Get A Jump On The Holidays!
by Lois Breneman
Most of us are not finished with our Christmas shopping, and don’t
get stressed about that! I’m not finished either, but that's okay! There are lots of other things
we can do ahead of time to help get a “jump”
on the holidays.
Children at Play
Discover great tips from Lois Breneman about how activities that can
be done with your children and grandchildren to help them learn and grow physically, mentally and spiritually.
|Tasty recipe ideas
Discover bonus storage space, right in your own home!
||Unique photography ideas
our "Grandma" interview from last summer!
like to feature one of our favorite “Grandmas”
and her perspective on grand parenting. Please meet Anne Williams of
Tucson, AZ. She’s a long time friend, successful business owner,
and wife and mother of three grown children. Her hobbies include…being
with her grandkids of course, walking, hiking, snow skiing, being
and listening to country music. Please take the time to read this
interview. You’ll definitely find some helpful insights, creative
ideas, and hidden treasures!
many grandkids do you have and what are their ages?
Our Grandson, Taylor, is 11. Our Granddaughters'
names are Niki (5) & Nyah (2). Our son, Mike & his wife, Barbi,
are their parents.
What is your favorite part about being “Grannie Annie?”
I always thought that the people who raved about
being a grandmother were people who didn’t especially like the demanding
responsibility of being a mom. I loved all those years with my own kids
at home. I loved juggling all the schedules & the ups and downs of
raising 3 kids. However, there is something magical about the title of
Grannie Annie. It comes with respect, but not as much responsibility…It
gives me an opportunity to share values that have taken me over half a
century to practice… It gives me an excuse to play… It gives
me a chance to sit still with a little one in my lap… It keeps me
laughing, smiling & it brings joyful tears of pride to my heart.
What’s the funniest thing your grandkids have ever said?
When Niki was four years old, she was looking at
the photo on my driver’s license. The photo is about 5 years old
and in those 5 years, the photo has faded and so have I. After looking
back & forth, from the photo to my face several times, she sweetly
asked, “Grannie Annie, is this when you were new?”
Do you have a funny story to share about one of your grandkids?
We were getting ready to go swimming & I had
squirted some sunscreen in my hand, rubbed my hands together & then
rubbed the lotion all over Niki's little 4 year old body. When I finished,
she asked if I wanted her to put lotion on me. After I put lotion in her
tiny hand, she rubbed her hands together & then rubbed the lotion
on a very small part of one of my legs. She was a little uncomfortable
that she couldn’t seem to spread the lotion as far as I did, and
said, “I need more…This is a REALLY BIG leg.”
What are some fun, relationship
building indoor activities you’ve enjoyed with your grandkids?
we do, I try to make it memorable. I want my Grandkids to have special
of their time with me. Fun in the kitchen includes teaching a 2 or 3 year
old how to crack & scramble eggs. Reading Bible stories is especially
fun when we sit in our makeshift tent, in the dark and read by flashlight.
Do you have
any favorite outdoor activities you do with them?
I LOVE being outdoors… And I love to hike,
walk, ski, roller blade. I take great pleasure in introducing my passion
to my grandkids. Taylor is at an age where he can be a great buddy on
these activities. A few months ago I took Taylor & one of his school
friends on an outing to Sabino Canyon to hike, picnic & swim in the
creek. At 11, friends are important and I like to encourage him to include
friends in family outings. Just yesterday, I powered through my workday
so I could leave early & take Taylor roller blading at a nearby park.
It is important to me to have alone time with him… When I have all
three grandkids at a time, the younger ones get most of the attention
and Taylor ends up helping out a lot. I remember when he was the only
grandchild and got ALL of the attention … kids need a place where
they feel special.
are raising their grandchildren today. To what do you attribute this and
how is it impacting the family?
