Connections, Chaos and Fun! Reading to Children in the Zoom Room.

Sometimes I see half a blurry face.  Sometimes I see only feet. Sometimes a dog suddenly appears on the screen.

 

4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Sadie are two wiggly and giggly sisters.

The girl’s attention span can weave in and out. This is not unusual for children.  Especially when I am reading a book to them in front of a computer screen.

 

I do know they are listening to me because of how they respond.  The questions they ask:  “Where is the guard dog that barks as loudly as a dinosaur’s roar?”  Their faces are now glued to the screen.

 

They sometimes become very still and quiet, engaged in the story.

Their faces will zoom in closer to get a good look at the pictures.

At times they ask me to bring the book closer to the screen.  Especially when they are both trying to find the dragonflies.

 

When A Book Is More Beautiful In Real Life

I opened the box from Amazon and I was thrilled to see the book, “Molly Finds Her Purr” had arrived.  I knew I would like this book since I love Pamela Wight’s writing.  I have been following her popular blog for over a year.  Rough Wighting

Pamela Wight has written a delightful, engaging story about Molly, a lonely, stray cat. This story shares a message of kindness, inclusivity and compassion.  Molly meets some unique, colourful animal characters who help Molly feel accepted.  They create “A Circle of Friendship” and they help Molly find her purr. 

The detailed artwork in this book is exceptional. The vibrant colours help bring this captivating story and the animals to life. 

Detailed illustrations and vibrant colours

Life Is Different Right Now

Cuddling and reading stories used to always go together.  

We are all trying to find new ways to navigate this new life. 

      Our present day Love Language is Connecting. 

Today, this means virtual connections while we are sheltering-in-place.  Letting friends and family know we are thinking about them. 

                Children are adjusting to this new life, too.

 

We Set The Example For Our Children:

  • To be kind.  Respect the boundaries and recommendations to help people stay healthy and safe.  Yet not live in fear.
  • Adult worries do not belong on children’s shoulders. 
  • To model grace under pressure.
  • It is okay to feel sad one moment, and be smiling the next.  
  • To expect change.  Change is a constant in life always.  Especially today.
  • To feel hopeful.  People have adapted, evolved since the beginning of time.  We are still here.
  • To play.  To have fun.  To create.  To find joy in each day.
  • To be grateful.  Always remember how lucky we are.

                   Our children are watching us.  

Love Abby!

 

Reading a book to children in the Zoom room and on a computer screen can be a challenge.

It does make it easier when I am reading an engaging, fun, beautiful book like “Molly Finds Her Purr.”

Of course, I would rather cuddle with Abby and Sadie in person.

For now, I am happy to see feet, half a blurry face, a dog and

                        Especially a Smile.

Love Abby and Sadie!  Their smiles warm my heart.

 

What type of connections are you making with family, friends and children while we are sheltering-in-place? 

 

Postscript:  In future I plan to make one on one reading dates.  There was some bickering on whose turn it was to find the dragonfly on each page.  In the past, they have appreciated the dedicated time and undivided attention. 

Link to Goodreads review:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.ca:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.com“Molly Finds Her Purr”

Zoom reading date with Abby and Sadie photo credits:  Thank you to my daughter and my husband.

 

 

 

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

I feel pangs of guilt.  

Am I a terrible Mother and Grandmother?

Family Day

When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us.  Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day.  Same day.  New name.

We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family.  We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.

We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes.  Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing.  Same walk.  New name.

  • We would have fun, relaxed family time.
  • They would learn to appreciate nature.
  • We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
  • The goal was simply to be together.

 

Hiking With Very Young Children

It all sounds like a great idea.

For the first fifteen minutes.

How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?

My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time.  We want to tire them out, not tire us out.

One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the

               Birth Of A New Adventure! 

We Will Search For Licorice Trees 

Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.

I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path.  I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them.  My complicit husband.

Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path.  They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch. 

              Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.

