The Story of Grandma’s Heart

My story started with this…

A poem called “Grandma’s Heart.”

These words penned nearly 20 years ago have shaped my life and led me on the path I have walked since then. And who would have known.

I was a newly-married wife, preparing for a family. My mom was a new Grandma, thanks to my sister, and was ready to enjoy the fruits of her labors. (4 labors to be exact!). A Grandma’s gushing, turned into a suggestion to start a business- a business that would be all things “Grandma”.

But what would those “things” be?

T-shirts, mugs, toys?

Not really what I had in mind. What I had in mind was capturing the “heart” of Grandma. What I had in mind had to do with the sweet memories I had of my Grandma. The little love pats, the candy dish, the Christmas’ and summers spent at her house. How do you bottle that?

My best bottle came in the form of words and eventually things that captured and held those words. Words which over the years have resonated with many who share the same thoughts about grandmas, moms, babies and family.

I initially wanted to do a children’s book with Grandma’s Heart, but in those early days, lack of experience and resources forced me to think of other alternatives. The first product was a matted print we sold to a few children’s stores. The feedback and reorders allowed us to eventually offer frames and greeting cards and a entire collection of “Heart” poems.

Grandma’s were crying and buying!

In addition to the poem, we added other features to the mats and frames, like sweet organdy ribbons and our special envelope to hold a letter from Grandma stored on the frame back.    (20 years ago, this ribbon thing was really new!)

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The envelope on the back of the poems was a sentimental touch that allowed each Grandma to really make this gift to her grandbaby her own. The envelope had a little poem and Grandma would write a letter from her heart and store it on the back of the frame. Those first Grandma’s who wrote these letters, now have grown grandchildren with handwritten words they will treasure. Customers have shared stories with me about how special this part of the gift has become. One young mother lost her mother several years after her first child was born. She was so thankful to have that letter written to her child from her mother- a memory beyond words.

GMHEART-letter

 As the years passed, the market and product demands changed. As saving and displaying ultrasound images became popular, we added Grandma’s Heart ultrasound cards and frames. We also found many Grandma’s buying Grandma’s Heart for themselves and their grandma friends, so we added a home decor styled frame. We also coupled Grandma’s Heart and Grandpa’s Heart poems for a single frame for baby’s room.

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The latest introduction has been framed prints with a more current nursery theme and ones that can also be personalized with Grandma’s own unique name…Mimi, Gigi, Gran. We can customize the name, as we address the gift needs of today’s Grandmas.

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As we near the 20th anniversay of Grandma’s Heart. I am reflecting on the journey.

So much has come from Grandma’s Heart. Much has changed in the world, and in my world yet in some ways… nothing has changed. Changing design trends, marketing, competition, the internet, these things have changed. I’ve changed too. Over two decades, I have gone from that newly married young woman to an experienced mother of 4 growing children. Ironically, I am still not a Grandma much to people’s surprise! (oh, we thought you were a grandma to write all these things!)

There is one thing that hasn’t changed.

Grandma’s Heart

The sentiment written nearly 20 years ago still captures the heart of grandmas. How fortunate for all the grandbabies and the grandbabies to come that they will still enter a world with grandmas. To celebrate the past, present and future, this year I am working on my dream of a children’s book and a few other special products to share with grandmas everywhere.

Another chapter being written…

Teri

Do you have any ideas for Grandma’s Heart gifts you would like me to create? Do you have a story of Grandma’s Heart to share? Share with me on Facebook, in comments or email info@grandparentgiftco.com.

Give us some feedback and enter to win!

Give us your input in our Grandma’s Heart Giveaway, March 10-31 by following this link here

Grandparents Day Gift Ideas

As you begin your search for Grandparent’s Day gift ideas, have a little fun and join our Facebook Grandparent’s Day contest.

Grandparent’s Day was established in 1978 to celebrate the important role grandparents play in the lives of family. The second Sunday in September, Grandparent’s Day is on Sept. 7, 2014.

