Are Grandparents Obsolete?

grandparentsWomen over fifty (and of course, men also), are all so excited with the prospect of being grandparents.  I go along with this as it gives us a second chance, or tries to make up for some of the mistakes that we made with our children.  Most of us were probably young and did the best we thought we could, but as our children will most often advise us we often screwed up at some point.

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Walking, Walking, Walking – Keep it Moving

For the past 3 months, my sister and I have been walking the dogs every morning.  We are becoming known around the neighborhood as the crazy dog ladies (at least that’s what I think we must look like while walking 4-5 dogs).  

walkingGood Morning Sunshine!

You’d think that after 3 months of doing this, I would be getting used to it! But each morning I feel like I have to drag my butt out of bed.  Luckily, my sister is patient enough with me to continue to drive into town to make me do this.  This activity is a much smaller version of what we do while on vacation.  

Vacation

walking

When we go on vacation each summer, she and I will get up at the ass-crack of dawn to walk all the family dogs (5-6 of them).  We will go on a 6-mile walk (or “death march” as I lovingly call it).  Usually, Lisa is bright-eyed and refreshed when we come back from the walk, but I’m a purple-faced sweaty mess!!  We don’t go fast at all, but it gives the dogs a chance to run on the beach and play in the water, thereby making them tired dogs upon returning to our cabin.  (Tired dogs are happy dogs – and happy owners!)

“Hey, how much do you charge?”

On our walk during vacation, people frequently look at us like we are crazy because we are walking so many dogs.  We’ve even been asked if we are professional dog walkers.  People are surprised when we tell them that these are just the family’s dogs. LOL! 

I need to keep moving before vacation to get in shape for our death marches. But right now, my knees are aching just with the thought of having to get up and walk tomorrow morning.  Some mornings I just want to sleep and say forget it to walking, but I know if I don’t go, I’ll disappoint not only my dogs but my sister as well…  and that just doesn’t sit well in my mind.

Who is 'Chelle

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My Dog is Family

What is it with dogs? Are you one of the people that celebrated National Pet Day earlier this month? Do you love a furry friend?

Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend…obviously never had a dog!

Do you need unconditional love, something to love you forever and ever (sounds great, right!)?  

furry friendsDo you love having something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with, share a bed with?

When Mollie, a liver/white tri English Springer Spaniel that was with us for fourteen years died, I said it would be my last.  

I just couldn’t put my heart through another heartbreak.  

Well, six months passed, and guess what?  We broke down and got another fuzzy creature. She is a black/white tri-colored springer spaniel named Emma.  What a sweetheart, a pain in the ass, a total companion, a bed hog, has her own opinion and needs, and we wouldn’t give her up for anything.  

Furry Friends – The PROS…

I have read that owning a pet has several benefits for older adults.  This includes higher levels of physical activity…which results in better health.  Having a dog forces us to create daily routines or to have a  purpose to get out and MOVE. 

furry friendsDogs offer emotional support and give us something to talk about with other people (other than how upset we are with the latest political announcement or our upcoming knee surgery).

With a dog, you get constant love and affection, unconditional adoration (we all can use a little of that), lots and lots of wet sloppy kisses, and let’s not forget the lack of bed space.  Is this a pro? Well, some of us might think so.  

…and the CONS

The case against owning a canine fur baby is as follows (but not limited to):  Constant dog hair on your pants, brown spots in a once lush green lawn, ongoing poop duty, and the frustration when they are trying to communicate, but you don’t agree (time to go to bed or wanting to stay outside).

furry friends

Dogs also need exercise, rain or shine, cold or warm.  If you are sick, or well, you need to suck it up and get out there with a potty bag and treats in your pocket.  How about the grooming duties, brushing, and teeth brushing (yes, we are supposed to actually brush a dog’s teeth). 

I could do without the muddy paws prints on my white kitchen floor and cream living room carpet in the spring and rainy weather. 

It is also a pain in the ass standing outside in the freezing cold, in the middle of the night,  (even when Fido doesn’t really have to do anything) because he just wants you to be awake with him.  

I, personally, have had a lot of pets including, birds of all shapes and sizes, chameleons, fish, hamsters, turtles. But my nine dogs (over the years) are in a special category that is unique and exclusive…

Companion

Confidant

Family

I have read or heard it from somewhere that the best compliment to a deceased pet is to replace it with another. I totally agree. Or, to quote American novelist, satirist, and poet, Erica Jong…

 ” Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”

Who Is Sandy
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Helping Your College Student with Homesickness

Homesickness

When my youngest kid left for college this past fall, we went through some significant homesickness.  She has always been my “velcro” kid and loves to be home and a part of things.  There were a lot of tears and feelings of “I don’t want to go” happening.  As a parent that likes to always see her kids happy – this broke my heart.  I didn’t know how to help – so I resorted to the Internet to guide me in what to do.  After reading a few posts – I decided on my own methods.

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Developing Relationships with Your Mother-in-Law

Mother-in-lawHere are six tips for having a good relationship with your mother-in-law.

Doris wasn’t just a mother-in-law, but a fabulous friend.  Personally, I feel she had quite a bit more to overlook in me in the beginning as I was selfish, opinionated, and just plain stupid. Example – I had my second child and was not up to par.  It was spring and, of course, flower planting time.  I being the perfectionist (and this is where stupid and selfish comes in) did the unthinkable…  To be nice she planted a peachy/pink bed of petunias in an area where I would usually put, I think, red.  Would you believe that when I felt up to it, I actually replaced her petunias with my preferred color?  When I think of that today I just cringe.  She never said a word, but I’ll bet she was not impressed with me.  

