I’ve been on a quest lately to deepen my understanding of what it’s like to have a good day.

We all know about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day but what about the Amazing, Excellent, Superb, Splendid, Very Good Day?

So I went to two experts: grandson Owen, age 3, and granddaughter Julia, just turned 2.

Here are some of the things I learned.


Start with exercise:

Downward Dog on the yoga mat

Downward Dog on the yoga mat


Reading is fun and even answers our questions A Good Day Board Book:

Reading Kevin Henkes' book A Good Day

Learning about a good day by reading Kevin Henkes’ book A Good Day


Help each other make things:

Helping Mommy decorate the cupcakes

Helping Mommy decorate the cupcakes


Transform all boo-boos into something else. Maybe even something better.

Granddad makes a balloon "cherry" after the pop

Granddad makes a balloon “cherry” after the pop

Very Good Day!

After playing, learning, helping, exercising, and napping, it’s time to PLAY and SING! And CELEBRATE. Watch Julia’s face as she realizes that the song is for her. And Owen’s vicarious joy as he sings for his sister:

What have YOU learned from a child about how to have a good day?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Laurie Buchanan on November 12, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Shirley — And while I love the photographs, the video clip blew me away! The sheer joy — even of the people out of view — is so tangible I can practically hold it in my hands. Better yet, let it fill my heart.

    What have I learned from a child about how to have a good day?

    Stay open minded (flexible in my thinking), and willing to be awed!

  2. shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

    So glad you let those 45 seconds fill your heart, Laurie.

    You gave Grandma an excuse to watch the video again :-).

    I did so thinking about flexibility and awe and the many examples of both we enjoyed this weekend, thanks to our teachers, the children.

  3. melodie davis on November 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

    My favorite is of you reading to the children: your outfits almost look like a Norman Rockwell painting or at least a Sears & Roebuck ad! 🙂


    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      The matching pajamas were an idea inspired by Aunt Kate.

      Julia opened hers first. Then the rest of her present was to give matching packages to Owen and also Mommy and Daddy. When we get together at Thanksgiving again, we hope to see the whole Norman Rockwell group. :-0

  4. Elfrieda Schroeder on November 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Today started out not so good for us. We began by looking everywhere for Hardy’s hearing aids and we still haven’t found them! He also had cataract surgery which seems not to have been successful. This could be downright depressing but then we read your happy blog and we thought about our wonderful grandchildren and we started feeling better! Thanks for cheering us up!

    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Oh Elfrieda and Hardy, you were having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! Both of your losses sound discouraging. Hope you have recovered the hearing aids by now (too bad you can’t call their number like a telephone!) and that the surgery will succeed, albeit more slowly than expected.

      I see that you added a tribute to your father. Holding you in the light as you remember him.

      I’m wondering if some of those grandchildren of yours might brighten your day even more? I’m so glad these images stirred your own love for them on a bad day.

  5. Saloma Furlong on November 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Shirley, this is so lovely. What I learned from your grandchildren is how much I long to be a grandmother someday, should I get that opportunity. I can imagine the joys you live with these two beautiful, blossoming children.

    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Saloma, you will be a wonderful grandmother, should you be so blessed. And I am sure that in the meantime you can find ways to connect with children in your church and community. One of the things I am aware of, having reared our children far from family, is that many parents and children CRAVE a special relationship to an older person in their community. We were lucky to have an older woman next door who took an interest in the children and even kept them for short periods.

  6. Elfrieda Schroeder on November 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I forgot to mention that today is my wonderful dad’s birthday and I thought about him without realizing it was his birthday, because he used to look for his hearing aids too. He’s with the angels and doesn’t need them anymore!

  7. Richard Gilbert on November 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    It was so great you documented this day! I am so looking forward to being a grandpaw this winter and seeing if i can emulate you. When I think back, the days when my kids were little were the best.

    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Oh Richard, how wonderful for you and Kathy. The day your grandchild is born will be an Amazing, Excellent, Superb, Splendid, Very Good Day indeed.

      The years before school are indeed precious. Amazing in growth, dazzling years. As Laurie says above, we relearn awe from the little ones.

      And you will get to show them sheep!

  8. mani feniger on November 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you for your beautifully illustrated suggestions for having a super good day. I think choosing to follow the lead of your grandkids would change the world, and for sure my world.

    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Mani, welcome to this blog. Thanks for this affirmation and I look forward to hearing more from you on the meaning of a good day.

  9. Tina Fariss Barbour on November 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    What a wonderfully great day! I love the looks on their little faces as they spend time together. I learned that a great day can be had by doing different things–including reading!–with special people. It looks like Owen and Julia like each other and get along. Sometimes that’s not the case with siblings close in age. 🙂

    • shirleyhs on November 12, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Yes, Tina, children’s faces are so transparent. What you see on them is a direct reflection of their feelings, good or bad.