In recognition of grandparents, our contest highlights are in the video link below. Follow the Orange Slice Contest link to watch and enter by August 24, 2014. The orange slice is our companies “mascot” for grandparents. When I was a little girl, Grandma’s candy dish was a symbol of all the sweetness that was Grandma’s house. It has been the inspiration from many of my companies sentimental gifts.

Check out our weekly deals where we will feature popular grandparent gifts for great prices. This week we are featuring our Grandparent’s Memory Book– a must have keepsake for every family.

LINK TO THE CONTEST VIDEO HERE

 

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For great ideas on ways to celebrate Grandparent’s Day in your family, check out some of our grandparent blog posts.

8 ideas for grandkids to connect with grandparents at a distance

Grandparent’s Day Idea: Host a Grandchild Party

Come have some fun and win a candy jar for your home. We will fill it through out this year with fun nostalgia candies and as a bonus, we will add your favorites too!

Enter FACEBOOK CONTEST HERE!

Grandma Names Today: Fun and Creative

Recently I thought I would have a little fun with a facebook post. From the post, I received a list of  Grandma Names which was very impressive! I posed the question, “what do your grandkids call you?”

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Having created gifts for grandparents for the past 18 years, I thought I was “up” on these things. Turns out I still had some things to learn. From reading all the wonderful responses, here is what today’s grandmas are saying about their grandkids and their unique Grandma names.

  1. Best Laid Plans

Although some grandmas had their Grandma name picked before the sweet grandbaby arrived, many grandmas told me their grandchildren didn’t always comply. Many grandmas found their names by what the first little one could say- Mama, Maimai, Ging Ging, K, Ga, Mamo…

I see a pattern here!

Toddler speak turns into a name and many times it sticks! One of the most popular Grandma names is now Mimi. Grandmas love it and so do little ones as it is golden to their tongues- easy to pronounce. What better toddler word is there than “ME?!”

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  1. Just Call Me

When the plan is foiled or the name is unusual, most Grandmas didn’t seem to mind. They are so smitten with the grandbaby all they really want is to be recognized and loved.

I think a unique grandma name makes a grandma feel more special.

It also adds to the cuteness factor when you hear tr said by a sweet little voice. Many grandmas shared the sentiment,

“I don’t care what they call me, I am just happy for them to call me.”

Some grandmas have multiple names from different grandchildren, whether it be from different sides of the family, step-children etc.. They have to keep up with who they are. Sometimes their first name changes as the years go by. One Grandma said all the kids, neighbor kids included, now call her “Sugar” which is her grandma name.

 

  1. A Story to Tell

Having a sweet or funny story on how their name came to be makes a grandma more proud of her unique name. An Alabama fan became Bamaw, a great-grandma became Great One. Sometimes family heritage or history plays a role in names such as Nona or Nonnie, Ya Ya and Oma.

 

  1. So Who’s the Winner?

From my little survey, here are the top names (hint- it is NOT Grandma)

  1. Nana
  2. Grammy/Grammie
  3. Mimi (or MeMe)
  4. Memaw (lots of different spellings)
  5. Grandma
  6. Gramma
  7. Gigi/G G
  8. Mom Mom
  9. Nonnie/Nonni

 

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As you can see, getting the spelling right is also a challenge!

  1. The Coming Trend?

With lots of wonderfully sweet grandma names on my list, here are a few that you may hear more of in the future: Sunny, Honey, Cookie, Sugar, Lovey and Lolly. (combine this one with Pop and you have a really fun couple)

What do your grandkids call you?

To join the fun and conversation, Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to participate in future contests, drawing and more ideas and gifts for the entire family.

 

Gifts for Grandpa for Father’s Day

Thank you to Nanahood.com for sharing our recommendations for gifts for Grandpa for Father’s Day. Check out her blog where Teresa dishes about the second half of the Motherhood journey!

Here are a few highlights…

Finding thoughtful gifts for grandpas, granddads, papas and pops, or whatever their name of endearment, can be a shopping challenge. Grandpa may be a softie, a jokester, a fixer or a storyteller, but he probably loves a thoughtful, personal gift from the grandkids on Father’s Day. (that’s what happens when you get older!)