Single parenting has become more acceptable in this
day. Moms that would have, in the past, chosen adoption or even abortion,
are choosing to raise their child themselves. However, it is a BIG challenge
& often grandparents need to come to their rescue. I am a very active
person, but at 58 years old, I certainly don’t have the energy that
I had when my own kids were young. My heart goes out to the Grandparents
that have taken on the responsibility of raising their grandkids. God
promises us that he will equip us for whatever challenges he gives us,
so I trust that if I were put in that position, I would be able to rise
to the occasion… For now, I am extremely grateful that I have the
wonderful “space” where I can renew myself & then give
the grandkids my FULL attention each time I am with them.
Can you offer
some advice to our young moms about how to relate best to their mother-n-law?
This would be a great question for my daughter-in
law. I am blessed to have a great relationship with her. She always treats
me with respect, shares her kids with me, trusts my judgment regarding
discipline with her kids, and often thanks me for how I raised my son.
Sometimes grandparents feel more like babysitters than grandparents.
How can parents help the grandparents feel more special and valued? Are
there some guidelines you’d suggest so grandparents don’t
feel…taken advantage of?
When our first grandchild came along, I asked my
daughter-in law, Barbi, if I could have him one afternoon a week. I wanted
a regular time each week for two reasons. First of all, even though they
did not live far from us and we are a close family, I wanted to be sure
I got some “alone” time with the baby. Secondly, I wanted
Barbi to have some time that she could count on for herself. I wanted
her to know that I valued time with her son and that I respected her need
to have a little freedom. We have continued that tradition and now I have
all three kids at a regular time each week.
What can a
grandparent do to leave their legacy of faith or their passion for Christ
with their grandkids?
We have been chosen by God to be the grandparents
of Taylor, Niki & Nyah. When we adopted our son, Mike, we had no idea
that God had this in mind for us. What a blessing it is when your 5 year
old says “Look what God painted” about a sunset… Or
your 11 year old proudly wears his “WWJD” bracelet. We have
always talked about our faith and found ways to demonstrate it with our
Grandkids. I always keep Mary Rice Hopkins music in my car. Whenever the
kids are with me, one of those CD’s is playing. When Taylor was
7, he & I made aprons and sold them. He helped make a flyer that said
“If you buy one of our aprons, we will go & buy presents for
the kids who don’t have any toys.” We contacted Christian
Family Care Agency and got a list of things a particular family needed.
We shopped, wrapped & delivered the gifts. Taylor will never forget
that experience. Kids understand “hand’s on” experiences.
Doing God’s work together strengthens their faith and gives them
self worth, while it builds memories.
What if your
grandkids do not live in your city?
Obviously, this changes the involvement
drastically… However, it does not change the responsibility that
we have as Grandparents to build & maintain relationships with the
kids. Our Grandkids lived 600 miles away for 2 years. It was VERY difficult
for us, but I visited them often. Before they left, I made a little photo
book for them so they would remember what we looked like. I sent weekly
notes, usually including a small item (a pencil, some stickers, a stick
of gum) so they would be excited to hear from me. I kept a photocopy of
each note so I could share them with the kids again in the future. Of
course, I also kept each note I received from them. They enjoy looking
at these treasures with me. Taylor enjoyed it when I sent him a roll of
film and asked him to take photos of his sister, his Mom & Dad, his
teacher, his room, his dog, his bedroom, etc. I told him to send me the
roll of film & I would get it developed and he could tell me about
the photos. I also subscribed to “Guideposts for Kids” for
Taylor. I had the subscription sent to my house so I could look at the
magazine & make little comments & sticky notes on interesting
articles. Then I would mail the magazine off to him with a note. All in
all, it takes a little creativity to maintain long distance relationships,
but it is really worth the effort.
to ask Grannie Annie’s grandkids what they think of her: “Taylor,
Niki, Nyah, what do you like best about Grannie Annie?
Taylor: “Grannie Annie likes to play games
with me. I like helping her make scrambled eggs & pancakes. I like
it when she comes to my school for lunch.”
Niki: “I like going to her house and going to McDonald’s with
her. I like it when she comes to cheerleading with me. I think she is
the most important person in the world.”
Nyah: We’ll give Nyah a couple more years…