Grilled Grandma: Sandy

What is a Grilled Grandma? A Grilled Grandma is a grandma whom I've grilled with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Here is Grilled Grandma Sandy:

How many children do you have? I have two daughters, Kathleen and Courtney and one son, Joe. They were all raised in a military household and both daughters swore they would NEVER marry anybody in the military because they didn’t want to ruin their children’s lives by moving every three years. Both girls are married to pilots in the Air Force, just like their Dad, (Ha!) my son is not yet married.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? I currently have four grandchildren, Courtney has two girls, Kate (4), Emma (2) and Kathleen has two boys, Jackson (4), and Gavin (21 months). However, in just a couple of months we will go from four grandchildren to seven as both girls are pregnant, Courtney is having another girl and Kathleen is having twin boys! We’ll have seven grandchildren all under the age of four.

Any great grandchildren? No

What do your grandchildren call you? They call me “Honey”.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? Actually, both of my girls were pregnant at the same time with their first babies and neither of them lived nearby. I live in North Carolina and one daughter lived in Spokane, WA, and the other lived in Pensacola, FL. My biggest concern was not being close enough to them to help out on a regular basis and get to play with the babies as often as I would like.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Currently they still live far away, for two years both daughters lived in Okinawa, Japan because their husbands were stationed there. One still lives there and the other just recently moved to California. We see each other, in person, at least twice a year for three to four weeks at a time.

If all goes as planned, I hope to be present for the upcoming births. “Operation Baby Drop” will have me flying to California for the birth of the twin boys, then on from there to Okinawa for the new baby girl’s birth, and then back to California to help out with the twins again, whew! I’m already exhausted just thinking about it!

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Getting to spoil my grandkids whenever they are around. We try to fit lots of adventures into their visits. However, I also have to listen to my own kids complain about how we NEVER spoiled them.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Keeping my mouth shut. I try not to give unsolicited advice but sometimes it just slips out. Fortunately my daughters are very good about listening to what I have to say. It’s amazing how much smarter they think you are once they have children of their own!

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. The last time Kate and Emma were visiting we had just finished nighttime baths, pajamas were on, and they were sitting in bed, hair dripping and waiting for a bedtime story. I decided to make up a story instead of read another book so I made up an elaborate story about a little girl who went on a great adventure. Then I said, “Okay, it’s your turn to tell me a story.” Kate proceeded to tell me about two princesses “who were very beautiful, but not as pretty as me” she said. I couldn’t help but laugh. Apparently that child has no problem with self-esteem!

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Right now we like to draw and color. I can’t wait until they are old enough to learn how to sew!

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? We like to go on walks, more drawing and coloring, and do lots of puzzles and read books.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? We talk on the phone two to three times a week and Skype about once a week. Thank goodness for Skype, I don’t think I would be able to survive the distance between us without being able to see them so often. When they were smaller they thought we were the “grandparents in the box” but being able to see us on a regular basis makes it easy when we visit because we aren’t really strangers.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Live life to the fullest and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals!

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Fun! They will probably think I’m a little crazy too since I went skydiving for my 50th birthday and love to try adventurous things. However, I flew off the side of a mountain skiing a few years ago and ended up in the hospital so I’m a little more cautious in my adventures, now that I know what pain feels like!

One of my favorite quotes is, “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, ‘Woo Hoo, what a ride!’”

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? Just like the saying goes, “If I’d known that being a grandparent was so much fun, I’d have had my grandchildren first!” I’ve always loved children and having my own was great but, man oh man, there is just something wonderful about grandchildren because the pressure in raising them falls to someone else and you get to be the good guy!

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Enjoy every minute, hold those babies as often as you can, close your eyes and memorize their smell, feel their skin, give them baths and drink in all the sights and smells that come with them.

Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? Yes, I have a blog and a website. I am a designer of applique quilt patterns and I strive to make designs that are whimsical and easy to make. My blog is about sewing, quilting and basically randomness of life. My website address is and my blog address is You can also “Like” me on Facebook at

Dear Readers: If you'd like to nominate a grandma for grilling—yourself or any other grandma—please e-mail me her first name and e-mail address and I'll take care of the rest. Thank you!