 

Fast Forward Three Decades

My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls.  They began giggling about the licorice trees.

I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Mother?

 

Last Sunday, A Funday

My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.

I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings. 

They both gave me a puzzled, curious look. 

Sadie brought up a good point.  They had no idea what to look for?

Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.

 

The Rest Of The Afternoon

Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest.  For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.

We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.

Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat. 

Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees.  They looked up at me with trusting eyes.

Is this wrong?  Have I gone too far?

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Grandmother?

 

Perpetuating The Myths

Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.  Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults. 

I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.

I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail.  I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.    

My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile.  A moment in life where we are in this together.

                  Sharing memories.  Creating memories.

At The End Of The Day

We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon. 

They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day.  They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.

As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”

                              

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right 

Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees.  I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.  

Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings.  They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.

They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.

                              “The Best Day Ever!”

 

 

Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?

Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?

 

Postscript: 

About the Kinsol Trestle:  The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle.  It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)

Your visit:  If you come onto The Island  Vancouver Island Link   and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees.  Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret. These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike. 

Warning:  We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval.  They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms.  We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.

I Was Tempted To Lie To My Husband

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

 

Not a good thing.

Especially two weeks before our wedding anniversary.

Is there ever a good time to lie?

It is actually an act of omission.  Something I did not want to tell him.

Is this still considered a lie?

 

It Started Last Sunday

I had booked a massage.  A real treat.

Before the massage, I took off my wedding ring and I placed it in my wallet. 

An hour of bliss followed. 

On the way home I stopped at Discovery Coffee to buy coffee beans.  They have the best coffee in Victoria and it is worth the drive to pick up the beans.

                       A perfect end to my week.              

Frenchman Lake, Yukon, 2011

Monday Morning   

I realized I was not wearing my wedding ring.

I was quite certain I had placed it in my wallet. 

I checked my wallet. No luck. 

I did have spa brain yesterday, so I might be wrong.

I completely emptied my purse.  No luck.

I phoned the Spa to see whether anyone had turned in a wedding ring, a simple gold band.  Nothing.  

I phoned Discovery Coffee.  They checked the back desk where lost and found items are placed.  Nada.    

 

Darn.  I Feel Sick To My Stomach.

It is just a ring.  A material object. 

I am actually surprised I haven’t lost it before now. 

I take it off before every yoga class, sometimes placing it on the towel next to me.  I used to take it off before running when I used to run.  My fingers swell and I am not in the mood to have anything cut off.

It is only a physical item.  It is not as if anything serious has happened, especially to anyone I love.

Physical items can be replaced.

Then why do I feel sick to my stomach?

 

Forty-one Years Ago

This ring was given to me as a symbol of commitment and a promise we made to each other.

Forty-one years ago it was a shiny, simple, smooth gold band.

Forty-one years later this ring shows some wear and tear.  Not unlike all marriages.

            This ring means even more to me now.

It represents a friendship and a life we have built together.

It is symbolic of our enduring love for each other.

 

I Do Not Want To Tell My Husband

I am disappointed and upset.  I will likely start crying.

He may not even notice the missing ring.

I could replace the ring with a similar looking gold band.

My husband would say the right things to make me feel better.  He always does. 

He has been my best friend for over forty-one years.  I have always been able to count on him.

 

Thursday Morning

I phone the Spa and Discovery Coffee again.

       A last-ditch effort to find the ring.

Nothing was turned in at the Spa.

A friendly voice answers at Discovery Coffee.  Yes, they have found the ring!”  

Happy tears.

 

Am I Using Up My Good Luck Quota?

I often think of luck as a finite amount of good in my life.

I am allocated a limited quantity of good luck in my lifetime.  I do not want to waste it. 

I recently wrote about finding the Ruby Red Slippers  link here   Now my ring shows up.  These are two small examples of something good going my way.

                   What are the chances? 

