Introducing Grilled Grandma Aletha

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... anything that happens to your grandchild also happens to your child, so adversity can be doubly painful, but happiness doubles too.

~ Grandma Aletha

Time to grill up another grandma!

Grilled Grandma is a grandmother on whom I've shone the spotlight, grilling her with some grandma-related questions and she's graciously responded with answers and photos.

Please click on over and give a warm welcome to Grilled Grandma Aletha.

Can I grill you? Plus, GRAND Social No. 199 link party for grandparents

Can I grill you?

Some of you may recall a feature I started here on Grandma's Briefs soon after I started up the site. It was (and still is) Grilled Grandmas, a Q&A with various grandmas of various ages and stages, many of whom are still active in the Grandma's Briefs community, linking here, commenting there. You can check out the numerous grillings I published of fabulous grandmas willing to share their wisdom and wit — and photos of their grandkiddos, too — by clicking right here or on the Grilled Grandmas tab at the top of this page.

I put Grilled Grandmas on hiatus a while back, mostly because I ran out of grandmas to grill. But... there are so many relatively new grandmas in the online grandma community, I'd like to get back to publishing grillings of any grandmas who would like to be featured. Which is where YOU come in.

If you're interested in being featured as a Grilled Grandma and having...

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40 Things to do when visiting your grandchild's house

Jim and I chatted with our grandsons via FaceTime the other night, and one thing I mentioned to Bubby and Mac was that they should come up with some ideas for fun things to do when PawDad and I visit them next month.

 40 things to do when visiting grandchildren

As I don’t want to leave the boys fully in charge of the agenda for our visit, I set out to make a list of options myself. I first considered perusing...
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Summer break for Grilled Grandmas

There's likely no busier time than summer, especially when it comes to spending time with the grandkids. Which is why you're not seeing right here, right now a Grilled Grandma—the weekly feature I've posted every Wednesday since introducing readers to Grilled Grandma Liz in October of 2009.

Grandmas are busy women. That became all the more crystal clear for me, a long-distance grandma who doesn't usually spend a lot of time with her grandsons, after my recent week hosting Bubby and Mac. Now I'm finding it hard to have a clear conscience about asking potential grillees to step away from their summer fun with the grandchildren to answer my questions.

So I'm not going to ask those questions anymore. At least not through the rest of the summer. It is officially summer break for the Grilled Grandmas.

That said, I do still have Grilled Grandma wit and wisdom to share. I may not do this every Wednesday in place of the Grilled Grandma feature, but at least this Wednesday—so no one suffers ill effects of going cold turkey—I'm sharing with you a small sampling of responses from the Grilled Grandmas to one of my favorite Grilled Grandma questions.

Here are those answers—with a few photos of Bubby and Mac interjected in between, simply because I took 6,726 (no joke!) during their visit and need to share those any chance I get, as well.


Remembering my place—I’m not their mom and need to respect my daughter in her role. —Robin

I can’t fit them all on my lap at one time. —Alice

For me it’s the feeling of competition to “keep up” with the other grandparents. It would be very easy for it to turn uncomfortably competitive. —Vicki

Knowing that when I visit them I will have to say goodbye. —Mary

I am concerned about the future—what kind of world we seem to be living in right now, with the economy and the politics of mean-spiritedness. Heck, I worry about those things TODAY, not just for the future. —Olga

The most challenging part is that four different sets of adult parents have very different ideas about child rearing. Trying to avoid stepping on toes is challenging for me. —Kimberly

The most challenging part for me is not giving in to their every command. For the “serious” things I stand strong. But for those little things that it really doesn’t matter, GG let’s them do/have it. —Jules

I was not a perfect parent. So when I see my children doing things I know are not perfect but will do no harm, I am quiet. I save my comments for safety issues and answers to their questions. I am older and I have seen too much, so I could be a huge black cloud. I really do not want to do that. It is a challenge, to say the least. —Barbara

