with kids?

Yesterday at Gramma's: First things first

Hunting for treasure—aka coins PawDad buries in the sand—has always been one of Bubby's favorite things to do at Gramma and PawDad's house. So when I picked up Megan and the boys at the airport yesterday, Bubby's first request was to hunt for treasure when we got home.

Which is exactly what Bubby and Mac did.

Today's question:

When did you last play in sand, whether in a sandbox, at the beach or elsewhere?

Adventures in a new dimension

Not long after being laid off from the newspaper in 2008, I started a freelance gig I called Five Buck Bits. It was a source of news briefs (briefs being my theme for some time now) for regional parenting publications, bits they could purchase from my website for $5 per bit to add to their publications, online or in print.

One of the bits I wrote regarded the appropriateness of taking youngsters to 3-D movies. In part, here is the advice from that brief:

Parents planning on taking their children to see one of the season’s popular 3-D films need to know how to determine if the kids can see 3-D, then prepare them for what will happen during a 3-D movie if they have never seen one before.

Dr. Brad Habermehl, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, says many children may miss out on all the excitement if they can’t see 3-D. “Unfortunately, most parents have no idea how their children see their world, and children don’t complain if they can’t see 3-D.”

Consider the signs. Your child may not be able to see 3-D if he or she:
• is clumsy—spills milk when going down stairs, climbing play structures or avoids them all together;
• has difficulty hitting or catching pouring, trips while walking, bumps into things;
• is scared of escalators, a ball.

<snipped to shorten for this post>

If your child can see 3-D, it’s still best when a child has never seen a 3-D movie before to prepare him beforehand for what he will see. Explain to your child how with most movies the picture stays on the movie screen. But in 3-D movies, the picture will look as if it is filling the whole theater and viewers may feel like they can reach out and touch the characters. Also be sure to tell your child ahead of time that if he doesn’t like what he sees or he feels uncomfortable, he can close his eyes until he feels comfortable opening them again.

During the 3-D movie, keep an eye on your child, watching for any signs of a headache, nausea or dizziness during or shortly afterwards. ...

Because of that little brief written more than a year ago, I've been hesitant about taking Bubby to see a 3-D movie.

During his Thanksgiving visit to his paternal grandparents, though, Bubby was treated to the newest Happy Feet movie. In 3-D. And he did just fine! No headache, no nausea, no dizziness. (Although Megan did tell me that, for some reason, he decided to wear his 3-D glasses upside down the entire time.)

With the success of Bubby's first venture into 3-D, I now feel safe in taking my grandson—along with the rest of the family—to a 3-D movie while everyone is together for the Christmas holiday. This is what I'm planning for us to see:


Maybe we'll all wear our 3-D glasses upside down for the duration of the film, just to add yet another dimension to the adventure. (Except for Baby Mac, of course, whose eyes I'll likely be shielding for safety's sake.)

Today's question:

What is the first 3-D film you recall seeing?

Hug-ease for boys

Hugging our favorite boys is one of the highlights for PawDad, Aunt B, Aunt Andie and myself each time we have the pleasure of seeing Bubby and Baby Mac.

When they visited last month, the hugging went far beyond just our little clan, though, as the boys were blessed with abundant squeezes from extended family and more.

Bubby and Baby Mac appreciated—or, in some cases, at least endured out of obligation—the hugs from each and every hugger. It was pretty darn clear, though, that Great Aunt Debbie was their favorite hugger of all, the one with whom they were most at ease:

While I don't like to play favorites in any way, I must agree with their assessment: My sister Debbie is indeed one of the very best huggers around.

Today's question:

If you could hug only one person today, who is most in need of your hug?

Photo replay: Snow delight

The week Bubby visited, the weather was the best autumn offers: clear skies, resplendent sunshine, warm days and crisp nights.

The morning Megan and the boys were leaving for home, Bubby threw open my bedroom door first thing, exulting, "Gramma, it SNOWED!" 

Other than a few freak flurries in the desert, it was Bubby's first experience with real snow, accumulating snow. Such a delight!

Today's question:

When do you expect to see your first snow of the season? Or have you already?

Toddler bowl

I am an awesome bowler. On the Wii. I get spares, strikes, even "turkeys" (that's three strikes in a row, for you non Wii bowlers). I continually impress—and surprise—my family with my Wii-bowling skills.

Too bad my prowess with the Wii pins doesn't translate to real-life bowling.

We took Bubby bowling for his first time last week, and Gramma didn't light up the lanes the way she thought she might. Bubby, on the other hand, did great. With a toddler-sized ball, bumpers in the gutters, and pointers from Mommy and PawDad, Bubby granny-rolled 'em like a pro.

Bubby rocked the lanes, even delighted us all with a spare. He scored a 52 for his first game ever. Pretty impressive for a toddler beginner. He did even better in his second game, rolling double that. Well, MOMMY rolled double that...while Bubby napped. Seems one game of granny-ing it was the bowling boy's limit for the day.