To ease your search, I have compiled The Grandparent Gift Co.’s top 5 thoughtful gifts grandpas for Father’s Day.

There is a little something for the different types of grandpas, but each combine poignant words from the heart with a beautiful gift he will brag about…. READ MORE HERE

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To shop more thoughtful gift ideas for Grandpa for Father’s Day, visit our Father’s Day Gift page fore more ideas!

Enter our Father’s Day Contest too! Click Here

How to Hold a Grandma Shower: The Sprinkle

Why sprinkle? What’s a sprinkle?

My sentiments exactly.

I am very familiar with Grandma showers and have written about them in the past. There are many opinions about Grandma’s showers. Are they fun celebratory events or over the top,” it’s not about the grandma” celebrations? Regardless of the camp you fall into, I think both will agree, a Grandma “sprinkle”, if done following the guidelines below, can be a wonderful way to welcome in the second half of motherhood.

Before the guidelines, a little thought regarding the word sprinkle as opposed to shower. A shower has always been for babies and brides and so it should be. A sprinkle, is a cute little word. When I think “sprinkle”, I see adorable cupcakes and tiny droplets of water freshening a flower petal on an early spring day. I didn’t coin the phrase and I am not sure who did, but I like it.

Guidelines for a Successful Grandma Shower

It’s not a Shower

I think this one is clear. The shower is for the mom-to-be. The most negative comments I have read on Grandma Showers are from the moms-to-be. Many feel the expectant Grandma has had her time and it isn’t about her. I think this opinion says more about the quality of the relationship or lack of, more than anything. When there is a great relationship between the expectant mom and expectant grandma, a lot of this “stuff” never surfaces. With my Mom, her second half of motherhood has been 25 years of diapering, babysitting, cooking, hosting, gifting and more! A little sprinkle would be well deserved. As seriously and as lovingly as she took motherhood, she has also taken “grandmahood”. I know there are LOTS of these kinds of Grandmas out there!

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

The Hostess is a Friend or Coworker

The expectant mom should never be expected to host a grandma shower or sprinkle. The sprinkle should be hosted by one of the new grandma’s friends or co-workers. (couples can sprinkle too!) Ideally your celebrations should not include the expectant mom, unless you know her well enough to think she might like to be included. We all know it is better safe than sorry to ask the opinion of the pregnant mommy. If you have been one- you know! Grandma sprinkles are easy to do when the grandma and mommy do not live too close to one another. There is no overlapping of guests and the emotions are a little further apart. If you are in a tight knit community, you will have to ponder on this one.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Fun

A Grandma sprinkle can be held at a home, restaurant or workplace. I see it as a get-together of friends to celebrate a new stage in life. It can be as simple as a dinner and toast after work or something with a bit more planning, such as a weekend afternoon luncheon. Decorations, if any, should be simple and gifts not extravagant. Read on for some great ideas on gifts with meaning.

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

Yes to Gifts, No to a Registry!

No registry needed! If the new Grandma is going to be watching her new grandbaby, baby gear would be a great gift. Whether it is a safe, in good condition, hand-me-down stroller or perhaps a joint gift from all, baby gear is always welcome. For long-distance grandmas-to-be, a camera or travel gift card would also be wonderful group gifts. If Grandma is an avid-anything…ie  runner, gardener, baker, reader, golfer etc…, I think having themed gifts would be fun. In the coming years, she can share her passion with her grandbaby, so how about a few of these ideas:

Reader: A book theme. Bring a classic children’s book, so she can build a library to share. Books are always great gifts and can be new or gently used.

Gardener: Children’s gardening tools, seed packets, bright pots, adorable boots or apron would outfit a little helper perfectly.

Golfer: a little set of gold clubs, balls, child-size putting green or cup, toddler golf clothing.

You have the idea- take her passion and help her pass it on to a new generation.

Sprinkle it with Meaning

One or two thoughtful activities would make the celebration memorable for the expectant grandma.  Compiling an advice or quote book where friends and guests pen their favorite life or grandparent quote, or add tidbit of advice, would be a keeper.

