I have been lucky my entire life to have two amazing grandmas. They both have their unique and awesome features that make them special to me. Both sets of my grandparents lived in the Wichita, Kansas vicinity so I was able to see both of them anytime my family or I went to Wichita. I was also able to see both of them at all of the major holidays when we traveled from Ulysses (Kansas) or Arp (Texas) to Wichita.
My dad's mom, Grandma Pat, was an awesome Christian mother and grandmother to learn from and be around. She was married to my only grandfather and they were the perfect picture of a Christian marriage I have ever seen in my life. Anytime I was at their house I was able to sit in their living room and listen to stories of my dad and my uncles and their fun and humorous times of their life. They had a very huge, huge house outside of Wichita in a small town called Derby where my dad and his brothers grew up. They had a basement where grandpa and grandma and us would go downstairs after dinner and watch the nightly news and we would play and watch movies. But my grandma also had a bedroom on the upstairs part of her house that my family and I called "the peach room ". It was completely decorated in the color of peach. The walls were peach, the bedspread was peach and she even had a make up vanity that was peach colored. Anytime I went to their house that was always where and I stayed and it was very, very special to me since my grandmother had decorated it herself and everything in there had a unique resemblance of her. In fact I have a very petite rocking chair in my home right now from her "Peach Room". Grandma Pat would always take me or my sister to Braums ice cream on Sunday night after we would go to church with her and grandpa. This was always special and something my sister and I looked forward to every time we went to see them.
My mom's mom, Grandma Juanita, was very active in watching my sister and I grow up and she was always nearby. In fact, she traveled with my family and I on several vacations and even though she was a "grandma" she was never hesitant to do fun things with us like run the bases around a major league baseball park. She would be the first one to volunteer to go with me on the highest roller coaster at amusement parks and the first one to choose a very fun and cool restaurant to go eat at. She was always more fit and active than most grandmas out there which made her really fun to be around. She worked at a church in Wichita so when I would go and visit her I would go with her to work and play with my dolls outside of her office. She would take me around to all the other ministers and secretaries of the church and show me off to them. This was always really special to go with grandma and be the cool grand kid that came with her. I remember on her lunch break we would always go and drop off the mail or go to the bank for the church but then she would always make it a point to stop at Spangles for a milkshake. I would've never gotten a milkshake at home... Only grandmas give kids cookies, candy and milkshakes. She would also take me to the mall to go shopping when I was a teenager, which was really special to go shopping with your grandma. When I would go to visit her or when she was on vacations with us she would always rub my back before I went to bed and it became a ritual of some sort anytime I would see her. It was funny, after I had Natalie she came and visited me in Shawnee to help take care of Natalie and one night after I put Natalie down to bed she came into my room where I was still awake and she said "hey let me rub your back"! It was so special and I will never forget it.
Both of my grandmas are very special to me and I'm so very grateful to God for giving me such remarkable and wonderful women in my life. I have always wanted for my own kids to have the type of grandmas that I had and luckily they're getting the same type of memories that I had.
This past month the kids and I traveled from Conroe to Arp to visit my parents one weekend. Poor Chris had to stay and work for new teacher meetings for the 2012 2013 school year so I decided I needed a break and headed towards East Texas. I didn't know what to expect going on a trip with two kids by myself but the actual driving part turned out to be just fine. When we got there, within minutes of arriving Natalie ran to Poppy and said "Poppy, I want to read a book". My dad immediately stopped helping me unload the car and read Natalie Grace the book. It made me smile knowing what a precious bond they have with each other.
Natalie has a special bond with my mom as well. "Gigi Shirley is her name and SPOILING is her game". This quote is an UNDERSTATEMENT for my mom! Ever since Natalie was born, she has spoiled that little girl rotten. I remember how my mom would come and just rock and sing to Natalie while I tried to get some sleep! For the past 2 summers, my parents have taken Natalie on a mini-vacation with them to see MLB Baseball stadiums. This is really special to me because it is exactly what my parents did with my sister and me! I am so very glad Natalie and Luke will have this opportunity as well. Of course, while on vacation my mother pretty much gives Natalie whatever she wants... cookies, candy, toys, teddy bears, you name it! This past time, Natalie came home with several new toys and items from their trip. Last time my mom and dad went to an Astro's game they took Natalie and then when they got home, Natalie had a new t-shirt and a new stuffed dog who she named "Astro".
