I consider myself very lucky to be able to say that I am so close to my grandparents. They live about a 20 minute drive from where I grew up, and "going to grandma's" was always a constant in my childhood. Now that I'm older, I realize how special this is, and I really treasure our time together.
A few of the things I love about visiting my grandparents:
The crystal figurines that my grandma collects, all lined up on the window.
That the house is filled with old pictures and family memorabilia.
Her blue and white dishes.
You can always find cookies. There's something about grandmas and cookies, isn't there?
My grandpa used to be a baker, so Christmas time is especially fun with dozens of holiday cookies in all different shapes and sizes.
Her Suzy's Zoo calendars...
... which are always immaculately organized with appointments, lunches, and loved ones' birthdays.
Her little collection of gnomes, a tribute to her playful personality and our Scandinavian heritage.
What my sister and I fondly know as the "Fairy Key," that supposedly opened the doors to the fairy kingdom in the huge creaking old willow that resides in the park down the street.
My grandma used to plant little pennies around the tree, saying that they were from the fairies. It always felt so magical exploring around that old willow.
The shelf of favorite childhood books. I always hear her voice when I think of "There Was an Old Lady..."
"who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly. I guess she'll die!"
Her colorful and inviting place settings.
The center piece that is almost always composed of freshly-picked flowers.
When my grandparents share their most treasured memories. They had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on May 5th ("65 years of knowing each other!" says my grandpa), and my grandma pulled out this album to show me their wedding pictures.
You have to love the one where my grandma is feeding my grandpa the cake! And let me tell you, they are both still just as spunky and fun.
Their backyard, which by the middle of summer will be fully planted with flowers and tomatoes.
My grandpa is a wonderful gardener, and if you come over on a summer day, you will more often than not find him in the backyard wearing his shorts, socks pulled up, and a wide-brimmed straw hat.
And finally, that whenever I visit, I am not only allowed but encouraged to eat tasty desserts like chocolate cake with pudding sauce - guilt free.
Aren't grandparents the best?