Gramma goes tubing

Gramma goes tubing

Despite having been born in Minnesota and living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first decade of my life, I'm not big on water sports. To any degree. I still don't know how to swim... even after having swim lessons as a child and again at 40 years old.

I'm not deathly afraid of water, but I certainly don't seek out splishy-splashy fun in water over my head. Not even water up to my chest, to be honest.

So it should come as no surprise that I've never whiled away hours in an inner tube on a lake. Nor have I engaged in tubing…

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Flashback: The know-it-all grandma and her acts of ignorance

Flashback: The know-it-all grandma and her acts of ignorance

Dear readers: This flashback feature originally appeared on Grandma's Briefs July 24, 2014. Thank you for reading my (updated) rerun.

I'm often asked by family, friends—and sometimes even strangers—for answers and directions on a variety of topics. I'm happy to say that I can usually give them what they seek. My husband often jokingly calls me Google; my daughters consider me one of the best researchers they know.

Which makes it difficult to not fancy myself a know-it-all at times.

To keep things in check—meaning, to deflate my occasionally oversized ego and obnoxiously large noggin'—I need only recall one or more of the times I was clearly not in the know. At all. The times I didn't know what the heck I should have known, whether I pretended to know it or not.

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Disrupt aging: Today's grandmas smash the stereotype... even when embracing it

Disrupt aging: Today's grandmas smash the stereotype... even when embracing it

Disclosure: This post made possible with support from AARP's Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.

When I first started my blog in 2009, one of the "editorial guidelines" I set for myself was that I would not post photos of myself on my website. At that time I had been a grandma for a little over a year, and in those twelve-plus months, when I shared my grandma status with strangers—retail clerks, random folks encountered while out and about, friends-in-the-making, and so forth—I was more often than not met with the comment, "You don't look like a grandma."

As a goal for my blog was to establish myself as a go-to guide for all things related to the grandmother lifestyle, I determined that—based on such comments—posting pictures of myself might…

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Throwback Thursday: Fine lines... worn and walked

Throwback Thursday: Fine lines... worn and walked

This #TBT piece by Lisa Carpenter originally published April 15, 2014 on Grandma's Briefs. Thank you for reading!

As I scan shelf after shelf of beauty aids at the drugstore in search of the perfect product to combat my age spots and wrinkles, I consider the plethora of inescapable fine lines I encounter in this phase of life. Despite the endless number of serums and creams and BB this and AHA that created to (sort of) soothe away the skin issues, I’ve yet to find a solution to the fine lines that matter most: those encountered in my role as a parent to adult children.

Most concerning are the fine lines I walk—that all parents of grown children walk—as I attempt to be wise, supportive, encouraging for my adult children without seeming overbearing, overprotective, overly critical or any other overly state that might tangle the ties that bind me to my dear ones.

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Social media success: Cast iron skillet pizza

Social media success: Cast iron skillet pizza

Sunday dinners at my place usually feature food of a relatively traditional sort. Not massive spreads, by any means, but certainly not pizza.

Usually.

This past Sunday Jim and I were busy all day (messing around on Ancestry.com, I confess) and by the time dinner needed fixin' I didn't feel like fixing it. Yet we've resolved to cut down on our dining — and ordering — out, which meant I had to come up with something on which we could sup.

So I turned to a relatively new addition to my...

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My festive flop

My festive flop

When it comes to holiday events in my family, the tables are typically topped with an abundance of delicious yet fat-, calorie-, and sugar-laden eats and treats. So on our Christmas Day buffet table, I decided one of my dishes would be a more healthy sort of something.

No veggie tray, mind you, as peppers, carrots, celery and such notoriously go untouched. Instead, I chose fresh, fruity fare with a festive flair to impress my guests with a healthy holiday option.

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An open letter to new long-distance grandmas

An open letter to new long-distance grandmas

Dear heartbroken long-distance grandma,

First, let me say congratulations on your grandma status! Whether you just learned you'd soon have a grandchild, a newborn grand recently arrived, or one or more grandkiddos have long been part of your heart, you are a grandmother and that's worth celebrating... again and again.

Today, though, I offer my condolences that your grandmother status carries, or soon will, the long-distance modifier. I know how hard that is on you. I know because I am you — a long-distance grandma.

I've been a long-distance grandma a while, with hundreds of miles separating me from my sweet ones ever since the initial "You're going to be a grandma!" announcement nearly ten years ago. Considering the survival strategies I've learned the hard way...