I would rather save the good luck for the most important parts of my life, the people in my life.  My loved ones. 

I realize life doesn’t work this way.

We play the cards we are dealt, good and bad.

I am grateful for the hand I have been dealt for most of my life.

Jokulsarlon Glacier, Iceland

Do I Tell My husband? 

Lying is not a good thing.  

Yet, we are also not perfect.  I am sure the both of us have kept silent at times or told white lies to spare feelings. 

We believe in communication in our marriage.  Even on difficult subjects. 

After all these years, I could not hide anything from my husband.  We know each other too well.

Communication is often non-verbal.  

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

Lost Or Found

I was not aware how much this ring meant to me, until I lost it.

         A good reminder for a great deal in life.

I also do not need an object to remind me of our respect and love for each other.  For us, love is a verb.  We show up for each other every day.

I was planning to tell my husband about the ring, lost or found.

When he opens his inbox today and reads this story. 

                      Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.

Thank you for the forty-one years we have shared together.  I look forward to many more.

 

 

 

November 24, 1978

 

Have you ever lost a special item?  Are there times when not telling the truth is a good thing?

 

Postscript:   Last night I read a beautiful true story, on Jill Weatherholt’s blog about   A 94-year-old couple who had been married for 75 years.      Jill added this quote from Richard Bach. “True love stories never have endings.”

A few hours later I read Pamela Wight’s beautiful, poignant story on her blog, Roughwighting.  The  Once to Now  feels like a brief moment in time.  Where did the time go?

 

Related Links:

Sliding Doors. Do You Ever Wonder How Your Life Would Be Different Now If You Had Taken The Other Door.

40th Anniversary, You Know He Is A Keeper

Do You Believe A Person’s Energy Can Be Attached To An Object?

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

 

Does Every Two-Year-Old Put Something Up Their Nose?

Version 2
The Magic of Childhood

 

Road trips with a two-year-old and a four-year-old can be a lot of fun.

Most of the time.

 

Version 2

 

What do you do when the two-year-old starts crying and we decipher through the sobs,

                       “A Tic Tac is in my nose!

The car is in motion on a busy Vancouver highway.

I abruptly swing around in my seat.

“Are you kidding me?!  Are you sure you have a Tic Tac in your nose?!”

I see something up her nose.

I calmly shout blow your nose!”

Flashes of first aid courses run through my mind.  I try to remember all I have learned about head anatomy and the sinus cavity.

I am thankful my daughter, their Mother, sent me a text this morning containing a copy of their Medical Care Cards.  

                        Where is the nearest hospital?

 

Version 2
Do not play with knives!

 

Papa Chuck screeches to a halt at the side of the road.  I jump out of the car and attempt

                       Tic Tac Rescue Mission!

I cannot even see the Tic Tac now.  A bulge is visible high up on her nose.  I apply pressure to one nostril amidst the two-year-old’s advanced cries.  I tell her to blow her nose.  No success.

Again, blow your nose!”

A Tic Tac with much mucous flies three feet out of her nose.

The wide-eyed two-year-old stops crying.

I return to my seat and we resume our road trip.

Along with a five minute lecture on

                      “Never put a Tic Tac up your nose!”

 

It could have been worse!  It could have been a Nerd!

 

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Double Trouble!

 

Our friends had to take their daughter to the hospital to remove a  “Nerd” from her nose.

The first thought that may come to mind is the computer coding, highly intelligent, mathematical whiz.

                      Not this child, on this day.

This little girl had somehow managed to put a popular candy of the 1980’s up her nose.

Her parents reluctantly sped to the hospital.  After a few embarrassing looks, they managed to explain the problem to the emergency team.

                      The Nerd was expertly removed.

The hospital staff has likely seen worse.

Version 2
She looks soooo Sweet and Innocent

Not every child will put something up their nose. 

Two-year-olds have a reputation for testing our patience and creating anxious moments. 

They can also make us laugh.  Especially when the Tic Tac or the Nerd is safely removed.