Since much has changed in the world of babies, compiling a “quiz” on the latest baby trends and advice would see if she is ready for her new role. It would probably provide some laughs and memories too.

If she hasn’t chosen a “Grandma” name, which seems to be a growing trend, maybe a little help from her friends would be fun. A sweet little new Grandma name book would also give her all kinds of names to consider.

Perhaps Grandma would like a memory book she can fill out or a brag book or grandchild journal. (that is if you think she is apt to brag in the future. 🙂  A sweet Life Story frame with photos of her journey to “grandmahood” or a special First Grandchild themed gift would be sentimental as well.

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

If you have involved the expectant parents in any way and they are all on board with the event, a special message or card written from them would require tissue be on hand.

 

What do you think about a Grandma Sprinkle? Have you hosted or been to one? How did you celebrate becoming a grandma with friends or co-workers? What was your favorite gift or activity?

 

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A New Mom’s Ah-ha Moment: A Mom’s Love

I still remember a telephone conversation I had years ago with one of my sales reps. We were talking work and the conversation turned to babies. She shared with me a conversation she had with her daughter, a recent new mom.  A conversation she will never forget.

It impacted me deeply, so I chose to write about it.

New Mom. Orange Slice. The Grandparent Gift Co.

This is her story…

One day her daughter called her out of the blue…sobbing. Not a little choked up, but bawling. You know the sniffling, stuttering, impaired type of crying.

Of course, her Mama Bear instincts took hold and in a brief second, her mind filled with terrible things. The new grandbaby was terribly sick. Her husband was in a car accident. She was calling with a devastating health diagnosis.

Is it only me, or does your Mommy brain work this way too?

Well, happily for her, none of her fears were realized. When her daughter gathered herself enough to speak, she told her Mom, she finally “got” it.

Yes she finally GOT IT.

She got the depth of how much her Mom loved her. It dawned on her that the indescribable love she felt for her baby, her mother felt for her. It was a moment of total clarity and understanding.

She got all the sacrifices, all the worry, ALL of it. To her core she was honored, humbled, amazed and profoundly changed.

I wrote, Mom, Now That I’m a Mother because I thought what seemed at first, to be a very personal revelation, was actually quite universal for those blessed with a loving mother.

I share it with you here and hope you can find a way to tell your mother you GET IT.

AND YOU LOVE HER!

 

Mom, Now That I’m a Mother…

Until I became a Mother,

I did not understand,

The profound sense of love,

in a Mother’s heart and hands.

As I whisper, “Mommy loves you”,

I rock my precious child to sleep.

Small perfection in my arms,

sweet breaths, slow & deep.

I now see me as a baby,

you’re rocking me to sleep.

You whisper, “Mommy loves you,

my heart is yours to keep.

At last I recognize your love,

as a Mother I now see.

As I hold and love my child,

you feel that love for me.

I will always be your baby,

despite the years that pass.

You have given me my life,

and a mother’s heart to last.

The greatest thanks I can offer,

more than words could ever say

is to give my child the love,

you have given me everyday.

copyright Teri Harrison

FIND THIS POEM in a card and frame on my website www.grandparentgiftcompany.com

What has been a profound realization for you when your baby was born? How has your relationship with your mom changed as you became a mother?

 

A Tribute to a Beloved Grandma- My Source of Spring

Written by Hannah Henthorne…amazing daughter, accomplished student, avid runner, food nut, and blogger extraordinaire…

It is in those first few days of Spring that I think about her most. I’ve never given much thought to this seemingly strange occurrence; for there is no tangible reason I should think of her during this time. My grandmother was of a rare kind, increasingly difficult to come by these days. As most grandmas are, she loved her grandchildren and family endlessly. That love evident in the genuine smile and words she emitted when around us. She radiated warmth.