Maybe next time we hit the lanes as a family, Baby Mac will get to join in the fun. Although, just being passed back and forth between the bowlers was fun in itself.

At least for those doing the passing.

Today's question:

When did you last bowl and how did you do?

For want of a round tuit

Decades upon decades ago, I came across a cardboard cutout in my mom's issue of Woman's Day or Family Circle, the only two magazines she regularly treated herself to. The cutout was of a "Round Tuit"—a circle with the words ROUND TUIT written on it, for presenting to procrastinators who say such things as "I'll do X when I get around to it."

Why that goofy feature stuck in my mind for many years after, I'll never know. But not long ago I found another Round Tuit in an antique shop and was happy to offer it as a prize in my then-weekly haiku contest here on Grandma's Briefs. The tchotchke looked like this:

I now wish I had kept that Round Tuit rather than give it away, as it sure would have come in handy for all the things that we didn't get around to doing while Megan and the boys were here last week.

A Round Tuit would have been useful for:

• Carving the warty pumpkin we picked from the pumpkin patch

• A second splash in the hot tub with Bubby

• Taking Bubby over to Aunt B's to visit her kitties

• Eating the two packages of Wholly Guacamole I bought specifically for Megan then discovered at the back of the refrigerator soon after she'd left

• A treasure hunt for PawDad and Bubby using PawDad's metal detector

• Baking peanut butter cookies with Bubby

• Collecting leaves from the back yard for Bubby to take back to the desert, where the cactus and palm trees don't change in the fall

• Relaxing in the hammock with Bubby

• Assisting Megan on the sewing project she hoped to complete while here

• Printing photos of our week o' fun to place in a mini photo album for Bubby to take home with him

There's not much I can do about most of what's on the list above. Some simply won't happen, and some will be added to the agenda for when Megan and the boys—with Preston—return at Christmastime.

I will, though, eat all the guacamole myself. I also will pick some red and yellow leaves from the trees in my back yard. Then I'll place the leaves, along with printed photos of the visit, in a mini keepsake album that I'll mail to Bubby.

As soon as I get around to it a Round Tuit.

Today's question:

What would you surely accomplish, if only you had a Round Tuit?

October expedition: The North Pole

As you likely deduced if you saw yesterday's photo, our family made the highly anticipated trek to the North Pole last week. What a jolly time it was! So much to see and do, including a ride or two with Bubby down the Peppermint Candy Cane Slide I waxed once upon a time.

This slideshow was a casualty of my site makeover but you can find it in my Brag Book: NORTH POLE — 2011.

After the delightful outing, I've decided October is definitely the best time to visit the North Pole. Not only is the early autumn weather perfect for an afternoon halfway up Pikes Peak, the aspens on the hillsides all around are just beginning to change, lines for the rides are non-existent, and Santa has plenty of time for long visits plus strolls throughout the park during his breaks—which meant we ran into the Big Guy on several occasions, and each time he remembered Bubby by name.


I'm so thankful for the holiday-themed expedition with my very most favorite people. 'Twas a memorably festive occasion, indeed.

Today's question:

What percentage of your holiday shopping have you completed...or considered?

3 ways Pinterest made Gramma awesome

Simple, inexpensive ideas I found on Pinterest that convinced Bubby of Gramma's awesomeness:

Shaving cream bath paints.

Cardboard ramps for his cars.


<photo of Bubby in the tub with glow sticks removed by Lisa because perverts flocked to it>

Glow sticks in the bath tub.

Today's question:

Do you prefer taking baths or taking showers?

What Gramma has learned so far

We're a little over halfway through the visit with Bubby, Baby Mac, and Megan, and there's quite a bit this grandma has learned in just the few days we've had together so far:

1. Amusement park rides really are not a thing of Gramma's past, as she's willing to ride anything and everything her grandson wants to go on, no matter how high or scary or rickety it may be. As long as said grandson is the right height, of course.

2. That said, three in a row is definitely Gramma's limit for rides that go round and round and round and round...riding or watching.

3. Bribery and providing dipping and covering options of any and every sort—from ketchup to chocolate to peanut butter, syrup, and more—will not make a child eat if he or she doesn't want to eat.

4. Driving 45 minutes and paying $.55 per pound for a warty pumpkin picked from the field really is worth it after all.

5. Gramma is willing to fork out $.50 to squish a penny and have it marked with a tourist stamp.

6. Baby GloWorms aren't just for babies.

7. When a child sneezes in the hot tub while sharing it with Gramma, said Gramma is not above using her bare hand to clear the child's face of green snot before it lands in the water, no matter how squeamish and disgusted she previously would have been by such a thing.

8. Sometimes schedules don't matter at all.

9. Sometimes a clear floor, bath tub, kitchen counter, couch, and bed don't matter at all, especially when it's boys' toys and baby stuff keeping things cluttered.

10. Sometimes stats, emails, tweets, status updates, and Klout don't matter at all, either, especially when it's boys and baby matters keeping Gramma from the computer.

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

What I've learned so far this week is ______________.

This post linked to Grandparent's Say It Saturday.