Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Friday, July 22, 2011

Paper dolls and felt kits

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Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was play with paper dolls at my grandmother’s house. She would roll out big sheets of brown paper and encourage me to design a special house for the dolls.

My Nana would give me a Sears Catalog and a pair of scissors. I would cut out furniture and decorations for the paper house, and would glue the items in place on the brown paper. I remember this as being so much fun!

Today, we can buy paper dolls at specialty toy stores or print off online patterns. If you google “paper dolls” you’ll be amazed at all of the available links such as this one: http://familycrafts.about.com/od/paperdolls/tp/paperdolls.htm

Even though they don’t print the huge Sears Catalog anymore, the Sunday papers are filled with furniture store inserts that could be transformed into a child’s imaginary house on large sheets of white or brown paper or cardboard.

Another idea is purchasing a felt kit for the grands. We can find some wonderful ones at http://www.thefeltsource.com/ (dollhouse flannel board scenes, flannel board dolls, and kits such as “Trucks, and Trains, and Planes”).

For our older grandchildren, we can help them show younger brothers and sisters (or younger neighbors, cousins, etc.) how to make a paper doll house or play with a felt kit.

Did you ever play with paper dolls or make them for your grandkids? Have you played with a grad using a flannel board kit?

Have a great weekend,
Mary May Larmoyeux

Article and photo © by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stepping Stones to God

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy watching the Olympics. And I never tire of the stories about Olympic greats Eric Liddell and Vanderiei de Lima.

Liddell, who was portrayed in Chariots of Fire, was a committed Christian. He refused to run the 100 meter race on a Sunday in the 1924 Olympics. However, he later ran in the 400 meter event and surprised the world when he won. It is said that he was given a slip of paper before his 400 meter race with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor me I will honor.”

Like Liddell, de Lima has become somewhat of a legend himself. In the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece, he appeared to be on his way to becoming the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s marathon event. However, less than five miles before the finish line, a spectator intentionally pushed him into the crowd. Amazingly, de Lima did not give up. He continued the race and finished with a bronze medal.

De Lima said that he was “happy” to have won the bronze medal. From the videotape that I watched, it appeared that he didn't focus on what could have been. Instead he was grateful for what he had somehow accomplished. The 2004 International Olympic Committee awarded him the Pierre de Coubertine medal for sportsmanship. Although de Lima did not win the gold, his example made him an instant celebrity in Brazil.

If I had been Lindell, I wonder if I would have had his courage to refuse to race on Sunday. And if I had been de Lima, I probably would have spent a lot time complaining about what could have been.

What’s all of this have to do with grandchildren? Like de Lima, our grandkids are going to have disappointment in life. And, of course, we grandparents don't like that. When my grandkids' hearts are broken, I have to remember that God is always in control. The very disappointments that our grandkids experience, may be stepping stones to God's best for their lives.

I want to tell my grands the stories of overcomers like Liddell and de Lima … and Joshua and the apostle Paul. I want to not only help them memorize the words from 1 Samuel 2:30 "Those who honor me I will honor," but also help them apply these words to the unique race God has for each of their lives.

And I want to apply those words to my life, too.

How do you help your grandkids to trust God in the disappointments of their lives?

He is able,
co-author of The Grand Connection: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Grandchild's Heart

©  Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
© Byron Moore / Dreamstime.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Swimming Lessons

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Just the other day one of our sons told Pops and me about enrolling his children in swimming lessons. Since both Pops and I grew up in the same city, we both had thoughts of the huge municipal pool where our swimming days began. It had a tall diving board—my memory tells me that it was at least 12 stories high!

Well, when Pops was about five years old, his swimming instructor decided that he needed to literally take the plunge to be introduced to the water. He took Pops' small hand and together they jumped off the board. It seems like my instructor had me walk by myself up the seemingly massive ladder at the deep end of the pool. I remember chickening out at the edge of the diving board, and walking back down the ladder.

We all laughed as we thought of two little children, just like our grandchildren today, learning how to swim.

Ecclestiastes 1 tells us, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."

No matter how complicated life gets, there is a time for a child to learn to walk, and talk, and for most —swim. It's fun to reminiscence with our children and grandchildren and remind them that even grandparents were once children themselves.

How did you learn how to swim? Have you ever talked with our grandchild about this?

Have a great weekend,
co-author of The Grand Connection: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Grandchild's Heart

© 2011 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
© Calyx22 / Dreamstime.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

More long-distance grandparenting ideas

Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

Although long-distance grandparenting is easier in today's electronic world, it's still hard when our legacy lives hundreds or thousands of miles away. E-mails and web cameras are great, but there's nothing like one-on-one visiting with those we love.

My friend Rita has 17 grandchildren and is busy all year long remembering birthdays and holidays. "Often, we’d send photos of them taken on our last visit," she says, "or a drawing with a made up story."

Thanks, Rita! Those are some great ideas! Now, let's have a little fun with them:

Take pictures with the grandkids when you visit them or when they visit you. Then mail (or e-mail) the grands the pictures. For an extra touch, you or I could send the pictures with a letter reminiscing about our time with the grands. Or, we could put the pictures in a magnetic frame (that can be displayed on the refrigerator) before dropping them in the mail. We may also want to have a matching photo displayed on our fridge.

Draw a picture of something you did with a grandchild when he/she visited. For the artistically challenged, like me, we could have fun with the drawing by asking our grandchild (over the phone) to answer questions about it until he/she correctly guesses what the picture represents.

It might be fun to ask our grands to also write stories about their visit and compare their stories to to ours.

Record a made-up story for our grandchild—using his/her name and places that you visited together. For very young children, we could ring a bell at the end of each page.

Here's another idea:

Pizza's on Pops Once Pops and I ordered pizza for our son and his kids who lived what seemed like millions of miles from us. We paid for the pizzas with a credit card and had them delivered to their house. Our children and grandkids thought that was a really special treat.

What are some things that you do to connect with your long-distance grandkids?

Have a great weekend,
co-author of The Grand Connection: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Grandchild's Heart

© 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo ©  Tasnadi Erika Dreamstime.com