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As the years progressed, her health deteriorated, but her spirit for the simplicity of life around her blossomed. I looked forward to sleepovers at Grandma’s, but not because she spoiled me with gifts or took me to dinner at a restaurant that mom and dad never did. Instead, we stayed in. Comforted not by television, but by board games and laughter around grandma’s four person oak table. Standing in her retro orange-carpeted kitchen as she diligently taught my young and wandering mind the kitchen basics. Using windowsill herbs and garden fresh vegetables to teach me the best stuff comes from a bit of patience and a genetic green thumb.

One instance in particular stands out in my mind when I reach to recall a memory of her. It was the end of the night at one of those sleepovers; time for bed. We trekked up the stairs together, and began performing my pre sleep rituals. Grandma never left my side. I jumped in bed with as much energy as I could feign, telling grandma I wasn’t tired yet. She sat by my side a few minutes, tucking the blanket in on either side of my body, securing me in a sleep cocoon. Thinking back to that moment now, I felt as secure in that bed, warm and worry-free, as I do with the memory of her today. For it was that mere gesture of protection and love that defined her whole being.

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But that is not the memory I conjure up. It is what happened immediately after, as she was leaving my room. Just before she closed the door, I remembered to call out the words, “I love you.” I wasn’t sure if she heard, but I wanted to say it anyway, as a way to seal this perfect night. My answer was received as I heard the door quietly creak back open and the comforting sound of grandma’s voice reply, “I’ve been waiting all day to hear those words, I love you too.”

It is that simple yet slam-packed sentimental statement that has stayed with me all these years. Not only the memory of this moment but the moral as well. I learned the power of words, the power and rarity of pure love. This sentiment, something I thought Grandma knew, was enough to make her day as well as mine.

I’d like to think this moment we shared resonated with her as it did with me, for I lacked the courage to bring it up in person to her, out of fear it was a dream.

This memory gives me promise. It gives me hope during moments of doubt. Promise that souls like Grandma’s do exist in this increasingly insensitive world, and hope that I can one day grow to be the gentle, graceful woman she was.

It is the culmination of Grandma’s most gracious traits—her warmth, her ability to make a flower sprout from the smallest of seeds, and most importantly, the promise and hope she emitted—that have helped me conclude that she is my Spring. Her attributes are synonymous, if not identical, to the characteristics of springtime.

My winter can be warm if I so desire. All I have to do is think back to that night at Grandma’s, her smile, her hands, and the snow brightens to fresh grass; the crisp air no longer burns but warms my cheeks. All from the comfort of knowing Spring—and Grandma—is never too far away.

Written by Hannah Henthorne…amazing daughter, accomplished student, avid runner, food nut, and blogger extraordinaire…

The Glory of Grandma

As I have “matured” (ok, sounds  better than aged) as a mother, the beauty of becoming a grandmother is becoming much clearer. Perhaps parenting the teenage years and the mental anguish from raging hormones is sending me back to the glorious, sweet and simple days of babyhood… sleep, feed, change, cuddle, REPEAT….

Young mothers would argue these are not the simple years, but for those of us who have been there, we can honestly say it is so. In the midst of diapers and temper tantrums, all we wished was for children who could talk, potty and tie their shoes without our help.  Fortunately, those things do happen. However the temper tantrums continue on in more complicated ways, and there is a growing uncertainty that all the “right” things we’ve done are not a guarantee the end result will be an amazing young adult we’ve dreamed of. As our children grow there are too many unknowns, too many temptations, too many mistakes and any of them can turn everything on its head.

With mothering there is so much angst and dare I say, regret? Wanting to do our best each and every day, at the job we were blessed to be given. Loving so completely at the core of our being, yet falling into bed many nights berating ourselves for not being better…more patient, more available, more loving, less hurried, less negative, less stressed.

That’s where I see the glory of being Grandma. There is no self-loathing, second guessing… regrets. As a mother, you did that, you’ve been there. You did the best you could at the time. But now there are these sweet little babies you get to hold and try again without the familiar angst.