Wanting to keep them from all the bad things yet knowing that it is an impossible task. —Janie

The most challenging part of being a grandma is remembering that your wonderful, caring child IS the parent. —Nita

Working full time and not being able to go to all of their activities. —Connie

The most challenging part for me is trying to divide my time and attention between my three young children and my grandson. I feel like I’m missing out on some of the “full grandmother” experience because I’m young and have little one of my own to care for. I don’t want my grandbaby to feel cheated out of “grandma time,” too. —Kelli

Realizing that I am not as young as I used to be...especially when I get down on the floor to play with them...and, it takes me quite a long time to get back well as lots of moans and groans! —Laurie

Dealing with their parents! I don’t mean that in a bad way—it’s just that they all have their own parenting methods, and I have to remember about what that is for each family! —Angel

Balancing everything. I am also caring for elderly parents and there can be a lot of appointments, health needs, etc. at both ends of the age spectrum. —Kaye

The most challenging thing for me, is on holidays, or special occasions, showing grace and consideration for the exes and the extended family. —Linda

For me it is learning how to just let go and have fun and play. I am still learning how to do that. —Marlene

I haven't met a challenging part yet in being a grandma. —Terri

• To read more responses to this question as well as a plethora of other profundities from the experts in the grandparenting field—the grandmothers—click on over to the Grilled Grandma Archives. •

Today's question:

What is the the biggest challenge you face today in being a grandparent?

What is a grandma?

My website stats show that folks often arrive at Grandma's Briefs by way of the search query, "What is a grandma?" As we grandmas darn well know, defining who and what we are isn't as simple as penning a few sentences similar to a dictionary entry.

That said, the Grilled Grandmas are experts in the field, so I figured combining their answers to the grilling question of "What one word do you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you?" would provide a pretty darn accurate answer of what a grandma is, or at least what one should strive to be.

So I did it. I went through all the Grilled Grandmas—from the very first to the one featured last week—collected their answers to that question, and input them into Wordle, using each word only one time (some, such as love, fun, and caring, were mentioned numerous times).

And here, my friends, is the result: The ultimate answer to the ever-burning question of ...

What is a grandma?

Bottom line? Looks to me like the best way to put it is that grandmas are just plain awesome!

Today's question:

What other words do you think should be added?

A change for the better

Today I'm starting something new...with something old and tried and true. Wednesdays have always been Grilled Grandma day on Grandma's Briefs, and I've always introduced the week's Grilled Grandma here on the front page, then directed folks to read the entire grilling under the Grilled Grandma tab. Well, that's not how this will work anymore.

Thanks to a suggestion included in a generous and helpful critique of my blog by Melissa of Momcomm, I'll now post the entire Grilled Grandma of the week here on the front page, with an archive of them available under the Grilled Grandma Archive tab. The featured grandmas will be front and center—as they should be—with no more clicking from here to there and back again for readers and commenters.

So please read this week's Grilled Grandma feature...right here, right now. And if you're curious about other Grilled Grandmas, feel free to click on the Grilled Grandma Archive tab above. And if you'd like to nominate someone to be a Grilled Grandma (yourself or some other grandmother), simply e-mail me her name and e-mail address.

(For those of you wondering about New Word Wednesday, well, I was feeling kind of meh about that. But if you really want some new words, I'd be happy to recommend a good dictionary. Just ask.)


How many children do you have? I have three children a daughter age 24 and two sons ages 21 and 14.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?
I have two granddaughters Sophia is four and Vivian is three. They are sisters.

Any great grandchildren? No not yet.

