Full of Surprises

February 20, 2020

Last weekend our son, Brian, and daughter-in-law, Melissa participated in the first 2020 segment of the  Spartan Trifecta.  And I got to take care of (a.k.a. play) with Owen and Ella (6 and 4 years old) all day long.  It was Valentine’s Day.

I had promised the kids that I would take them to Target so they could spend their allowance. They had both been saving for something and had JUST earned the last of what they needed to make their purchases.

When I take the kids somewhere, I drive Melissa’s car; it’s small and a size I feel comfortable driving. But this weekend? Brian and Melissa were taking Melissa’s car, which left the minivan for me.  I don’t drive big vehicles. I don’t. They scare me. But knowing that either I drove the minivan, which had the kids car seats in it, or the kids had to wait until the next day, when their parents could take them, to spend their allowance, I had no choice. They would have been too disappointed to wait another day. I don’t handle their disappointment well.

I asked for the van keys and went for a short test drive.  I was nervous. I was. But I felt I could do it.  For Owen and Ella, I could do it. 

But before we went anywhere, we had to have breakfast. When I visit, Owen always wants me to fix either French Toast or Pancake Surprise (something I made up; about half-dollar size pancakes with different and unusual toppings – like a marshmallow or M&M’s, peanut butter or honey – anything that kids his age would find fun.) Well, this weekend, I mixed it up and we had French Toast Surprise.  Owen thought it was hysterical. 

We played with Legos for a while, and I “surprised” Owen with my lego-building skills.  (“Grandma, you’re really good at building lego cars.”)

Around lunchtime, we made a quick trip to Target. As we were walking into the store, I noticed all of the delicious smells coming from the nearby restaurants. 

Me: “Oh, something smells really good! I wonder what it is!”
Owen: “It’s the hotdogs at Costco!”

(Uhhhh.. I don’t think so.)

Anyway, we took care of our errand at Target and when we exited, I asked Owen and Ella if they wanted to have a hotdog at Costco for lunch.  “YES!!!” they both said!!!   Surprise!

Earlier that morning, I asked the kids if they wanted to build a castle. I explained that we would have to go on a “box run,” which means we drive behind stores and look in their dumpsters for big boxes that we can use. Owen didn’t seem to think much of the idea until we actually were sorting through the dumpster goods – and then he thought that was the most fun part of the day so far….. even more fun than spontaneously getting hotdogs at Costco, which, admittedly, is really hard to beat.  

So after gathering boxes, we headed home to start building our castle.

Me: “Well, driving the mini-van wasn’t so bad.”
Owen: “You’ve GOT this, Grandma!”
Me: “Yes, I think I do.”

After a short pause, he continued:  “Grandma, it’s Valentine’s Day, and you’re just FULL of surprises!”

That just warmed my heart, and it still makes me smile when I remember it.  I hope he always thinks I’m a fun Grandma.

Once we got back to the house, we got out our paints and scissors and tape and began the construction of a castle. It took us 3 hours, but the final result was strong and sturdy, despite the way it looks. In my opinion, that was probably the biggest surprise of the day!

Ella opted for pink and purple paints, with a flower garden, and painted the rocks on her side of the walkway. Owen opted for black and orange, with a “scary” face inside the “O” in his name. He built a parking garage for his cars, and a 2 story lot made out of toilet paper rolls. The “ramp” to get to the top of that special parking spot fell down; it’s the piece of cardboard to the right of the toilet paper stack.  


Karen Schulz

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  1. Barb Barker

    Oh my! You really ARE a very fun Grandma! Making memories that last forever!!

    • Karen

      I hope so, Barb. I do hope they remember these things. If not, I have pictures!! 🙂

  2. DeLoris Musick

    Aww – this is sooo sweet! I remember those fun days with Danny! You dun good Grandma!!!

    • Karen

      I’m sure Danny remembers those fun times with you too!

  3. Deanna

    That is great. One time when the kids were visiting we strung donuts on a string (a pretty hefty string) and then blindfolded the kids, and let them “find” the donuts! They thought that was lots of fun! I made a layout of that adventure!

    • Karen

      That sounds fun, Deanna! I’ll have to do that!

  4. Janet

    I think you are just the best Grandma EVER!!!! I can safely say this as I am not a Grandma but I am the best Great Aunt ever….at least that is what I have been told by one of my brothers….he will become a grandfather next month! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful Grandma adventures Karen!

    • Karen

      Great Grandma – Great Aunt; whatever! We are still filling up our kids with love, right?

  5. CArla W.

    Oh, this is absolutely perfect! And you are a very fun Grandma! I love it!

    • Karen

      Thanks so much, Carla!

  6. Steph

    Those are the kind of days kids WILL remember. You are a fun Grandma!

    • Karen

      Thanks, Steph. I hope so. They’re still pretty young, but yes, I hope so!

  7. Faith A

    You sound like a PERFECT Grandma to me. They will have wonderful stories to tell about you when their older, so precious.

    • Karen

      Thanks, Faith! I appreciate your encouragement!

  8. Pam K

    Sounds like you had an extra special Valentines Day. What a fun grandma you are — I’m sure these memories will last a long time!!

  9. sharonshutterbug

    Not only are you a great Grandma, but I love that your grandkids have such creativity and that you are encouraging it!

    • Karen

      Thank you, Sharon. And you are right. Owen and Ella both have the most incredible imaginations. They were not allowed to watch ANY television until they were 2 years old and then had only extremely limited screen time. I truly attribute that to their learning how to play so well.

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