      And these two seem to really enjoy and appreciate each other — most of the time. 🙂

  10. Marian Beaman on November 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    This post warms the cockles of my heart. In other words, it’s a slam-dunk – from the yoga poses to the singing & celebration. Love the tie in with the Judith Viorst book too.

    As it happens, I have a “grandkid” post already in the queue to publish Saturday. Another example of “twinning,” I guess.

    I’m sitting in Mother’s dining room just now across from a cross-stitch wall hanging I made for her years ago. Maybe I’ll send the photo to you via Facebook: “Grandchildren are the treasures of a long life” it says. Fits here perfectly!

    • shirleyhs on November 13, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Thanks, Marian. The treasures of a long life indeed! Thanks for sharing the photo of your needlework on Facebook. Your mother must have loved that gift.

      You’ve located one area in which we are not likely to be twins. My only foray into cross-stitch was a little decoration to the edge of a table runner.

      I look forward to reading about your grandkids soon. I can tell how much joy they bring you. Glad you enjoyed.

  11. Tracy Lee Karner on November 13, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Her face is angelic!

    One thing I’ve learned from children about having a good day: when I start feeling crabby and contentious, I probably need a nap.

    And I do feel better after a little quiet time on my back.

  12. shirleyhs on November 13, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Tracy, the word “angelic” is the one I think of often when I see Julia smile. Thanks for really seeing her.

    And naps are a great way to recover a fraction of the energy and good humor we knew in our childhoods. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  13. Joan on November 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

    That was so much fun, Shirley. I know it was a wonderful day for everyone there.

  14. Shirley Hershey Showalter on November 13, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for the visit, Joan. You know the joy of grandparenting — and you are sharing that joy with other children in the classroom. I hope my friends find your last post about teaching writing outside the box. The picture is worth a thousand words!

  15. Kathleen Pooler on November 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Shirley, I’m a little late to the party but I want you to know I’ve been trying to get here ever since you first posted this! What a treasure trove of photos and stories of how grandchildren bless our lives. Beautiful! The pictures and videos capture it all and remind me of how blessed Wayne and I are to have ten grandsons and another (gender unknown) on the way in June. I remember holding Jacob,my first grandson, for the first time in the delivery room and feeling an overwhelming sense of love and wonderment, knowing I would never see the world in the same way again. It’s magical! Thank you for sharing your beautiful grandchildren with us.

  16. shirleyhs on November 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    You’re never late, Kathy. This party is always open to you.

    Eleven grandchildren! Wow! And all of them sons so far. I cannot imagine that. But I do know this: they will never suffer from lack of Grandma Kathy’s love.

    “Love and wonderment.” That’s what grandchildren teach. Now I’m going to end this very good day by watching Julia’s face light up when we sing to her. Incorrigible, that’s me.

  17. Barbara McDowell Whitt on November 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Owen and Julia and the Amazing, Excellent, Superb, Splendid, Very Good Day – Shirley, your photo montage and commentary culminating with “Happy Birthday dear Julia” when she turned two has captured the attention of your reading, writing, grandparenting friends. I will be using that phrase with our two-year-old granddaughter Natalie when we get back to Virginia to talk with her about the kind of day she is having and with her parents to talk about the kind of day she had. She is just beginning to put several meaningful phrases together. One evening recently Allison was bringing her home from her caretaker’s apartment. Natalie said from her car seat, “Grandpa Bill. Kansas City. All done. Soon?” It melts my heart every time I think about it. Thank goodness for grandparents’ opportunity to use Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts when we aren’t with our grandchildren.

  18. Shirley Hershey Showalter on November 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Ah, Barbara, you melted my heart, too, with that story. Children seem to develop language and memory at the same time, which is exactly Julia’s stage right now also.

    You have made a great impression on Natalie. She says so much with her first words. And yes, the new technologies of video plus sound help to make the long miles between grandparents and grandchildren seem a little shorter. They also help us keep up with rapid changes in their lives. Wishing you many more Good Days!

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  20. Elaine Mansfield on November 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Happy birthday, dear Julia. What a precious blog. And sometimes it’s important to break the rules. I learn about joy from dogs and Willow and I had a good romp in the woods wearing our orange vests. Believe it or not, I don’t have the gift of young children in my life right now, but I like to flirt and play hide-and-seek with them in the grocery store.
    Thanks for the needed smiles.

    • Shirley Hershey Showalter on November 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Thinking of you playing hide and seek with children in the grocery store made me smile, Elaine. And romping about in the woods in your orange vests sounds like childlike exuberance to me. Dogs are great givers of joy. Thanks for making the connection. I love Willow’s name. Is there a story behind it?

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