An embarrassing story may unexpectedly surface one day.

                        Possibly at their Graduation, their Wedding or even on a Blog.  

            

Have you had any scary moments with a toddler?  

Version 2
A Reason to Smile

Postscript:  

Deleting a Blog Post? – One Year Later

 “Tic Tac Rescue Mission”   was the original title of the above story.   It was unedited, written directly on the WordPress site and I immediately hit “publish.”

                   I won’t do that again.

I was tempted to delete my first few blog posts. 

They were practice pages to see whether this WordPress thing works.

             Will the post even show up in cyberspace?

I consider August, 2019 as my official One Year Blogiversary.  

I have found a fun, challenging, creative outlet.  I have met many inspirational people in this supportive community.

The initial practice pages remind me how much I have learned this first year of blogging.

          I am glad I did not delete my first blog posts. 

Have you gone back and deleted any of your Blog Posts? 

  

 

 

Grammy’s Grid Interview

I am delighted to be featured in this interesting and fun Blogging Grandmothers Series.  Thank you, Dee!

I am very grateful to be a Mother and a Grandmother.  My family makes me smile every day.   My love for them is endless and immeasurable. 

You can read my featured interview here:   Blogging Grandmothers Series 3 with Erica from behindthesceneryphoto

 

Have you heard about “The Little Town That Did?”

Do you ever read about a place that piques your interest and you hope to see it in person one day?

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My Photo Malahat Lookout(August, 2019)painnt app – Mercury

I used to read a little magazine called “Reader’s Digest” from cover to cover as a young girl.  After I moved away from home my Father bought me a subscription to this magazine.  “Reader’s Digest” was my pop culture, my humour, my miscellaneous trivia, and it contained an abundance of interesting, informative articles.

One of the articles in this magazine in the 1980’s was about a town that had recreated itself on Vancouver Island.  At that time we were living in Northern British Columbia. 

I always remembered this story and I was hoping to one day visit 

                  Chemainus, “The Little Town That Did.”

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Chemainus is in the District of North Cowichan, on the east coast of Vancouver Island. 

Lumber used to be the primary industry in this town. The lumber mill operated off and on for 120 years until the mill closed down in the early 1980’s.

As part of a revitalization project, local and international artists were commissioned to create 

                 Giant Murals on the downtown business walls showcasing the history and the culture of Chemainus. 

And like “The Little Engine That Could” written by Watty Piper, Chemainus became known as “The Little Town That Did.”

 

28 Years Ago

When we moved to “The Island” in 1991 we began exploring many areas near our home.   10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island   We camped in Strathcona Provincial Park and at Long Beach our first summer. 

We also drove to the picturesque town of Chemainus.  Many times.

We often had visitors and Chemainus did not disappoint.  It was the perfect place to explore on foot with family and friends of all ages.

 

Now, 28 years later

It occurred to me how I haven’t spent much time exploring Chemainus for many years. 

I go to Chemainus at least twice a year to see the live theatre shows with family and friends.  The performances are always excellent!  In the month of August we saw “The Magician’s Nephew” and “Mamma Mia.” 

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We drive directly to the theatre to watch the productions and then we drive home.

This year, we decided to spend the day in Chemainus.

                We decided to become a tourist again.

Chemainus has interesting galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants,  ice cream parlours and  

                 Forty-plus World Famous Giant Murals.

     

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10 Takeaways When Planning a Visit to Chemainus

1.  Leave early.

2.  Bring a camera and good walking shoes.

3.  Stop at scenic lookouts on the drive through the mountain pass called the Malahat.

 

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4.  Plan on visiting a show at the unique, intimate Chemainus Theatre.  Book early!  The shows are usually sold out well in advance.

5.  Walk into a delightful candy store.  It is a fun, colourful and sweet place to visit.  You will learn how many of the decorations and trim were hand painted.  