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Camping on the Arkansas River: The truth about our 35th anniversary adventure

Arkansas River

My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary over Father's Day weekend. Because 35 years together seemed quite a milestone, especially considering I was a week shy of 18 when we wed and he was just 21 — plus marital, financial, and medical BS throughout the entire year of 2016 that threatened us surviving to the milestone — we wanted to mark the occasion in some extra special way.

So for months we considered this and that, here and there, seeking sites and such we'd never experienced before. Then reality set in. Limited finances and limited paid time off for Jim — who started a new job not long ago — limited our options. Being residents of Colorado, though, a state folks come from around the world to see, there were plenty of touristy things nearby to choose from.

None felt right, none felt celebratory and special enough.

We soon found ourselves on deadline for making a decision and reservations. For some crazy reason, I suggested camping. In the wild. In a tent. Like we used to when our daughters were young. We hadn't gone in and we had never camped just the two of us, sans kids.

The idea of setting up camp for two, spending evenings under the stars, making s'mores for us — and sharing a marshmallow or two with Mickey (our dog) who we'd bring along, too — immediately felt right. Felt fun.

It was settled. I sought a site, made reservations. We pulled camping gear from the garage rafters, all stored since camping adventures with our kids. We added to the pile to pack in the car assorted leisurely pursuits. Games to play, the telescope for stargazing, binoculars for Big Horn Sheep searching, Jim's guitar for him to play, a couple books for me to read. We were stoked!

So my husband and I marked our milestone wedding anniversary by camping. And we hated it. Worst. Time. Ever...

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The F-ing guide to grandparenting

how to be a grandparent

Without consistent commitment to the use of certain F-words, where might a grandparent be?

Not nearly as effective — or memorable — if you ask me.

Though many grandparents eliminate F-words from their vocabularies (at least when the G-kids are around) or ban the use of them from the kids themselves, I feel quite strongly that F-words should be accessed and emphasized. As often as possible. Especially when grandchildren are around.

Following are a few such F-words, five favorites of mine I focus on and do my best to use regularly in an effort to make a memorable impact...

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Hope for hope! Plus GRAND Social No. 254 link party for grandparents

Hope for hope!!

I'm a fan of TED Talks, the easy-to-access messages of motivation and inspiration. This past week, a special TED Talk made waves across social media. It was a talk by Pope Francis for TED2017, recorded in Vatican City.

Although I'm not Catholic (I'm Lutheran) and I don't really follow much on the Pope, from what I've seen and heard, I do think he's a good man. And I do believe this particular message — on hope, personal responsibility, tenderness and more — would benefit each and every one of us now and for generations going forward if we took his message to heart, if we put the sentiments into action.

If you haven't seen Pope Francis' powerful TED Talk, here it is:

 

A few of my fave quotes...

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A cautionary tale: Look before they leap

Poor Bud — and Brianna — learned a painful lesson the hard way not too long ago. A lesson in something I never really considered, as a parent or as a grandparent.

See, on a recent sunny day, Bud and Brianna headed to the local skatepark. Bud, a budding skateboarder, was excited to spend a couple hours trying out a park he'd not yet frequented. (Truth be told, I think he had frequented very few skate parks — if any — since his passion for boarding began.)

I had babysat Bud that morning, and he mentioned several times the fun he looked forward to that afternoon.

To say the kid was pumped is an understatement.

After lunch that day, Brianna and Bud headed to the skate park. As soon as they arrived, Bud could contain himself no longer. He quickly donned his helmet, grabbed his board, and raced to his first obstacle: an awesome, amazing, yet seemingly (relatively) safe jump.

It looked like this:

skatepark obstacle 

Bud figured he'd go up the angled ramp on the front side and down...

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7 benefits of being a long-distance grandparent

I am a long-distance grandma. Have been from the beginning of my grandma gig.

The first few years I moaned and groaned ceaselessly about the miles separating me and my sweeties.

I'm now nearly nine years into grandmahood. In that time I've thankfully learned there is indeed — unbelievable as I first thought it might be — a bright side to my grandbabies living so far from me.

Following are a few such perks on which fellow long-distance grandparents just might agree.

long-distance grandparent 

 

ONE
Bathroom breaks at my house are a breeze.
I never need straddle a step stool when using the toilet. Nor do I have to question who left the seat up as only two...

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