Tip 1 – Be thankful for the little things they do for you and be gracious

When my husband and I started going together we were of different religions.  I was with a girlfriend that was Lutheran, the same as my mother-in-law, and she said to me.  “Why doesn’t Art find a nice Lutheran girl to date?”  At the time I was appalled.  Today I think it is pretty funny as later in life I turned to Lutheran and she turned to the religion that I had been for her second husband.

Tip 2 – Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There is always tomorrow and things change

The two of us came from entirely different backgrounds.  She was a farm girl and I was a city brat.  Her taste was totally different than mine and we had a good time teasing about my exotic, or just plain different taste than hers.  One time after putting up a half-moon mirror in my family room I asked her what she thought and she replied, “I think it looks totally stupid.”  O.K. then!!!  I had grown up enough by this time to actually laugh it off and I still have that totally stupid mirror still hanging in my family room.

Tip 3 – Appreciate true honesty and don’t take it personally

She was always there when I needed her, or just a phone call away.  She actually got a warning ticket for speeding on Center Street to come and wash my kitchen floor.  I was getting ready for one of the girl’s weddings and she thought I could use some help.  The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, 50 in a 25-speed zone, and she said to wash my daughter-in-law’s floor. He gave her a warning, but I’ll bet there were a few laughs down at the station after that. I hope none of them knew me so as to judge me, expecting this poor older lady to wash my kitchen floor?.  

Tip 4 – Appreciate the things they do for you even if it is not necessary

When I planted my perennial garden I worked during the day and had to get my plants in after dark for some reason.  My mother and mother-in-law sat on logs in my backyard with flashlights to help me see what I was doing.  My backyard neighbor had to hang over the fence in the morning to see what the hell was going on. 

Tip 5 –  Appreciate the big things they do for you

I could go on and on.  She has since passed on and I miss her terribly.  I miss our late evening gab sessions on the phone.  Her stories that went on and on, and her being there for me was so enjoyable.  Sure, she made me a little crazy sometimes, but I learned to overlook her differences and she overlooked mine.  When she told me that I was more like a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law that was the ultimate compliment.  

Tip 6 –  Enjoy their differences and learn from them

They seem to have a book of knowledge that they love to share.  Remember that they also compete with your own mother on most occasions and also learn how not to tread on toes.

Who Is Sandy
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My Happy Parenting Moments

aunt parenting happy parenting momentsAttempt #1

My attempts at “parenting” have taken many forms.  My first hint of what parenting looked like was at a distance with my two nieces.  I lived out of state.  I always made sure birthday gifts were received on time and was always available by phone but unlike the real thing, their parents did the heavy lifting.  As the girls grew older, I had the wonderful experience of being a confidante and a mentor. I enjoyed this relationship with all my heart and still do. I do understand that this was not “real” parenting. Continue reading

It’s the Little Things

I need to call Mom!

IMG_4890 2

I want to be the mom who has kids, that when they mess up, never think “mom’s gonna kill me”. I want their first thought to be “I need to call my mom”.  Where did I hear that recently???  It makes me wonder…What builds that kind of relationship? Perhaps the following three events would qualify.

Number one…I pick up Aubrey from her dance class. She is now big enough to sit in the front seat. She holds my hand as we crank the music to the Broadway musical “Mama Mia”. We sing along to “Dancing Queen” at the top of our voices.

Two…I  sit on the couch in the living room. My laptop rests between us, our feet resting on the coffee table. We share the 20-year-old crocheted afghan my grandma made for me when I moved into my first apartment after college. Kadon made us “extra butter” microwave popcorn and we are watching a movie he thought I would like…”Wine Country”. (Amy Poehler directs menopausal friends on an eventful  and emotional weekend trip).) It was the perfect Netflix choice for a mom and her 14-year-old son!?!

And three…Luka struggles in school. He would rather clean crusty bathroom toilets than go over flashcards for a Global Studies test. But as it gets late, I grab the cards that we made together. He lays on his bed. I read the questions as I scratch his back. He gives the answer and flips the card to check the correctness. As we finish the last card, he sleepily says, “Thanks…I love you mom.”

It’s the small stuff. I think I am building relationships with my kids, block by block, one happy moment at a time.

Who is Lisa

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Becoming a Mom

Becoming a momI have lots of happy parenting memories!  There was no question in my mind growing up that I wanted to be a parent.  I loved babies!!  It was when they started getting a little older that I started to question the idea.  I was never the greatest babysitter.  I wanted the kids to cooperate and listen to me obediently, but as any parent knows, that’s not what kids do!!

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Downshifting – Sandy

brandyHow do you downshift or relax after a sometime (most of the time) stressful day, or just an ordinary, could be boring day.

I would like to say that I would leave work, go for a nice casual walk, come home and have a wonderful dinner and then relax for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, this doesn’t ever seem to happen, so when I come home after a very stressful day at work, I like an old-fashioned drink, then I love to (weather permitting) sit out in my patio and just read or listen to the crickets and chill.

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Furry Family – Sandy

I’m kind of at a negative point as to the need for furry friends in my life. My family has always been a lover of having pets which include dogs, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, to include fish and chameleons (which are not so furry).

20160129_213332I started when I was very young by begging and begging for a dog. My first dog was a chocolate lab named Ginger. At a very young age of, I believe three, we ran away together, got into trouble, and I loved him very much. When he passed, I wished on every birthday cake candle, the first star in the night, etc., for another dog to fill the void. Continue reading