Last week, I treated myself to a morning in Glen Ellyn…a small Chicago suburb.

It was a beautiful Fall day and after a doctor’s appointment I took myself on a tour of downtown Glen Ellyn.

One of the treasures that I found was M and em’s, fun, fresh and fab, a store where you can shop for babies, children, and yourself. I had so much fun in this store!

There were special baby items, great shower gifts or just a little grandma gift for baby. Since we were planning a short trip with our granddaughter, I was on the lookout for some little “tchotchkes” for the plane flight. I could not have chosen a more appropriate place for my search. I was even tempted to buy a little something for myself but exercised restraint which I admit was not easy.

Baby gifts…

These are just too cute and too convenient for little ones still in diapers…Right?

Baby’s Halloween Mustache…

Not for everyone …but still cute!

Trick or Treat…

and for your favorite little “princess”…

Eco-friendly lunch boxes…love these!

Lunch anyone?…great eco-friendly lunch boxes for school!

Crayon roll…my favorite…

and my favorite the crayon roll, which holds crayons in separate pockets and rolls them up for easy access when traveling…keeps them from rolling away…yay! Holds a medium size box of crayons…comes with the crayons too.

M and em’s was a great find for me…I then headed to The Bookstore for some children’s books and the new J.K. Rowling book “Casual Vacancy” for me.

Conveniently, next to the bookstore was the String Theory Yarn Company, where I purchased some yarn and a pattern to amuse me on the plane when and if I had any time.

Then I walked back to my car…stashed my bags and joined an older woman at her table outside at Starbucks where I enjoyed a tea and snack.

We talked for over an hour. She was just charming and so interesting. She had grown up in the area on a farm…she shared a time that was all but foreign to me. Recently, she had returned “home” after living in Palm Springs, CA for over 35 years. She now, wanted to be near her family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some how I knew what she meant…wanting to be close to family.

What a great day it was…all unplanned and extemporaneous!

I was not compensated in anyway for this review…all opinions are my own. 


Do maternal grandparents have it better?

Like I said: Its complicated.

via Do Maternal Grandmothers Really Have It Better? – Grandparents.com.


Do maternal grandparents have it better…maybe, is all I have to say.

It truly depends on the relationship that a mom has with her daughter. If the relationship with your daughter is marginal then I believe the relationship with your grandchildren has a greater chance of being marginal. As a grandmother, you will have to make more of an effort at your relationship with your grandchildren as well.

Relationships are work…grandparent-grandchild relationships are no different in many ways than relationships with other relatives or friends.

Grandchildren should not, in my belief, have to “kowtow” to their grandparents. I have said this in other posts.

To me, it is nice to have grandchildren who respect you, but if you want to have them visit, call or talk to you, then you will have to be the engager.

Sorry to say, but I remember being really bored by my paternal grandparents…even though I loved them dearly…they just were not fun and to top it off, most of the time they spoke Italian which I did not understand. I remember thinking this was kind of rude.

Since my parents were divorced, my paternal grandparents were visited only on weekends with my dad. It was kind of an obligation of his and he brought me along for the ride.

Since I lived with my maternal grandmother, I loved her like she was my mother and sometimes, she was my “stand in” mother. She taught me to cook and do things around the house like ironing and making hospital corners on the beds. All girls need to know these things…Right?

Divorce or any rupture in a family does nothing to enhance the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Of course, it does depend upon the age at which the rupture takes place and to how extensive is the animosity between father, mother and family members.

In these situations, grandparents may find it difficult for various reasons to remain in contact with their grandchildren, because of loyalty to their child, conflict with daughter-in-law or son-in-law and the trickle down effect that all of this has on the grandchild.

Even if there is a seemingly amicable situation, there will be unspoken feelings that a child may sense which will interfere with a developing relationship between them and their grandparents. Grandparents will have their work cut out for them in this family scenario. But hopefully the work will be worth it in the end.

Being a grandparent is the best thing that has happened to me. I cannot imagine any thing better. Being a mom was great and yes, I definitely had more energy but not more wisdom or patience…those I have acquired with age and life experience. For me, being the maternal grandmother has been a perk because I had and still have a good relationship with my daughter.

Do I have to walk on egg shells?… sometimes, certainly… will my relationship with my grandchild continue to be as wonderful as it currently is…well that will depend on me now won’t it?



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Breast Cancer Sucks!

Over twenty years ago I lost my best friend to breast cancer…she was 41 years old and had a three year old daughter.

I can still remember when she called to tell me she had a found a lump in her breast and her doctor thought it was a plugged milk duct because her baby daughter was not even six months old.

She had a mastectomy, chemo and radiation…her life ended a little over three years after her battle with cancer began. She fought a very hard fight…she wanted to see her daughter grow up but knew in the end she would not.

I watched her daughter grow up. She became an advocate for women with the breast cancer “gene”…her mother would be proud of her accomplishments.

In this month of October, I want to urge all women, if they can, to get involved in cancer awareness and breast cancer research. You can “Act with Love” by joining the Health of Women Study at www.healthofwomenstudy.org. This is a new revolutionary project of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation that was launched to the public on October 1st.


Teaching your kid to fight…would you do this?

Yesterday, I witnessed a very disturbing scene in an urban playground.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Chicago, at a playground nestled among the skyscrapers near Millennium park.

Our extended family was there with the youngest among them, a 2 year old little boy and 4 year old little girl. Both, fortunately, remained oblivious to the inappropriate activity encouraged by the parents and nanny of two seemingly unrelated boys.

The young boys seemed to be around 7 or 8 years old…one was several inches shorter than the other but they were evenly built….they were “duking it out” in the middle of the playground.

At first the other “parents” yelled at them to “cut it out” and “stop”, but the boys seemed intent on throwing punches and kicks to the body and groin paying no attention to the bystanders.

I watched somewhat in horror…especially when I noticed one boy’s parents watching and encouraging their son in this activity. They were not phased by any of the other parents’ comments.

I realized the taller boy was there with a nanny and toddler sister when he ran to his sister’s stroller to grab his sword out of its sheath. The nanny quickly took it away but sent him back into the “ring”. This was probably the only appropriate adult behaviour that I witnessed.

Finally…I could not contain myself as I watched this scene unfold and I approached the dad…

“Do you speak English?”…I asked.

He mumbled…that he did. I then told him, that what he was doing was inappropriate and that other children in the playground should not be made to witness this…his response was …”then don”t watch”…I then said that we could not help but witness the fighting, and this was a “playground” where we teach our children not to fight.

At that point, I walked away and approached the nanny, who was also just watching from another vantage point…I essentially told her the same thing and said that it was shameful of her to encourage this activity.

The nanny gathered the boy fighter and little girl and quickly left the playground…then other couple hung around watching their son play nicely with some other kids on the playground equipment .

I am still processing this scene and wondering if what I did really mattered…no other parents stood up to this man…did this mean that they were not appalled or was it urban apathy and “don’t get involved” that was playing in their heads?

I will never know for sure…but what I do know is that I basically stood alone facing this dad…speaking my mind…and I would probably do it over again.

What would you have done if you witnessed an activity like this at a playground?

I felt like I was watching a “dog fight”…and I had a flashback of an episode of “Law and Order SVU” where a child died of a ruptured spleen under suspicious conditions.

It was later found that the young boy was encouraged to fight by his dad and there were other dads, who brought their boys to a group at night in a park and set them free to fight…it was a disgusting show… but now I realize it seems that it is all too real.