What do your grandchildren call you? They call me Nana. My name is Nannette and my mom named me after my great grandmother who was called Nanny. From the time I was little I thought my grandchildren would call me nanny. However it kept coming out Nana, so that is what I'm called now.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother?
I knew my daughter was pregnant before she told me, just a feeling like mother's intuition. I was scared for her, because she was still quite young at 20. But I also knew that she would be a good mother. I love babies so I was also excited.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Quite often. I watch them for my daughter while she works and whenever she has to be gone for the Army National Guard.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Feeling all of the love that you felt for your own children without some of the angst.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Carrying them around. My back isn't as strong as it used to be.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
I was on the phone with my husband and laying on my bed. It had been rainy all day so I was letting the girls run around and be loud when normally I make them be quieter in the house. Vivian hopped up on the bed and announced, "We are horsing around!"

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Go pick out books at the library and read them for bedtime stories.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Give them a bath in their giant walk-in bathtub.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? This hasn't been a problem, because I see them every week and sometimes every weekday.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I recently completed my maternal ancestry back eight generations from them. I want them to understand that they come from a long line of strong and beautiful women who live life to its fullest. I am the only living connection for them, since my mother passed away a few years ago and my grandmother is quite old and frail.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Love

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?
How to be both their grandmother and their daycare provider. I started out too lenient at times and had to reinforce the rules.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? to take the time to truly play with and love your grandchildren, because it is one of the greatest joys in life.

Do you have a website or blog? What is the URL and what is it about? Stay at Home Grandma Blog. I blog about my experiences with my grandchildren, family, childcare, home, frugality, and wellness.

(This grilling can be found in the Grilled Grandma Archives under, fittingly, Grilled Grandma: Nannette.)

Sense and nonsense

Because my brain has been taxed far too much in the past week thanks to BlogHer '11 and doing my best to organize and utilize all I learned there, today I'm taking a break. I'm serving up nonsense, by way of today's New Word Wednesday.

And the word is ...

CODSWALLOP (KODZ wol uhp) noun nonsense; rubbish.

In my dreams, I'm quite luculent and offer profundities beyond compare, but the reality is that what I serve up more often than not is heaping helpings of codswallop.

I've decided that going forward, instead of telling Jim now and then that he's full of <cuss>, er, baloney, I'll be telling him he's full of codswallop. Makes sense to me.


For anyone who might think grandmas have little to offer and spend hours upon hours rocking away in a rocking chair, despairing that the best years of their lives have gone by—and that surely better not cannot be any regular visitors of Grandma's Briefs—one quick look at this week's Grilled Grandma should dispel that belief.

Lissa is the newest gorgeous, vibrant, and funny member of the Grilled Grandma club, and I hope you'll give her a warm welcome by way of comments on her grilling and clicks to her blog. You can start it all off right here at Grilled Grandma: Lissa. Be sure not to miss the shot of her with her four grown kids near the bottom of the grilling. The love between them in the photo is nearly palpable. So sweet!

Happy Wednesday, my grandma and non-grandma friends!

Today's question:

Provide one bit of truth and one bit of codswallop about yourself, leaving it up to those of us who read the comments to decide which is which.

Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Okay, first let me say that I cannot believe I used a quote from the movie Rush Hour as my post title. But it's a quote Jim says. Often. So when I decided on this week's word for New Word Wednesday, the Rush Hour quote just popped into my head uninvited. And it seemed like the right thing to use. I apologize.

The word that made me think of that quote from an egregiously idiotic movie is much more cerebral than anything coming out of Chris Tucker's mouth, I can assure you. Pretty much. Maybe?

Well, you tell me. Here, my fellow wordies, is this week's offering for New Word Wednesday:

LUCULENT (LOO kyuh luhnt) adjective 1. clear or lucid. 2. convincing; cogent.

I hope my inability to be luculent when meeting new people—and sometimes even when conversing with people who aren't so new—won't be detrimental to my experience at BlogHer.

Oh my. Yeah, ya'll might consider saying a prayer for me and my BlogHer experience. Please.


If you're in the mood for cute, I've got you covered. Take one look a that little gal above and you'll have a small taste of the cuteness to come in Grilled Grandma: Janie. Her grandkids are cuties, no doubt, not only in the photos, but in the stories Janie shares of them. Don't miss it.

