Gramsy Graduates First Year of Grandparenting!
None of us could imagine anything past getting William home from the hospital a year ago when he was born at 4 pounds 5 ounces three days after the passing of my sister. One could almost see through his tiny little fingers. Yet, home he came, and has thrived ever since! Oh, such joy is our gift from this little boy! The surprise visit for my 60th birthday in August was simply dreamy, and not being with him before or during Christmas was difficult, but thankfully, we all brought in the New Year together and Gramsy regained her joy! It was so tough to think of Christmas without them all… but, love grows as the memories are built through our time together.
Gramsy and Deda flew to Salt Lake City to spend time with our precious Prince William for his first birthday earlier this month. Below, he is one month old, and above, he is 11 months old. At 11 months, or maybe even a little earlier, his cheeky little sense of humor and easy-going loving personality emerged front and center. Always curious. Always exploring, but now, interacting and embracing each of us with such gusto that, well, we have each fallen head over heals for our little “man-boy-baby”!
Newly born and so pure, above… now a year, below, and as pure and perfect as any little child can be. William celebrates his first year of life, and I celebrate my first year as Gramsy! Whoo-hoo! I could never imagine such deeply satisfying blessedness. Yes, giving birth to my own daughters was miraculous. Yet, I was amid the miracle, not clearly observing or savoring each precious moment of it while participating in it – as I do as Gramsy. Gramsying is a magnificent career change. After retirement? Hold on to your seatbelts, people. The best in life is yet to come!
Time flies when we play together. Oh, of course, I am tired physically, but emotionally, reawakened. As I watch him explore our world with such awe and wonder, I am consistently overcome with gratitude. I am Gramsy! (To the tune of Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman!”)
I am Gramsy, to my core
I am too strong to ignore
And I love too much to stay so far way
Though Face Time is ne’er a bore
I’d rather play with you on the floor
I rejoice in each expression you display
Oh yes, I am wise
As it’s wisdom I have gained
Within your violet eyes
For our love to be maintained
If I have to, I can face anything (because of you)
I am strong
I am invincible
I am Gramsy!
Yes, I am Gramsy!
And, as my daughter now lives in the United States with her wonderful husband near his large, loving and incredible family, she will never be back to Canada. Thus, my dear son-in-law, accepts my visits for 2 weeks every two months to be “Gramsy in Real Life”! (I tease that it is his penance for whisking her away.) Being “Cyber Gramsy” is certainly a blessing, but there is nothing like the sound of William’s voice or the smell of his fragrant salty baby skin.
William’s Birthday Morning: February 12, 2016
‘Twas the week before his birthday, and all through the house, mommy and daddy scurried about. All sorts of errands and all sorts of joy arranged for this big day for our little boy!
Winnie the Pooh was the theme of the birthday as he loves his Pooh Bear. Somehow, when he descended from the stairs in the morning, saw the balloons and the gifts on the table, he knew it was his day. He just glowed and grinned and wiggled and squiggled. He knew we were celebrating him.
Presents were moved to the great room for the opening ceremony. Aunty Ragan is on the ipad to be part of our family time.
You can see he is completely absorbed in the cyber relationships we have been able to develop with him. Thank you Steve Jobs.
Lauren reads: “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!”
Books, books and more books. Ah, my friends. Books are not dead. They are the window to the world in the hands of a babe. See the focus?
A keepsake gift from Great granddad George, who passed a year before William’s birth. His drivers hat. The one he wore for 44 years of driving the bus… maybe not the same one all 44 years – but well over 20, I would guess.
Dad would be tickled from his head to his toes to see this image. I sing his Irish Lullaby to William at night: Tura lura lura (an Irish lullaby)
It’s an Irish Lullaby
Hush now don’t you cry
Great Granddad George’s gift for you is
His Irish lullaby…
Already a family tradition: photo on the couch with presents from everyone.
William’s Birthday: The Family Traditional Angel Food Cake
My mom, and William’s Great Grandmother, makes a homemade angel food cake for everyone’s Birthday in our family. She will be 86 in April, and still makes the best homemade angel food cakes on the planet. (My post and story about this tradition is the most read post on my website.) When William was blessed, we brought 6 of her homemade angel food cakes with us on the plane. I am certain he will be eating these pillowy clouds of everlasting glory by the hand of his Great Grandmother until he is at least 15. It is a given that she will live almost forever. Ask anyone.