Sure, you absolutely worry about your grandbabies (don’t nobody cross Grandma!) but this time you are more patient, more available, more loving, less hurried, less negative and less stressed, at least when it comes to their day-to-day lives. The little things stay little and the big things matter. It isn’t because you are a better person than you used to be, you’re just not MOM. Perhaps its nature’s sweet reward.  Or as I like to say, grandkids are like a great, big, fat, delicious dessert- saving the best for last!

To recognize the hard earned role as Grandma, these are a few thoughts I jotted down one day. I think they speak to the essence of  what it truly means to be a grandparent.

That old on the outside, doesn’t mean old on the inside.

The answer to seconds is “yes”.

The best gifts are hand drawn and heart spoken.

Simple walks make great moments.

A heart has super human powers.

A dandelion is not a weed, it’s a flower.

Puddles do not have “no jumping” signs.

Fingerprints on glass are stains on the heart.

It’s OK to eat a little dirt occasionally.

“Why” is a perfectly good question.

Naps are good for your mood at any age.

Comments about body parts aren’t mean, just honest observations.

The best compliment is grandkids fighting over who sits in your lap or who gets to hold your hand.

 

I’m sure you may have a few favorite gems yourself, so feel free to share.

In angst for now-

Teri

 heirloom photos 1 006kids2014

…….2003     …….10 years later….                                                2013

Grandparents Day Interview with Life Lessons Radio

Had a good time today talking about Grandparent’s Day with Rick from Life Lessons radio.

We talked about how the day got its start and ways you can celebrate with your family- have a listen!

Celebrate Grandparents Day with Teri Harrison 09/05 by Lessons Learned | Life Podcasts.

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A sweet memory from my days as a much-loved grandchild. What’s your memory?
Join us The Grandparent Gift Co. on facebook for more trips down memory lane.

8 Ideas for Grandkids & Grandparents to Connect

8  Ideas for Grandkids to Connect to Grandparents at a Distance

  1. Fun to Shoot Photos

Grandparents always love to see the latest photograph of the grandkids, but it is awesome and memorable to receive a Fun to Shoot photo. Here are a few ideas to make your shoot, fun to shoot! Take a photograph holding a message to Grandma and Grandma written on a dry erase or chalkboard or poster. Even better if the message is authored and penned by the grandkids themselves. Try one of the innovative sidewalk chalk drawings like below, use costumes to make the scene come alive.

2. Sing a Song

Let the grandkids come up with a skit, song or poem for Grandma and Grandpa. Perform it and record it to send via mail or snail mail. Schedule face time or Skype to perform  in person.

3. Send a Hug

Use butcher or art paper to trace your outstretched arms in a hug. Roll it up and mail it in a tube mailer. Now won’t that be a surprise!

4. Produce a Work of Heart

Artwork is another treasured gift for a grandparent. Self portraits and portraits of grandparents are always memorable. Portraits capture the heart of how grandkids see themselves and grandparents and can make adorable artwork when framed. You might also take a favorite quote or saying from a grandparent and add a child’s artwork, for another unique piece of home décor.

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5. Fill in the Blank

Come up with simple interview questions and record children’s responses. Questions might include: what do you like best about grandma and grandpa’s house? What is Grandpa’s favorite food? What is Grandma’s favorite color? What is the funniest thing Grandpa does? Record the answers and share them for a few laughs!

6. Did you Walk 5 Miles to School

Ask grandchildren what they would like to know about their grandparents’ lives. Write them down and send them on to grandparents, to be answered and returned. This can also be done with memory books on the market, such as The Grandparent’s Memory Book from The Grandparent Gift Co.

Grandparent's Memory Book: Did you Really Walk 5 Miles to School?

Grandparent’s Memory Book: Did you Really Walk 5 Miles to School?

7. Countdown!

Younger grandchildren do not have sense of time and waiting for grandparents to arrive for a visit feels like forever. Make a countdown chart the week before grandparents arrive, so they can keep track and understand the days. The activity builds excitement and keeps the constant questions in check!

8. Journal it

Purchase a journal that grandchildren and grandparents can send back and forth with entries, a true future gem. Perhaps you send back and forth each month, entering as you please during your time with the journal.