 

6.  Make sure to leave room for an ice cream cone.  The girls had strawberry cheesecake and cotton candy flavours.  I had a double which included three flavours.  Mine was blackberry, peanut butter chocolate and green tea (don’t judge me…….I love ice cream!)

 

7.  Enjoy the visit with children and adults young at heart.

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Sadie having fun with “Old-Timers on a Bench” (painnt app)

8.  Visit Chemainus with a dear friend.  The extra hours together, priceless!

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A dear friend of mine for over 50 years

9.  Plan to spend time strolling along the streets looking at the murals and learning about the history of Chemainus.  Pictures do not do the murals justice.   Enjoy the extensive artwork and read the stories describing the murals.

Chemainus is now a world famous tourist destination showcasing forty-plus giant murals with new murals being added.  An Outdoor Art Gallery. 

 

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10.  Drumroll please:

              Become a tourist again.   I am glad I did!

 

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Sources:

I had fun playing with painnt app (free) on a few photos.  A fun suggestion from Terri Webster Schrandt who is an amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site   Second Wind Leisure Perspectives 

Further information on Chemainus:  Chemainus     Mural Town    Weekly Wanders

North Cowichan

 

 

 

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

A Situation Develops At Our House

A major crisis for 3 1/2 year old, Abby.  Therefore, it becomes a major problem for all of us.

It is 8:00 p.m.  Abby and Sadie are getting ready to go home with their Mother. 

Abby cannot find her slippers.  These are not just average slippers.  These are Abby’s favourite Ruby Red Slippers.

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Abby’s Favourite Ruby Red Slippers

Everyone is tired.  Too tired to check throughout the house looking for slippers.  We turn the house upside down anyways.

We look inside toy ovens, doll beds, lego crates, toy boxes, under pillows and in closets.  We look everywhere!   No luck.  We cannot find Abby’s slippers anywhere.

Lots of crying and then good night hugs.  The girls go home with their Mother.

During The Night

I wake up during the night with my mind racing.  I am replaying yesterday and retracing my steps.

Yesterday morning, I had loaded up the stroller and taken three grandchildren, ages one, three and five to play in a park close to our house. 

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The Usual Suspects

 

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Children of the Corn

 

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Not a drop of rain in sight.

Packing up to return home, I saw the red slippers in the bottom of the stroller.  

Or so I thought. 

Crammed in the bottom of the stroller were water bottles, snack containers, dolls, stuffys and a blanket.

It dawned on me, at first glance I could have mistaken the shiny red water bottle for the red slippers hidden in the chaos.

In The Morning

I tell my husband there is a possibility the slippers were lost somewhere at the park. The children had been playing all over the grassy field.

If by chance the shoes were discovered, they will likely have been discarded or they will have gone home with someone by now. 

My husband sees my disappointed face and he encourages us to at least take a look.  We arrive at the park and notice the newly mowed grass. Darn. The lawn mowers could have easily chewed up the slippers.

I see something red and shiny on a table at the edge of the playground.

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The Ruby Red Slippers!

 The Ruby Red Slippers!

Yay!  Tears of joy and a lump in my throat!

These little red slippers may be a minor thing in the scheme of life.

They also represent a major part of what is good in my life.  

Our 3 year old:  The smile and squeal of delight when I FaceTime with her and show her the slippers.

My husband:  How he reads the disappointment on my face and helps me hunt for little ruby red slippers.  I easily fall in love with him again.

The people in my neighbourhood:   The shoes were picked up and placed in an obvious area. Many children play in that park all day long. They had left the shoes visible for us to find.

Me:  Amidst the chaos I did remember to return home from the park with three grandchildren.

A successful day!

                              Have you ever lost something important in your life?

Postscript:  You may be wondering whether Abby left the park with shoes on.  Yes, Abby had shoes on.  That day it was her Pink Bear wearing the Ruby Red Slippers. 

 

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Grateful for all the Good in my Life!