My beautiful I take your hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may I be ever open to seeing the world through your eyes...full of innocent wonder, delight and joy. As you take my hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may you be ever open to seeing the world through my eyes...full of gratitude, wisdom and peace. May we be blessed on our 'ramblings' together. Love, Nana

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Train Wreck!

Well, I had a Martha Stewart moment today!  Thought Aidan and I would have some 'quality time' decorating a gingerbread 'train' for the holidays!  Before the little love of my life arrived, I got everything organized...the base, complete with 'snow', the gingerbread train pieces all lined  up ready to 'glue' together, the various candies and decorations all in their own little bowls.  Ahh...Martha would be so proud!

The base...complete with 'snow'!
On went 'Raffi's Christmas Songs' on the stereo, for that little bit of 'ambience'.  Let the fun begin!  Aidan, perched on a stool at the kitchen counter, and Nana with icing bag at the ready.  It all looked so easy!  And yet...I managed somehow to mix up the gingerbread pieces (the square pieces all look the same, OK!) and proceeded to stress and frazzle over 'gluing' first the 'engine' and then the 'caboose' scraping and wiping beads of icing along the way!

The 'engine' and 'caboose'!
For some strange and wonderful reason, the little love of my life thought all of this was hilarious!  At first I wanted to cry with frustration, but the sight and sound of Aidan roaring with laughter at all the wrecked train pieces scattered about the kitchen counter, soon had me laughing as well!  To top it all off, poor Raffi and his songs were drowned out by the sound of my little grandson singing 'O Canada' at the top of his lungs!  Ahh...the best laid plans of mice and men... or crazy Nana's!

The 'rock' filled 'caboose'!
All was not lost, however!  I am truly amazed at the ability of smarties and jelly tots to cover up a multitude of icing errors!  Once I (more or less) got the 'engine' assembled, and the 'caboose' to (more or less) stay 'glued' together, I went mad with the icing nozzle as Aidan covered the train and the 'landscape' with candies...smarties, jelly tots, chocolate buttons, chocolate 'rocks' for the railway tracks, drunken teddy bear jujubes sprawled along the 'railway track' and chocolate santas and snowmen doing cartwheels in the snow!

A happy little boy and his 'train wreck'!
Not sure yet if this will become an annual tradition!  I guess it's a bit like childbirth...eventually, over time, we forget how painful it was, and do it all over again!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Be The Change!

Several weeks ago the little love of my life brought home a flyer from school, inviting parents (and Nana's!) to an upcoming conference presented by the local school board.  My daughter is already in the habit of showing me, or letting me know about, anything Aidan brings home from school.  This recent flyer was entitled 'Raising Children Who Care - The World Needs Your Kid'.  The 'Parents as Partners' conference, held today, is an annual event, bringing together parents, kids and educators.

Since this is the first year of school for Aidan, it is the first year his momma and I were made aware of these annual events.  For me, attending was not an option, and my daughter, much to my delight, offered to join me.  The keynote speaker was Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children and co-founder of Me to We

I don't know where to begin!  I have admired and followed the work of this amazing human being for many years.  Craig first came to my attention in the late '90's.  It was in 1995, at the age of 12, that Craig saw a headline in a Toronto newspaper that read "Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered".  The story was about a young boy named Iqbal Masih, living in Pakistan, who at the age of four (the same age as my little Aidan!) was 'sold' by his parents to a wealthy carpet maker, in exchange for the equivalent of twelve dollars, with the understanding that he could be returned to his family once the 'loan' was repaid, which of course, it never was!  Several years later, with the help of a humanitarian organization, Iqbal was freed from his captor, and went on, at the age of ten, to become an international figurehead for the fight against child labour.  In 1995, at the age of twelve, Iqbal was brutally murdered.

Angered by the newspaper article, Craig took it to school and presented it to his classmates, asking who of them would join him in bringing this injustice to peoples' attention.  Several of his fellow classmates volunteered, forming what would eventually become Free the Children which today has become an international organization in 45 countries; built over 650 schools; implemented many social programs within these developing countries, and is recognized and supported by a long list of celebrities such as the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, and Desmond Tutu.  In 2008, Craig, along with his brother Marc, co-founded Me to We which organizes camps and overseas trip for volunteer youth, as well as providing products for sale made by third-world country artisans.

At the 'ripe old age' of 28, Craig has become the driving force for young people to realize their potential for making positive change in the world, and practical ways to take action and become part of the solution.  He is truly an inspiration to many people of all ages!  His speech today was empowering, uplifting, and inspirational.  It renewed in me hope for our world, when all around us sometimes seems hopeless.

I can only hope my little Aidan will someday hear the call, and be inspired to reach out and help others so much more less fortunate than he.  I will, over the years, instill in him a strong sense of justice.  He will come to know his voice can and must be heard.  He will learn that by his actions, the world can become a better place for others.

Meeting Craig after the conference was a honour, and the highlight of our day.  My daughter and I both felt we were in the presence of a very special soul.  Such greatness and accomplishment from such humility and kindness! 

Craig was happy to sign the two books I had purchased, inscribing them, as requested, to my little Aidan, for they will be required reading at Nana's house!  "To Aidan...Be The Change!  Craig"

Thank you Craig...may my little grandson aspire to your greatness and passion to help his fellow human beings.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aidan's Great Adventure!

Got up this morning and had my cup of tea...ahhh!  It was early and still dark outside.  But there was excitement in the air!  Telephoned the little love of my life after breakfast and asked if he'd like the day off school to go on an adventure with Nana and Papa.  Of course the answer was yes!  He didn't know where he was going; he was just happy to be spending the day with us.

Once a year, for two weeks every November, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is held in Toronto.  Farm animals galore!  We thought this would be the year to introduce our little grandson to the fair.  Getting there was also an adventure - it would be Aidan's first time on the train that would take us to the fair...

Aidan's first train ride to the fair!
We went first to the petting zoo, where Aidan got to feed the goats... 

Feeding the goats!
Then off to see the cows, pigs, sheep and horses.  We discovered our little guy loves horses!  Was thrilled at the show jumping...but not too sure about petting them!

Petting the horses...maybe!
There were giant pumpkins...

Momma, Aidan & the Giant Pumpkin!

A very large green pumpkin!
...and tractors, clowns and chocolate ice cream.  It was a long day, but Momma, Nana, Papa and Aidan had a great time at the fair!   Soon it was time to make the journey home.  Yet another adventure ...

Waiting to take the train home!

One tired, but happy little boy!
It is late, and one tired little boy is fast asleep in bed, no doubt dreaming of trains and farm animals!  And a very tired Nana and Papa are off to bed, thrilled and blessed to have made our little grandson so happy all day long.