Wagons Ho!

While I don’t necessarily intend to give you a play-by-play commentary on my life in this blog, I did feel that I should probably counter my last 3am emotional outburst with something a bit more positive, just to reassure my readers that I am not going off the deep end.

So, we’re headed west to see the Grand Boys!

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This is an artist’s rendering of our last trip when we were stuck in traffic on I-20. That’s me in the bonnet in the wagon. 

We’re heading out because Manny Man is getting dedicated and will be wearing his dad’s dedication outfit (sniff, sniff, so precious!) He’ll be dedicated at the church my kids are planting (sniff, sniff, so proud!)

We will be partaking in some Hard Eight Texas Barbeque! Looking forward to that! The Cornbread Salad and Jalepeno Sweet Corn, Lordy! Y’all don’t even know!! And for this NC/GA BBQ fanatic to admit that Texas BBQ is good, well, it’s a big deal! Just to let you know how serious I am about my BBQ, I have a NC BBQ map.

There will be some 4 wheeling (in the living room and maybe in the park if the weather is good) with the Grand Boys in their new red wagon! The amount of cuteness happening with 2 little Grands riding in their wagon will be off the scale!

Gideon and I will be perfecting our “Secret Scratch Code.” If I told you about it, it wouldn’t be secret now would it?

I’m seriously thinking about creating a ball pit for the Grand Boys that we can sit in while we read about Jacques Cousteau in a book called Manfish that learned about from Beach Books Blog. I love her lovely blog about all things SEA related.

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Steave and I will also be celebrating our 35 wedding anniversary while we are there by going to see Sting in concert! Check it off the bucketlist!

And staying true to my blog name – Minimalist Grandma – I will be unloading some stuff on my kids in my effort to declutter! Please know that the stuff I’m taking is THEIR stuff and stuff I offered and they wanted. Because, what’s our mantra? Repeat after me: “Our kids don’t want our stuff!”

So, as you can see, I’m not off the deep end. I am, however, looking forward to a refreshing time with my family. There will be much hugging and kissing and laughing – always laughing. My favorite!

Peace,

Jill

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9 Must Haves Every Long Distance Grandparent Needs

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I think I want to invent Grandparent Showers! I mean we have Bridal Showers and Baby Showers but the Grandparents need stuff, too, as they enter in the new phase of their lives. I think I’ll do that in another post.

I am the proud Grandmother of 2 boys 7 weeks apart. It’s almost like having twins! And they both live halfway across the country! I wish we were closer but we’re working it out.

Distance Grandparenting is a real thing. It has its challenges. One challenge is staying connected. Seeing my boys, knowing what’s happening in their development, celebrating their milestones is my career now! So, I have found 2 vital tools to help make that happen.

Staying Connected

The 2 Most Important Must Haves that we have that keeps us connected are FaceTime and an Amazon Prime account. I FaceTime with my grandboys multiple times a week and I am always buying them things to let them know I’m thinking about them.

When They Visit 

Another challenge of long distance grandparenting comes in the form of the kid’s visits to your house. Both of my kids have to either drive or fly from 5 states away to come see me. So, what they can bring when they come is limited. I wanted to help them out by having some things already here so that they wouldn’t have to bring them.

Now, we are just in the first year of the boy’s lives, so I will amend this list as they grow. But for now, the only things we need to really concern ourselves with are sleeping, eating and bathing.

Grandparents love to share, so if you will tell your friends you might have generous people who will let you borrow or have some of these items. Otherwise, go to a second-hand shop, yard sales or an online listing to buy them. There’s no need for you to get brand new stuff since it will only be used a few times. When your Grandchild has outgrown the item, you can loan, donate or give it away.

7 Must Haves Every Long Distance Grandparent Needs At Their House

  1. Pack n Play – there are several versions of this wonderful portable crib. You can check with your Grandchild’s parent to see if you need any of the bells and whistles like a bassinet or changing table. Remember, look for a used one in good condition.
  2. Bathing tub – there are several versions but we found the Summer Infant 1-2-3 tub the best. It has a net sling or hammock that the infant can lay in and then that hammock can be removed for an older child. I didn’t go for it at first because I was thinking it would be too bulky to store when they were gone, and it is, but it is better for the baby. The smaller, fold-up one just didn’t work for us. Make sure you have towels and washcloths. We didn’t buy “baby” ones, we just used what we had. You will want to splurge for some bath toys! Haha! bathtub
  3. Floor mat for play – after a long drive in a car seat or a long flight your Grandbaby will want to stretch out. So, get a large quilt or a floor mat specifically for tummy time. You can use a quilt you have or you can buy a specialized mat with attached toys. I just pulled out the old quilts that my children used on their beds when they were little and that meant a lot to share that memory with their own children.
  4. Rocking chair – I didn’t want to have to spend a fortune or redecorate my living room to accommodate an upholstered rocker so I bought a reasonably priced and sized one from Ikea. It was great because we could move it from the living room to the bedroom as needed.
  5. Baby seat or high chair– even though you won’t believe it, the baby will not be held for the entire visit to Grandma’s house! Also, if the baby is just beginning to eat solids, you’ll need a place for the child to sit to be fed. I bought a reasonably priced small swing, but we only used it once. However, my daughter-in-law found a reclining high chair and we wished we had it at our house when they visited. I will look into this to see if would be appropriate for their ages next time they come. Go ahead and buy feeding spoons in bulk, those things disappear! reclining-high-chair
  6. Stroller – this is a necessary item and one that takes up so much room during travel. It is nice if the kids don’t have to worry about having to bring one with them. Again, go for used but in good condition.
  7. Doorway Jumper – we used to call it a “Johnny Jump Up.” This was the hit of the visit for my 4 and 6 month old. We bought two from amazon and hung them in the doorway and let the kids go to town. We all enjoyed it so much!

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{Shameless proud Grandmother photo!}

Now you’re ready for a great visit!

Peace,

Jill

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Is My Jam!

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My (almost) 8 month old and my (just turned) 6 month old grandsons LOVE the “itsy bitsy spider” song. When we FaceTime and I start to sing it they immediately perk up and pay attention. When I get to the part where “out came the sun and dried up all the rain” they will smile and laugh. Every. Time.

Even at their young ages, they’re happy when the spider makes it though his trial and the sun comes out and he tries again. The ups and downs of life, huh?

Hope the sun has come out again for you today and you find the strength to keep on going!

Peace,

Jill

Chan Jae Lee’s Instagram @drawings_for_my_grandchildren

As I’ve said before, I’m usually way behind trend, so you may have already heard about Chan Jae Lee and his Instagram called @drawings_for_my_grandchildren.

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You can google him and read the articles about how he learned to use Instagram so he had a way to stay connected to his grandkids. So sweet!

And his drawings are amazing!

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Now that’s how you do the distance grandparenting thing!

Go follow him, you’ll love it!

Peace,

Jill