The morning of his party, we Sat him in his highchair before his lunch to take a photo of him with this birthday cake as his mother and father had made him others for his theme party. “Huh? This does not look like finger food to me?”
“Tay-oh? Tay-oh!” He exclaimed in his melodic questioning jabber. “What is this? Look at this? What does it do?”
“I don’t understand?”
And just when we thought he was going all in, he stopped shy of a smash, looked up and grinned. Mommy didn’t want to cut it or for him to taste it before his party “Cake Smash”, so time for his party hat!
The little elastic under the chin is definitely terrifying. The screaming photo didn’t get taken as Gramsy dropped her camera to annihilate the hat!
William’s Birthday Party: The Food
The first serious plush relationship William developed was with his Winnie the Pooh. Oh, how he loves his Winnie, thus the party theme.
Living closer would make party food preparation participation so much easier. Arriving on Tuesday and wanting to spend every waking minute with William didn’t leave much time for fancy-schmanchy support from Gramsy, yet Lauren managed to put together a really adorable thoughtful array of goodies.
Above is cake number one. The beehive cake was homemade with the William’s Sonoma lemon cake recipe and an initial lemon icing drizzle that was scrumptious. But, it looked terrible. The cake rose in an odd shape, and – well, we patched it up. Lauren was pleased with the result, so that made me happy. Sadly, the homemade cake, delicious the first day, was really dry.
The beehive marzipan treats were made at home by me, and carted through the airport in egg cartons. There is another entire story to tell about these: the love, the thought, the joy that was worked into each one…. and hilariously, only 2 people tried them. No one else even bothered. I am sure they are all in the garbage by now, but I was personally tickled with the result.
Lauren was thrilled with the cupcakes and learned how to use the pastry bag and tube to decorate them herself. We bought the little candy bees on Amazon and they added the perfect charm factor.
The second biggest hit in the food department were the cake pops. Oh my. Even Vanja got in on the making of these. Lauren had no idea how difficult making them would be. I had wanted to do them in Edmonton and bring them with me. She wanted to do them together. And really, that was such fun. Not the outcome we expected, but given the one day we had to make it happen, these were happy little creations and surprisingly delicious, too. I believe Papa Aaron was the biggest fan of these little ditties.
Lauren found a gal to make her these sugar cookies for a very reasonable price. I really wanted to make the cookies, but she had them ordered and there was not enough time. One was in each take home treat bag and waiting at the door for each adult to munch “all-the-way-home” after the party.
I am such a make it your-selfer. Love projects. But, I am not an overtired young mom, either. Lauren ordered the party hats on Etsy and made a yummy raspberry lemonade.
I love egg salad sandwiches, as do most of the guests, so they were the main sustenance on the goodie table.
Lauren is a very healthy eater, and Aaron is about as opposite of Lauren as one could be. The food reflects both personalities and was a good balance of yum and nom.
Tigger’s tails, Eyore’s house sticks, and Pooh’s honeycombz topped off the munchies. The biggest hit was the honeycombz. AA made them like Rice Krispie Squares, but using honeycomb cereal and no one could get their fill of them. I refuse to make Rice Krispie squares, but I will definitely be adding these to my roadtrip snack repertoire.
William’s Birthday Party: The Decor
The food was certainly one of the primary focal points where decor is concerned, but Lauren had lovely little Winnie the Pooh quotes intermingled among the snacks which definitely added interest and hit one’s tender spot.
Aunty Amy, Aaron’s sister, created this poster in honour of our little guy. (She will make one for you, too. Leave a message and I will have her connect with you to provide a quote.)
She also created the one above after William was born.
Front door entry to the left, cookies for farewell at the ready.
Piano directly in front of the door displaying monthly photos of William from birth to now…
To the right of the piano, the great room welcomes all, flooded with daylight and Winnie the Pooh drawing you in.
Only a couple of little activities for the young ones, but this was a huge hit for all! Even President Obama took a guess. So many famous people among the guesses that we all wondered how we missed them. Uncle Andy and Uncle Adam had a little fun on their own, me thinks.
