Monthly Archives: December 2015


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”    Melody Beattie

I believe it really does work – practicing gratitude – writing down four or five things each day that you are grateful for.  Do this for a year – and many self-help experts say your outlook on life will be more positive and emotionally healthy.

I work on this personally because I’ve found it to be true. Sometimes it’s harder than other times, but practicing gratitude for me delivers an eye-opening realization on even those days that nothing seems right.

But today, this week, the last few days of 2015 – I know for sure how very grateful I am for all of you – for the families I get to know and share with every day – and for the awareness that parenting can be challenging, exhilarating, exhausting, lovely.

And it takes gratitude to recognize, accept and appreciate all that we meet on our parenting journey.

Wishing all of you a beautiful  and grateful 2016.


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an invitation to play

“We all fall down” after which a chorus of “Let’s do it again” erupts – and that’s when I noticed one particular little guy in the fray – giggling, jumping up and independently reaching out , offering his hand to another child to hold – another go at ring-around-the-rosy.

An invitation to play – the way play begins for a two-and-a-half-year-old – being a part of small group fun that can be shared.  I see it beginning as toddlers scamper up and down the slide after each other – the fun and laughter of following fast behind the child in front of you.  I see it in chase games – trying to catch each other, or bubbles or falling leaves together.  Or just pure running around in an open space with one another.

This kind of play doesn’t usually include a toy – no need for one.  It is just an invitation to play – to experience the beginnings of being part of a group – of enjoying each other.

It was just a week ago that this same two-and-a-half-year-old’s dad had expressed concerns about why his son didn’t play with other children at Play Shoppe.  He just played on his own.

I told him that’s the way two’s play – side by side, parallel play that doesn’t usually include the child next to him, except that they are next to him.  I reassured him to be patient.  It will begin.

As parents we want so much to make sure our children are keeping up, making friends, being social. But development is uneven and takes time.  We can provide the opportunities and exposure and then step back, and wait for our individual child’s readiness to unfold.

For that one significant invitation to play.

“We all fall down. ” Let’s do it again!”


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One of my favorite things to do is to make and send a box of my homemade cookies in the mail.  I pick the most appealing ones from the bunch – nestle them in together, nice and tight, but not too tight to make them crumble – then cover them up, address the box and off they go.

S.W.A.K.sealed with a kiss.

There’s something about the process of baking – combining raw ingredients, stirring and mixing, rolling, placing this unbaked dough in neat little rolls on the cookie sheet and 15 minutes later, there they are – beautiful cookies.

But sometimes there’s a glitch.

There has been times earlier on before I refined my process that the cookies had crumbled in transit.  It wasn’t the cookies fault.

I needed to work on my packaging skills.

Of course, there have also been a few times when I forgot an important ingredient, say the chocolate chips, or the baking powder.  Baking cookies takes focus and paying attention to what’s essential so my mistakes were chalked up to another learning experience.

But when the cookies come out golden brown, homemade goodness right before my eyes, it’s worth the time and the cozy love – packed into each one.

And so … for all of us as parents, as we strive to create a special holiday experience for our families – keep focused on what’s really needed, what comes from the heart, what feels good to you and for your family.

Accept the occasional crumbles and mistakes and enjoy the process together.


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a circle

I’ve been thinking a lot about being a grandma lately.  I guess maybe because I am a fairly new one.

But I’ve also been listening to the struggles parents have in trying to make things fair or equal between the grandparents – especially at holiday time.

I spoke with a parent this weekend who told me the challenges of going to her hometown at Christmas with her two children – the hometown where both sets of grandparents lived.

There was no way to make everyone happy she said.  One set of grandparents always seemed to be thinking the other set got more time than they did with the grandchildren – even though the parents stressed over how to make it come out even. It wasn’t fun.

There are other families I know who spend most of the holidays in the car celebrating part of Christmas day with one family and then scurrying off to re-eat a big dinner at the next family’s home  and open another round of presents. The holiday becomes a big blur and a series of meltdowns – both the children’s and the parent’s.

But then a mom who I spoke with at Play Shoppe shared that she and her husband decided to claim Christmas for themselves and their children,  begin to create their own family traditions by staying put and celebrating in their own home.  They planned a January visit to grandparents.

And guess what?  The grandparents completely understood.

Sometimes you can be surprised by just saying what it is your family needs.

I’ve had several people comment asking me “Aren’t you so sad that you won’t be with your grandson for Christmas?”

Well – first of all, I have to check myself.  “Should I be sad? Why aren’t I sad?”

Mostly I’m so totally grateful that I just got to spend a memorable week with Theo and his parents for Thanksgiving.  And we played and played and I got to soak up every facet of his day to day life.

And I loved it.  And I carry it with me.

But now I know it’s Theo’s other grandparents’ time to do the same. And I know they are as excited as I am to be with him.  And how lucky is this little boy to have such a  circle of love and security with family and friends in his life.

I’m thrilled to be a part of Theo’s circle – going round and round – loving, sharing, included – even when I’m not there.

May you embrace your family’s circle of love and security in the holidays ahead.






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