And if you're in the mood for hitting the open road, Janie has you covered there with her blog. Click on over after reading her grilling (link at the bottom of her grilling); you won't be disappointed!

Happy Wednesday!

Today's question:

Are you more luculent when writing or when speaking?

The heat is (still) on

Many of us are still hot and bothered by the crazy heat that has swept the nation. Sure, it's a tad cooler than last week...maybe...but it's still hot.

With heat comes irritability. Especially for those without air-conditioning. I'm one of those.

Yet being irritable—the word, not the behavior—isn't quite as onomatopoeic as one might desire when it comes to describing the state many of us are in. So I found a new word. It's not a true onomatopoeia because it doesn't sound like the irritable me sounds, but it sounds like the irritable me feels. (Kind of like how the word heebie-jeebies doesn't describe how the state sounds at all, but certainly what it feels like.) Plus, this new word o' mine is short, has only one meaning, and it's easy to pronounce, which uses less energy to say—a plus on these steamy days.

So I hereby share with you today's word for New Word Wednesday:

TETCHY (TECH ee) adjective 1. irritable; touchy.

Because of the continued heat wave, I'm tetchy and acting more like a toddler in need of a nap than a good and gracious grandmother.

A fitting word, if I do say so my tetchy self.



I certainly can't imagine the Grilled Grandma featured this week as ever being tetchy, but one look at that photo above which she titled "skiing is hard on grandma's nerves" and there's no doubt she's lots of fun.

Read all about this fun-loving grandma and her fortunate grandkids in Grilled Grandma: Mary. Then definitely pop on by her blog to see some of the awesome photos Mary takes of what she sees and is and does. She's an interesting lady, to say the least. Clearly not tetchy at all.

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

Today's question:

Being hot makes me tetchy. What makes you tetchy?

A 'fullness of feeling'

Three weeks into the New Word Wednesday feature, I've finally found a word I've been searching for since April. It's not exactly the word I wanted, but close enough to matter.

Back in April, our ever-insightful, ever-inspirational bloggy friend known here as Grandmother (Hi, Mary!) wrote a post about Louise Erdrich's poem, The Glass and the Bowl. In her post, Mary noted that, "Her poem captures that incomparable fullness of feeling that comes unbidden in precious moments of parenting ..." .

Mary's "fullness of feeling" phrase was so perfect, so true, so absolutely spot on for many of my heartfelt sensations that it has stuck with me ever since. Even more so than Erdrich's evocative poem.

"Fullness of feeling" describes the richness I experience when I look at photos of Bubby and Mac loving on one another, or soak in the sense of family when our original five are together and laughing, when I hear young children in concert, when I see a veteran with hand over heart and holding back tears as he bravely honors a fallen comrade. In so, so much is there a fullness of feeling. Now I have words for that.

Yet I also want just one word for that. I figured there simply must be a single word that comes close to Mary's description. I've searched, and there's not. At least not that I've found. Not really. Not one so exactly, perfectly right.

But there is one that's close. Or at least related. And it's today's New Word Wednesday offering:

PROFUNDITY (pruh FUHN di tee) noun 1. the quality or state of being profound; depth. 2. Usually, profundities. profound or deep matters. 3. profoundly deep; abyss.

The profundity of Mary's words left a lasting impression on me.


Thank you, Mary, for the new phrase that led me to a new word.


Profundity is often a theme of the Grilled Grandmas, and the newest grandma to be grilled is no exception. Please be sure to read Grilled Grandma: Patti before clicking away and heading off into the nether regions of the Internet. And if you're feeling the love, please don't hesitate to offer her a few words — profound or not-so-profound — in the comment-love section. Such a simple act may make another's day.

Thank you for making my day by visiting Grandma's Briefs and reading my blatherings. Now go enjoy your day ... and your air-conditioning, too, if you're one of the lucky ones to have it (which, unfortunately, I'm not).

Today's question:

Who, what, or where would you deem a 'profundity'?