Oh! Look! First guest has arrived. Let the party begin!
William’s Birthday Party: The Party!
Well, almost. Deda feeds William his lunch a little early so he can don his party duds.
We both love feeding the little fellow. He is hilarious.
Fed, changed, and dudded up, daddy brings him down for a few family photos. There is a definitely similarity here, no?
I love mommy, she loves me. I love daddy, yes sirree! They love me, and so you see, we are a happy family!
Favourite cousin Paige gets a big hug and a lens removal.
Aunty Amy, Paige’s mom, gets an earring inspection.
Dancing with Winnie!
Smile for Deda!
Dancing with Uncle Andy.
Cousin Dylan partying it up!
Cousins Bergen and Dylan loving little William. Three days later, their new baby sister was born!
Cousins Dylan and Paige ham it up.
Bergen and Dylan love the cake pops!
Grandma Nan watches William with his new cel phone. He was completely enamoured. (Though it was later tucked away due to him chewing on it with such voracity.)
Doctor Uncle Andy, Aunty Amy’s husband, hoarding all the cousins favourite toys. No wonder this family gets together so often. Everyone loves to play!
Mommy and daddy take a minute to refresh and watch their guests enjoy one another.
Aaron’s mom, William’s Grandma, got her a private (almost) moment with her eleventh grandchild.
She is such a lovely and busy grandma. Grandchild 12 was born a few days later with number 13 and 14 on their way! (Gramsy sure hopes that AA and Lauren will get be in line for that number 15!)
Daddy Adam, Aaron’s brother, and Uncle Steve, Nan’s brother, watch Bergen perform.
Time for “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”! Ooops! “Pin the Tail on Eyore”!
William’s Birthday Party: The Cake Smash!
Apparently the First Birthday Cake Smash is a new phenomenon. I thought it must be an American thing as I have never heard of it, though it has also found it’s way to Canada. But how much? Is it as “standard here” as there? I was shocked, to be honest. For an entire year, each precious child is fed only the most nutritious foods. Lauren still nurses and makes all of William’s baby food from scratch with delicious, nutritious GMO free organic food flush with vibrant nutrients and minerals in her Thermomix machine. His bones and teeth and skin and hair have grown from the purest our earth offers. And now, the cake smash? Whaaaat’s this about?
Gramsy’s have to be careful when commenting on parenting practices of their grandbabies. And, these two parents are phenomenal. However, sugar at one? Why? Why introduce such perfection to such contamination? There is time. I don’t know when I would have had my daughters eat sugar. My dad gave Ragan a little lollipop on Halloween in October, after she turned 2 that year, in June. Two years and 4 months ’til she first tasted sugar. I was so upset, but couldn’t stay that way long. The joy and delight in dad’s eye watching her pleasure erased my fury. I still remember that moment. It felt like she lost her innocence. And, Lauren? I do believe it was shortly after she was one that she had a popsicle with sugar in it. It is tougher to protect the second child from experiencing everything. Still, in those days, most food was homemade. The fast food revolution was just conceived about 35-40 years ago now.
So proud of our little investigative fellow. He didn’t smash it. He explored it. He touched it, smelled it, poked it.
“What am I supposed to do with this big thing on my table?”
Mommy coaxes. Daddy is so patient, “I’m going to give our little guy all the time her needs.”
Then, with a little permission from daddy plopping his hand into the cake, William pushes it in and pulls it out. “What is this stuff?”
Mommy gives him a taste of the icing. “Mmm. Saw-weet!” He did eventually mush up the cake. Probably took a good 20 minutes to a half hour, but Gramsy couldn’t watch any more.
Wrapped in a towel with Grandpa Ross and daddy Aaron taking him up for a bath, cake smash was a grand success!
Our little one year old with his Hudson’s Bay Teddy is so content. So happy. So curious. So loved.
Gramsy took Mommy to lunch at Tuilee on her way to the airport. They fed William tomato soup and toast. (The TicTacs were definitely only played with.)
Gramsy loves seeing William drink his water. Like a little lamb, his head raises and he quenches his thirst with such exuberance. Plans to return in April are on the calendar. Home now. Got to get back into my kitchen and do some cooking for Vanja. Back to being Cyber Gramsy for a while, and am oh, so very thankful.