It really became apparent to me just how special Natalie is to my mom and mother-in-law this past month. While were were in Arp my mom and Natalie really bonded because on the first night there Natalie said "Gigi, can I sleep in your bed?" My mom didnt hesitate to say "Sure, Natalie!" You see, that is exactly what my mom wanted. She even told me, "I want to stay home and just LOVE ON YOUR KIDS!" As soon as we arrived in Arp I put the crib into my parents room as my mom was going to hold and rock Luke as needed so I could get some much needed REST. But since Natalie was going to sleep in Gigi Shirley's bed, Poppy and Gigi pushed the crib into the guest room where I was staying and Natalie slept with Gigi Shirley in her "BIG bed" as Natalie puts it. The funny thing was that Poppy had to sleep on the new Disney Princess sheets that mom had bought especially for Natalie! It was quite a funny scene to see poor Poppy wake up in those hot pink sheets. He too will do anything for Natalie Grace!
My mom and Natalie also got to spend the entire day together on Natalie's birthday this past Saturday. Chris and I went to a marriage conference and my parents and in-laws took care of our kiddos. While there my mom helped Natalie bake and decorate Birthday Cookies. When we got home from Natalie's party that evening mom told me "Don't be surprised next time you bake cookies with Natalie!" I asked her why and she said "I taught her to lick the icing off (Literally, straight out of the can)" All I could do was smile! I remember my Grandma always making cookie dough when Allison or I were there and she ALWAYS let me lick the bowl and the beaters! It's a grandma thing I guess.
Now since we have been living with Dan and Jackie, Natalie has really grown close to Gigi Jackie. Perhaps closer than I ever was to either of my grandmas, especially at this age. Natalie and Gigi Jackie do almost EVERYTHING together! Jackie will take care of Natalie while I have to go and do errands and she will even take Natalie with her to do her own errands. But this relationship goes much further than a trip to Kroger. Ladies and Gentleman, this is a Die-hard, unbreakable friendship. You see, when Dan and Jackie got DirecTV a few weeks back there was a station called "Baby First" on there. We had never watched it but wow, we were missing out. Natalie immediately fell in love with it and likes to watch it several times a day. It is a VERY educational show but nonetheless I try to limit her TV intake. Each and every night after bath Natalie will go down to Gigi's room and watch "Baby First" with Gigi. Jackie usually takes her bath at the same time so she will be ready when Natale gets down there. While Natalie watches the programs, Gigi Jackie will comb her hair and file her nails and loads of other stuff. One night I went in there and Gigi Jackie was sneaking her a package of Fruit Snacks as her Midnight Snack! Keep in mind that this is going on while some of Jackie's FAVORITE TV shows are on. I will go in there and ask Jackie if I need to take her and response is "No ma'am... I want her in here". The last time Dan and Jackie returned from a trip to Lubbock for a few days, Jackie just couldnt wait to have that evening "Routine" with Natalie Grace! This is LOVE ladies and gentleman!
For Natalie's 3rd birthday Jackie made Natalie her very own jewelry box like the one in Jackie's room. She sanded and painted it and then put a picture of Natalie in it! She also loaded it up with stuff like the one in her own as well as actual stuff that Natalie plays with while in Gigi's room each night! I teared up a bit when Jackie gave Natalie the gift this past weekend. You see, my grandma made me one just like that and I have it in my garage! I cannot wait to get over to our new house and show it to Natalie and tell her that my "Gigi" made me one too.
There are countless other stories I could reminisce about with my 2 grandmas and even Gigi Shirley and Gigi Jackie in the 3 years that they have been grandmas but I would not be able to stop. Gigi Shirley and Gigi Jackie are two of the best women I have ever met and I am so grateful that God has given my children such WONDERFUL grandmas and "Gigi"s!
I... no wait, WE are blessed!
You see, Grandmas are special and the relationships that a grandchild has with them is priceless! As mentioned above, I have been very fortunate to have 2 AMAZING women as my grandmas and I have an unbreakable bond and relationship with them just like Natalie has with my mom and mother-in-law. But I am even more lucky to have a mother and mother-in-law that will be these same kind of AMAZING grandmas to my children! I am forever grateful for GRANDMAS!
(Don't worry... I will post about the Grandpas and Poppys soon!)
God is good... ALL the time!